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Tag Archives | pesticide

4 States Just Got a Little Bit Safer for Bees

by Alicia Graef via care2.com

Environmentalists have been warning about the problems associated with a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids (neonics) on pollinators and other wildlife, but now there’s some good news that comes with a decision from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to phase out these toxic chemicals on wildlife refuges in the Northwest and Hawaii.

Neonics can be used in sprays, but are often applied as a coating on agricultural seeds and when it is, it spreads throughout the plant as it grows making the whole thing poisonous to a variety of insects. Studies have shown that they can be lethal to honey bees, bumble bees and other species at high doses, but even a little bit can cause problems by making them more vulnerable to other stressors. They’ve also been linked to Colony Collapse Disorder and have recently been found to be harmful to aquatic invertebrates and birds.

That’s not just bad news for pollinators, it’s bad news for us and the wild animals who depend on them to help pollinate crops and other wild plants we all depend on for food.

Earlier this year environmental organizations petitioned the agency to ban both genetically engineered crops and neonics throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System over concerns about the dangers they pose to wildlife and protected species and because their use is inappropriate on land that’s supposed to be designated to protect wildlife and conserve habitats.

In a memorandum published by the Center for Food Safety earlier this month, the FWS acknowledged that neonics could have adverse effects on a “broad-spectrum of non-target species” and agreed that their use does not meet the intent of policies that are supposed to cause the least harm to wildlife and their habitats. The agency also noted that they’re not only potentially being used on agricultural crops that are grown on wildlife refuges, but that they may be getting introduced through plants used in restoration projects.

Kim Trust, the deputy regional director of the FWS, told the AP that the agency made the decision because it is concerned about the global decline in all pollinators.

As of now, refuge managers will be required to take other steps to avoid their use on close to 9,000 acres of land in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and should have neonics completely phased out by January 2016.

“We commend the Service for taking its first step to ban neonicotinoids in the Pacific region, and now we call on the agency to permanently institute this policy on wildlife refuges nationwide,” said Paige Tomaselli, senior attorney with Center for Food Safety. “Federal wildlife refuges were established to protect natural diversity. Allowing chemical companies to profit by poisoning these important ecosystems violates their fundamental purpose and mission.”


Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/4-states-just-got-a-little-bit-safer-for-bees.html

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Boulder neighborhood state’s first to be declared ‘bee-safe’

Melody-Catalpa volunteers secure pledges to shun pesticides
By Charlie Brennan 

The Melody-Catalpa neighborhood of Boulder is proudly wearing the mantle of the first “bee-safe” locality in Colorado.

It may not be a title for which there was fierce competition, but those in the roughly 200 households of the north Boulder neighborhood who signed a pledge not to use neonicotinoids or similar systemic pesticides are buzzing with excitement over earning the distinction.

Three neighborhood residents earlier this year banded together to sign on about 20 volunteers to go door to door. And, faster than they’d dared hope, they convinced more than half of the area’s 389 households to sign a pledge not to use neuroactive chemicals that many believe are contributing to the colony collapse phenomenon reported in global honeybee populations.

Those doing so were awarded green flags, signifying their commitment, to plant in their front lawns. Some homes there have not yet been contacted by the volunteers, but will be.

“We felt really good about it,” said Anne Bliss, one of the three organizers and a resident of the 3500 block of Catalpa Way. “We thought we would finish this by the end of May, and we more than had our goal really quickly. It took us a couple weeks.”

Molly Greacen, another of the drivers behind the Melody-Catalpa bee-safe initiative, said, “The real concern is that if we can get lots of other people to get excited about this idea, then all of Boulder can become bee-safe.”

[view full article via dailycamera.com]

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WATCH: The importance of bees
[via tve.org]

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Pesticide Action Network
Petition: Earth to EPA: Bees need help now

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Peanut Butter Honeybees – LOVE IT!! <3

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http://adland.tv/sites/default/modules/swftools/shared/flash_media_player/player.swf

BEE BILLBOARD

To promote Britain’s Plan Bee campaign, UK winery Banrock Station created the world’s first bee-powered billboard, composed of 10,000 live bees. Plan Bee aims to campaign against the use of bee-killing pesticides and to inspire people to help bees in their own gardens.

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Pesticide Action Network: SIGN THE PETITION!

U.S. bee populations are still declining and scientists believe pesticides are a critical piece of the puzzle. Clothianidin’s family of pesticides (neonicotinoids, including imidacloprid) are an especially suspect culprit.

Clothianidin is on the U.S. market on the basis of unsound science and deeply flawed EPA decision-making. Like most pesticides registered in the last 15 years, it was rushed to market prior to safety testing with a “conditional registration.”

Beekeepers can’t take another season of losses. Beekeepers tell us that like their hives, their industry is on the verge of collapse. With 1/3 of food reliant on bees for pollination, the collapse of commercial beekeeping would devastate U.S. farmers as well.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-EE55YsF55ZQ/TgIVKdYciVI/AAAAAAAATPQ/xwhgUM2pPAc/s288/Screen%2Bshot%2B2011-06-22%2Bat%2B9.15.19%2BAM.png

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAYzI91s0WQ

WHO: Dr. Mark Winston
WHAT: Bee Talker – The Secret World of Bees

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Why We Need Bees and More People Becoming Organic Beekeepers

Bees teach us how to live our life in a way that by taking what we need from the world around us, we leave the world better than we found it.

Beekeeping is rising in popularity — from urban rooftops to backyard hives, the world is abuzz with interest in homemade honey. And who better to comment on the nature of bees than the former president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, Ross Conrad.

MG: Describe briefly beekeeping as a business. How much energy do you focus on honey production?

RC: Honey production is not the focus of my beekeeping business at all.  The focus is on caring for the honey bees and keeping the colonies as healthy and vibrant as possible. This means primarily reducing stress on the bees.  In fact the only consistent observation that has been made of hives suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is that the bees in infected colonies are always suffering from stress that has caused the bee’s immune systems to collapse.  While there are numerous stresses that the bees must deal with that we cannot directly control (see below), there are numerous other stresses on the hive that we do have control over.  Such stressors include reducing chemical contaminants in the hive, eliminating the presence of antibiotics in the hive, making sure that the bees are fed a healthy diet of honey and pollen from a wide variety of plants and that the hives have access to clean uncontaminated water.  When the bees health needs are taken care of, a honey harvest tends to be the natural result.

MG: Let’s say I’m an aspiring small-scale farmer, or beginning life on a homestead, or merely thinking of expanding my urban garden. Why should I keep bees, in terms of honey production, and their pollination benefits, etc?

RC: The biggest benefit honey bees provide is pollination.  Pollination fees are what is keeping the beekeeping industry alive today. Honey is really a byproduct of pollination. Why should anybody keep bees? As suggested above, the life support systems of our planet are collapsing. The forests are disappearing, desert regions are growing, the climate is shifting so that some areas are getting dryer, other areas are getting wetter, some areas are getting colder, other areas are getting warmer, and our oceans are collapsing with large dead zones, acidification, giant “islands” of floating plastic debris, collapsing fisheries, and ocean animals that are dying in greater numbers every day from cancer. My observation is that it is our industrial civilization that is, if not the actual cause of all this destruction, it is certainly contributing to the devastation. As a member of this society then, I am partly responsible and part of the problem.  This is a wonderful thing, for if I am part of the problem, then I have the responsibility and am empowered to be part of the solution.

One of the greatest lessons we learn from the honey bee is in observing how they go about making their “living” here on earth.  As they go about their business collecting pollen, nectar, propolis and water (everything they need to survive) they do not harm or kill anything in the process.  Unless they feel threatened and are forced to defend themselves, not so much as a leaf on a plant is harmed.  In the process of taking what they need to survive they in turn give back more than they take and make the world a better place through the pollination the plants.  This gift of pollination ensures that the plants can thrive and reproduce in vast numbers which produces a large variety of seeds, nuts, berries, fruits and vegetable in all shapes and sizes, which in turn ensures an abundance of food for all the rest of the insects, animals and people on the planet.  This is the ultimate lesson that the bees teach us and challenge us to accomplish: How to live our life in a way that by taking what we need from the world around us we leave the world better than we found it.

Each one of us who takes care of the honey bees and makes sure that there is adequate habitat and flowering plants for the native pollinators in our regions, is indirectly through the good work of these pollinators, making the world a better place for all of creation.  This is the kind of healing our beautiful blue-green planet needs desperately at this time in history.

Click here to read the full article on alternet.org

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Want some gruel with your gruel?

Want some gruel with your gruel?

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