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Bad news for baby bees

on Thu, 01/30/2014 - 00:00

Neonicotinoid pesticides (or neonics) continue to gain notoriety as a driving factor in declining bee populations. But a mounting body of evidence also shows that neonics aren’t the only class of pesticides harming these critical pollinators.

A report released this week — by researchers from Penn State and the University of Florida — helps build a case that several pesticides commonly found in hives kill bee larvae.

Researchers tested four of the pesticides most commonly found in hives — chlorothalonil, chlorpyrifos, fluvalinate and coumaphos.

Organic wine = happy, healthy bees

on Thu, 12/19/2013 - 23:14

When I was a child my grandfather raised bees on the family vineyard in the South of France. After World War II, we began to use pesticides on our vines and by the mid 1970s my grandfather, who was a physician, could see the toll that these poisons were taking on the vines, the workers, and the soil. He decided to revert to organic growing methods, and by 1980 we were among the very first organic wine growers in France.

I started the Organic Wine Company in 1980 to bring high quality organic French wines to the U.S.

Above the fold: EPA, protect bees!

on Sun, 12/01/2013 - 00:00

Inaction? Intransigence? Negligence? Whatever the right word, we’re reminded that the U.S. is behind the curve when it comes to protecting bees. Yesterday, Europe’s restrictions on bee-harming pesticides went into effect.

Today, in a full-page advertisement in the New York Times and six other major papers, PAN and over 60 food, farm, faith and investor groups are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action. Quickly.

While Thanksgiving has passed, there are still many things to be thankful for. Among them, let’s count the bees.

Feed the bees?

on Mon, 11/25/2013 - 00:00
Don Cooking

Don cooking hard candy for his bees.  A completed brick is in the foreground and a wooden candy form is behind the brick.

Feeding honeybees seems like a safe topic, innocent, nothing to get too excited about. And yet, the controversy rages! Various beekeepers have widely varying opinions about feeding. Some consider it a must. Others prefer not to feed at all. And of course, there is every shade of gray between.

As a beekeeper practicing permaculture philosophy, I generally find myself in the “don't feed” group. However, as with most “rules,” there are exceptions.

Bees get their day in Oregon

on Sun, 11/24/2013 - 21:16

Worker Bee

The Oregon Legislative hearing on Bee Health and Pesticide Use on November 21 was an important milestone.  Lawmakers heard from a number of panelists that pesticides are harming bees.

The day started with Beyond Toxics delivering nearly 12,000 signatures to Katy Coba, the Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) calling for a ban on a class of pesticides labeled neonicotinoids.  These pesticides are very toxic to bees and are one of the factors in colony collapse disorder.  Beyond Toxics also hosted the Beauty of the Bee Photography Exhibit in the main Galleria, as well as