Exploring the honeybee world — at a neighborhood level
Led by local apiculturists, Advocate photographer Danny Fulgencio looks at the lives of bees, their dwindling population and how it all impacts our lives.
Brandon and Susan Pollard of East Dallas herd honeybees. “Urban bee-wrangling,” they call it. Beyond being honey purveyors, the Pollards, via their Texas Honeybee Guild, save residential colonies from extermination, offer public education on the importance of bees and rally on their little charges’ behalf as environmental activists. As the Pollards often attest, bees are responsible for about 30 percent of our food. They pollinate more than 100 species of fruits and vegetables. Without them, we are in trouble. And that’s where we are headed, they say. In recent years, bee populations have been crushed by insecticides, disease, parasites and the enigmatic colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that has caused the mysterious and widespread disappearance of worker bees. Last year proved especially brutal for the Pollards and their bees: The couple estimates they lost 60 percent of their hives, often after city-backed trucks and planes sprayed swaths of Dallas with neurotoxin to combat disease-carrying mosquitoes, which incidentally also threatens the humble bee. With mosquito season upon us, the Pollards attempt to rebuild their colonies while bracing for another possible round of chemical warfare.
HIVE CHECK The Pollards inspect a frame of bees at the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center just outside Dallas. The wetlands filter water from Dallas, which is then pumped back to the city. Honeybee colonies at the wetlands were not hit with neurotoxins during last year’s mosquito spraying, however, the apiculturists say, bees do drink water — and lots of it — and when the water is toxic, they die. Photo by Danny Fulgencio
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