“Many Michigan residents will lose their right to keep livestock on their own property due to a new ruling from the state’s Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Commission ruled April 28 that local governments have the right to ban livestock from any area zoned residential in the state.
The action will “effectively remove Right to Farm Act protection for many urban and suburban backyard farmers raising small numbers of animals,” Gail Philbin of the Michigan Sierra Club told Michigan Live. The Right to Farm Act is a state law designed to protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits and zoning regulations. The Commission ruled that the Right to Farm (RTF) Act does not apply to homeowners who keep small numbers of livestock. Continue reading →
The eerie mystery of the vanishing honeybees has not been put to rest.
In the last few weeks, three separate studies explored the effect of insecticides on honeybee and pollinator health. One paper linked neonicotinoids, a new class of systemic insecticides that have come into widespread use in recent years, to impaired honeybee navigation; a second noted the effects of low levels of the pesticides on bumblebee reproduction.
The most talked about study, from a Harvard team, found that the colonies fed neonicotinoid-laced corn syrup collapsed in a manner that appeared to mimic the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD—the mysterious phenomenon in which otherwise-healthy bees simply vanish from their hives. Neonicotinoids, declared the Harvard team, were “the likely culprit in sharp worldwide declines in honeybee colonies since 2006.” Continue reading →
“Since 2006, U.S. honey bee populations have been in precipitous decline, with some estimates suggesting losses as high as 30% per year.1 While that’s terrible, the problem is far greater than just the destruction of a species. Without bees, a big piece of our food supply is in serious danger. Pollination by honey bees is key in cultivating the crops that produce a full one-third of our food.
Scientists have been scrambling to understand the crisis — termed Colony Collapse Disorder — but have yet to find a single, definitive cause. There are likely multiple interacting causes, and mounting evidence suggests that one widely used class of pesticides may be a critical factor.
One such chemical, called clothianidin, is produced by the German corporation Bayer CropScience. It is used as a treatment on crop seeds, including corn and canola, and works by expressing itself in the plants’ pollen and nectar. Not coincidentally, these are some of honey bees’ favorite sources of food. Continue reading →
In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, a scientist, philosopher & social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honeybees would collapse. His prediction has come true with Colony Collapse Disorder, where bees are disappearing in mass numbers from their hives with no clear single explanation. Continue reading →
Bees are often under-appreciated for the important role they play in fertilizing food plants.
“In the Central Valley of California, there are 500,000 acres of almond trees. All almond trees. Nothing but almond trees. This is wrong. It is not natural. For these trees to bear almonds, they must be pollinated. But bees cannot live there, for there is nothing to sustain them when the trees are not in blossom. So hives containing millions of bees must be trucked more than a thousand miles, and then trucked back again. Continue reading →
Entombed' pollen is identified as having sunken, wax-covered cells amid 'normal', uncapped cells. Photograph: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, via The Guardian UK
“Honeybees are taking emergency measures to protect their hives from pesticides, in an extraordinary example of the natural world adapting swiftly to our depredations, according to a prominent bee expert.
Scientists have found numerous examples of a new phenomenon –bees “entombing” or sealing up hive cells full of pollen to put them out of use, and protect the rest of the hive from their contents. The pollen stored in the sealed-up cells has been found to contain dramatically higher levels of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals than the pollen stored in neighbouring cells, which is used to feed growing young bees. Continue reading →
(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2011) A British government scientist on Wednesday announced that he has ordered a review of a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, to determine what effects they may have on bee and pollinator health. Neonicotinoids, such as clothianidin and imidacloprid, have come under intense scrutiny recently due to concerns regarding their toxicity to honeybees, which are essential for a secure food supply in their role as crop pollinators. This has led some to suggest that chemicals such as these could be contributors to honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Continue reading →
Backyard gardens can offer a welcome supply of nectar and pollen for honeybees. Photo via PBS.org
While researchers probe deeper into understanding CCD, or colony collapse disorder, and beekeepers work harder to improve bee health, ordinary citizens can help the honeybee too.
Go Retro — Become a Backyard Beekeeper
Over the years, our diets have increased the demand for a constant stream of all-season fruits and veggies. Such demand hasn’t bypassed the bees.
It’s turned bee pollination into a year-round service and beekeeping into a commercial industry.
Today, there are half as many beekeepers as there were two decades ago, and the remaining beekeepers are mostly large-scale pollination services with thousands of hives and millions of bees. Continue reading →
Spring’s going to be a lot quieter this year. Something is killing off almost 40% of North American honeybees each year, and it’s threatening our entire food chain. Mounting scientific evidence suggests agricultural pesticides are one of the culprits.
The Environmental Protection Agency has the power to investigate and ban the pesticides thought to be responsible but, despite their own scientists’ advice and under pressure from pesticides companies, they’re dragging their feet.
Much of the plant-life we depend on for food exists thanks to honeybees. Now the bees are depending on us to return the favor. Click here to sign our petition calling on the EPA to solve the mystery that’s killing our buzz:
"Bernard is right; the pathogen is nothing; the terrain is everything."
-- Louis Pasteur's deathbed words
"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all'." (Martin Luther King - Letter from Birmingham Prison, Alabama)