Letters to the editor
I read The Yucatan Times article: “A sunflower paradise was created for bees in Oaxaca, Mexico” (January 20th issue Yucatan Times). I was born and raised in the US State of Kansas (which is nicknamed “The Sunflower State) because it is known for so many sunflowers growing —both wild and intentionally cultivated for sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, and other uses. A great uncle of mine, thelate RAY WHITE was a noted bee-keeper who had bee boxes and kept bees to cultivate honey. One added benefit to sunflowers is that bees like bright colors. A few years ago, a mysterious plaque caused many bees in hives to die. Some experts speculated it was a virus, while others attributed the reason to pesticides. To a large extent, nobody knows for sure.
In honor of my Great-Uncle, I became a life member of the “Indiana Bee Keepers Association”. Although I don’t keep bees myself, I have purchased sunflower sees and grown them on behalf of the Native Plant Society of Texas to attempt to spawn a comeback of bees in numbers. Pollination is crucial to the human food supply chain. Many foods that humans consume (not only honey, but other foods, too) are directly due to bees.
I would respectfully urge anyone who even considers themselves an amateur gardener to plant some sunflower seeds in your garden. Even if alongside tomato plants or pepper plants, it will attract bees, and your entire garden will thrive much better. It will give a safe-haven to the bees and the end result of a bountiful harvest in your garden will help humans, too.
JAMES A. MARPLES
LONGVIEW, TEXAS, USA