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Posted April 28, 2009
Just oats and squash
Without bees we would have a diet of oats and squash for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Well, ok, we could have any foods that are pollinated by wind or are self pollinating. Bees are essential to the foods we all enjoy and probably take for granted. Jacobsen's book is compared to Silent Spring. Unfortunately, today's bee population, that is experiencing colony collapse disorder (CCD), needs a much more complex solution than just stopping spraying with DDT. This is not a book filled with doom and gloom. Jacobsen's style is upbeat. He describes bees not just from our point of view, but the bees' point of view. He tells us how they are born, grow up, receive education with guaranteed full careers. No resumes necessary. He tells us what the bees need so that beekeepers do not continue to check a hive one day, only to find an empty structure the next. No dead bees around. No swarm. Just the hive, perhaps, with honey. Jacobsen describes the spread of bees throughout the United States, and writes about the studies of bees in Germany, France, and other European countries. His year's study of bee CCD includes written research, as well as delightful though concerned conversations he has had with beekeeers, individually or in groups. He tells of the trucking of beehives to South Dakota to California--their living conditions and their burn-out from working year-round.
The price of my almonds as Christmas gifts will probably increase, not because of any California drought, but because the bee population is limited and overworked. The almond blossoms that I enjoyed this February and March might never mature for harvesting in the fall, to be roasted, flavored, salted, sliced, ground, and canned.
Almonds may not be the only fruitless trees in autumn. Jacobsen emphasizes how critical bees are in all pollination. Without bees the plants would not have sex. No sex, no produce in the grocery store. Jacobsen's thorough study of bees shows how vital they are in producing so very much food that we currently have. I like corn, but not for 3 meals every day.
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Posted March 18, 2012
Posted March 20, 2010
Excellent overview of our fragile agricultural system
Fruitless Fall tells of a coming agricultural crisis across the globe if our system of managing bees and crops doesn't change soon. There are many surprising predictions supported by hard evidence. One sobering example is that we may loose the Florida citrus industry in another 10-15 years due to invasive exotic species and widespread chemical use.
The most important theme in this book is the plight of the beekeeper. Profit margins are too slim, pests and diseases too numerous, and outside support too scattered for them to sustain the system unless something drastically changes.
The author does an excellent job of providing an easy to understand synopsis of honeybee biology. He sprinkles in anecdotes from beekeepers around the US in a way that makes the book interesting on a personal level, and personifies the traits of honeybees to make them easy to understand. His humor was also well placed and kept me turning the page.
Fruitless Fall may seem only pertinent to beekeepers and farmers, but it affects everyone. Even if your only concern is a diverse selection of food in your grocery store or low prices, you'll find something potentially life changing in these pages.
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Posted July 26, 2008
three little words
Gone is the honey. Dew finds no rest on the dirt the black birds elicit the last sigh. Blue moon's enterprise plays no more and the Harvest moon reflects itself. Gone is the honey,the money, the bee, and the wailing of the last bird. Gone. I understand a fruitless fall upon a safe porch gazing at the world into another's brown/green eyes holding a small sailboat made of paper. Read Fruitless Fall it will not be Fruitless.
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Posted July 26, 2013
Every Gardener Should Read
Actually, my title should be, Everyone Concerned with their Food supply should read! Great book, but disconcerting about the plight of our honey bees, but I learned so much about it. For example, I didn't know that: beekeepers ship their bees here and there to rent out their hives, especially to the almond growers in California; that many who grow sunflowers in great numbers dip the seeds first in an insecticide, then plant them, and this, along with the overworking of the bees, is helping kill them off; and although I did know of the big die-off of the honey bee earlier in this century, I did not realize all the reasons behind it. This book details many reasons for everyone to be concerned about the use of pesticides and herbicides, and those of us who have small farms have already seen a major decline in the numbers and availability of honey bees in pollinating our gardens. It's unfortunate, however, that the majority of folks will not read this book, and it's also unfortunate that there are not stricter laws governing the usage of pesticides and herbicides and no training associated with people using them. Wake up, folks; we're losing the honey bees, and if these chemicals are killing off the honey bees, think of what they are doing to us as well.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2009
Please spread the news: we need to act on this now or all plant eating animals and the predators that eat them (including us) will be lost! All 2012 predictions include famine as a cause for our destruction... our own fault if we let this happen!
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Posted November 3, 2012
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Posted March 26, 2011
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