Were Bees Making an (Unheard) Statement?
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash
Just before the Padres were about to begin their June 3 afternoon game, an estimated 75,000 bees swarmed into the ballpark, which was about 2 bees per paying baseball fan.
While most of the bees swarmed around the stadium without direction, one group went for a huge outdoor mic and covered it. Why the mic? If we believe there are reasons things happen, or that things in retrospect sometimes seem to have been the perfect thing to happen, or maybe even that what looks like a problem might not be one—then maybe there was something else to discover or that needed to be said, by or for those bees.
It sure looks like they had something to say, doesn’t it? As one of the primary pollinators of our food, they certainly don’t get much appreciation. It doesn’t take a lot of research to discover they are treated in a way that may not sustain their existence—or ours.
Ignoring any benefit they might bring, the bees on the mic were exterminated, silenced before delivering their message. Unfortunately the sports commentators could think of nothing to say about bees except to make a bee-line out of any and every thing insignificant and unrelated to the state of bees that they could think of. Yes, un-bee-lievable. And to their credit—I have heard several of them be both entertaining and educational before.
There were, however, several failures from our perspective. One was that the bees were killed instead of put to sleep. The exterminators explained they had their “safety” reasons, but many fans weren’t buying it and swarmed the Padre website with comments questioning that decision. The comments, SDUT reported, were also exterminated, but that at least gave the bees enough voice to cause the Padres Org to temporarily shut down the Padre website to remove the comments they didn’t like and get back to “ignoring” bliss.
What were they afraid of? If they had not tried to censor “negative” posts on their site maybe people would now know more about why bees are important. People might even be thanking them for talking about bees and recognizing their plight. More people could have been educated and more aware there is a problem.
Besides that, hasn’t every one noticed that sweeping things under the rug just doesn’t work that well these days?
Thousands were listening at home, in the stadium and online. Could they have used the scoreboard too? Someone on the news staff googling bees might have discovered—and told this captive audience waiting for the game—that June 17-23 was National Pollinator Week. See Pollinator.org
It’s full of information why pollinators are important, such as:
Pollinators are a declining population that includes bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. It’s important to know some of the things pollinators give us: food and drinks from plants they pollinate such as coffee, teas, fruit and vegetable juices. They give us beautiful landscapes and gardens with great aromas.
Here’s more to think about:
Pollinators provide 1 of every 3 bits of food we eat.
25% of bumble bees species are thought to be in serious decline.
Monarch butterflies have declined by 90% in the last 20 years.
Pollination produces about $20 billion worth of products each year in the US.
Some supportive options:
Plant the flowers that feed pollinators. They all have their preferred attractors.
Eliminate pesticide use.
Be a voice for pollinators. Educate others!
(Figures above are from the PollinatorPartnership.com)
Things they could have asked or wondered on air: What were the bees doing? Why were they swarming? Looking for a habitat to live in, according to SDUT. It’s also common. What does the community do to support places for them? Have we decided vegetation is not needed in the city? Do we recognize the need for them?
In other words, a lot of things could have been said that could help all us who eat.
Was this too political a topic for them? I’ve know I’ve actually heard several sports announcers say they like to eat. A lot of us do. Bees make a difference for us. Instead announcers fed us very unfulfilling sound bites.
Still not convinced there was a purposeful connection in all of this? Consider that if you were in charge and orchestrated this opportunity for recognition, who better to send than bees? People protesting? Don’t think so. And we’ve certainly all seen too many horrifying movies involving birds, bats and beetles to send them swarming. (Don’t) imagine that. Butterflies? Impossible to organize. Bees normally get your attention, or at least they should, shouldn’t they?
Read an article by Steve Hays on his experience of raising monarch butterflies at