I was born and raised in Washington state (my hometown is Olympia) but currently reside in Portland, Oregon. As a lifelong devotee of the fiber arts who is also obsessed with cats, at any given moment I am playing with fur of some form or fashion. If I had to describe myself in three words, they’d probably be something like: meticulous, nerdy, & caffeinated.
On Bees: A casual observer might find the buzzing and browsing of a honey bee rather aimless, but on closer inspection, they are actually collecting pollen from plants to make honey. In a lot of ways, I identify with honey bees because I, too, seem to be a bit scattered, but am always active and producing things. This story is not an entirely happy one, however; the common domestic honey bee—a.k.a. European honey bee or Western honey bee (Apis mellifera)—is rapidly disappearing. They are responsible for the pollination of roughly a third of the crops in the United States alone, but are also instrumental in pollinating crops in Europe (where their numbers are also decreasing with alarming speed). Before one clutches their pearls in dramatic sarcasm (you wouldn’t do that, right?), know that this is actually a big deal. Due to reasons that scientists are having trouble identifying with any specificity (parasites, viruses, and environmental changes—possibly even so many co-occurring factors—being named some of the possible culprits), these precious creatures are dying off at an alarming rate. It is a shame when any animal goes extinct, but when one has shaped the history and culture of the world so drastically, and is also so sweet and benevolent, it’s especially tragic. We don’t want to tell future generations about how “we used to have the cutest honey bees” someday. The University of California, Davis campus has been researching honey bees for more than 75 years and has the funding and facility to take on the arduous task of attempting to save these bees. That is why I will be donating 20% of all of my online pattern sales (on my website and on ravelry) to the UC Davis Honey Bee Research Program.
With all the things going on in our day-to-day lives, it can be hard to imagine what difference some little insects could make in the greater scheme of things, but I dare say without them, we might not be here, and I don’t want to imagine or experience a world without them. Please help.
Bee images courtesy of health-benefits-of-honey.com