Hmm, I had no idea-really. So...googled it, and the first answer came from "Ask an Entomologist"
This second image is a still-shot of a really cool gif created by Seattle's Eleanor Lutz (and if I ever figure out how to embed the gif, I will update this post!) Meanwhile:
I will have more interesting bug research for you soon, but wanted to lead with some fun facts. Enjoy! (and be sure to check out Tabletop Whale for additional awesome science illustrations!)
In case you missed it:
How to honor the victims? Get the poisons out of the schools!
Blueberry Borage coffee cake with coffee ice cream
Farmers' Market veggies with fresh-caught salmon
Back-alley blackberries and parking strip golden raspberries
Rye-sourdough pancakes with kefir cream and berries
It's funny, if you asked me what the main colors were in our backyard garden, I would describe to you the borage, peppermint, and lavender purples, the California poppy oranges (and pink), and brilliant red clover...but, after tidying up the yard yesterday, I noticed that there were SO many white flowers everywhere! Some of them are really tiny, like the yarrow, cilantro, and buckwheat, but others are just lovely anomalies; I absolutely adore the white California poppies and the elegant white foxglove!
I know that I should probably name all these sweet blooms for you, but it is SUNNY outside, so I must get back out and soak up that Vitamin D while I can.
Enjoy the tour!
The USDA is accepting comments concerning the ultra-lame GMO labeling currently being considered at Regulations.gov. Why would anyone have a problem with honest labeling that allows consumers to make informed choices? Please take a moment to submit comments!
To simplify the talking points, here is a repost from Beyond Pesticides:
As a consumer, I have a right to know whether my food is produced using genetic engineering. As USDA finalizes labeling regulations, please ensure that labels are honest, transparent, and informative by adopting the following policies:
If you have been following the GMO labeling controversy, you will probably not be surprised that the proposed labels do not contain "GMO" or "genetically modified organism"; rather, the friendly sunshiny and smiley face green labels will have the letters "BE" for bioengineered. Additional insult comes with the proposal that QR codes would have the technical information, requiring a person to scan all their produce in order to ensure that they are not purchasing GMOs. The final punch is a giant loophole stating that processed foods containing GMO ingredients will not have to label their products.
When I first saw these prototype BE/GMO labels, I mistakenly thought that these were (real) bee friendly labels; they are definitely not! Don't be fooled by this USDA/Monsanto&DuPont attempt to keep consumers in the DARK: buy organic and buy local. Support your farmers and biodiversity, not frankenfood.
Want to learn more? Visit the Center for Food Safety.
EWG's new Shoppers Guide is out!
Environmental Working Group is a one-stop shop to keep you informed on how to make healthier choices, and what to look out for when shopping for alternatives to toxic products.
It is pretty crazy when you start to understand the insidious consequences of using pesticides to grow our food! To begin with, by killing off such large numbers of insects, humans have created a trophic cascade, with a not-so-positive result of bird populations dropping by 50-75% in the UK (and elsewhere). Personally, I would rather not eat poison, and I love to watch the bugs and birds in my backyard, so I stick to organics. I strongly believe in supporting our local organic farmers and co-op, and enjoy fruits and vegetables that not only taste better but also support our natural systems.
To really scare your pants off, check out EWG's Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptor infographic (with safe choices included). Why on earth are we allowing corporations to get away with this? Yikes.
While out for a morning walk in Santa Ana CA, we had the good fortune to come across Nancy and Tom Larson who have been hosting honeybees in their ceramic elephant for the last ten years or so. The only entrance was a tiny hole in the back of the saddle. The bees were happy to pollinate their flowers and fruit trees, but since there was no way to open the elephant, the Larson's had never tasted the honey. Not only are these two beekeepers and bird lovers, but Tom also builds elevated raised beds (to make it easier for the elderly volunteer gardeners) and grows organic vegetables which they donate to food banks. Thanks for inviting us for a tiny apiary tour. Lovely to meet you!
The effect of the drought is very apparent when walking around the neighborhood; several homes had replaced their lawns with native plants and their lush, low-water habitats were brimming with lizards, bugs, and birds. Other yards have not fared as well, and it was sad to see the dead trees and brown lawns (though I would rather see brown lawns than green). Lots of yards in transition.
Beyond Pesticides: New Data Leads French Scientists to Forecast a Silent Spring in 2018
As Rachael Carson wrote in Silent Spring, “In nature nothing exists alone.” Birds that are not directly harmed by pesticide exposure can still be stressed and killed by the disruption of ecological balance. A study published in October of last year found 75% of insect abundance has been lost in European nature preserves over the past 30 years.
The European Union is set to vote as soon as this month on a proposal that would ban all outdoor uses of the neonicotinoid chemical class, identified by thousands of independent scientific studies to be the key factor behind declines in insect pollinators, and in the current research to be a proximate cause of bird declines. In the U.S., residents can help build support for a similar measure that would suspend these chemicals unless eventually found to be safe for pollinator populations.
Act now, and urge your member of Congress to join in support, so that we may finally begin to move down the path that avoids disaster and preserves life on earth. (Beyond Pesticides 3/23/2018)
Insectageddon is upon us. You can help the wild creatures in your neighborhood by planting native plants in your backyard and parking strip and by not using pesticides.
Visit Pollinator Pathways for some inspiration, and then get outside to enjoy the first day of spring.