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To Bee Or Not To Bee

PART I

A flower, fruit, vegetable, herb, or tree
Owes its life to the honeybee;
Maples, sage, beets, berries, and roses,
In turn, feed the bee in ideal symbiosis.
Playing a critical role on the farm,
It's clear the bee must come to no harm.

Plants feed all nature (thanks to the bee) -
Root, stalk, and leaf, fruit, nut, and seed;
They feed human and beast; and,
Through decomposition,
It's how plants themselves acquire nutrition
Along with compost from animals they fed -
An everlasting cycle of endless breadth...

...A garden and farm are not isolated!
With meadow and forest they're interrelated:
Flower, food crop, insect, and herd,
Mushroom, worm, woodland creature, and bird.

Nor do essential exchanges stop there!
Linked is the state of soil, water, and air.
The bee:plant bond, via pollination,
Is tied to the health of all creation!
All kingdoms, in cosmic harmony,
Resonate with the buzz of the honeybee!

PART II

HARK! The honeybee is vanishing fast!
Without it? Life as we know it won't last!
At best we'll subsist...living mostly on grain.
It takes the bee to sustain our food chain.

The BEE, once a creature of veneration
Is now at risk of annihilation!
Industrialized farms and beekeeping methods
Are hastening the specie's flight to "bee heaven."

- Toxic herbicides to kill off weeds;
Then, too, less plants on which bees can feed;
- Toxic chemical fertilization;
- Water source contamination;
- Neuro-toxic pesticides;
- Bees artificially super-sized
(An idea to maximize honey yields);
- Unvaried diet from mono-crop fields;
- Corn syrup food substituted for honey
(Another means to save on money);
- Plastic, not natural, boxes and frames -
To a honeybee's senses, not the same;
- Already strained bees trucked across the nation,
Not to mention away from their own habitation;
- Swarms suppressed, viewed as a debit,
Impairing the bee's instinctive habit;
- Nectar over-stolen;
- Too early honey harvest;
- Over-development, less land to forage;
- Soils depleted, nutrient deprivation;
- Numerous causes of deforestation;
- Swarms that now can't find proper trees;
- Mass production of queens;
- Viral disease;
- Bee immune system degradation;
- Asian varroa mite infestation.
Added to such adversity;
- Decreased genetic diversity,
Drones killed off, deemed expendable;
- Climate change, weather undependable -
Winter warmth inside a hive
Can render it a bee graveyard.

IT'S TOO MUCH!!! Could we plan a better scheme
If we were trying to kill off the honeybee?!
There's so much where bees have no natural defense!
And who knows what affects their homing sense!
Who knows what affects the honeybee's dance!
Power currents? Genetically engineered plants?
Afflicted with so many handicaps,
Bee colonies simply suffer collapse.

The plain fact is this:
Bees are not returning
From pollen and nectar-foraging journeys.

Do videnja!
Ciao!
Au revoir!
Good-bye!

Bees now, world over, just fly off and die.
No one knows why.

With narrow minded education,
Subjects taught in isolation,
So even a country's scientists
May not know of the crucial bee:plant tryst;
With a bee viewed as a commodity,
Not sentient soul, hive a community;
With soil, water, and air defiled;
With bee-stressing challenges so compiled...
Assault on its body, its food, its hive,
How long can the now-fragile bee survive?

Attacks on the bee have been persistent.
Now at stake is our very existence.

PART III

How are we handling this dire crisis?
With further bee-enfeebling devices:
Bees are hauled across states for pollination;
New laws allow honeybee importation -
Yes, like clothes, food, appliances, toys, and tv's,
We now import our country's bees!?
But science thinks it has the solution
To fix weakened honeybee constitution:
Breed with modified African bees in a clinic.
Manipulation of nature
Is what's wrong to begin with!

* ALMOST HALF OUR PRECIOUS BEES ARE GONE *
* IT'S TIME TO STOP TRYING TO OUTDO GOD *

In order to help the honeybee thrive:
It needs to call home an all-natural hive.
(Wood, clay, and straw are fine bee material.)
Let bees procreate their own leaders imperial.
Let a hive keep its drones! Drones couple with queens
AND also safeguard the colony.
Colony collapse, also foulbrood,
Are diminished when bees eat their natural food.
When smoking a hive - to aid bee respiration
(non-poisonous) sumac's one recommendation.
As to pre-fabricated foundation grids
That take away honeybees' reason to live;
Bees are WORKERS! (and don't report to us!)
Let them BE bees!
From hives, take just surplus.

PART IV

"What can I do to help?" you ask.
"Reviving the honeybee's no small task!"

AT ALL COST WE MUST THWART BEE ERADICATION!
Use this list and your imagination to spread awareness!

[ ] Write to newspapers.

[ ] Talk to friends.

[ ] Contact legislators:
o Re: Fostering honeybee re-population
through forest and open space preservation;

o Re: Education on toxic lawn care and
consequence to bee welfare;

o Re: More research to study the situation -
farm methods that need re-evaluation:
to begin with, the practice of mono-crops;
use of toxic products that must be stopped;
genetic engineering - with no means to assess
(or reverse!) maybe far-reaching consequence.

o Re: symposiums with experts whose work is related
to share perspectives and get educated: those in
beekeeping, agriculture, farm/bee technology,
disease control, air and water quality...

o Re: subsidies to help dear beekeepers; and
grants to learn more healthy procedures,
such as proven method of biodynamics.

[ ] It goes without saying: shop organic.

[ ] Contact schools to ensure that Biology
includes the food chain and key role of honeybees.

[ ] Get copies of public tv documentaries:
Tales From The Hive; and Silence of the Bees.

[ ] In masses,
Grow purple, blue, orange, and yellow flowers:
flowering shrubs, trees, and vines on tall bowers.
(Red is hard for bees to spot from above.)
For plants that bees especially love,
contact your county, search the net.

[ ] See that bees' need for fresh water is met.

[ ] Let dandelions be, when they appear.

[ ] Read beekeeper Hubbell's A Country Year.

[ ] Teach children about our wondrous bee!

[ ] "Adopt" a hive at Spikenard sanctuary.

[ ] Don't exterminate unwanted hives!
Call a beekeeper to take them (alive);
to visit an apiary and bee demonstrations;
to book for lectures and presentations.

[ ] Consider part of your bee commission
to advance the idea of more holistic vision.

[ ] BLESS the bee for its pollination,
ensuring us life and earth beautification.

[ ] GIVE THANKS for the gift of the honeybee.

[ ] PRAY for its recovery.

P.Senft

[This was distributed in a course I took.
Permission granted to duplicate.]




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Don't remember when I took this

a couple of summers ago maybe. They swarmed the hummingbird feeder and drained it down within a few hours.

Everyone enjoys a free lunch

Nothing comes without a price

bump for bees

don't use pesticides in your yard

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

We don't need no stinkin' bees.

Correction. they know why but just don't care. They will genetically engineer a substitute insect. Go ahead, ask Monsanto.

jrd3820's picture

M this is amazing

It's fun and educational, just like your stories.

Planning your GARDEN? Please consider honeybees!

Plant flowers & herbs, even trees, for the bees. (The poem provides reasons.) Please plant for three seasons.

Spikenard Farm HoneyBee Sanctuary:
http://spikenardfarm.org/the-bees/what-you-can-do/
~ What You Can Do
http://spikenardfarm.org/the-bees/what-you-can-do/
~ ***A Selection of Bee Forage Plants***
http://spikenardfarm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/BeeForag...
~ Don't miss the gallery of photos!
http://spikenardfarm.org/the-bees/bee-gallery/
------------------------
More tips:
Gardening For Bees http://www.buzzaboutbees.net/gardening-for-bees.html
Plant A Bee Garden http://thehoneybeeconservancy.org/act-today-2/plant-a-bee-ga...
Bee Plants http://gardening.about.com/od/attractingwildlife/a/Bee_Plant...

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

A bee bump

http://israel21c.org/health/the-top-10-things-you-didnt-know...

There's some really cool stuff going on with bees there

USDA helping to expedite Monsanto certification of new drug

Thank you for the article (((Granger))). Some of those points made me smile. But some have me here stewing. For one, technology is part of the problem. As to the solution, among some other changes in farming practices, we need to return to *natural beekeeping* - not confound the issue w/more technology.

But talk about letting a fox into the henhouse. And the irony. Now that Monsanto and other makers and/or pushers of pesticides & herbicides & genetically-engineered plants have helped to set the honeybee (& other pollinators) on a path towards extinction... Monsanto wants to be the hero and *save* the honeybee... with ITS VACCINES. And yeah, LIKE MONSANTO NEEDS HELP!!!

"The US Department of Agriculture has been accompanying Beeologics with its FDA certification process due to the urgency of the need for the drug."

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Ummmm

I don't know (((((mdefarge)))))

I think technology can be a two edge sword. I personally don't know anyone with a vedetta against honey bees (and I've deathly alergic).

I gave you one link, but it's amazing what that little country is doing with apriculture:

)

I have swarms of bees here, but mendo has been Genticically modified free by law since 2004.

Would those who have personally seen a decline

in their area please post the general area, or if someone is familiar with a study where this information is plotted.

In my area, east Texas, I have more bees (all kinds) than I've seen in years. Could this be migration?

Any thoughts are welcome.

Re honeybee decline by state and county

That's a great topic for discussion! Re states, from the news or documentary Silence of The Bees, I'm aware of the extreme problems in California re almonds and Maine re blueberries. And I know from a local nursery and gardening friends in New York's Hudson Valley that bees have been on the decline there - at least on the western side of the river. Your comment sent me looking to see what patterns might exist across the United States. And, well, I'm going to continue looking, but it seems to be easier said than done!

In a couple different articles from a few years back I saw a reference to "24 states" that have suffered alarming rates of decline, but I haven't yet been able to locate the study that must have come from. And while it's pretty obvious that a major factor in what is reported about CA and ME is mono-cropping, not all of California is experiencing a decline. Granger pointed out that in her county there isn't a problem. That's Mendocino, hmm, the first to ban GMO's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendocino_County_GMO_Ban) - which are associated with heavy pesticide use aside from what direct effects on bees they might have. And I know that honeybees are thriving in Virginia at Spikenard Bee Sanctuary. But there, it's a biodynamic farm employing natural beekeeping methods. I have no idea how representative it is for the state or even that general area. (https://spikenardfarm.org/)

Given what you said about the area where you live in eastern Texas, where bees seem to be doing well, I was curious about Texas as a whole. According to the Texas Masters Gardening Association: "Development and pesticides have ravaged Texas bees..." (http://txmg.org/resources/pollinators/the-trouble-with-bees/)

I guess the bees in each given locale need to overcome different challenges - all the issues reflected in the poem. It sure would be interesting to see a chart for each county correlating bee health with weather conditions, % forested land, population density, pesticide regulations re agriculture and lawncare, etc., etc. It doesn't look like the EPA has anything of the sort. I wonder if any states - or local beekeepers associations - have put the issue under a microscope like that.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Thank you

for your time, and the links.

I always though the honeybee should be the symbol of

libertarians.

The honeybee hurts no one and only attacks in self defense. It only takes what is freely given in exchange for the service of pollination, and what it takes does not hurt the giver. Honeybees exhibit cooperative decentralized behavior (the queen does not really control the workers) and leave the world a better place.

What better symbol could we ask for?

“With laws shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.”
-Njal Thorgeirsson

If your using weed and feed to kill dandelions please stop

Bees need all the forage they can find especially in the spring. Don't use any pesticides or herbicides on your lawn, and consider planting some bee friendly flowers and plants.

Remember, every time you use this junk it's money in Monsatans pocket!

Gold standard: because man can not be trusted to control his greed

Makes more sense to eat the

Makes more sense to eat the dandelion greens than it does to poison it.

Yep

I never remember to pick dandelion greens until I see them blooming, by then it's too late they get bitter.

Maybe next spring I'll try them with the stinging nettles I like.

Gold standard: because man can not be trusted to control his greed

"An insecticide-infection connection in bee colony collapses -

Researchers discover a common insecticide shuts down a key immune protein in bees." Oct. 21, 2013 http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/10/an-insecticide-infect...

Perhaps these new findings will have an influence on the apparent plans of some chemical companies to sue to block the ban of these neonicotinoids in the European Union.
---------------------------
"Bee deaths: EU to ban neonicotinoid pesticides" April 29, 2013
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22335520
---------------------------
P.S. So... it's been shown that these chemicals thwart the immune system of bees and other insects, making them vulnerable to infection. The same for mammals that were tested. But don't worry. I'm sure that those findings would have no bearing on the effect of neonicotinoids on the immune system of that class of mammal called human beings!

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Let there be no confussion

nothing is causing bee deaths like the neonicotinoid pesticides. I have kept bees all the way back to the early 70's, and never seen a problem like this one.

I learned to live with the Varroa and Tracheal mites, by using selective breeding to get the bees to kill the mites themselves. A bonus to this is they are so good at housekeeping that they cleanup American Foulbrood on their own also. The key was selecting only very hygenic bees for raising Queens and Drones. BTW that part of selecting for no drones is non-sense for Commercial beekeepers. We want the bees to be happy and will help them do what makes them happy. this mean letting the bees have as many drones as they want, which helps them stay healthy. I would purposely put junk combs in so the bees don't destroy new combs raising drones.

I had planned on running 500 to 700 beehives by now. I was well on my way in 2007 with a good start of 300 and enough equipment to start another 100. Now I am down to 7 hives and all my dreams of being a commercial beekeeper are lost forever, as I am 64 and know I am wasting my time.

Monsatan has destroyed all bees, birds and all wildlife all the way up to the White tail deer. Even the fish are dying out in the streams and rivers in this area according to a company that catches and sells minnows.

Everyone in the EPA and Monsatan knows they are poisoning the bees they are stalling as long as they can for profits plan and simple.

Dave Hackenburg explains: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyOanJ_bifo

Beekeepers suing the EPA : http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/22/beekeepers-sue-epa-ove...

Jeffery Smith confirms what I already know: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEbQuWM_ibM

What happens when others like me decide to just giveup, we are to old to start over?

Gold standard: because man can not be trusted to control his greed

Please don't say your dreams are lost

or that it's just a waste of time. And you are not too old to start over. Are you familiar with Spikenard Bee Sanctuary? It was founded by Gunther Hauk...

After Gunther "retired" as a teacher, he founded the Pfeiffer Center (Spring Valley, New York) - a biodynamic farm and education center. I don't know if you're familiar with biodynamic farming & gardening, but it's pretty amazing, a means of organic agriculture that not only doesn't put anything toxic into the soil but *restores* the soil. I took the course, and one of the subjects covered was beekeeping - primarily how I became aware of the honeybee crisis and also "natural beekeeping."

[I don't want to get off the point, but I highly recommend the documentary One Man, One Cow, One Planet. It discusses the horrific situation in India - for which there is now a ray of hope!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uhVUbABCpI ]

Gunther developed the Pfeiffer Center and successfully ran the course for ten years (one weekend/month Fall through Spring, with various guest lecturers). Then he "really" retired. Nope, not yet!

From there, he and his wife moved to Illinois, where - again, all from scratch - they started another farm and founded Spikenard Bee Sanctuary. Then the area was hit with flooding. Well, they apparently dealt with all kinds of problems there, having to face the fact that it just wasn't working out as they'd envisioned. Well, by then Gunther was well into his retirement years. Guess it was time to...

START OVER AGAIN! They went in search of a better environment for a bee sanctuary and ended up in Virginia. Starting from scratch again, Spikenard is now a thriving, and beautiful, bee sanctuary and education center.

So, beeman, let me introduce you to one of your fellow beekeepers, Gunther Hauk:
Biodynamic Beekeeper Gunther Hauk on the Honeybee Crisis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7atorku3-E

Re the honeybee crisis, I did see the documentary "The Vanishing Bees." (I bought a copy I passed around, but it's now on line.) http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/132932/Silence_of_th...
I haven't yet seen "Queen of the Sun" except for clips. Gunther was among the beekeepers that were interviewed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYk8M2t-T0Q

And here is Spikenard. Under "The Bees," click on "Gallery" and start the slideshow. The photos are EXQUISITE! https://spikenardfarm.org

I do understand what you're saying - how deadly the impact has been from neonicotinoids. The good news... and sort of the PROOF... is that in places like Italy where they were temporarily banned, the bees CAME BACK the following year. (In that area in China, it was too late, the whole environment just too polluted from pesticides.) But learning what I have, I do believe that there are numerous stresses on bees that have been contributing to their having been weakened - with neonicotinoids just the last nail in the coffin. People really do need to change how we view the honeybee - and all that we take for granted that sustains us.

Well, beeman, as Gunther said, our very lives depend on beekeeping. That's people like you. I do hope you don't lose that dream. :)

P.S. Thank you for those links. I've listened to Jeffery Smith before. He explains things well.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Europe Bans Pesticides Thought Harmful to Bees

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/30/business/global/30iht-eube...

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Thanks so much for the link

I needed some good news. It's so fascinating how the big chemical companies say they will do more research, and there was no need to ban the pesticides. Have they forgotten they have had over ten years to do more research but instead just sat on their butts and did nothing.

I can guarantee everywhere the ban is in place bees will rebound very fast. Most beekeepers have learned to live with the mites in the bee hive, that is no longer a major problem.

The real problem is the pesticide buildup in the combs of the beehive, which will poison new bees installed on deadout equipment. Beekeepers used to save their combs for over 20 years with no problems, but now we need to replace them every 3 to 5 years. That is a very high price to pay to stay in business as a beekeeper. Every comb takes up to 12 LBS of honey to build up, just imagine when honey easily sell for $3 an $4 per LB. Now multiply time 18 for each bee hive, $36X18=$648 is real money. I call it my Monsatan tax, which I must pay every 5 years. If we could some how deduct this loss from our taxes then something may be done.

Beekeepers can not survive like this we need help in stopping the insanity.

Gold standard: because man can not be trusted to control his greed

Yes, that pesticide ban is good news.

And it's about time. There is laboratory-proven Cause & Effect between neonicotinoids and the honeybee's brain, body, and behavior. I 100% support that ban! - for the sake of bees AND human health. So many foods contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, and 94% of corn seed uses neonicotinoids. God only knows what effect that is having on people.

But, I was trying to see if the chemical companies would now try to sue the European "EPA" for this ban, and I came across this article. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22339191

YES, we need to have that neonicotinoid ban! Yet this would seem to support what I was saying, that there are *multiple factors* involved:

"We have two controls for all of this. One is France; we've had massive restrictions on these products for over 10 years, have we seen any improvement in bee health? No.

"The other control is Australia where neonicotinoids are used in exactly the same way as in the UK, same formula same crops and they have the healthiest bees on the planet. The difference there is they don't have varroa."

No different than with people, when bees have multiple negative forces working on them, it could be anything they succumb to in the end. I'd like to know, what's up with France?
1) what did they replace the neonicotinoids with?! (That's one of the "arguments" against the ban - that something worse might be used. How about we do sufficient testing *before* allowing a toxic chemical into the ecosystem!)
2) What are their standard beekeeping practices?
3) What kind of agriculture predominates? Namely, how much of the land is mono-cropped.
4) How developed is the area being studied? Are there still forests and wildlife in the region?
5) What is the quality of the air and water? *Possibly*, it's just TOO LATE. That's what happened in one area of China; there, the soil had already become too contaminated. But also, I'd want to know
6) exactly what was banned and where. I believe there have only been "partial" restrictions to date. That might not be enough.

But also, the same questions need to be raised for Australia - representing the opposite case, i.e., where (apparently) honeybees are doing okay despite the fact they USE neonicotinoids the same as in the UK. The article said that, there, they don't have the Varroa mite - which is known to cause deadly viral infections. Yes, surely bees not weakened in *that* way would be better able to withstand other stresses, e.g., pesticides. But why *are* their bees resistant to that mite? All the same types of questions as above need to be asked. *Something* must be accounting for the difference. Someone needs to be figuring that out. And P.S. It doesn't exonerate the chemical companies - just because (due to unrelated factors) some bees are able to overcome the bodily abuse!

I'm glad you came across the article about the ban. I was so happy about it, too. I don't know if you've had a chance to check out some of the links in my comment above. I've never been to Spikenard Bee Sanctuary myself, but those pictures are so beautiful, so inspiring - just as the gardens at the Pfeiffer Center were. You can tell from the video clip that Gunther Hauk is significantly older than you. I'm hoping you'll want to continue with your work, continually trying different things.

Incidentally, when I took the course at the Pfeiffer Center, this is the book that the beekeeper recommended: http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Beekeeping-Organic-Approaches-...

"...Specific concepts and detailed management techniques are covered in a matter-of-fact, easy to implement way. Natural Beekeeping describes opportunities for the seasoned professional to modify existing operations to improve the quality of hive products, increase profits, and eliminate the use of chemical treatments. Beginners will need no other book to guide them. Whether you are an experienced apiculturist looking for ideas to develop an Integrated Pest Management approach or someone who wants to sell honey at a premium price, this is the book you've been waiting for."

Hmm. It looks like amazon only carries the Kindle Edition. Well, I know the book is also available directly from the author: http://www.dancingbeegardens.com/Books.php

Well, you have a nice day, beeman. :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Robotic bees on the way ...

so no worries. :(

http://foodfreedomgroup.com/2013/04/10/robotic-bees-to-polli...

What's going on just breaks my heart.

No-o-o-o-o :'(

Thank you for that link. It breaks my heart, too.

I was wondering where the Harvard Microbiotics Lab got its funding and then noticed at the end of the clip that it was produced by Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, one of Hansjörg Wyss' foundations. Wyss, a Harvard alum, is a billionaire entrepreneur and environmentalist/philanthropist apparently on the board of, and contributor to, The Center for American Progress - the George Soros-funded organization. That's Soros who owns $312.6 million in MONSTANTO stock. Actually, Wyss used to work for Monsanto. Another billionaire keen on Robotics is Bill Gates, whose funding helped to launch CAP and who owns $23 million in MONSANTO stock. Small world, isn't it?

Billionaire cronies are financially vested in practices DESTROYING THE HONEYBEE & NATURAL ENVIRONMENT... and also... MARKETABLE HI-TECH REPLACEMENTS.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/bill-gates-stumps-for-robotic-...

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Bump for the bees and the

Bump for the bees and the great wisdom logic and reason of this post!

-----
End The Fat
70 pounds lost and counting! Get in shape for the revolution!

Get Prepared!

The course I took convinced me

of a few things. FYI, it was a course on biodynamic farming & gardening, which is a form of organic gardening. One of the subjects covered was beekeeping, with a presentation and visit to the farm's hives. (A few people chose to do their projects on bees - starting a hive, testing bee boxes, writing about the current situation...)

First, not just from the "beekeeping day" but the course in general, I think everyone was impressed with how things are interconnected, i.e., the first part of that poem: all the crops, animals, and people on the farm itself; what lay beyond the farm; and what was beneath and above - the quality of the soil, water, and air. Truly, if we are to save the vanishing honeybee, that is, if we are to preserve our FOOD CHAIN, it *will* require looking at things more holistically.

Second, related to that, so many people are unaware of the importance of bees to not just our economy but our survival - well, life as we know it, life with more to eat than just grains. I remember there was a 9th Grade biology teacher taking the course. He said that when the NY State Regents Board changed the name and curriculum from "biology" to "living environments," one of the things to GO was the FOOD CHAIN. (He continued to teach it, regardless.)

And I don't know if you saw the film "Silence of the Bees," but I was dumbstruck in the part where this Penn State bee researcher realized that something was amiss with bees' immune system, akin to AIDS. So he contacted those at a NY university focused on disease research, to more or less compare notes. One of those (PhD's) he'd contacted admitted that the only thing he'd known about bees was that they made HONEY. (Hey, we could all live without honey, right?) This *well educated* individual, in the field of SCIENCE, the biological sciences, had not known the role that bees played in the pollination of flowering plants - those flowers that will yield apples, tomatoes, almonds...

Really, I'd thought that bees as pollinators was "common knowledge." Guess not! But in that case, I found it particularly odd given that bees are an integral part of the FOOD CHAIN, when the nature of the FOOD we ingest is related to HEALTH - or the lack thereof, i.e., DISEASE. Our higher education system creates narrow-mindedness, everyone a specialist. WHO, if anyone, is looking at THE BIG PICTURE? And, okay, so if scientists might not be aware of the role honeybees play within our ecosystem, with consequences to human health, indeed, life... how about members of Congress? If we lose are honeybees, this country will be in DEEP TROUBLE. But as one beekeeper at a recent conference noted: people think food comes from stores.

Not that it will help the immediate crisis, but we need to reinstate some core body of knowledge such that every educated adult would at least be aware of (a la E.D.Hirsch), the BASICS in each discipline. (Higher education started to change in this regard about 50 years ago.) We also need more INTER-DISCIPLINARY education vs. everything taught as if each area of study (each area of LIFE) existed in a void.

Third, with that course putting "honeybees" (and other pollinators) on my "radar," I'm fully convinced of the severity of the problem and rather dire consequences if we don't get a grip here. Soon.

Lastly, I became fully convinced that WE CAN REVERSE THIS TREND!!! While you can't usually call it organic beekeeping, since farmers or gardeners don't necessarily have control over the area in which bees forage, at least what could be called "natural beekeeping" has PROVEN TO BE SUCCESSFUL at raising HEALTHIER BEES. One such example is the Spikenard Bee Sanctuary in Virginia. (Our class chose to "adopt" a hive there.)

And while there are places, such as in one Chinese province (known for its pears), where honeybees are gone for good *despite* the fact they banned the pesticide that had killed them off, there are other success stories, where it wasn't too late. For ONE, in Italy, the year after a neonicotinoids ban, their bee populations were greatly restored. [Congress was informed; that was three years ago.]

Well, we COULD reverse this terrible trend IF we were willing to CHANGE some of what has become STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE on farms and within the beekeeping industry. And in addition to looking at things more holistically - more broadly, we'd also need to have some LONG-TERM vision, looking further down the road than the next quarter's (or crop season's) profit and loss statement.

While I'm neither a farmer nor beekeeper, I do now know that - just like with humans! - bees need a VARIED DIET, and that MONO-CROPPING is a problem. It's surely no coincidence that two areas suffering EXTREME bee loss are MAINE re blueberry crops and CALIFORNIA re almonds. In that recent Dan Rather news report re bees vis a vis the almond industry (on another thread here), you can see giant swaths of land with JUST almond trees, as far as the eye can see. (The CA almond industry provides 80% of the world's supply.) It's not that "varied diet" is the only things bees need, the LACK of a varied diet the only challenge. But with the MULTIPLE challenges, who knows what will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I had to wonder if those almond farmers had tried delegating some of that land to the growing of OTHER flowering plants/crops so as to provide their bees with BETTER NUTRITION that would help strengthen them. I have no idea if it's been tried. But if I were in the almond industry, I'd be trying EVERYTHING.

As you can see, hawkiye, this issue is really a "bee in my bonnet." Thank you for your comment on the post and the bump for the bees.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

With the money the almond

With the money the almond growers spend on renting bees they could hire a bee keeper to raise bees on their property and plant diverse bee forage in and around their orchards fro probably a fraction of the cost. Of course they would have to quit using the pesticides and they way they grow I am not sure if their orchards are sustainable without pesticides now. That is why it is so hard to get these guys to change. Its like heroin they are addicted to an unsustainable model that is harming the planet and risk a catastrophic failure in the food supply and cant kick the habit so just like an addict who can't kick it they will probably die as almond growers.

I saw that region in China with the pears. I wonder why they cannot reintroduce bees if they have stopped using the pesticides? That is our future if we do not change!

You need to get you some bees the connection with them is amazing!

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End The Fat
70 pounds lost and counting! Get in shape for the revolution!

Get Prepared!

Mono- cultures are the problem corn, soybeans, or almonds

When I hauled bees to the almonds for pollination. I had to remove the hives to an area that had bee forage after the bloom was over. If they stayed in the almond groves too long they run the risk of starvation. I usually trucked my bees all the way to Texas straight from the almond groves.

Here in Minnesota the corn is worthless to the bees for forage, but now the corn pollutes all the weeds close by. They have been testing the weeds for years for genetic changes, and they know the weeds are picking up the genetic material from the corn. I used to read about it in the American Bee Journal.

Monsatan is like a plague, death and destruction follows!

Gold standard: because man can not be trusted to control his greed

That China case should be a

wake up call that there IS a point of no return. Too much pesticides and the soil can become permanently contaminated. Also, pesticides don't just kill "pests" but also "beneficial insects." Worms, beetles, etc., and micro-organisms in the soil form their own microcosm that keeps the soil ALIVE and aerated and healthy. As they're killed off, the soil becomes dead and compacted. (That's what's happened in India because of the genetically-engineered bt cotton. I have to believe it was also the case in China.) With nutrients less and less available from healthy soil, there is an increasing need for chemical fertilizers - which doesn't exactly help the soil to be re-enlivened! It just all spirals downward. I believe there is a difference in plants fed by organic materials vs. chemicals, perhaps something bees can sense. Yes, that's our future if we don't change. You're right. I'd love to live where I could keep a hive. Maybe one day. :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

keep bees

for some reason, maybe because I'm alleic to bee stings?, I seem to have plenty of honey bees around here.. could be living on a GMO free county? Hmmm?