Posts Tagged ‘honey bees’

Bee Pesticide Ban

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

This is a victory for the precautionary principle, which is supposed to underlie environmental regulation.– Dr Lynn Dicks

Bee PhotoThe EU has banned the nerve agent that has been contributing to honey bee decline around the world. The scientific evidence against these extremely toxic nicotine-based pesticides has grown steadily. Honey bees have contributed to our survival for the past 20,000 years and it’s time we showed them similar courtesy. These banned pesticides are still widely used on NZ crops (eg.corn) and sold to the public in garden centres (eg. the Confidor brand). Bee photo by Sophie Huber.

There are other way to deal with pests without harming bees:

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

Poet Bees

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

This beautiful poem by Carol Ann Duffy (extract from The Bees) reminded me of a beautiful photo by Sarah Anderson:

Here are my bees,

brazen, blurs on paper,

besotted; buzzwords, dancing

their flawless, airy maps.

Bees flying

Animal Art

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

After reading Wolfram’s dramatic story I discovered his daughter’s wonderful art. Alexandra Milton is an animal artist and children’s book illustrator. She creates her creatures by collage, using hand-made papers with mysterious names: Korean mingeishi, Thai silk thread, Himalayan khadi, and Payhembury marbled paper. Her honey bee illustration below is warm and characterful (like bees).

I aim to celebrate all that is to be marvelled at in nature; to catch, in colour and form, a glimpse of the miracle of creation Alexandra Milton

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.

Book People

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Alone we are one drop, together we are an ocean Ryunosuke Satoro

Honey bees are a super-organism: each one working for the health of the whole. In the same way many people contribute to a book. At the writer’s end: family, friends, writing group, experts, research subjects. At the publishers: editor, proof-reader, designer, publicist, education coordinator, accountant. In the world: distributors, retailers, reviewers, website designer, media, networkers and most importantly, readers. Readers are the book’s power — an unread book will wither like a hive without a queen.

Photo: Swarm by Sarah Anderson

Nicotine Bees

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

The home garden supplier, Yates, advertises a handy spray-can of pesticide as ‘low toxic to beneficial insects’ and ‘soft on beneficial insects’. Lies. The pesticide is extremely toxic to the world’s most beneficial insect, the honey bee – a nerve poison 7000 times more lethal than DDT. The pesticide (Confidor) contains nicotine-based poisons which are now banned in France, Italy, Germany, and Slovenia, because of links to massive bee deaths.

These nicotine pesticides (‘neonicotinoids’) are widely used on NZ crops and are now available to the public. Labelling them ‘soft’ on pollinators is biting the hand the feeds us. Bees have been our partners for ages– our important foods need bee pollination. Neonicotinoid pesticides are systemic – the whole plant remains toxic right through to flowering. If spray drift doesn’t kill them, bees could be poisoned by pollen, nectar, and drinking water. Even sub-lethal doses weaken bees’ reproduction, immune systems, navigation, and memory.

Government agencies are not restricting neonicotinoids, so we all need to act: suppliers can label honestly; garden shops can warn customers; and gardeners can avoid ‘handy’ poisons.  Neonicotinoids are in these products: Confidor, Advantage, Merit and Admire (what shameless names).

Evidence: Scientific studies/reports; Nicotine Bees (movie); UN Bee Report; EPA Memostudent journalist challenges Yates.

Artists: Michelangelo, Bees, Herge

Sunday, June 12th, 2011


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.