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Tag Archives | pesticides

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VIDEO: Cultivating bees on the rise in New Jersey

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Seven Billion People Need Bees

“This first week of November (2011) our population surpassed seven billion humans. And in the last week of October (2011) scientists from the University of California at Berkeley irrefutably proved that over one billion temperature sensors registered warming between 1-2 degrees Celsius, in some cases more than three times greater than the IPCCs average of 0.64 degrees Celsius. Humans are forcing the climate by burning carbon-based fuels releasing over 82 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, daily, on our planet.

All life forms are in jeopardy. Our food chain is perilously close to collapsing; yet the lawmakers in Washington regularly ignore this message. My biology and environmental students at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks and I are miffed at why this issue is not front and center in DC…

We all need to be aware of the health and well being of the bees. Because without healthy honey, bumble, stingless and solitary bees there’s no chance that more than seven billion people can thrive especially since the oceans are fished-out and currently feeding, unsustainably, at least a couple billion people, daily — in addition to acidifying (from absorbing rising atmospheric CO2) faster than any time in the last 60 million years…

Surprisingly, bees and humans share a number of similarities. For example, we both require restful and rejuvenating sleep. Sleep deprived bees, just like humans, experience communication problems like finding food and performing an accurate waggle dance to reveal locations of nectar, pollen, water and tree resin. Stressed bees like humans become anxious, depressed and pessimistic; they display emotion-like qualities. Moreover, bees that exhibit a high defensive behavior or optimism are likely to survive a winter rather than perish.

Did you know that humans have been keeping bees in cities for over three thousand years? Bees were kept in the “land of milk and honey” in the Iron Age city of Tel Rehov in the Jordan Valley — the oldest known commercial beekeeping facility in the world. It should then come as no surprise that city councils around the world have recently allowed urban beekeepers to keep hives in Santa Monica, New York, Chicago, London, Melbourne, Tokyo and many other places. In fact, urban beekeepers along with the tremendous support of city dwellers are planting more bee-friendly trees and flowers helping to sustain urban bee populations.

And make no mistake, bees around the globe are dying by the billions from insecticides like neonictinoidsclimate-driven mismatches, introduced parasites and diseases, air pollution and habitat loss. In the last four years alone over a quarter trillion honeybees have died prematurely. Of the 100 crop species providing 90 percent of the world’s food — over 74 percent are pollinated by bees…

Help save urban bees — please, do not use herbicides, insecticides, miticides or fungicides in your garden.”

[click here to read the full article on huffingtonpost.com]

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Silence of the Bees (PBS Documentary)

“In the winter of 2006, a strange phenomenon fell upon honeybee hives across the country. Without a trace, millions of bees vanished from their hives, leaving billions of dollars of crops at risk and potentially threatening our food supply. The epidemic set researchers scrambling to discover why honeybees were dying in record numbers — and to stop the epidemic in its tracks before it spread further.”

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California Farmers Plant Bee-Friendly Habitat to Bolster Populations

“Farmers in California and other states have begun planting bee-friendly flowers and shrubs to attract bees, whose populations have been severely declining in recent years under a complex set of circumstances. Farmers hope to sustain native bees and strengthen dwindling honey bee populations as well as lower their pollination costs. For many farmers that rely on bees to pollinate their crops, creating safe bee habitat and reducing chemical assaults can help stem the tide of declining pollinator populations…

California farmers are provided seeds for native plants like wild rose, aster, sage, manzanita, and other shrubs and trees to entice bees… The effort comes as honey bees, maintained by beekeepers, and native, or wild, bees are perishing in great numbers. Bees are essential pollinators of about one-third of the U.S. food supply, and they’re especially important in California, the nation’s top producer of fruits and vegetables. This makes the pollinator problem dire in this state, where large farms often grow single crops that rely on pollination and don’t offer bees a varied diet.

The die-off is blamed on colony collapse disorder (CCD), in which all the adult honey bees in a colony suddenly die. The disorder has destroyed honey bee colonies at a rate of about 30 percent per year since it was recognized in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Before that, about 15 percent of colonies died per year from a variety of pests and diseases. Researchers aren’t sure what causes the disorder, but they suspect a combination of stressors, including pesticides, mites and parasites, and lack of proper nutrition…

Read Beyond Pesticides’ factsheet: “Backyard Beekeeping” on what you can do to boost pollinator populations…”

[click here to read the full article on enewspf.com]

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“What’s killing the bees? —my question has shifted more towards, “Good lord, what doesn’t kill bees”

“…Colony Collapse Disorder is a problem. But it isn’t the problem. Instead, it’s just a great big insult piled on top of an already rising injury rate. Saving the honeybee isn’t just about figuring out CCD. Bees were already in trouble before that came along. “ 

Maggie Koerth-Baker

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Article: Bees Swarm Mar Vista Farmers’ Market to Raise Awareness

Click here to read the full article on Change.org

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Peanut Butter Honeybees – LOVE IT!! <3

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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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Tokyo’s honeybees on skyscraper rooftops

“The office tower would not look out of place in any central Tokyo street: from its glass entrance door and sweeping marble lobby to the ear-popping lift with its steady influx of salarymen.

But this particular building is not only abuzz with the activity of its grey-suited workers. Its rooftop is home to a less conventional breed of tenants: more than 300,000 honeybees.

As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Tokyo may be more famous for its concentration of human beings than for its status as a home for bees. However, the urban honeybee is flourishing in the metropolis.

Once associated with strictly rural environments, the world’s honeybee population is in crisis. Fuelled by a complex cocktail of problems ranging from climate change to the use of pesticides in rural areas, a global decline of the honeybee has gathered pace in recent years…

The decline of the honeybee has led to experts making increasingly vociferous calls for urban dwellers to take up beekeeping in cities where pesticide contamination is low and honeybees are able to flourish.

Among the most famous of the urban beekeeping aficionados is Scarlett Johansson, who received a hive of the animals from Samuel L Jackson as a wedding gift.

Testimony to the rise of the urban beekeeper is the success of Tokyo’s honeybee project on a rooftop in the heart of the upmarket Ginza area of the city. Here, in an area more famous for its architect-designed fashion towers, historic department stores, crowds of shoppers and the most expensive commercial rental space in the capital, the honeybees are thriving.

Fortified by nectar from pesticide-free flowers grown in the nearby Imperial Palace gardens, inner-city parks and the odd rooftop garden, the collection of 20 hives of bees has produced more than 760kg of honey so far this year…”

“Some people are fearful of the thought of thousands of honeybees in the city. But they are not dangerous. They rarely sting. They are quite soft creatures; they have good characters. And they are very happy today – they haven’t stung me once.

“At first, we had to persuade the other offices in the building and the local authorities that it was a good, safe idea to have honeybees here – and since we started up, we have not had a single complaint.”

At least 10 companies in Ginza have started planting rooftop flower gardens to create nectar-rich enclaves as part of the project.

“The city is actually a very good place for honeybees,” says Tanaka. “The flowers that are grown here are not affected by pesticides like in the countryside.

“Honeybees don’t live for very long – only 30 to 40 days – so there is not enough time for city pollution to affect them. It is a great environment for them to make honey.

“Working on this project has made me realize that the city is not just about humans. There are bees and butterflies and all sorts of other insects living alongside us.”

[to read the full article - click here]

Photo by: Chris Hondros

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“If the bees disappeared, then man would only have four years left to live. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more man.”

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