Sign of a Balanced Ecosystem at Auberge du Soleil
by: Jessica De Lasaux
Honeybees have made a home in the hollow of a mature Coast Live Oak tree down at the far end of our 33 acre property. We are fortunate that the bees found our Napa Valley resort suitable for their small hive, in return they pollinate all of our lovely flowers, shrubs and trees while foraging for their nectar. The honeybee dwelling is also within easy reach of our herb & vegetable garden. What can we say, they have good taste!
Honeybees have been having a tough time the last few years. They have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, tomatoes, watermelons, almonds, cucumbers, lemons, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables.
The odd disappearance of honeybee colonies is one reason why we are so thrilled that they found Auberge du Soleil to be a fitting location.
Science experts are not 100% certain why colony collapse disorder began, but it is strongly believed by many organic beekeepers that the systemic pesticides used in large farming operations and the stress and lack of natural nutrients placed upon the heavily traveled commercial beehives have played a significant role in their unfortunate demise.
It has been said that Albert Einstein predicted that “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination … no more men!”
To learn more about the disturbing plight of the honeybee, watch the recently released movie, Vanishing of the Bees. http://www.vanishingbees.com/
Here are a few suggestions for how you can help contribute to a thriving bee population:
PLANT a bee friendly habitat in your garden or windowsill with pollen and nectar rich flowering plants like sunflowers, berries, gourds, and most herbs.
REDUCE your usage of insecticides and herbicides around the home. They may get rid of pests, but they can also harm “non-target” insects such as honeybees.
SUPPORT your local beekeepers, and producers of rare honey. Select honey produced by organic & sustainable beekeepers. Learn about honey varieties in your area.
A Bay Area local honey producer, Marshall’s Farm http://www.marshallshoney.com/
The EPA recently pledged to take a closer look at one of the factors that watchdog organizations like Beyond Pesticides and Pesticide Action Network believe to be a contributing cause of CCD.
Thanks for being a part of the solution.
Photographs of honeybees in our Herb Garden: