OT (?) Bees in trouble

It's not really OT, since the dire predicament of the pollinators that give us our "daily bread" is of concern to home gardeners as well as to consumers of commercially-produced food, organic or otherwise.
There are many sites on-line to learn about pesticides laced with Neonicotinoid,such as the powerful NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) to other environmental groups.
A comprehensive article is at <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonicotinoid .
Science Daily has excellent article on same subject.
Are bees 'hooked' on nectar containing pesticides? Posted: 23 Apr 2015 08:41 PM PDT Bees are attracted to nectar containing common pesticides, scientists have discovered. This could increase their chances of exposure to high levels of pesticides.
It's "David" (us) against "Goliath", who is wired into U.S. corrupt Congress and (hah!)regulators.
What to do? Wait until magnitude of problem begins to hit the grocery shelves? Or demand action, FWIW.
HB
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Hypatia Nachshon wrote: ...

do what you can to add bee food and habitat.
not all bees are honey bees. a lot of things can be done to help the many different kinds of bees...
songbird
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...

...

I just knew you'd foray into nutso land rather than sticking to the important issue of the health of our bees. That's why this whole thread is going to devolve into politics.

Sure complain to congress.
Make sure you complain that you want the government to spend more money to understand and fix the problem.
There are scientists studying the issue. That's where these stories come from about the latest discovery. If you think this problem is important, you should be willing to pay more taxes so more work can be done. The problem may or may not fix itself. It's too important to take that chance.
--
Dan Espen

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On 24/04/15 21:26, Hypatia Nachshon wrote:

The "pollinator" which gives us our "daily bread" is the wind. No bees or other insects are involved. All cereal crops AFAIK are wind pollinated, so our staple foods are not affected by the bee population.
What we would tend to lose - at least in the short term - is fruit (including nuts), and vegetable fruits such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, legumes, etc. The main problem would be the loss of soya, not only because it is used in many forms in oriental cuisine, but because it is a major source of animal feed. We would also need to find substitutes for foodstuffs such as oilseed rape. As gardeners, we would lose a lot of our home-grown crops, too.
But it would /probably/ only be a short term loss as other pollinators such as hoverflies would move in to take the place of bees.
That all being said, I like watching bees go about their work, and would really miss them if they disappeared.
--

Jeff

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On Sun, 26 Apr 2015 09:46:12 +0100, Jeff Layman

We have been missing obvious honeybees in my area (northern NJ) for a few years now. Other bees have taken over pollination duties. I photograph them each season.
In fact, we just came back from a trip to SoCal and I was intrigued by seeing all the honeybees again. We had not seen them in ages and ages in our neck of the woods.
Boron
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Jeff Layman wrote:

What you know is incorrect. All plants are pollenated by wind to some extent but wind alone doesn't do a very good job. Grain/forage crops still rely *primarilly* on insect pollenation... you obviously don't live in farming country for if you ever walked about wheat/corn/hay fields you'd see more insect polinators at work than you can count, and their noise is deafening. Relying on wind alone most of the pollen would be blown away, that's why I installed central air, the interior of my house was coated yellow everywhere, and I got rid of the window screens, couldn't see out through all the pollen anyway. Now I never open windows. My property is surrounded by thousands of acres of grain and hay fields, my property was in grain and hay too when I bought it, but was too dirty, noisy, and ugly; with the insects all day and the frogs all night couldn't sleep or talk in normal tones, and after the crops were harvested when there was no snow all I'd see outside was stubble... now I mow those fields so they are lawn, much nicer. But there's still lots of pollen, trees and wild flowers produce more pollen than crops. I still can't understand how the people here live with no AC and open windows, they can't keep up with dusting/vacuuming, and they insist on hanging their wash outdoors, they wear yellow clothes, I mean as much as possible they buy yellow clothing so folks don't notice the pollen. Just beginning to green up here... much nicer in every way than hay fields, at dusk my fertilizing tenants appear:
http://i57.tinypic.com/28iyg6b.jpg
http://i59.tinypic.com/spufwh.jpg
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On 26/04/15 16:31, Brooklyn1 wrote:

I am afraid you have it wrong. http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0512sp1.htm "While not all flowering plants depend on animals for pollination - cereals, for example, are wind-pollinated - most of the world's orchard, horticultural and forage crops can only produce seeds and fruit if animals move pollen from the flower's male anthers to the female stigma of the same or another flower. "
http://www.plantbiotechnology.org.in/issue4.html "The pollination behavior of the cereal and millet crop plants shows that most of them are highly self-pollinated or wind pollinated. Biotic vectors do not visit these species. In some other crop species biotic vectors that visit the flowers only take what they want such as nectar and/or pollen, and not necessarily pollinate. However, biotic vectors are important pollinators of a considerable number of species of fruit and vegetable crops and several wild species."
http://pollinators.biodiversityireland.ie/home/the-value-of-pollinators/ "In terms of weight, 35% of the world food production come from crops which depend on insect pollination, 60% come from crops which do not (such as cereals) and 5% come from crops on which the impact of insect pollination is still unknown."
Many other similar hits if you Google "pollination" and "cereals".

I live less than 5 minutes from "farming country" (a lot less than that if you consider the smells which are pretty common this time of year...). I often walk through fields of wheat and barley and almost never see bees in them. If there are any pollinators they will be found on or around flowering weeds in a sea of cereals. They never visit the cereal flowers as they get nothing from them.

Nonsense. It does get everywhere - particularly up the noses of hayfever sufferers, but there is more than enough to go round to pollinate cereal crops.
--

Jeff

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On 4/26/2015 2:36 PM, Jeff Layman wrote:

Nice references. Appears the higher value crops of fruit and nuts need bees. Would be interesting to see that ratio. Around here, we are approaching the season where my cars turn yellow but that is only a month or two. Then I wash them ;)
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Jeff Layman wrote:

Once again Sheldon hasn't done his homework but relies instead on his observation skills which are poor and his bluster which is huge. Naughty boy Shelly, sit in the corner.
For those who want to know what plants require insect pollination this will tell you much, with cites to research if you want to follow up details of particular plants.
http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/20220500/OnlinePollinationHandbook.pdf
A relevant quote:
"Worldwide, more than 3,000 plant species have been used as food, only 300 of which are now widely grown, and only 12 of which furnish nearly 90 percent of the world's food. These 12 include the grains: rice, wheat, maize (corn), sorghums, millets, rye, and barley, and potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassavas or maniocs, bananas, and coconuts (Thurston 1969).1 The grains are wind-pollinated or self-pollinated, coconuts are partially wind-pollinated and partially insect pollinated, and the others are propagated asexually or develop parthenocarpically. However, more than two-thirds of the world's population is in Southeast Asia where the staple diet is rice. Superficially, it appears that insect-pollination has little effect on the world's food supply - possibly no more than 1 percent."
The last sentence sums it up.
--
David

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Once upon a time on usenet Jeff Layman wrote:

Two things;
1) 'Man cannot live on bread alone'.
2) Google is no longer the non-partisan benign corporation that they painted themselves to be for over a decade. Relying on their search results for anything other than casual curiousity is foolhardy at best.

LOL. That explains the short-sightedness - cereal pollen in your eyes.
--
Shaun.

"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
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Once upon a time on usenet Jeff Layman wrote:

"Short term" evolutionarily speaking but in fact it would take many hundreds of years for other insects to fill the niche vacated by bees to any significant degree. (And then whatever is killing bees would likely kill them as well, assuming it's man-made and we're still here then.) Where would these many thousands of hoverflies per square mile find fetid swamps for their larvae to live in (within flying distance)? We're removing wetlands as fast as we can without a care for the animals that live in them for some or all of their lives.

More than you think. World-wide famine would be a major distraction.
--
Shaun.

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On Friday, April 24, 2015 at 1:26:06 PM UTC-7, Hypatia Nachshon wrote:

ve us our "daily bread" is of concern to home gardeners as well as to cons umers of commercially-produced food, organic or otherwise.

tinoid,such as the powerful NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) to oth er environmental groups.

d>.

e discovered. This could increase their chances of exposure to high levels of pesticides.

ess and (hah!)regulators.

lves? Or demand action, FWIW.

Excellent article in the Spring 2015 magazine of "Defenders of Wildlife" (o ne of the most honest groups in its field) titled "The Pollinator Predicame nt" about the problems of Bee, Bat and Butterfly pollinators.
<http://www.defenders.org/magazine/spring-2015/pollinator-predicament
In same issue of DW magazine, an article entitled
http://www.defenders.org/magazine/spring-2015/living-lightly
discusses the neonicotinoid group of pesticides,naming names of products.
Probably members know about these, but here's quote from article:
"Don't forget to check the ingredients of products used in the yard and gar den. Avoid any that incorporate ***imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam , acetamiprid or dinotefuran,**** all of which belong to the group of pesti cides called neonicotinoids (see The Pollinator Predicament, page 10). To t ake it a step further, tell big box home improvement stores not to sell pla nts and seeds that are pretreated with neonics.
You can also become proactive with legislators and ask them to support bann ing certain pesticides, to follow ecologically friendly land use practices and to protect sensitive areas from development. Improved pesticide labelin g is also key to better understand how our food is grown. By buying organic food, you can help encourage pesticide-free farming."
HB
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