• Sutro Stewards

The Bee Blog

By: Alex A.


I have been fortunate to grow up in a fairly big backyard with a garden. Our yard is teeming with life. Ever since I was a boy, I took note of all of the plant and animal life. Over the past couple years, I have noticed a steady decline in the bee population in our yard. One of our neighbors who lives several blocks away have a honey farm. With no apparent reason both of their hives died out. Not only is the population drop troubling, but I have noticed some other strange occurrences.


For the first time in our lives, my family and I started witnessing the same bees we were familiar with going through some sort of color change. Now about five percent of them are jet black. They look exactly like the golden honeybees we normally get and they act like them too. They are very docile and non-aggressive. When we slowly walk through the yard, they gently fly off to another “White Dutch Clover” that’s not in our path. From what I’ve look up online I think they might be Carniolias. My question is, after so many years why are the color of the bees changing now?


The second, more disturbing thing I’ve come across are bees that seem to be in immense pain. This is far and few between, but I must have found about six bees like this past summer alone. I was walking across our lawn when I noticed a bee flipping around with no real coordination. As I took a closer look, I noticed its stinger was actively trying to sting the grass. I thought it might had been suck in the blades of grass, so I took a fallen leaf and helped him back on his feet (he was face first in the grass). It instantly flipped on its back and began to barrel roll across the lawn. It was also using its front legs to profusely scratch and rub its head and its tongue was protruding from its mouth. I moved it to a leaf in the garden so nobody would accidently step on it. Then I began to see that it looked as if it was attacking itself. It was using its front legs to push extremely hard against its head (almost separating it from its body). The bee then began to twist its head around so it was facing the sky while the body was still facing downward. At this point it was in a curled-up “C” position and started to sting itself. This was very sad to see a living thing in so much pain. What could be happening to these bees? Is something wrong with its nervous system? Did another bee sting it? Was it exposed to some sort of poison? Can a type of plant do this to them? I would also add that we don’t use any pesticides of any kind in our yard.



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