Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dr. Reese Halter: Honeybees Dying In Record Numbers

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(Mod: I asked Reese to summarize for us the current status of the vital fight against neonicotinoids. Here is what he sent our way. At the end of this article are a couple of petitions we are asked to sign. Please do so.)

About 8 years ago honeybees started to die by the billions. In fact, over the past 5 years greater than a quarter trillion honeybees have perished around the globe. Why have we not taken bee deaths more seriously?

Bees pollinate about 40 percent of our food, all our cotton, provide us with 2.65 billion pounds of honey and 44 million pounds of beeswax annually as well as offering powerful drugs to combat pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis, moreover bees are helping humans as front line detector for cancers, heart disease and tuberculosis.

According to the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) our global food security is now at risk; 7.15 billion people (projected by the UN FAO to reach 8 billion by 2023) cannot exist without healthy bee populations. So what’s holding the ingenious human race from solving the mysterious causes of the disease dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder, which continues to drive U.S. beekeepers into bankruptcy?

Yes, there are a number of factors causing the honeybees in America to die prematurely about three times faster than normal rates. Poor bee nutrition thanks to GMO corn syrup being fed to bees instead of honey, Varroa mites, bee husbandry, bacteria, viruses, brutal air pollution, vicious droughts driven by human-induced climate change, climate-driven mismatches (whereby plants are flowering almost a month before bees awaken in the springtime) are all valid reasons and they’ve all collided to create ‘the perfect storm.’

There is, however, one variable that sticks out like Rudolph’s red nose on a snowy Christmas Eve – above all others – toxic chemicals.

There’s a relatively new group of insecticides called neonicotinoids. There are about 1,000 on the market worldwide and they are highly poisonous to our environment. Dutch toxicologist Dr Henk Tennekes’s latest book: The Systemic Insecticides: A Disaster in the Making, concisely documented that neonicotinoids are water soluble, mobile in soils and persistent for decades in both soils and water.

Imidacloprid (temporarily banned in Europe) but on the market here and elsewhere around the globe – contaminated Dutch surface waters and killed springtails, beetles, and earthworms, robbing the soils of its necessary beneficial fauna, which decomposes leaf litter and other organic matter and recycles nutrients. Those insects, in turn, are a crucial food source for many common grassland bird species. Moving up the food chain, Tennekes discovered that populations of avian predators like Eurasian goshawks and northern goshawks have likewise fallen, dramatically. The use of these potent neonicotinoids has exhibited a deleterious effect on biodiversity and the web of life throughout Western Europe.

In 1962 Dr Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring because we haphazardly used DDT everywhere and almost wiped out our national icon – bald eagles.

Neonicotinoids are being deployed at a staggering rate – globally we poison the biosphere with 5 billion pounds of insecticides annually, at least one third of them are neonicotinoids. Bees are indeed modern-day canaries in the coalmines – they are vividly showing scientists that we cannot continue to kill our biosphere without devastating global consequences.

Portland-based Xerces Society is asking the EPA to re-assess the safety of neonicotinoids and to ban their use in city- and country-owned lands. Fifty thousand bumblebees died this past summer from neonicotinoids used in Oregon. I suggest that all homeowners in Sierra Madre use only neem-based insecticides, which are bee, butterfly and moth friendly.

We can’t wait five more years for the EPA to make a ruling on neonicotinoids to protect the bees, water and soil. Sign this petition to tell Home Depot and Lowes to stop selling bee-killing neonicotinoids. If the bees die, we die. Tell congress to ban neonicotinoids – now!

(Mod: You can check out Reese's book "The Incomparable Honeybee and the Economics of Pollination: Revised & Updated - Rmb Manifestos" by clicking here.)

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

34 comments:

  1. Home Depot and Lowes sell insecticides to smaller beekeeping facilities, what about the larger commercial ones? This is where the move to ban should start.

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    1. Home Depot and Lowes would be more likely to ban destructive pesticides because of public opposition. It starts the ball rolling. The big interests only care about making money. But if large hardware stores chains stop carrying this poison, they'll feel the pressure.

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  2. Thanks Tattler for providing the links.

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  3. Nice post! Very few websites that come about to become detailed for education beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly effectively worth checking out.

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  4. Thank You Tattler, we will be checking all chemicals used by the family and act accordingly. From here on out only Bee Safe , thank you again. Remember, charity starts at home so save the home Bees, Butterflies and Moths. No mercy for those ants and rats tho.

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    1. It's all connected. Use natural methods when you can, when you can't, try & find out what the ingredients are and what the down-the-line consequences are.

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  5. The suggestion is for Sierra Madre homeowners to use neem based insecticides, but the real question is why use any insecticide at all?

    So you have some aphids in your garden? Big deal. Use a drop or two of biodegradable insecticidal soap in a spray bottle. Buy some ladybugs and praying mantises. Most of all do some research. There may have been a time when the information was hard to find and buying chemicals the only choice, but today there is no excuse with all of the valuable organic insect control information on the internet.

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  6. If Bees die out, so will our natural food supply. This is a very, very serious problem, far more serious than the "global warming" hoax.

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    1. So how do you react if I declare this whole bee thing utter nonsense based on voodoo science, proponents of this scam are just trying to promote a political agenda desirous of advancing their own agendas, whatever they are...hmmmm....is the shoe fitting?

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    2. Worry not, the artificial food supply has been up and running for a long time.

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    3. So, at 3:15 PM, are you so declaring? If you are, would you care to lay out a more defined statement as to who's running what to what end?

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  7. Less than 10,000 to go until the Tattler gets to 2 million hits.

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    Replies
    1. But who's counting?

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    2. All the people who say nobody reads it.

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    3. Nancy Walsh is counting. Although she calls it "The blog." ha

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  8. The EENRC will be addressing this issue early in the new year. We are looking for someone to come and speak on the subject to help us inform the public and the council on the issue. Perhaps Dr.Halter woudl be interested? I am proposing that we make Siera Madre a Bee Scanctuary and ban the sale and use of these neonicotinoid chemicals, change our very prohibitive beekeeping ordinance, restricting the extermination of bees...making relocation the desired method of handling hive issues, and perhaps use some open spaces for a community beekeeping area. If anyone is interested in following this issue, check out the agenda for our monthly meetings in the next few months (not Dec.) and please come to our meeting when we address the issue and encourage others to do so as well.

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    1. I'd be glad to give Reese a call. Get me a date and time.

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    2. Just go to Arnolds and ask them not to sell the stuff, I don't know any other place in Sierra Madre you would buy it.

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    3. Kim Clymer Kelley reads "The Tattler."

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    4. Everybody reads The Tattler. Especially those who say nobody reads it.

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    5. I am horribly allergic to bees (life-threatening allergy) and I would love to see community bee keeping! We have actually stopped using any pesticides here, and I think this spring I will be planting lots of bee friendly flowering plants. I think the settling pond area would be a great place to start a bee sanctuary and bee keeping. Lots of open space there!

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  9. What a tradgety! Man is the deadlist and most successful preditor in the world as well as the stupidist. Lets get on with destroying our planet. Who cares...apparently not most humans.

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  10. It's Joe Moscas fault!

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  11. We are quite literally the frog in the pot of water, man adapts to the changes he has brought upon his own living environment that it will be too late for him to reverse it to any beneficial extent...Merry Christmas!

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    Replies
    1. To paraphrase the Mayor Pro Tem,* you're better than that.

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    2. Mayor ProTem* hears what he wants to hear.

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  13. Go on line to save-bees.org and sign the petition. This organization had a full page add in the LA Times a week ago. This is crucial. 80% or so of the world's almond crop is grown in California and 100% dependent on bees for pollination. Just

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  14. This year the monarch butterflies did not show up. The pesticides are one part of the pie, the other part of the pie is we've wiped out all butterfly habitats in states like Indiana in order to grow corn for the world (and make money). When you grow a lot of one thing, the insects don't have a variety of things to eat, and they get frail and they die.

    http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/millions-migrating-monarchs-tale-amazing-butterfly-great-peril-photos.html

    These pesticides go hand in hand with an obliteration of everything but the crops we want to grow.

    The greatest cataclysms we have seen have been due to bad agricultural practices. Anyone remember the Dust Bowl? How about what is right under our noses. California running out of water? Agriculture uses way too much water for things like cotton (stupid to grow that here, grow it in Mississippi, charge the farmers more for water here so we don't use up our aquifers). People say we shouldn't overuse antiobitics in people or even when washing hands? You know where the vast majority of antibiotics are being used and where antibiotic resistance is being bred? Take a guess. Ever heard of the giant dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and off our coasts? Not only is it overfertilization of yards, the vast problem is overuse of fertilizers in the agricultural belt. We're talking millions of fish dead, with a problem that can be solved by cutting back on fertilizer and modestly changing our crop yield. And what will change? Not food prices. But we will export less.

    As for bees, One of the things we can do to help is to host them in urban areas (they haven't been dying in urban areas, where there isn't wide use of pesticides and single crops). There is a local group of urban beekepers here in Los Angeles that have been doing great things.

    But honestly, it doesn't make a difference if we don't get serious about leaving a little space for wild things to flourish.

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  15. When are the property owners of Sierra Madre going to realize that the city management and city council needs to be let go...

    Why does the majority of the city management and council members continue to make poor decisions.

    This job does not take a rocket scientist to get it right.

    We need to get out of debt!

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  16. http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/manuka-honey-medicinal-uses

    This Manuka honey from New Zealand is amazing. We use it in a hot drink, combined with fresh lemon, cayane pepper, cinnamon, ginger. Works fantastic for coughs and colds. A website called natural solutions gives more interesting information.

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