Bee Peek of the Week
I believe that this is a Bombus mixtus (also known as the "orange-booty bumblebee") tasting our Allium schoenoprasum, or chives.
Who Cares? (Hint: not "Bee Care")
"Follow the Honey" 7 Ways that Pesticide Companies are Spinning the Bee Crisis in Order to Protect Profits"; this report from Friends of the Earth reveals the Big Tobacco PR tactics being used by Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto to point the finger in every direction except pesticides.
The idea that we're being lied to by powerful corporations is no surprise, but I do have to say that that it is quite disturbing to find our local bee club not only promoting the movie "Follow the Honey" on their website, but also advertising for Bayer and their "Bee Care" community leadership award. Then, today, at the PSBA field day (along with guest speakers and booths selling local honey, Q & A on beekeeping, and tours of the apiary) there was a booth promoting the pro-pesticide propaganda "documentary" film "More than Honey". What is up with that?
I attended the Beyond Pesticides conference in Portland last month, and have to say that the situation is dire. No question about it: neonicotinoid pesticides are harmful to bees, and when combined with other pesticides, habitat loss, disease, poor treatment and nutrition, honeybees are in serious trouble, along with every ecosystem that relies on pollinators.
Got kids? Some of the scariest statistics shared at the Beyond Pesticides conference had to do with studies that link pesticide use with lower IQ levels in children, ADHD, asthma, cancer, impaired sexual development, obesity, and autism. What's even scarier is that neonics are totally unregulated, and in addition to being abused in commercial agricultural, they are part of the toxic chemical cocktail of over-the-counter pesticides used by homeowners. Other bad news is that homeowners' use of pesticides is 12-120 times higher than agricultural use! Because these pesticides are unregulated, unsuspecting and well-meaning parents are creating toxic backyards for their children to play in.
Come on bee people! It's time to throw Bayer, Monsanto, and Syngenta and their slimy "Bee Care" campaigns under the bus. Take a stand against neonic pesticides.
Check out Bees 101 for more information on what you can do to help bees.
Don't forget to send a letter to your representative to support the "Save America's Pollinators" act!
Happy Mothers Day
After installing two swarms since May 1st, it was time to go inside and see if we had a laying queen: one hive=Yes (as photo above shows), the other=No :^( That means we needed to borrow a comb of brood from one of our established hives to jump start the queenless hive. Fingers crossed!
This photo is of our spring cut-comb honey harvest! We collected 12 lbs. of cut-comb honey as we were preparing our empty hives for their new bee-girls. This batch is particularly dark and flavorful.
follow the money-more than honey
The disturbing "documentary" i.e. pro-pesticide propaganda piece "More than Honey" is worth watching for two reasons:
#1-you should be aware of the sophistication of the disinformation tactics that are being used to take the focus off neonics; the blame for demise of the honeybee is placed on everything but pesticides: mites, diseases, loss of forage, and climate change (with no mention of neonicitinoids in the entire movie).
#2-it is very well-produced, with some of the most amazing bee photography you have ever seen.
Civil Eats post: synopsis of what the big three (Bayer, Monsanto, and Syngenta) are up to with their slimy PR tactics: "7 Ways Pesticide Companies are Spinning the Bee Crisis", plus you can download the 23-page report "Follow the Honey" from Friends of Earth and Bee Action.org