Pollination of our -food- supply is threatened, because throughout the past several years, the honey bees have been disappearing from hives, leaving queens, honey and larva behind! Few dead bees remain, mostly abandoned hives: colony collapse.
You’ll find plenty of research and speculation. But solutions are not easy to find.
We must take action now, however. PollinateThis! calls for immediate federal emergency spending (FEMA, USDA) to give the U.S. beekeepers, both commercial and other, financial relief for losses. This small community (beekeepers) is mission critical to the survival of our economy. We cannot let them go out of business. They need the same relief and benefits that other -subsidized- industries and farmers receive! If we pay farmers in this country -not- to farm, then we can pay beekeepers to exist. We further call upon FEMA and the U.S. president to redirect money allocated for the “War on Terror” directly toward establishment of emergency beekeeper training in the U.S. for veterans and returning soldiers. We may not have enough bees to sustain -our own food-, and we cannot rely on imports from China! Can you imagine the potential for reckless poisoning from tainted foods? They don’t have an EPA in China and that’s why their bees disappeared and they are hand-pollinating pears (pesticides)! “Homeland” defense must now include sustaining and nurturing our honey bees, because our lives depend on it. Immediate relief for beekeeper losses can come in the form of compensation for educational services provided to returning vets to learn beekeeping. These are our bold recommendations. THIS IS NOT A DRILL! 2008 is the year to prevent catastrophe! Beekeeping and PTSD probably go together pretty well, too.
I don’t have post trauma, but I’ll be blogging here about my experience becoming a beekeeper in a time when it doesn’t look profitable or healthy. But that’s what I think we need to do – pay more attention and nurture our relationship with this amazing, beautiful, female BEEing.
January 22, 2008
San Francisco, CA
I borrowed my friend’s vegcar to drive up to Santa Rosa, CA last weekend to learn about the CCD situation and meet more local beekeepers at the 2008 Bee Symposium. Quite a nice turnout at the Summerfield Waldorf School, and I learned some great bits about dusting for mites with powdered sugar and using a microscope to look for Nosema ceranae from Randy Oliver (scientificbeekeeping dot com). The nice couple from Bee Kind store sponsored the event…. email@example.com
I have some recordings, and photos. The most interesting presentation that I wished I had recorded entirely was Dr. Ron Fessenden’s 20 minute powerpoint about honey and health, and the first Int’l Honey and Human Health symposium that happened in January 2008. It was fantastic! Click play below for some video from his presentation (shot with Canon Powershot SD1000).
I commented publicly on my observation that most of the attendees were more experienced, and/or older folks and thought that there may be a connection between the disheartening graph presented by Serge Labesque, and the fact that not many younger beekeepers were present (I counted 5 including myself). The response from Michael Thiele and others was “it’s always been that way” and “even in Germany and other parts of the world.” Obviously, according to the graph. My intention is to inspire more “kids” to understand pollination and beekeeping. It’s probably more heroic work, than, say… well, need I say? I encourage potential beekeeper mentors to recruit, get involved with leadership programs to integrate your work to find and plant the beeky seeds in our youth. Gold stars for all who get a kid away from “Play”stations and Second “Life” and turn them on to saving the planet for real!
Many San Francisco beekeepers were there, who I met later in the week at my first beekeeping club meeting. I’ve gained a mentor, and have found a place to put my hives when my bees come in April. We’ve formed a subcommittee within SFBA to examine and understand the apple moth arial spraying slated for the city of San Francisco August 1, 2008. Arial spraying for pests seems to me to be a rather Soviet-era way to handle a bug, militaristic and ineffective, and devastatingly ignorant. There is a campaign to stop this insanity.
As far as CCD goes, Mussen reported that it appears the same or worse than last year. The Vanishing of the Bees crew blogged of a well-known beek bringing them to see his dead-out hives, bee “graveyard” – millions of bees.
-DNR, March 16, 2008
BEE SYMPOSIUM 2008 THE HONEYBEE, Pollinators AND THE ENVIRONMENT
DATE: Saturday, March 8, 2008
TIME: 9:00 am ? 6:00 pm
In this time of global ecological challenges, the honeybee is an indicator species reflecting the enormous changes taking place in our world. Bee populations are dying and pollination ecology is deeply affected. As beekeepers, we must become stewards of the earth and change paradigms. This one-day symposium offers information and speakers with new perspectives on honeybees and native pollinators, beekeeping practices, innovative approaches and ecological strategies for beekeepers.
THE DAY FEATURES:
Randy Oliver, Grass Valley, Biologist and forward thinking commercial beekeeper
Dr. Eric Mussen, Entomologist, UC Davis, CA Beekeeper Association 2006 Beekeeper of the Year
Katharina Ullmann, Presenting for Claire Kremnen, Xerces Society, UC Berkeley
Serge Labesque, 2006 Western Apiculturist Society’s (WAS) Innovator of the year
Kathy Kellison, Executive Director of Partners For Sustainable Pollination (PFSP)
Doreen Schmid, presenting bee art The Melissa Garden ? A honey bee sanctuary in Healdsburg Rudolf Steiner College, Sonoma County Master Gardeners, 4-H Kids, Sonoma County Beekeeping Association and more.