I know I’ve been singing this song for a long time, y’all, but it’s bad, bad, bad and getting worse.
Soaring Bee Deaths in 2012 Sound Alarm on Malady – NYTimes.com
“They looked so healthy last spring,” said Bill Dahle, 50, who owns Big Sky Honey in Fairview, Mont. “We were so proud of them. Then, about the first of September, they started to fall on their face, to die like crazy. We’ve been doing this 30 years, and we’ve never experienced this kind of loss before.”
When beekeepers and scientists first starting investigating colony collapse disorder, causes were uncertain. Rowan Jacobsen’s excellent book, Fruitless Fall, explores possible reasons. (Here’s one of my many posts about the book.)
Five years later, we have a much clearer idea of exactly what is happening, and it’s very bad news.
But many beekeepers suspect the biggest culprit is the growing soup of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides that are used to control pests.
While each substance has been certified, there has been less study of their combined effects. Nor, many critics say, have scientists sufficiently studied the impact of neonicotinoids, the nicotine-derived pesticide that European regulators implicate in bee deaths.
The explosive growth of neonicotinoids since 2005 has roughly tracked rising bee deaths.
Neonics, as farmers call them, are applied in smaller doses than older pesticides. They are systemic pesticides, often embedded in seeds so that the plant itself carries the chemical that kills insects that feed on it.
The pesticide is embedded in the seeds. I posted to another piece on this topic this last week, and these are just a couple of the many anxious reports I’ve picked up on my bee wire (Google Alerts, when they’re working) in the past few months. I know I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but I implore you to read up on this issue, if you haven’t yet, and to spread the word far and wide. If we lose the bees, we lose the world as we know it.
posted by Neil
It's a grey, quiet Saturday here. Everyone's off doing stuff: it's just me and the dogs.
On Thursday, Sharon and Bill Stiteler came over and we checked the hives and started to feed them. We have six hives right now - two Italians (doing brilliantly in comparison with everyone else after a late start and a lousy year - we even had a super full of honey), two Carniolans (doing okay) and two Russian hives (one may or may not survive even a mild winter, one has a solid chance). We came back to the house.
Sharon Stiteler started making noises. Normally when Sharon makes noises, it means that something exciting has been spotted, and it's generally to do with birds.
A merlin had taken a red-bellied woodpecker from one of my birdfeeders, and was eating it in front of the house.
Here's a photo I took of the merlin. Sharon tells the whole story, with many photos and explanation of, among other things, how she knew it was a lady merlin over at her blog: http://www.birdchick.com/wp/2011/09/merlin-vs-red-bellied-woodpecker/
Yesterday I decided to get some beeswax from the buckets of slumgullion in the garage. It took three tries to figure out how to do it correctly, but I now have a pie-dish filled with clean, perfect, butter-yellow beeswax, smelling faintly of honey, and know how to get it right for next time.
No idea what to do with the wax, mind. But at least it won't get thrown out.
Today I'm proofreading. The Little Gold Book Of Ghastly Stuff
for Borderlands Press comes out very soon, and they emailed me over the pdfs last night. It's a really sweet little collection, almost entirely from the last decade: two poems, four stories (including, for the first time anywhere, my first ever published short story, "Featherquest", published in 1984, cut by half when it was published and never reprinted. Do not get excited: it isn't very good), two oddments, four articles, a couple of speeches, a few book reviews and suchlike. I signed the 500 limitation pages last week. Then Borderlands discovered that too many people had ordered the signed edition and asked me if they could overrun the print-run and do some unsigned, un-numbered copies, and I said yes.
There's only ever going to be one printing of this, so if you want a copy head over to http://www.borderlandspress.com/littlegold.html
and order one. It costs more to mail it internationally than the book costs (four times if you want to internationally Fedex it).
I do not enjoy proofreading.
And I need to go back to it.
Before I do, here is a Bill Stiteler film of me shaking bees off a frame of honey or three on Thursday:
0 Comments on Not just procrastinating on proofreading... as of 1/1/1900