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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.