13 July 2010

A Carbon Canyon Apiary?

Some weeks ago, a pile of pallets and other debris popped up next to the historic La Vida Mineral Springs property on the Brea portion of Carbon Canyon.  While it seemed that this was merely a dumping ground for someone's discards, it appears to be something quite unusual.

The minutes of the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council's 2 June 2010 meeting had a brief little report from the liaison of the City of Brea Fire Department that "a bee keeper has moved a number of his hives into the Carbon Canyon area, in proximity to the old La Vida property."  Well, it could only be that these pallets and barrels and other items are the apiary at which these bees are raised.

It turns out that the Orange County Register ran a little feature in its 12 May edition about two members of the Beekepers Association of Orange County, Lewis West and Angel Powers, who rescue bees that are not wanted at homes and businesses and reestablish colonies elsewhere to preserve the hives and extract the honey for sale through Powers' Angel's Honey Bee Farms business at the Anaheim Farmers' Market.  As reported in the Register, a colony (ironic, ain't it, that Anaheim was a "colony" of German vineyardists when it was founded way back in 1857?) of some 35,000 bees were taken from Delco Field, a baseball field in Anaheim, to "a rural, wooded area of county property just north of Brea."  Obviously, Carbon Canyon is actually east and the area is in Brea, but this would seem to be one and the same place.

These days, most of us seem to believe the bees are mere pests, to be sprayed and destroyed as a nuisance.  Or, worse, there have been those unfounded fears of a massive invasion of those dastardly deadly "killer bees"--remember the 1970s when we were all told that an unholy swarm of these death-dealing little critters was making its way to the good 'ol USA from South America?

The truth is that some 45% of all food is given life due to the pollinating instincts of these industrious little creatures (have you ever seen the symbol on the signs of Utah state highways?  A bee hive, the chosen symbol of Mormon prophet Brigham Young!)  Without them, we'd be in a bad way when it comes to the bounty we enjoy.

Yet, there is a serious problem these days with what has been called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) or Honey Bee Depopulation Syndrome (HDBS), in which huge numbers of bee colonies suddenly collapse and die.  In North America, the phenomenon has been markedly noticeable since about 2006.  To date, no main causes have been identified, though everything from mites, diseases, genetically-modified food crops with pest controll attributes, and even cell phone radiation have been cited as possible contributors.

At any rate, this is another interesing aspect to the Carbon Canyon story and maybe more will come out of this in the future.

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