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BS: Honey Bee News Article

gnu 09 Jul 11 - 10:46 AM
Crowhugger 09 Jul 11 - 11:12 AM
gnu 09 Jul 11 - 12:14 PM
Jack the Sailor 09 Jul 11 - 12:22 PM
gnu 09 Jul 11 - 12:31 PM
pdq 09 Jul 11 - 12:50 PM
gnu 09 Jul 11 - 01:48 PM
Geoff the Duck 10 Jul 11 - 01:57 PM
gnu 10 Jul 11 - 02:40 PM
ChanteyLass 10 Jul 11 - 04:25 PM
Cats 10 Jul 11 - 05:14 PM
maeve 10 Jul 11 - 08:37 PM
pdq 10 Jul 11 - 08:56 PM
gnu 10 Jul 11 - 09:45 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 10 Jul 11 - 11:22 PM
GUEST 11 Jul 11 - 06:43 AM
JohnInKansas 11 Jul 11 - 09:52 AM
maeve 11 Jul 11 - 09:59 AM
gnu 11 Jul 11 - 11:08 AM

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Subject: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: gnu
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 10:46 AM

CP

MONTREAL - What salary would you expect to pay a force of internationally diverse workers who toil harmoniously — without pension plans, paid overtime or the threat of union action — to produce 87 per cent of North America's food supply?

How about... nothing?

Concordia University biologist Melanie McCavour is seeking greater recognition of the economic value of work done by bees and other crop-pollinating creatures.

She presented this issue to the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation in the presence of the continent's three federal environment ministers last month in Montreal.

The issue is one of the conundrums currently before the commission as part of its ongoing mandate to monitor the environmental impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"We want to not only protect pollinator diversity under NAFTA," said McCavour, "but we're also asking for a study to determine the exact dollar amount of these pollinators to our economy."

Current estimates of the value of global annual agricultural production provided by natural crop-pollinators are in the neighbourhood of $250 billion.

Assigning a tangible monetary value to the pollination service is the first step in establishing a protocol for protecting its workers. The logic goes that if people realize the labour value of bees, bats, birds, beetles, and butterflies, policy-makers will be likelier to develop better environmental and agricultural policies.

Any alternative to natural pollinators — such as having untold numbers of human beings manually spread pollen with paintbrushes and Q-tips — would be economically unfeasible, not to mention physically implausible.

With a decline in bee populations, McCavour called for major changes in pollination and agriculture practices.

The European honey bee has long been credited with bearing the bulk of the pollination burden, but there are actually more than 20,000 separate bee species which spread pollen, along with a host of other winged creatures.

Among the most effective are Africanized bees, which provide a 50 per cent higher produce yield than standard apiary honey bees. However, there are common fears about introducing the non-native species.

McCavour wants to challenge those fears.

"A lot of invasive species are pollinators," McCavour later explained in an interview.

If insects are considered contributors to an overall pollination service, she said losing a species is not necessarily a bad thing if the new species does the same, or a better, job.

Lessons learned from using a variety of pollinators can also be applied when sowing the crops themselves — including the lesson that diversity is good.

Experimental agricultural plantations have revealed that farming an array of food crops side by side will result in a higher overall produce yield due to variations in the pollinators they will attract.

This is in direct opposition to the current practice of wide-scale orchard plantations, which may be contributing to the alarming decline of the honey bee population in North America.

California's almond growers occupy more than 800,000 acres and produce 80 per cent of the world's almond crops. These crops are pollinated entirely by commercial beekeepers who ferry the bees out to the orchards by the truckload.

"We are overworking the (honey) bees so badly," McCavour said in the interview. "They're out on the road from February until the fall."

Pollination of the almond crop in the California agricultural belt uses virtually every available commercially owned honey bee in the United States — and McCavour says it's still not enough.

She suggests a simple solution: designating strips of land within the plantations to diversify the crops would attract wild pollinators to the area and reduce the honey bees' workload, she says.

Another roadblock to work out under NAFTA is the use of pesticides — specifically neonicotinoids — which are harmful to both bees and bats.

The Environmental Protection Agency had approved their use but the state of New York challenged the ruling and won, rendering pesticides containing the ingredient illegal in the United States. However, they can still be legally obtained in Mexico and Canada.

"It creates a lot of problems when you're trying to come up with a cohesive pollinator protection plan that applies to the three countries," said McCavour.

Though McCavour believes it's important to maintain overall high biological diversity, she doesn't believe we need to continually preserve the exact same species. "In fact it's impossible, under evolutionary terms."

"We also need to focus more on using ... wild pollinators," said McCavour, adding such a move would diminish some of the concern over colony collapse disorder.

"Overall high biodiversity is important so we shouldn't stress about where the diverse species originates, as long as it doesn't take over completely."

She said colony collapse is only a critical issue for farmers as long as they depend solely on one species for pollination — suggesting that even the most productive company might benefit from a diversified workforce.


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: Crowhugger
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 11:12 AM

Okay, so I wonder:

What what happens in the longer term when the sought-after increase in pollination occurs not just with food supply but with non-native, invasive, non-food species like the 10'-15' tall grass that looks much like pampas grass (I don't know the actual name) that is crowding out bulrushes and drying up wetlands faster than normal, or purple loosestrife which also dries up wetlands (10x the natural pre-loosestrife rate)?

And what happens when the increased pollination occurs with the many other non-native species (wild carrot, chicory, most of the clovers we are used to seeing, to name a few) that have crowded out considerably more native North American plants than they replaced (which names sorry I don't recall because I almost never see these plants, and sighting is what leads to looking them up in my wildflower books or asking someone, which is how I remember plant names)?

And same question with respect to native species, those which now are in balance with the bugs and birds and other wildlife they support and which support them?

The article doesn't say whether a lighter workload for domestic honeybees will in fact prefent hive collapse or enable the bees' natural defenses to protect them against the problem viruses that wipe out ever more colonies.

A verrrry complicated issue because it affects nothing less than all of life itself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: gnu
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 12:14 PM

purple loosestrife... years ago, pamphlets from the federal gov't of Canada were in our provincial DNR buildings here in New Brunswick. The last page was a form that could be filled out giving the location of observed plants and mailed to Ottawa at no charge. I filled one in and sent it. Location : New Brunswick - all OVER the fuckin place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 12:22 PM

Honey Bees of the world unite!!

A union bee forever!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: gnu
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 12:31 PM

When I was a lad, my old man told me that purple loosestrife was weed and that the RCMP had burnt as much as they could find just after WW11 as returning soldiers would have been introduced to weed in various theatres (they actually did burn weed - the weed had been bought by the French Settlers for making rope, clothes, etc). Of course, being curious I smoked some. I became rather ill and my old man had a good laugh when I arrived home.


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: pdq
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 12:50 PM

A web search for "mason bee" should get some interesting articles on an alternate to the honey bee.

You can give the mason bees a place to nest by drilling holes in wood and mounting it in your yard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: gnu
Date: 09 Jul 11 - 01:48 PM

I believe maeve does that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 01:57 PM

I left the money out for the bees with a note...
They didn't take it!
Maybe they didn't have the correct change...

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: gnu
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 02:40 PM

They just buzzed off?


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 04:25 PM

Gnu, methinks Maksim's fingers move as quickly as bee's wings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: Cats
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 05:14 PM

My honeybees get paid in kind. They get fed on ambrosia in the spring and sugar paste in the winter


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: maeve
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 08:37 PM

We have many honeybees, mason bees, bumblebees, butterflies, moths, various wasps and hornets, and birds who take turns pollinating plants from February through mid December.

Gnu is correct that we encourage mason bees in particular. So far they have found plenty of natural holes for egg laying, but we are readying good locations for nest blocks as we reclaim our neglected orchards, gardens and surrounding land.

Thanks for the heads-up, gnu. It's an interesting thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: pdq
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 08:56 PM

Here is an example of a nest block (of wood) for the...


                                                                                                          mason bees


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: gnu
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 09:45 PM

GREAT LINK pdq!


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 10 Jul 11 - 11:22 PM

At the Nova Scotia New Brunswick border there is a sign banning importing bees into Nova Scotia so gnu, you should best keep them at home! Perhaps someone will explain to the idiots on our side that bees fly. A few years ago I was stung by a NB bee that flew in my truck window while crossing the Tantramar Marsh. That sucker nearly made it!


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 06:43 AM

But, is the sign bilingual?


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 09:52 AM

You didn't notice the footnote on the sign that said:

"BZZZ BZZ BZZZ ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZ ZZZZ!" ?

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: maeve
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 09:59 AM

Come to think of it, we could probably use some scraps of red cedar from the yurt to make nest blocks...when we have time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Honey Bee News Article
From: gnu
Date: 11 Jul 11 - 11:08 AM

gnu asked "But, is the sign bilingual?" without his cookie.

JiK... I was thinking more like, "Pas des buzzers icit la eh!"


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