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New science: "Pesticide soup" scrambles bee brain function

on Thu, 03/28/2013 - 21:02

Two new studies confirm that common pesticides are scrambling the circuits of bees’ brains. Researchers report that certain neonicotinoids and an organophosphate pesticide — particularly in combination — interfere with the insects' ability to learn, smell or remember, all critical capacities for foraging honey bees.

The new studies add to a growing body of evidence pointing to pesticides as a key driver to the dramatic losses in bee colonies reported by beekeepers.

The research, reported in the journals Nature Communications and the Journal of Experimental Biology, observed an immediate

Bees need help now! Time to up the ante.

on Thu, 03/21/2013 - 21:02

With other options exhausted over the past two years, beekeepers and partner organizations are now suing EPA to protect pollinators. We've filed over a million signatures from concerned individuals, a legal petition and a notice of intent to sue. And all to little avail. Now we're upping the ante.

There's too much at stake for EPA to stay stuck. Bees are in trouble, and they're vital to our food system and our agricultural economy. They're responsible for pollinating one in three bites of food we eat, including 95 types of fruits and nuts in North America.

Bee-harming pesticides are bad news for birds, too

on Wed, 03/20/2013 - 21:02

Turns out, the pesticides that harm bees are also harming birds. According to a report out this week, the class of widely used, systemic insecticides that science shows are a key factor in dramatic bee die-offs are also contributing to falling bird populations.

At a congressional briefing yesterday, an expert panel highlighted the damage that neonicotinoid pesticides — or "neonics" — inflict on bees, birds and the agricultural economy. Beekeepers, scientists and public interest organizations called on elected officials to take action, and soon.

Commercial beekeepers have reported that their

Bringing it home: My lost hive

on Thu, 02/28/2013 - 21:27

It was late September, and my husband and I were just getting back from a cross country trip with our two small kids. We were tired and rumpled and relieved to be home. The breeze coming off the ocean and the sight of our yard, full of nasturtiums in bloom, were a sweet antidote to the exhaustion we felt after a long travel day. As the kids ran off to enjoy their freedom, I wandered toward the back yard, absentmindedly looking toward the sky. But as I headed toward the beehive I keep under a big old oak by the creek, something seemed amiss.

Join Rodale's Honeybee Conservancy

on Wed, 02/13/2013 - 01:04

Always wanted to keep bees but just don’t have the space? Want to do something to help stop colony collapse disease? Already have a hive but want to get off the chemicals? Join the Honeybee Conservancy at Rodale Institute!

The Honeybee Conservancy at Rodale Institute was started in 2012 in response to the major health problems that have decimated the honeybee population in North America. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) still results in a 30% death rate every winter for these valuable pollinators with no answer in sight. Honey bee stewards can be one of the solutions to this problem.

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