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Put your Honey Bee Haven on the map

People across the U.S. are taking a stand for honey bees, and pledging to provide a safe, pesticide-free haven with access to food, water and shelter. Do you have a Honey Bee Haven in your yard, or have bee-friendly plants in containers on your stoop?

Add your Honey Bee Haven to the map below, and show your support for the pollinators that play a key role in providing our food.

Valentine's Day action!

on Tue, 02/11/2014 - 00:40

This week, bee lovers across the country will be “swarming” Home Depot and Lowe’s stores, calling on these major home garden retailers to stop selling pesticides that are harmful to bees.

Last August, a pilot study from Friends of the Earth found that many bee-friendly plants sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s come pretreated with neonicotinoids, insecticides that are a key contributor to bee die-offs. This week’s swarms will be nudging home garden stores to take neonicotinoids — and plants pretreated with these chemicals — off their shelves.                        

Home Depot and Lowe’s haven’t

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

Will California save the bees?

on Thu, 10/24/2013 - 00:00

Last week I sat through a long hearing in the California legislature, all about bee declines. By the end, I was both excited and frustrated. As I noted in my closing comments at the hearing, California can and must take action to address the dramatic declines.

This is an important opportunity for the state to be a driver of good public policy nationally. And addressing the issue here in California will be good for our business — the benefits of bees to our agricultural economy are tremendous.

EPA bee-protective labels don't cut it

on Fri, 08/23/2013 - 21:17

EPA Beeware!

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new labels intended to better protect bees from neonicotinoid pesticides. While seemingly a move in the right direction — and explicit acknowledgement from the agency that neonics indeed pose a threat to bee populations — these labels fail to establish truly meaningful protections.

There is no clear path for enforcing EPA's new labels. And even if followed to the letter, the labels fail to address a primary route of exposure through pre-treated seeds.

"Bee-friendly" plants? Think again.

on Sat, 08/17/2013 - 04:21

Honey bees are up against a lot these days, no thanks to a lack of action from EPA. And new data released today adds to the growing list of concerns for pollinators: home garden plants that come pre-treated with bee-harming pesticides.

In a pilot study released today by the Pesticide Research Institute and Friends of the Earth, the groups tested plants from major home garden stores across the country, and found that more than half of the samples contained pesticides at levels shown to harm or kill bees.

This adds a new dimension to the broader picture of pesticides and bee health,

Buzz off, Monsanto

on Mon, 06/17/2013 - 00:00

Last week, the term “bee-washing” emerged in public conversation. It doesn’t refer to some new bee cleaning service, but to the insidious efforts of Monsanto and other pesticide corporations to discredit science about the impacts of pesticides on bees — especially neonicotinoids — by creating public relations tours, new research centers and new marketing strategies.

This week, pesticide makers are showcasing these tactics during National Pollinator Week with offers of free seed packets to people who take their poorly named “pollinator pledge.” The “bee-washing” term has gained traction as