Throughout the entire U.S.—throughout the entire world—there have been records set for odd weather events. During the past few weeks, the East Coast of the United States has felt the brunt of these record-setting weather events. A heat wave rolled into the area, hitting 109°F (112°F with humidity) in Washington, D.C. The weather problems did not stop there; however, a major thunderstorm followed on the night of June 29th, 2012 and carried through the next morning. With lightning, heavy rain, and hurricane force winds, according to NBC Washington 4 News, Friday night’s storm killed 10 people and left over 3 million residents without power in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. According to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, “Unlike a polite hurricane that gives you three days of warning, this storm gave us all the impact of a hurricane without any of the warning of a hurricane.” Many eastern states, along with Washington, D.C. declared states of emergency. Washington, D.C. set up three cooling centers the following day so that residents could be protected from the extreme weather.
Now, how does all of this relate to bees? Well, our bees are tough (or at least their hives are). On Saturday, after the storm subsided, I headed up to the roof to examine if there was any damage. As the pictures show, our bees fared fairly well. While the cover of Founding Farmer’s hive #6 had been thrown off and the weights for the covers of FF #6 and FF #7 had fallen to the ground and broken, I am proud to say there was no damage to any hive.
As an environmental scientist, I am personally interested in looking at the science beyond just biology, chemistry, and physics—rather; I tend to look for the combined reasons for why our ecosystems respond to both internal and external factors, such as this recent storm. This year we have already seen bees around the world swarm more often than usual—a result of this year’s strange weather patterns. The question now becomes: are we, as sentient humans, going to interfere to ensure that our climates do not change drastically or will we continue to sit by and ignore the evidence that our world is changing.
To infinity and beeyond,
Anthony Bucci III