It used to be that the puppies I raised could spend a summer afternoon chasing butterflies and considering the merits of barking at honeybees, but times have changed. Over the last several years I have noticed the lack of ‘flying flowers’ that once graced my yard (I have 90% native flowers and plants) but none so more than this year. To date, the middle of July, I have seen exactly one butterfly- a White Cabbage Butterfly. Where are the Admirals? The Monarchs? The Swallowtails? Those yellow butterflies I don’t know the name of? Where are our moths? Sometimes I have left the back yard light on at night and gotten up at three in the morning to see what moths have gathered in the beacon, but they are also missing. Granted, I saw more moths at night when I lived in the country where a light at night brought droves of beauties to my front porch. Then again that was over ten years ago.
Most of the public has been appraised of the decline of honeybees, another pollinator missing from the airwaves of late and though this has been widely voiced throughout various venues, an alarming fact according to Beekeepers Association is that currently over 60% of the hives are at critical, unrecoverable numbers. (Losses in hives over 18% are viewed as a non-recoverable number, meaning there are not enough breeding bees, workers, and young to continue the hive. Of the above number, 45% of hives are at 32%-46% losses. That is a very concerning number.)
The loss of pollinators may not be due only to pesticides. (Butterflies are also pollinators along with moths.) Loss of habitat (in the case of butterflies) and weather conditions have led to a drastic drop, along with natural occurring diseases, but it is the added pressure brought by the use of pesticides that has pushed their numbers of the cliff.
These insects are the foundation of our world; the food chain gets its start here, at the bottom. We will lose other members of the Circle if our view of the world does not include some respect for the others we share this space with. I know bees in your backyard causes cans of ‘wasp and bee killer’ to come out of the cupboard- but it is just not a responsible thing to do any longer. Please call your local extension office to help remove an unwanted hive, they will either relocate the hive to an unpopulated area or give you the number of some entity that is very happy to do so.
Right now EVERY hive of bees is important. Every butterfly is important. Please be kind to our pollinators and Flying Flowers.