Posts Tagged ‘pesticides’

A Love Story – Pollination

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

It’s the most important relationship on Earth – everything in Nature depends on pollinators and flowers getting together.

Pollination is ‘a love story that feeds the Earth.’ – Louie Schwartzberg.

For a flower to make fruit and seeds, its pollen (male) must get to an egg (female), usually in another flower – and bees do 80% of the moving. The result is a cornucopia of foods from cherries to cashews, courgettes to coffee. Our relationship with the pollinators is equally vital so let’s provide bees with a variety of flowers, clean water and spray-free gardens.

Scenes from Louie Schwatzberg’s dazzling movie, Wings Of Life:

Deadly Pesticide

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

The threat to nature is the same as that once posed by the notorious chemical DDT.– BBC News

A new study on ‘neonicotinoid’ pesticides says that they are a key factor in the decline of bees. The study combined 800 research papers from 20 years and concluded these nicotine-based nerve poisons are also damaging the wider environment. The pesticides are systemic – the whole plant remains toxic right through to flowering – so bees (and other critters) are poisoned by pollen, nectar, and drinking water. These pesticides are widely used in NZ and even sold in garden centres. The government has not yet responded to the new study, so meanwhile, avoid these products: Confidor, Advantage, Merit and Admire (what shameless names). And remember that there are ways to deal with pests without harming bees, including organic gardening and IPM:

It is high time we returned to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – an approach focussed on minimising pesticide use, maximising the number of biological control agents, using cultural controls such as crop rotations, and monitoring pest numbers so that chemical controls only need be applied when there is a problem.– Prof David Goulson

3 Ways To Save Bees and People

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Bees and humans are partners: we can’t survive without their pollinating skill; bees can’t survive without a clean world. Keep the partnership alive by donating to:

1. Bees For Development: combats poverty through beekeeping.  Teaches beekeeping skills in poor communities; providing income and boosting the environment. Their patron is Sting, naturally (Photo: Paolo Roversi). Informative website too: Bees For Development.

2. Oxfam: Plan B helps struggling women in Ethiopia take up beekeeping and earn a living.

3. Tear Fund: The Bees Knees fund helps a family start a beekeeping business with a beehive and training.

5 Ways to Save the Bees

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

The latest on the pesticide threat to bees (see Nicotine Bees) is a small victory: a garden supplier has removed the words ‘low toxic to beneficial insects’ from an advertisement for  Confidor. This pesticide is extremely toxic to the world’s most beneficial insect, the honey bee. These nicotine-based pesticides are banned in Europe because of links to bee deaths. They stay in the plant right through to flowering – so bees are poisoned by pollen, nectar, dust, and water. Latest research shows how the pesticides contribute to the bee crisis by exposing bees from multiple sources. Photo: Sarah Anderson.

5 Ways to Save the Bees:

  1. Avoid chemicals such as Confidor,  Poncho, Advantage, Marathon, Merit and Admire (grotesque names).
  2. Buy local honey.
  3. Grow bee-friendly plants, such as lavender.
  4. Let there be weeds; let the broccoli go to seed.
  5. Put out clean water in a shallow dish.

The authority that kicked the beehive

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

ERMA  is the authority that manages the poisons sprayed on our food crops. ‘Manages’ is the weasel word – meaning ‘we tell you the risk, but the choice is yours’. A powerful chemical (clothianidin) that ERMA approves for NZ crops is banned in Europe, and even the US authority was recently warned – by its own scientists – that the chemical is ‘highly toxic to beneficial insects such as honey bees’. Problem is, it’s so persistent it remains in plants through to the pollen stage (especially corn), and in meat and milk.

When I asked ERMA if they would review the chemical in NZ they said they already ‘managed’ the use of it (they tend to be slow to ban poisons). In the end it’s up to us whether we accept pesticide residues in our food (yes, clothianidin is there). But while we have some choice to eat organic, honey bees don’t, and they are already in decline.

Full article: The authority that kicked the beehive (download – pdf)

Bee photo by Sarah Anderson who also writes a beautiful blog.