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Domestic bee will be an endangered species soon

 
Werner Gysi
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As a homesteader working the land for 30 years now I have seen a lot. I have put down my experience in a couple of books called Harmonic Farming: Homesteading (2009) and a new one Harmonic Farming: Bees (2011) so others can have a faster learning curve.
However, what is happening to the bees all over the world now is outrageous. Someone has to stop the insanity of agribusiness at the cost of an ecosystem or we will be in big trouble. As it is, our ecological footprint, according to WWF, is way above the sustainability of our planet. I can't even have my own corn seed any longer, as GMO crops are grown close by. And now those crops are sprayed with pesticides that do not hurt the plant but obviously kills millions of bees. Who wants all this? Are we a minority?
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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Agh, the dollar talks to most people.  And don't even get me going on Monsanto.  The farmer that has fields all around us uses his own wheat seed, but there's still some spraying.  Hate it.  And then there's the Roundup ready soybeans...o joy.  He's always really good about letting us know when he's going to be spraying, but that accomplishes very little other than giving me time to get depressed about it.

On the flip side, I have an area for bees and butterflies, only 24' x 24' probably, but every year it is just packed with different kinds of bees and the most unusual butterflies!  Most every flower in there is from the previous years seed so it changes and every flying critter is happy.  The area is gradually expanding as the wind blows the seed.  Not much of an impact, but hey, every little bit helps in my book.

We do have a few organic farmers in our area, and there are others that are making some minor changes, but in the long run, it's the dollar that controls everything.  The guy I love out here raised bees to sell honey as a hobby.  As he made more money with that, he started leasing land to grow clover and does beekeeping on that land.

I would like to think that as they make less $ because of non-pollination, most will change.  Keeping my fingers crossed.
 
T. Joy
Posts: 438
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This is very sad. I don't understand why but most people don't know and don't want to know.
 
                    
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I think there was a widespread wave of concern associated with the initial years of colony collapse disorder. More people got interested in bee keeping, some took the plunge.

We need to do more than preach to the choir. We need to communicate these problems better to the general public. We need to educate people on the dangers of pesticides, the value of good habitat. We need to give people something they can do - most feel it is out of their hands. There are projects like the annual bee inventory (people need to plant sunflowers, and then count the bees visiting on a particular day, and report that to the data keepers). Even people who won't go into standard bee keeping using all the complex equipment might put up a home for mason bees ... no honey, but pollination and other positive ecosystem value.
 
T. Joy
Posts: 438
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That is exactly what I would be interested in myself. I have no use for honey and don't love the idea of having to "help" the bees beyond providing an appealing space for them. Beeswax is useful for candles but... I'm not willing to be a hive mother just for that...
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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I think this is a good argument for *not* buying land in agricultural areas. You have to work harder to improve the soil in non-ag zones, but the pesticide load is much less. My fantasy is that those of us who have taken the challenge of serious gardening in marginal lands can be a refuge for bees.
 
                      
Posts: 70
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It really depends on the area, as not all agricultural land sees heavy pesticide application these days. While the widespread use of GMO corn and soybeans certainly has it's down sides, it has dropped the use of broad band pesticides. In the days before GMO corn and beans, it was common to have real issues with pestilence that required treatment with heavy pesticide application. Many common corn and soybean pests are directly targeted by the plant tissues themselves. Of course this raises a whole new Pandora's box of problems.......

In relation to your corn planting problems, have you tried to stagger your plant dates? If you ask the local producer, I'm sure he would be happy to tell you which variety he planted. With that information, you could plan yours to tassel a bit later or a bit earlier. However, pushing the dates can have an impact on your yield.

With that being said, wanna see a list of recommended pesticides for corn pests?

permethrin, esfenvalerate, tebupirimphos, cyfluthrin, bacillus thuringiensis, bifenthrin, chlorpyrifos, cyhalothrin, terbufos, thiamethoxam, deltamethrin, dimethoate, tefluthrin, zeta-cypermethrin, bifenthrin, chlorpyrifos, malathion, zeta-cypermethrin, methyl parathion, clothianidin, gamma cyhalothrin, fipronil, carbaryl, chlorethoxyfos bifenthrin, and lambda cyhalothrin

Generic names, not market names. These are from my 2010 corn and soybean field guide.
 
Ardilla Esch
Posts: 198
Location: Northern New Mexico, Zone 5b
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There are lots of challenges in bee keeping with old and new deseases, pests, and pesticides.  However, declaring the European Honeybee doomed to extinction goes a little far to this beekeeper.

We certainly have some large battles to be waged against neonicotinoid pesticides and others.  And I have felt the profound disappointment of losing an entire apiary to disease.  However, I am optimistic that we will always have bees.  Personally, I am doubling my number of hives out of stubborness (and for what is an enjoyable pasttime to me).
 
                      
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Ardilla wrote:
Personally, I am doubling my number of hives out of stubborness


I love it!

I wish I could keep bees. It's just hard for me to tie myself down at this point in my life.....

Keep up the good work.
 
Derek Brewer
Posts: 113
Location: Hatfield, PA
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Everyone can help and have mason bees with a simple box like this: http://www.canadianhomeworkshop.com/index.php?ci_id=3043&la_id=1

Different species of bee, but every little bit helps. I'm hoping to get my own hive going at some point, just not sure what the laws are here in the city.

Also, hasn't CCD hit the European Honey bee significantly worse than the native species?
 
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