Smithsonian’s Bee Man Delivers Up Some Advice for Dealing with Colony Collapse Disorder

Excerpts, The Smithsonian – “David Roubik looks a bit like Santa Claus and always is on the verge of a chuckle, and as a staff scientist at Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama City for 35 years, he is one of the closest things on earth to a walking bee encyclopedia. During his tenure, he has revolutionized the study of bees in the tropics, and established himself as a renowned authority on bee varieties including the Meliponini tribe, orchid bees and the invasive Africanized honeybee…

…Roubik now uses his expertise to combat the world’s general ignorance about bees. Some scientific evidence suggests bees’ numbers are dwindling as factors like climate change and deforestation disrupt ecological balances around the globe.  Honey-producing bees, especially, have frequented the news in recent years due to worries of colony collapse disorder, the precise causes and actual prevalence of which are hotly debated. Honey bees are the world’s primary pollinators, used commercially to grow hundreds of billions of dollars of crops each year, so a major loss would be economically catastrophic. But Roubik says there is much to be understood about bees’ lives and our influence on them before we start to panic…

“I study nature, where it exists,” he told me. “Bees have basically nothing to do with apiaries or labs. Their artificial congregation there leads to problems and behaviors that do not exist in a normal ecological or evolutionary setting.”

…As the future of bees increasingly becomes a concern, however, Roubik has focused his energy more and more on being a public voice of reason. The scientist now jokingly likes to call himself a “consultant,” because he spends less time researching and more time sharing his expertise in workshops and planning committees around the world to devise best practices for managing bees. (In our e-mail correspondence following my visit, almost every message he sent arrived from a different country.)  His goal is to spread good information about the insects, not to sensationalize; while the possibility of world-wide spontaneous colony failure is worth looking into, he told me, the colony disappearances that are grabbing headlines frequently are caused by natural fluctuations or human error, not a pandemic…

…“One benefit of doing long-term studies is that I see what happens when an El Niño year comes in the tropics, which causes sustained and super-productive flowering and feeds a lot more bees than the normal,” he said. “This makes populations go up and then go down—they’re supposed to do that. After a year or two of big decline people will start saying Henny Penny the sky is falling, but you can’t predict anything on the basis of one or two years of study. Stability is not the norm, not here or anywhere else.”…

…He shared anecdote after anecdote of what he referred to as the “stupidity of people” as he introduced me to a few more hives around the back of his house: things like major beekeepers being mystified by their bees’ falling numbers as they fed them nutrient-deficient high-fructose corn syrup, and farmers exclusively planting clones of a self-sterile apple tree then worrying all the bees in their region had died off when the apples weren’t pollinated. Recently, he flew down to the Yucatán Peninsula to advise farmers who reported alarming hive losses, only to discover they simply were failing to replace aging colonies…

…Reflecting on his frustration with how little is known about bees, he admitted that ignorance is also part of the fun; there are around 21,000 known bee species in the world and thousands more to be named, and scientists are “still discovering new things bees do that we didn’t have any idea they were doing,” he said. Only recently did scientists realize some bees forage at night, for instance. Some bees use smaller bugs to make honey for them. And there even are a few species that feed on flesh, which Roubik himself discovered in the 80s when he tossed a Thanksgiving turkey carcass into his backyard.

“That’s the beauty of the research,” he said. “Because we’re still short on info, everything’s worth knowing about.”

Read Full Article & View More Images Here on The Smithsonian

The Fifth Sacred Thing

The Fifth Sacred Thing by dreamnectar
dreamnectar.deviantart.com

I’ve read “The Fifth Sacred Thing” three times over…I love everything about the book. The strong heroes and heroins; the eerie possibility that this is our future…and that at the end of it all, there is HOPE. I have my fingers crossed that this will be one of those rare occasions when the movie doesn’t fall 10,000 miles short of the book.

“The Fifth Sacred Thing is an upcoming feature film based on the best selling novel by Starhawk, and is set in 2048, where an ecotopian San Francisco defends itself from invaders using nonviolence and magic.”

The Land Ethic of Aldo Leopold

“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.”

Conservation Esthetic (1938), ASCA 176

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~ Sunrise~ Camping near Burn Cabin Flat, Gila Wilderness of NM in 2011

Considering the countless hours of bliss that I have spent in the heavens and hills of the Gila Wilderness, I am eternally grateful for the vision and work of Aldo Leopold. ~Reb

Excerpts, Aldo Leopold Foundation – “Considered by many as the father of wildlife management and of the United States’ wilderness system, Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast.

Born in 1887 and raised in Burlington, Iowa, Aldo Leopold developed an interest in the natural world at an early age, spending hours observing, journaling, and sketching his surroundings. Graduating from the Yale Forest School in 1909, he eagerly pursued a career with the newly established U.S. Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico. By the age of 24, he had been promoted to the post of Supervisor for the Carson National Forest in New Mexico. In 1922, he was instrumental in developing the proposal to manage the Gila National Forest as a wilderness area, which became the first such official designation in 1924.”

Our tools are better than we are, and grow better faster than we do. They suffice to crack the atom, to command the tides, but they do not suffice for the oldest task in human history, to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.”

Engineering and Conservation (1938), RMG 254

“Leopold was a meticulous and disciplined generator and retainer of important correspondence, memorandum, reports, and related materials. He published more than 500 articles, essays and reports and his papers contain at least 500 more unpublished essays, reports, and memorandum of significance. He also kept detailed diaries and journals of his Forest Service activity, his travels, hunting and field experience, and observations and activities at his Sand County farm. He maintained active correspondence (both outgoing and incoming) with more than a hundred professional and conservation organizations, with his many graduate students, and with hundreds of leaders in a range of scholarly disciplines, professional fields, government agencies, and conservation organizations. His papers reflect the most advanced thinking and most innovative practice across virtually the entire spectrum of natural resource conservation, policy and management in the first half of the twentieth century.

The Aldo Leopold Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives received a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to begin digitizing the entire collection in 2007. The Leopold Archives is now publicly available free of charge for viewing.”

~ The Green Fire ~

We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then and have known ever since that there was something new to me in those eyes, something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.” 

Thinking Like a MountainASCA 130

~ The Land Ethic ~

“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.”- Aldo Leopold

ALF - “Central to Leopold’s philosophy is the assertion to “quit thinking about decent land use as solely an economic problem.”  While recognizing the influence economics have on decisions, Leopold understood that ultimately, our economic well being could not be separated from the well being of our environment. Therefore, he believed it was critical that people have a close personal connection to the land.”

“A land ethic, then, reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of land.”

A Sand County Almanac

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.”  - Aldo Leopold

ALF- “While Aldo Leopold was writing in the 1940s he could not have imagined the far-reaching impact his book would have. Over two million copies have been printed and it has been translated into twelve languages. 

Long respected in his own fields of forestry and wildlife management, Aldo Leopold was a prolific writer for scientific journals and conservation magazines. However, in 1937, sometime after his fifty-third birthday, Leopold became increasingly focused on reaching the general public with his conservation message. Working over a twelve-year period, Leopold wrote, re-wrote, and re-wrote again, essays that both informed people of how the natural world worked, and inspired people to take action to ensure the future health of the land and water that sustains all life.

Lead by Luna Leopold, Aldo’s son, a group of Leopold’s family and colleagues collaborated on the final editing of the book, reluctantly agreeing to one significant change; renaming the book from Leopold’s working title “Great Possessions” to A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There.

Through science, history, humor, and prose, Leopold utilizes A Sand County Almanac and its call for a Land Ethic to communicate the true connection between people and the natural world, with the hope that the readers will begin to treat the land with the love and respect it deserves.”

Jan 9, 2013 – Conservationists, authors, scientists, activists, and scholars from around the world discuss the meaning and importance of Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic for the future of all the cultures of this planet.

Purple Here, Purple There…Purple, Purple Everywhere!

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” 

Alice Walker, The Color Purple

No nasty headlines here today…no GMO information, no Monsanto slamming (yeah, that’s a tough one for me) and of course, no posts about our pathetically inept guvernmint. The world is a mess, I think we’ve all gotten the memo, haven’t we? So…instead of focusing on the muckity-muck today, I thought I’d aim for something more off-beat & hopefully, positive and uplifting. Since I encouraged folks to share what they know, what they’re learning and different ways to become more self-reliant  in the Like A Phoenix: Power Beyond The Fall article, I figure I should take my own advice and share some about the projects we’ve started as we walk our path of  a less consumer-driven and more sustainable & satisfying lifestyle. 

This past weekend we put the scrap lumber & old doors to use and got the chicken coop built. We still need to add a proper roost and nesting box but the hard part is finished at least. Total cost came to around $30 for the wire and a couple of 2×4’s. We bought more wire than we needed but I’m sure we’ll find use for the leftovers in the garden…maybe even use it to make a spiral herb garden, who knows? 

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Yes, there’s a bench inside…if I can’t sit down, how can they hop on my lap for a nap?!

We’re also considering adding a couple of small rain-catchers on either end of the slanted roof; we don’t get much rain here but since we are in such a horrible drought in this region, every saved drop of water counts. Total spent on the hens so far is still under $60…not too shabby and it’s possible we didn’t have to spend that much but hey, I like to spoil them with mealworms, what can I say? They are healthy & happy…not to mention, wonderful pets and tons of fun to have around! Oh, and just because the coop isn’t purple now, doesn’t mean it won’t be at some point in the future…just in case you were wondering what a plain ol’ wood coop had to do with a purple blog-post…

Along with getting the coop done, we also made time to head over and check out the new local nursery (they grow what they sell and don’t import; I LOVE that!)…it was a rainbow of happy colors, oh my! Decisions, decisions!  Some of these and a few of those and oooh….lookit those flowers! In the end, I went on a purple spree…and who knew that Petunias are my favorite flower? I sure the hell didn’t know that until now! Apurple

Wait…did I just say Petunias are my new favorite? Oops…I forgot all about the Purple Sage that now sits happily in our little tea-garden area!

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If heaven exists, it is here and now & THIS is what it smells like! You can’t touch this gorgeous plant without releasing the fragrance…sorry there is no “Scratch & Sniff” option on computers…you’ll just have to trust me on this. I’m looking forward to having fresh sage to cook with and to make my own sage bundles for incense…and oh yes, the buzzy-bees and flutterbyes adore this plant so it’s a win all the way around.

Because we plan on using several hanging containers both inside & out and since I am, in the words of my 6ft3in son, a “short-shit”, I decided that some sort of step-ladder or stool might be helpful…I got super-lucky and scored this little old gem at the ReStore for a whoppin’ $2.

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It was an ugly, chipped brown and a bit wobbly but with a couple of screws and quick coat of paint, it’s cute AND functional! Total cost was under $5 and I am sure I’ll more than get my money’s worth of use out of it. My only problem now is wondering if I shouldn’t have painted it purple but hey, I guess it makes sense to add an accent color here and there, doesn’t it? 

In keeping with my love of all things purple, I decided to go all out and treat myself to some Manic Panic Purple Haze color for my hair. It’s not exactly non-consumerist of me but considering I cut my own hair, use maybe 1 eyeliner pencil every two years and spend about $20 a year on “gurl stuffs”, I’m not going to sweat a $10 splurge now and then. Besides, I’d hate to offend my pretty Mad Hatter’s tea-party- garden-in-the-making by being a bland presence in it…it’s a tough sacrifice for me to make (Mwahahahahhaha believe THAT and I’ll sell you the beach-front property next door for a helluva price!) but ya know, it’s a tough world out there and sometimes…well, a freak’s gotta do what a freak’s gotta do! 

not ready for me II

“How Not To Dress In The Bible Belt” taken on our southern vacation a couple of years ago…

For wonderful gardening tips, take a minute (or several!) and check-out Auntie Dogma’s Garden SpotYou’ll find tons of excellent how-to information and links and in case you didn’t get enough purple from this post, you can follow up with today’s post there about…Lavender

I’m off now for a day or so…I got a paying gig building a new blog site for a prison advocacy organization and I want to put all of my energy and focus into doing a bang-up job for them. I hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the week and I’ll be back in a few days, if not sooner!

Seed, Sun, Real Dirt & Bees

Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us? 

 “QUEEN OF THE SUN: What Are the Bees Telling Us? is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, director of THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world including Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk and Vandana Shiva. Together they reveal both the problems and the solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.”

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Official Film Website: Queen Of The Sun

“Our experience filming honeybees, pollinators and the incredible beings who care for them has led us on a new odyssey to investigate where it all begins: the seedSEED will be the final film in a trilogy that began with the Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us? and Real Dirt on Farmer John. SEED will investigate the dramatic story of seeds, the basis of life on earth. The film will unveil a David and Goliath battle for the future of our seeds. As many irreplaceable seeds are nearing extinction, SEED follows heroic biodynamic farmers, scientists and seed collectors, who are working tirelessly to preserve agricultural security and seed diversity in an uphill battle against high-tech industrial seed companies and an impending global food crisis.”

“SEED will reveal the awe, wonder and hidden beauty of seeds. We will unearth the resilience and power that all seeds have to sustain, enliven and enrich our humanity. We hope SEED will ignite the imagination of audiences, inspiring them to be part of a new movement to help sustain seed diversity.”

I am not able to find a trailer for SEED that I can embed here so if you’d like to check it out, you can do so Here.

Busy Bee News

With our schools all on spring break here, I’ve had a revolving door of bored children passing  through the house all week so I am a bit behind in posts that I’d planned to get done. Maybe it has all worked out for the best as articles have piled up, I now have three slightly conflicting and very interesting news stories about pesticides and the potential harm they cause (or don’t?) our bee colonies…

Pesticide makes bees forget the scent for food, new study finds

“Neocotinoids block part of brain bees use for learning, leaving them unable to make link between floral scents and nectar.”

Bees exposed to widely-used pesticides were slow to make or forgot completely the link between floral scents and food. Photograph: C.N.Connolly/PA

The Guardian – “Widely used pesticides have been found in new research to block a part of the brain that bees use for learning, rendering some of them unable to perform the essential task of associating scents with food. Bees exposed to two kinds of pesticide were slower to learn or completely forgot links between floral scents and nectar.

These effects could make it harder for bees to forage among flowers for food, thereby threatening their survival and reducing the pollination of crops and wild plants.

The findings add to existing research that neonicotinoid pesticides are contributing to the decline in bee populations.

It has also been revealed that a separate government field study on the impact of the pesticides on bees was seriously compromised by contamination because the chemicals are so widespread in the environment.

The government put the field study at the heart of the UK’s resistance to a Europe-wide ban on the controversial pesticides earlier this month. The UK was one of nine out of 27 member states that opposed suspending some uses of the insecticides across the EU, after environment secretary Owen Paterson said, “I have asked the EC to wait for the results of our field trials, rather than rushing to a decision”. On Wednesday, his department said more field research was needed.

The new findings on the effect of pesticides on bee brains showed that within 20 minutes of exposure to neonicotinoids the neurons in the major learning centre of the brain stopped firing. Christopher Connolly at the University of Dundee, who led the peer-reviewed work published in the online journal Nature Communications, said it was the first to show the pesticides had a direct impact on pollinator brain physiology.

A parallel peer-reviewed study on the behaviour of bees subjected to the same insecticides found the bees were slower to learn or completely forgot important associations between floral scent and food rewards. “Disruption in this important function has profound implications for honeybee colony survival, because bees that cannot learn will not be able to find food,” said Dr Geraldine Wright, at Newcastle University, who led the work.

The scientists who carried out the separate field study for the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs admitted it was “not a statistically robust study” because of the contamination issues. The trial results (pdf), which have not been peer-reviewed, showed that 20 hives of bumblebees meant to act as pesticide-free controls in the experiments were significantly contaminated owing to the widespread presence of the chemicals in the environment. Neonicotinoids are near ubiquitous in modern agriculture and earn billions a year for their manufacturers. But a series of high-profile scientific studies in the last year has increasingly linked them to harmful effects in bees. Declines in bees and other pollinators, which fertilise three-quarters of the world’s food crops, have been linked to habitat loss and disease as well as pesticides.

Julian Little of Bayer, which makes one of the neonicotinoids tested in the government study, said: “We welcome field studies and once again, when such studies are carried out, there does not appear to be a link between neonicotinoid seed treatment use and poor bee health.” Full Article

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Neonicotinoids pose ‘low’ risk to bees, Defra studies show

The two pieces of research, including a field trial from the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), contradict the findings of an EU risk assessment and are likely to reinforce the UK’s opposition to a proposed EU ban.”

DEFRA has published two pieces of research suggesting the risk of neonicotinoids seed treatments to bee populations in the field is low.

The Farmer’s Guardian – “The European Commission is planning to suspend the use of three neonicotinoid products – imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin – for two years from as soon as this July.

The proposal is based on the findings of a risk assessment by the European Food Safety Agency (Efsa), which  found the chemicals, which are used to treat seeds prior to sowing to protect against insects like aphids, pose a ‘high risk’ to honey bees from crops producing nectar and pollen.

Continue reading

The International “Honey Laundering” Scandal

Some days I really just feel like ranting and raving and howling in pure frustration until all the world stops in its tracks at the sound of my voice. Beneath the raging fury though is a real sadness…how has it come to pass that humans have lost their way to such a degree? Nothing pure or real is valued; nothing but money is considered sacred, it seems. Food…one of the most natural & basic of necessities…we’ve twisted and bastardized it to the point that it is no longer safe or even recognizable sometimes. We are so damned lost that we cannot even appreciate the value of such a simple thing as pure honey anymore…

Live Science – There might be something funny in your honey…

“Food-safety experts have found that much of the honey sold in the United States isn’t actually honey, but a concoction of corn or rice syrup, malt sweeteners or “jiggery” (cheap, unrefined sugar), plus a small amount of genuine honey, according toWired UK.

Worse, some honey — much of which is imported from Asia — has been found to contain toxins like lead and other heavy metals, as well as drugs like chloramphenicol, an antibiotic, according to a Department of Justice news release.

This international “honey-laundering” scandal has now resulted in a Justice Department indictment of two U.S. companies and the charging of five people with selling mislabeled honey that also contained chloramphenicol.

Honey Solutions of Baytown, Texas, and Groeb Farms of Onsted, Mich., have agreed to pay millions of dollars in fines and implement corporate compliance measures following a lengthy Justice Department investigation.” Full Story Here

And now I think the only way to restore a measure of peace to my brain is to go outside, water my flowers, plant more seeds and try to apologize to the bees for our careless desecration of  their lovely gift of honey..!

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RoboBees…The Answer To Dying Bee Colonies?

By coordinating large numbers of small, agile robots to mimic the physical and behavioral robustness of insect groups, the program could direct a swarm of robots to accomplish tasks faster more reliably, and more efficiently than a single unit.

Scientific American “Honey bee populations around the world are in decline due to causes ranging from ‘super mites‘ to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and even cell phones – and if the insects disappear completely the planet’s ecosystems would be in peril. The issue has become so dire that now a team of Harvard and Northeastern University scientists are working on a swarm of miniature Robobee robots that could pollinate flowers and do the job of real bees if required.

Speaking to Scientific American, the team leaders said: “In 2009 the three of us began to seriously consider what it would take to create a robotic bee colony. We wondered if mechanical bees could replicate not just an individual’s behavior but the unique behavior that emerges out of interactions among thousands of bees. We have now created the first RoboBees—flying bee-size robots—and are working on methods to make thousands of them cooperate like a real hive.” Full Article Here

 

Saving The Bees: One Step Forward & Two Steps Back

“The case for greater bee protections has been building in Europe. Several recent reports, including one from the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), indicate that three neonicotinoid insecticides — imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam, produced by Switzerland’s Syngenta and Germany’s Bayer—pose an unacceptable hazard to honey bees…”

Excerpt from Civil Eats-   “Last week, the European Commission announced its position against the use of bee-harming neonicotinoid insecticides, urging nations within the European Union (EU) to impose a two-year suspension on their use. Great news for bees across the pond.

But here in the U.S., policymakers aren’t stepping up. EPA officials are continuing to ignore the emerging body of science that point to pesticides, and especially neonicotinoid insecticides, as a critical factor in bee declines. What’s worse, the agency is poised to approve yet another bee-harming pesticide.

Beekeepers are especially frustrated. As commercial beekeeper Steve Ellis told me last week:

Europe’s decision should be a wake up call for EPA. The agency has a responsibility to protect bees and the livelihood of beekeepers. Unless the agency takes steps to protect pollinators, they are putting agricultural economies and the food system at risk…

…As if bees and beekeepers didn’t face enough challenges, EPA is now poised to add another systemic pesticide into the mix. Dow’s sulfoxaflor is a cousin of neonicotinoids, and impacts the same bee brain synapses (nicotinic acetylcholine receptors). It’s yet another systemic pesticide that would be used on a wide variety of crops like canola, cotton, citrus and vegetables.

Beekeepers are warning that this may be the worst year yet for bee losses. This is saying something, since they’ve reported losses of about 30% since 2006. Bad news for beekeepers, and bad news for crops like almonds that are reliant on bees for pollination…”

Full Story

Solitary Bee Habitats

I love flipping through Instructables – the ideas people come up with and the things they create are endlessly amazing…and quite often, very useful! This little project on how to build a small habitat for solitary bees caught my eye this morning and I thought it was too good not to share…any help we can offer the bees is good. No, it’s not just good…it is great…wonderful…and very necessary!

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“The University of Florida is requesting the help of amateur backyard scientists to track and record solitary bees. We accepted the challenge and got out the tools to make a habitat and a pink clipboard to record the data…”

View Instructions for the Solitary Bee Habitat Here

 

Meet The Tree-Beez

Tree-Beez are fictional ‘Bee-People’ that exist to help save the honeybees from disappearing from our planet. SonnyBee is a young Tree-Bee who is the advocate and activist for saving the honeybees. He provides important messages, news updates, honeybee facts and educates everyone about the disturbing problem of the honeybees disappearing. SonnyBee also shows how you can join the cause to save the real bees. SonnyBee is helped by his sister, SissyBee, his mother, MamaBee and his father, PapaBee. All the other Tree-Beez also work hard to help save the real bees…

“Remember, Healthy Hives Give Us Healthy Lives!”

Stay informed about the ongoing honeybee crisis, go to the Home’ page and sign up for the FREE Tree-Beez Newsletter! Also, SonnyBee needs you to tell all of your friends about the Tree-Beez mission to help save the real bees! Follow SonnyBee on Twitter @SonnyBeez and “Like” Tree-Beez on Facebook!

Family Farmers Take On Monsanto

Salem-News.com – Dozens of family farmers, Plaintiffs in the landmark lawsuit Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto, will travel from across America to Washington, D.C. next week to take on Monsanto and demand the right to farm. They will attend the January 10th Oral Argument in the Appeal of Dismissal to be aired before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. A Citizen’s Assembly in support of family farmers at 10am in Lafayette Square will coincide with the beginning of the Oral Argument inside the court room.

“Our farmers want nothing to do with Monsanto,” declared Maine certified organic seed farmer, Jim Gerritsen, President of lead Plaintiff Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association.   “We are not customers of Monsanto.  We don’t want their seed.  We don’t want their gene-spliced technology.  We don’t want their trespass onto our farms.  We don’t want their contamination of our crops. We don’t want to have to defend ourselves from aggressive assertions of patent infringement because Monsanto refuses to keep their pollution on their side of the fence.  We want justice.”

Many farmers have been forced to stop growing certain crops to avoid genetic contamination and potential lawsuits from Monsanto. This case challenges the validity of Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed patents and seeks Court protection for family farmers who, through no fault of their own, may have become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented seed and find themselves accused of patent infringement.

Monsanto filed 144 lawsuits against America’s family farmers and settled another 700 out of court between 1997 and 2010. These aggressive lawsuits have created an atmosphere of fear in rural America and driven dozens of farmers into bankruptcy. Full Article Here

 

Illinois Officials Act As Monsanto Tools In Bee Hive Theft

It appears that officials with Illinois’ Department of Agriculture have ties to Monsanto…I don’t know what else could explain this story of the theft of bees from a man who has spent years researching the connection between Round-Up and illness & death in our bee colonies. Monsanto has gone to great lengths to contain the research – up to and including buying Beelogics before they could release any potentially damaging studies.

Six Bees

I am sure it is no coincidence that a quick search turned up a political donation from Monsanto to…*drum roll please*…the acting director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Robert Flider. It seems there is just no end to Monsanto’s influence in our government on both the federal level, re: former Monsanto puppetmaster, er lobbyist turned FDA head, Michael Taylor…and on the state level with mini-puppets like Flider to carry out misdeeds and violate citizens’ rights on Monsanto’s behalf.

Excerpts from Mercola Article, “What’s Behind Illinois Stealing Local Hero’s Bee Hives?”

An Illinois beekeeper whose bee hives were stolen and allegedly destroyed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture has stirred up a hornet’s nest with his questions on why the state did this, and most importantly, what they did with his bees.

The state claims the bees were destroyed because they were infected with a disease called foulbrood.

But when the 58-year apiary keeper had his hearing—three weeks after the removal of his bees without his knowledge—the state’s “evidence” had disappeared, leaving more questions than answers about the raid on the beekeeper’s hives.

Some people, including the beekeeper, Terrence Ingram, suspect the raid has more to do with Ingram’s 15 years of research on Monsanto’s Roundup and his documented evidence that Roundup kills bees, than it does about any concerns about his hives.

Interestingly, the state’s theft targeted the queen bee and hive he’d been using to conduct the research… 

…While the state claims the removal of the property was due to Ingram’s failure to comply with the Department’s notice instructing him to burn the affected hives, they have been less than open about why the inspectors came in and took the bees and hives without due process.

At a time when the Ingram’s were absent from the property. Ingram claims the Department also conducted three out of four inspections on his private property while no one was home.

While Department inspectors claim his hives had foulbrood—an allegedly highly contagious disease—Mr. Ingram believes he could prove that this was not the case…

…Ingram believes the destruction of his bees and hives is more likely to be related to his research into the effect of Roundup on honey bees. He claims some 250 of his colonies have been killed off over the years by Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide, used in large quantities on both conventional- and genetically engineered crops. Ingram’s research shows that Roundup can lead to what’s called chilled brood, which is an entirely different scenario…” 

Full Story on Mercola