Tuesday, August 22, 2017

An Ode to Bees

This blog post is dedicated to bees - all of them,  native species and the famous honey bee. 

They work hard and without them we wouldn't have food to eat. They are fascinating to watch and very intelligent using special dances to communicate with one another. I often take pictures and videos of them pausing to marvel at these special and vital pollinators. 

I even take pictures of them on holiday and eagerly wait for them to start their activity each spring. 

The last few years I haven't sprayed any weed control on my grass at home. Each time I see a bee enjoying clover, I just can't do it. I don't spray at all at the farm and plant flowers just for the bees. 

I love the new initiative in Winston Salem, where I live Bee our Future on Instagram. The local bee keeper Josh is inspiring. 

I also love following Debbie Roos on twitter an Extension agent in Chatham County NC with a passion for native pollinators she offers tours of the pollinator garden and is a wealth of knowledge follow here on twitter.

Collecting pollen at the farm.

When volunteering with the school garden we plant for bees, and chat about their brilliance and importance. 

We all know bees are important and have read about their decline in the news. A local bee keeper of 50 years recently visited me at The Farm, he plans to add a hive in the spring he says he has steadily seen a decline as agriculture has changed and used more chemical inputs.

While we do maybe need some herbicides and insecticides I truly believe we have become chemical dependent. I recently noticed a group of social media influencer dietitians attending a sponsored trip in Copenhagen, Michelin star meals, and speakers on bees. Also the need for GMO to feed the world.  On this point reducing food waste globally and gardening more would also play a vital role in feeding folks.
 Its organized by Porter Novelli an advertising agency with food industry sponsors often Monsanto and Bayer Crop Science. I have no issue with GMO crops many of my neighbors in Yadkin County NC grow them and we live in Harmony. 
My issue is that recent science shows potential harm from neonicotinoids, maybe not directly but studies show they affect bees behavior and the amount of eggs laid

I have read many articles on this topic from trusted news sources. Then theres Bayer's PR side with websites and sponsored events and a bee care center in Raleigh NC they even sponsor the flowers along the road side in NC. While these are all good endeavors and I appreciate them surely taking the science seriously and finding alternatives to chemicals for weed control is vital. 

One farmer I follow in North Dakota uses cultivation to control weeds in his soybean fields and I even saw mention on the tweets of another farmer laser controlled weed control.

Here's a flavor of the conference I mentioned.

 It's messaging is in line with good PR but I ask you to look big picture. Read the science, chat to bee keepers and farmers, and do your part we all play a role, often companies are profit driven. Avoid spraying your yard, hand pull weeds, plant for bees and make friends with them they need YOU.

Bees on a Thistle in Scotland. 
Admiring a bee in Germany


1. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/08/14/542895824/popular-pesticides-keep-bumblebees-from-laying-eggs
2. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/neonicotinoid-pesticides-slowly-killing-bees/

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