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2830RE: [beemonitoring] Demise of the honey bee?

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    Aug 2, 2013
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      Being an immigrant from the UK (1965) and of Danish parentage (1935), I have strong  European roots, and follow the bee news over there with a certain degree of satisfaction...
      I agree with your views entirely, but would tweak your action recommendation to stress EDUCATION. Two hundred yards from my bee yard resides a most capable gardener: trees, perennials, annual plantings are in superb condition. He has about one fifth of his 1/2 acre lot in patches of lawn. My bees were in his fruit trees in force, but about 6 weeks ago a sign on his lawn went up warning of 'pesticide application.' On my wondering if 'pesticide applications' locally might have something to do with the total absence of Monarch larvae in the area, and the effect on bees, A. mellifera and indigenous, my neighbor responded: "Oh, I was told that it is specific for wasps, ants and mosquitos, and will not affect honey bees."
      Here is an otherwise knowledgeable and intelligent individual (who BOTHERED to ask the sprayer). How can we expect our politicos to respond to scientific data?! Are they EDUCABLE?
      Ok, now I will sign off and duck!

      To: Pollinator@...; beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      From: sapogordoeco@...
      Date: Fri, 2 Aug 2013 10:45:32 -0600
      Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Demise of the honey bee?

      Without getting into the particulars of honeybee decline, on which we are not going to agree (The situation in New Mexico and further west is demonstrably worse than what you describe for your neck of the woods, sorry), I got some bad news for you:

      The short answer is that we’re going to have to get out of bee suits, hang up our nets and get away from the dissecting scopes for a while and engage in the unpleasant but entirely necessary business of public advocacy and politics. Something has gone seriously wrong in the USA, (a supposed representative democracy) the result of which being that in that despite the gravity of the problems facing us we have become the most politically timid people in the “developed” world. This year in the EU, neonicotinoids  were banned through the hard work of beekeepers, scientists and other concerned citizens. In the US, we have undue influence on EPA policy being exerted by industry, and the Pollinator Partnership taking sponsorships (not sure how much money is involved) for their “Pollinator Week” campaign from Bayer, Valent and other companies that are producers of the chemicals that are largely responsible for the crisis. So it comes down to how much do you want to work, and how willing are you to challenge your elected officials to get big corporate money out of politics, and to get out and help educate the masses who at this point don’t much give a damn.

      I doubt that this forum will prove to be the place for this discussion, but there are plenty of other venues.


      There has been so much media hoopla about the impending doom of the honey bee, and I've been saying all along that this is hogwash. The honey bee has keepers, who are handling many of the honey bee's problems, who feed the bees and make up the nutritional gaps, who breed new strains of bees for greater hardiness, and who protect and salvage the bees as best they can from pesticide damage.

      My successor (the one who bought my bees at my retirement) has been expanding every year, has beautiful hives of bees, has never seen any CCD, and provided thousands of replacement hives this spring for bees lost up North. Honey bee keepers continue to increase in the proportion of pollination service provided by all bees.

      This is confirmed by this article:  http://qz.com/101585/everyone-calm-down-there-is-no-bee-pocalypse/

      What does concern me is that the wild bees, which have no keepers and few defenders, are in greater decline.

      I have been observing them for years at our home in South Carolina. We have planted many flowers to feed and encourage them, as well as provide housing, water, mud and other essentials.

      Yet they continue to decline. Over a ten year span, all species of bumblebees, except B. impatiens have disappeared at our bee sanctuary.

      Ten years ago, our bradford pears had hundreds of small solitary bees on them when they bloomed; now it's just an occasional one or two. Of the solitary bees, only the large carpenter bees remain fairly common.

      Our Melissodes bees used to cover our blooming coneflower, sunflowers and milkweed, by this time each year. To date, I've only seen one individual, as opposed to the usual hundreds. I only see an occasional isolated Megachiliid, and B. impatiens on these flowers.

      I am deeply concerned at the barrenness of pollinators at our bee sanctuary, despite all our efforts to make things perfect for them.

      Pesticide applications continue to be made in violation of bee-protection directions. Around here, that means cotton and mosquito spraying. I am certain that this is a primary cause of the loss of wild bees.

      What are we doing to change this?

      Dave Green
      Retired pollination contractor


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