On Thursday (the day before yesterday), the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a scolding editorial written by self-styled “investigative journalist” Dave Lindorff who declared that not only are the honey bees “gone,” but that so are all pollinators.
In a skeptical post, I noted that it was early in the season (there was snow last week), but that I’d seen other bees in my yard. Because there’s been so much noise about the “vanished” honey bees, though, I just assumed that I wouldn’t find any of them, so I didn’t devote much time to looking.
Now I see that even I — cynical skeptic that I am — was being far too gullible!
Perhaps I should have realized that a guy who calls U.S. soldiers “baby killers” and cites fraudulent information to support a 9/11 black box conspiracy theory might not be the most reliable source about bees. But still, the editorial was in the Inquirer, and there have been plenty of stories about “no more bees,” so I just sort of assumed….
So, while it probably shouldn’t have, it took Glenn Reynolds’ link to Mickey Kaus’s report that his mother’s garden was “absolutely buzzing” with bees to wake me up into events in my own backyard!
I kid you not!
Here’s a closeup of a honey bee pollinating the hell out of a cherry blossom on the cherry tree right next to my driveway:

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The tree is literally abuzz with honey bees just like that one, and their rear legs are laden with yellow pollen.
The more I thought it over, though, the more I realized that a true no-bees-believer might just say I could have gotten that picture anywhere, and that it could have been taken at any time. Even if people are inclined to trust me, what’s wrong with “trust but verify”?
It occurred to me that the best way to date the bees would be to show a verifiable newspaper near them. I still had the Inquirer editorial by Dave Lindorff sitting around, and it’s only two days old. So, with great difficulty (taking care not to get stung), I managed to hold the Lindorff editorial next to one of the honey bees on my cherry tree.
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Seen from that vantage point, the Lindorff piece could be said to be stung by self-Fisking.
Perhaps that’s the natural beauty of reality-based honey bees.
UPDATE (04/29/07): My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and for the compliment about the photos!
I just went out and checked this morning, and sure enough, yesterday (which was colder and overcast) was not a fluke. Right now there are more honey bees in the yard than I could hope to count.