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Bees, Bees, Bees: A Link Roundup

Ever since posting about recent research on the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder, I've been noticing more and more articles discussing bees, from topics like the need for more beekeepers, to how to save them, or even employ them:

  • Action - Not Research - Is Needed to Save Our Pollinators
    The United States Department of Agriculture, which has been leading research into colony collapse disorder in the US, now acknowledges - four years after the strange phenomenon which leads to the disappearance of honeybees from their hives – that pesticides are part of the problem...But guess what? The same pesticides are still being used by farmers. So research on its own is not enough if we are serious about saving our pollinators...We need action. Action by governments to ban pollinator-toxic pesticides, to toughen the registration tests for pesticide approval so that in the case of honeybees their impact is measured not just on an adult bees but on the colony as a whole, and to develop more organic styles of farming that wean ourselves off the pesticides.
    (via The Guardian)

  • Can Cities Save Our Bees?
    ...surprisingly, the industry has discovered that bees kept in urban areas are healthier and produce better honey. In rural areas, bees are victims of the disappearance of wild flowers, caused by excessive monoculture and the misuse of pesticides. As a consequence, it is more and more common to see wild swarms finding refuge in cities, and beekeepers are regularly deciding to move their hives to city gardens and parks. Fewer pesticides and a greater biodiversity are helping bee colonies to thrive here...Today, beehives are quietly buzzing in cities all over the globe...
    (via The Guardian)

  • Honeybees Are Deployed To Test Air Quality at German Airports
    German officials are trying a novel approach to monitor air quality at airports — so-called “biomonitoring” by honeybees. In an effort to gauge air pollution levels from jet exhaust and ground transportation vehicles at Düsseldorf International Airport and several other airports nationwide, officials test honey from honeybees kept at the airports. In a recent test of honey collected from some 200,000 honeybees, officials confirmed that levels of some hydrocarbons and heavy metals were well below national safety standards. The honey, called Düsseldorf Natural, is then given away as gifts. While some community groups in the U.S. and elsewhere have expressed concerns about air pollution levels at airports, industry groups insist that tighter oversight and improved energy efficiency in recent decades have significantly lowered air pollution from jet exhaust. Although officials in Germany say the use of bees to monitor air quality will not replace traditional methods, Martin Bunkowski, an environmental engineer for the Association of German Airports, told the New York Times that the practice sends “a very clear message for the public because it is easy to understand.”
    (via Yale Environment 360)

    The next link is not new, but if you haven't yet heard of Sarah Bergmann's Pollinator Pathway project, then you're missing out!

  • An Urban Home for Bees, Birds and Butterflies
    Seattle resident Sarah Bergmann is working diligently on behalf of native bees, birds, and butterflies to create pockets of pollinator-friendly habitat throughout our urban environment. Sarah's recently launched project, the Pollinator Pathway, will be transforming city-owned planting strips into pollinator-friendly gardens with the hopes of igniting meaningful dialogue about the declining population of pollinators in our region.
    (via Worldchanging Seattle Blog)

Image of bees courtesy of Flickr photographer wolfpix under the Creative Commons License.

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Your bee post was very informative. I live on a wonderful wildlife habitat. There are no pesticides used in this area for at least a couple miles or more. I have thought about beekeeping but don't know if I would be capable. Perhaps with a bit of research I could find a beekeeper that could use my land. Thanks for provoking some of these thoughts in my mind. -- barbara

Posted by: barbara on 2 Jul 10

It's amazing that in Syracuse, NY, which IS a city, there are absolutely NO bees... there are yellowjackets, and bumble bees, but no bees. All kinds of flying insects are taking up the pollination. I wonder if it's a sign that we, in the Syracuse area are using pesticides, or that there are not bee-keepers here? I wonder. And I worry.

Sophie Benshitta Maven

Posted by: Sophie Benshitta on 2 Jul 10

I've read about the air quality monitoring in Düsseldorf/Germany when I stayed in Germany last month. I wasn't aware that they are giving away the honey as a "present"... I'd rather stay away from anything coming from a polluted area (no matter what the current health limits are). These "standards" tend to rise over the decades.

Also, since honey is a really healthy food containing lots of minerals etc. it does send the wrong message to the public.

Posted by: Perry Permann on 2 Jul 10

Interesting post.
Never know that is such use for bees....

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Posted by: Reuben on 3 Jul 10

This Google ad is running on the left side of the Bee page. "Terminix could give you a quote on pest control in two minutes"

Not cool...John

Posted by: John Moore on 3 Jul 10

I know a couple bee keepers near by and before this pesticide problem they were able to make a nice living. Once the bees started leaving they were forced out of the business. The bee keepers knew it was pesticide, but nothing was been done. I hope with more articles like this passing awareness on, farmers will change the pesticides they are using.

On a side note, I love that picture!
Printable flash cards

Posted by: Flashcards on 3 Jul 10

I've read about the air quality monitoring in Düsseldorf/Germany when I stayed in Germany last month. I wasn't aware that they are giving away the honey as a "present"... I'd rather stay away from anything coming from a polluted area (no matter what the current health limits are). These "standards" tend to rise over the decades.
leather sofa
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Posted by: Sam on 3 Jul 10

We need all the bees we can keep.

Posted by: DrJamesWright on 4 Jul 10

We sell honey produced in Scotland; I collected an order recently from our suppliers (Urr Valley Honey) - and a quick discussion with the owner suggested that one problem with modern bee-keeping methods is the mass movement of bees in their hives from one area of the country to another, following the crop flowering season. He also suggested that there is a policy of over-wintering billions of bees in the same area. The consequences of this unnatural manipulation of the bees' environment is that what one bee gets (in the way of infections) - the whole lot is susceptible to.

We're endanginering more than just the bee population by allowing the mass movement of bees from one area to another.


Posted by: Margaret MacGillivray on 4 Jul 10

I really like Honey. I'd hate to see the price of honey rise but it may with this spreading disorder. They may cross breed bees to kill off the disorder.

Posted by: Patrick on 4 Jul 10

Bees are so integral to the functioning of our planet that we cannot afford to allow them to die out.
Whilst research is important, action definitely need sto be taken.

Posted by: Aloe Forever on 5 Jul 10

Bees aren't everyone's favorite insect but I can't imagine a world without them. Great article!

Posted by: Vegan on 5 Jul 10

Of the bees that died last winter... over 60% died because of foul weather and poor food resources. Mother Nature took her toll, that’s for sure.


Posted by: Ben on 5 Jul 10

I find the loss of bees quite worrying... I read quite awhile ago that it is due to the use of pesticides which is very sad and very worrying. I wonder if bees survive better in areas that use only organic farming? It doesn't surprise me that there are more bees in city areas simply because there isn't such a use of pesticides there!! I guess some areas of the country are swamped completely with pesticides that it's a wonder anything can survive...

About Me!

Posted by: Fiona on 6 Jul 10

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