– January 22, 2012
Almond joy! – Victory for bees –
With little fanfare, pesticide manufacturer Bayer has asked California regulators to limit the use of one of their most profitable products, imidacloprid...
Imidacloprid belongs to a class of systemic, neurotoxic pesticides known to be particularly toxic to honey bees: neonicotinoids. As systemics, they permeate the plant from the roots up and are expressed in pollen, nectar and guttation droplets (like pesticide dew).
Bad for bees, bad for almonds
New research suggests that even in very small doses, neonicotinoids create big problems for bees. Imidacloprid likely weakens their immune systems and, in combination with other threats like parasites, contributes to the alarming decline in bee populations termed “Colony Collapse Disorder.”
…through a recent public records request, PAN obtained evidence of Bayer’s request to remove the product in 2010. The EPA has little experience with voluntary withdrawl of a pesticide, so the agency has been slow to fulfill Bayer’s request. But it’s likely that a victory for bees — along with almond growers and beekeepers — is imminent.
Join us for HoneyLove’s FREE Harvest Workshop!!!
Saturday, January 14th (4-5:30pm)
@ Cafe Brasil: 11736 West Washington Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90066
VIDEO: Guerrilla grafters: splicing fruit onto a city’s trees
The Guerrilla Grafters are a group of San Franciscans who believe urban trees are a precious thing to waste on simple flowers. Their goal is to graft- albeit illegally- fruit bearing branches onto non-fruit bearing fruit trees, in hopes that over time the cities ornamental trees can provide food for residents free of charge.
TEDx VIDEO: As the founder of Gold Star Honeybees, Christy Hemenway is working to reintegrate honeybees and farming. The movement toward small, organic, local, diversified farms creates a ripe environment for this. Gold Star Honeybees’ signature top bar hive lets bees make their own beeswax honeycomb in a natural, chemical-free way. Hemenway offers classes and workshops across the county to teach new beekeepers about stewarding bees. She makes the connection between bees, our food system, human health, and the health of the planet.
No Zoning Laws, No Problem? Think Again. Faced with no legal right to keep their bees, beekeepers in Cumming, Ga. are working to get a new law on the books.
“Nicholas Weaver, a resident of Cumming, Ga., did everything right before becoming a backyard beekeeper. The then-13-year-old spoke with his neighbors to make sure they wouldn’t mind some new, buzzing tenants on his family’s property. He went to town meetings and asked if the city had rules about beekeeping. Finally, he checked the local zoning laws himself, just to be sure he was in the clear — and when he discovered that his town and its county, Forsyth, had no zoning regulations for non-commercial beekeepers, he figured his bees wouldn’t be a problem.
For 11 years, Weaver was right… But one evening last August, he came home to find a note tacked to his door with a request to call the county government. That’s when he discovered that even if his community had no official city or county guidelines about backyard beekeeping, he could still be forced to give up his hives. Citing an anonymous complaint, the county gave him five days to relocate his bees…”
Hotels get into beekeeping business– LA Times
Upscale hotels are using on-site beehives to bring locally sourced honey to guests and to save dwindling colonies of honeybees…
From Honolulu to Paris and from Vancouver, Canada, to the Florida Keys, honeybees have taken up residence on hotel ledges, rooftops and balconies and are busy doing what they do best: pollinating plants and making honey.
The hives are part of a beekeeping movement that has a two-fold purpose: to save the species, which has been decimated by colony collapse disorder; and to bring hyper-local honey to guests staying at these hotels.
Urban beekeeping has been growing in popularity for several years. Opéra Garnier, the Paris opera house, has kept hives humming on the roof for more than a quarter of a century.
The Obamas hopped on the bandwagon earlier this year when they served White House Honey Ale, home-brewed by their chefs with honey from the White House beehive.
But the loudest buzz comes from the hospitality industry, where hoteliers have found on-site beehives another prong in the movement to localized sourcing. Hotels are adding beehives to their properties to produce organic honey for use in a variety of areas, from spa treatments to cocktails.
At the Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah — the Beehive State — dandelion and lavender honeys are popular and are served at Buzz, the resort coffee shop (montagedeervalley.com).
Eighteen Fairmont Hotels have added apiaries, mostly on rooftops. At the Fairmont Washington D.C., the hives are named Casa Blanca, Casa Bella and Casa Bianca; at the Fairmont Newport Beach, executive chef Chad Blunston works with beekeepers to extract honey for use in Bambu Restaurant; and at the Fairmont San Francisco, 50,000 honeybees produce honey to be used at the afternoon tea service.
Last month I stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, British Columbia, where I could look down from my 20th-floor room and see six hives — and about half a million bees — in the center of a third-floor balcony herb garden. The bees quietly went about their business within 20 feet of the hotel pool and within 50 feet of the mammoth Vancouver Convention Centre. Meanwhile, I snacked on a selection of the hotel’s delicate honey truffles, Bee’s Knees. In the dining room, I found a small jar of honey on the table at breakfast.
Despite the interest in saving bees, their numbers continue to dwindle.
In March, the United Nations sounded the alarm, seeking international efforts to save bee colonies, which have declined as much as 85% in some areas, particularly the industrialized Northern Hemisphere, according to a report by the U.N.’s environmental agency.
The causes: pesticides, air pollution, parasites, the loss of flowering plants and a decline in beekeepers in Europe.
“The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations’ Environment Programme.
“The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.”
In the greater scheme of things, the hoteliers’ beekeeping efforts probably aren’t “a blip on the radar for honey production or pollination input,” said Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine.
“But the promotional value far outweighs the practical application value,” he added. From the standpoint of the beekeeping community, the hotel trend is appropriate because “it keeps honey bees in front of people all the time, and featured in a very positive light.”
The bottom line, Flottum said: “The hotel wins, the bees win, beekeeping and beekeepers win, the local flora thrive, folks who never thought about where their food comes from get a little insight into that side of the business. It’s all good.”
John Russo, the beekeeper at Carmel Valley Ranch, couldn’t agree more. He runs a program there called the Bee Experience that introduces guests to beekeeping. “When people get enthused about the bees, and want to have their own hives, I feel like I’ve made a few more converts,” he said. “That’s a terrific feeling.”
Small beekeepers could be the solution to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
“We can thank the honeybee for four of every 10 bites of food we eat, so for area beekeepers, their efforts aren’t just about the honey. Many beekeepers feel they are doing their part in helping the survival of what is likely our most important domestic species.
The Lou Marchi Total Recycling Institute at McHenry County College (MCC) hosted a screening of the documentary Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us? Oct. 25, followed by a panel discussion with beekeepers from the Northern Illinois Beekeepers Association.
The critically-acclaimed film by Taggart Seigel tells the story of the mysterious disappearance of bees through stunning photography, humorous animations, and some very entertaining and colorful beekeepers.
The film looks at the 10,000-year history of honeybees as a domesticated species, from ancient times when honeybees were considered sacred to today’s corporate agriculture practice of shipping honeybees thousands of miles in flatbed trucks to pollinate almond groves in California and blueberries in Maine.
In recent years, honeybees have been disappearing mysteriously; America has lost millions of colonies. The sudden death of honeybee colonies is called Colony Collapse Disorder. Beekeepers and scientists in the film point to chemical pesticides, single-crop farming or monoculture, and the industrialization of beekeeping as reasons for CCD.
“Their crisis is our crisis. It’s colony collapse disorder of the human being too,” said Gunther Hauk, a biodynamic beekeeper who operates Spikenard Farm, a honeybee sanctuary in Virginia.
Experts in the film see bees as a barometer of the health of the world. Queen of The Sun refers to Austrian scientist Rudolf Steiner who predicted the collapse of honeybees in 1923. “The mechanization of beekeeping and industrialization will eventually destroy beekeeping,” Steiner predicted.
“We have to wake up early enough to make a change,” said biochemist and beekeeper David Heaf, in the documentary.
The film considers reasons for the crisis and presents solutions as well. Helping the honeybee survive can be as simple as growing bee-friendly flowers, shunning pesticides, and buying local, raw honey. Those really interested in helping honeybees should learn beekeeping.
“I really think that small time beekeepers are one of the solutions to the problem,” said Larry Krengel, a McHenry County beekeeper and panelist after the screening. Krengel is a member of the Northern Illinois Beekeeper Association and teaches beekeeping at MCC and other area colleges…
Like chicken keeping, many suburbs don’t allow beekeeping. However, big cities like Chicago and Milwaukee do allow both backyard chickens and beehives. Chicago’s City Hall even has beehives on its rooftop garden…”
VIDEO: Cultivating bees on the rise in New Jersey
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