OT (but important): From March 2008 Bee Culture

This is a little exerpt from an article written by Kim Flottum about the First National Beekeeper's Conference held in Sacramento this past January. If any of you have seen the 60 Minutes piece on CCD, you'll be familiar with David Hackenburg, the beekeeper credited with first reporting what turned out to be Colony Collapse Disorder last year (please pardon any typos, this article isn't online yet and I had to retype it, but it is well worth my time if you all learn something from it):
Pesticides, CCD:
Speaking of new problems, Colony Collapse Disorder and associated problems were high on everybody's list of must-see.
It started with pesticides aplenty here, and even if they aren't the CCD curse, they are killing bees faster than beekeepers can make them.
David Mendes, a 7,000 colony, Massachusetts/Florida beekeeper/pollinator talked about pesticides in the environments his bees must visit when pollinating crops and how these chemicals may be contributing to his problems...and his problems have been significant. His first comment was that pesticides aren't tested by the EPA but rather by the Chemical companies that make them, and then the EPA approves them for use, or not. Any guesses on how those results come out?
He talked about not only the financial but emotional stess that losing 60 - 80% of your bees has on beekeepers....anything more than 50% in a year and it gets real, real hard to recover. Two years in a row and you could be looking for a job as a greeter at Wal-Mart, he said.
David Hackenburg, the first to report Colony Collapse Disorder last year (but not the first to have it, certainly), first told about the 2000 or so colonies he had moved to Florida in early January, but within a couple of weeks 80% were gone with the same symptoms of CCD he saw in his bees last year. He quoted Jerry Hayes, the State Apiary Inspector from Florida (where CCD is common) who said that beekeeping was the ugly stepchild of American agriculture". How so? The government has made lots of promises so far Hackenberg said...but so far....not much has happened.
He also mentioned pesticides, specifically Imadaclprid, and how it was used everywhere, by everybody. But he went on, and I quote..."Big Ag has control of the USDA from the Secretary right on down to almost thel owest guys on the totem pole." What to do? Get a hold of your congress folks and get them to get some action...get the money out, get control of the chemicals.
David Ellingson, another commercial beekeeper and beeswax processor talked about doing everything the way he had been doing things... and nothing was working. It used to be, when a colony dies, air it out and reuse it....now, that new colony will die, too. His pesticide comment was that farmers are now 'stacking' pesticides...that is, combining insecticides, herbicides and fungicides in a single trip across the field instead of three trips. The problem? When combined these chemical blends become a thousand times more toxic than when used alone. A thousand times more toxic. Imagine.
Gene Brandi, a 2000 colony commercial beekeeper talked about one specific pesticide problem. Spraying fungicides on blooming plants. Generally these compounds aren't harmful to honeybees....adult honey bees, that is, which is all the EPA makes the chemical companies test (remember who does the tests, and who approves the results). Meanwhile, these non-adult-harming compounds that are brought back to the hive are being fed to baby bees. Would you feed fungicides to your children? No? Neither would I but we are routinely letting honey bees do just that. These chemicals come back to hives on the pollen the bees collect, then store, then feed to their children. This just screams for long term studies on the effects of these chemicals on all the inhabitants in the hive over several generations....the question is, do these chemicals, when fed to brood, affect the adults the brood eventually becomes? Right now absolutely nobody knows. Nobody.
Scientists still don't know for sure what causes CCD, and it may be pesticides are the problem pure and simple (well, pesticides aren't pure or simple, are they?). Certainly the stress that constant exposure to pesticides exerts on the honey bee population, and the strain this stress puts on a honey bee's immune system is one of the links in the CCD chain.
As part of this session that list of chemicals I talked about last month that was found in wax, brood, adult bees, honey and pollen was shown again, and again it started at the ceiling, ran down the wall, down the center isle (dodging the many people sitting on the floor), and headed out the door. The list is so scary that it makes me want to sit on the floor. We are surely killing bees by the way we are keeping bees.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Exactly. This is why you get good results with prunella and lisoprinil.
Aside: What about the effects that people may be experiencing from drug/herbal interactions drinking unfiltered municipal water? You know what is getting pissed down the drain and then being uptaken in the water supply. I wonder......if one waters their garden with drug contaminated water, does that transfer to what we are eating? And to what level. So many questions, so few answers......but I have my suspicions.
I don't know. Just questioning.
Charlie
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Goddammit Billy, I'm gonna beat you like a rented mule.
Ease up on Ann.
Charlie
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Charlie expounded:

Don't worry about him, he doesn't bother me a bit.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Oh, but I do worry about him. Bein's that I have a great fondness for the old fart, I would really hate to see him blow an aorta or suffer some sort of cerebral bleedout when he has forgotten to have his cuppa prunella. He is chockablock full of good info and his heart and head are in the right places.....*most* of the time. ;-)
Seriously, Billy is a good head, just a little rambunctious at times and every bit as political and more reactionary than I, though I entirely understand where he is coming from. His points are usually valid, his presention is just a little rough at times, and I understand why this is, and he goes all ad hominem on some of us at times, some of us most times. ;-)
It's okay by me...he has made me think deeply about some things...I love the old geezer...he just needs a good beatin' once in a while.
Care Charlie
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In article

......................
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/shinelab/research/PPCP.htm
Project Goals
"The overarching goal of this research project is to develop a ranking system for PPCPs that quantifies the potential relative risk that compounds pose to human health and ecological health. We will use this relative ranking process to narrow the list of PPCPs to a more manageable subset of priority PPCPs, those that likely pose the greatest potential risk. These high risk PPCPs will be identified as requiring additional research into their fate and transport, ecotoxicolgy, and human toxicology."
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA


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