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North Carolina Violations Killing Pollinators (fwd)

Lawrence F. London, Jr., Venaura Farm, Chapel Hill, NC USA 
mailto:london@sunSITE.unc.edu - http://sunSITE.unc.edu/InterGarden
Organic Agriculture-Farmscaping-CSA-Permaculture-Renewable Energy Information
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 1996 10:19:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tom Hodges (moderated newsgroup) <sustag@beta.tricity.wsu.edu>
To: Principles of Sustainable Agriculture <sustag-l@listproc.wsu.edu>
Subject: North Carolina Violations Killing Pollinators (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 23:40:42 -0400
From: Pollinator@aol.com
To: sustag@beta.tricity.wsu.edu
Subject: North Carolina Violations Killing Pollinators

Subj:	North Carolina Violations Killing Pollinators

Thusday Morning   10-10-96


    Next spring people will be wondering, "Where are the bees?"

    Some of the watermelon blossoms will just dry up and fall off, without
forming fruit. Others will form but will be deformed and small.  People will
taste the awful fruit and exclaim "The grower used too much soda!"

    But white seeds will tell the true story.  One or two bee visits may have
set a fruit, but there were not enough visits to pollinate all the seeds.
 The fruit was unable to fully form or fully ripen.  It had nothing to do
with soda.  Half-pollinated fruit cannot even use the soda.

    North Carolina's ten million dollar watermelon crop already is short of
bees.  Farmers had to scramble last spring to find minimal quantities.

    Where are the bees?

     As usual, politically correct answers will predominate.  "Varroa mites.
 That's it!" The "official"  explanation will be varroa mites.  But varroa
mites only affect one species of bee, the honeybee.  The barrenness will also
be reflected by solitary bees, bumble bees.

    Yesterday's warm, sunny afternoon brought out the bees to their normal
race to put away their winter feed.  It is nearly the end  -  the last chance
to store away the sweet energy of summer sunshine to warm the hives in

    But yesterday a lot of bees died.

    -Enough bees died yesterday to affect a human generation to come.  The
bees died because some arrogant humans simply refuse to LOOK.  And they
think, as public officials, that they are above the LAW. 

    One third of our food depends on bees.  Even beef and milk would be
greatly curtailed if producers had to depend solely on grasses and grains.
 But bee-pollinated, high-protein alfalfa, clover, trefoil and other legumes
makes much of our beef and milk production possible.

    I watched K&K, Inc. planes leave the Lumberton airport with a certain
sadness in my heart.  I know that they were about to spray a lethal mist that
would, along with the mosquitoes, also drop the bees that were out visiting
the goldenrod.  Most of the bees who received a tiny droplet would not even
make it home to the nest or hive.

    All they had to do to protect those bees was to WATCH and see when they
are visiting flowers.  But that is inconvenient.  They refuse to do so.

    Applications could be done in the early morning.  The bees are not out
then.  Or, as many states do; they could be done at night.  The bees are not
out then.  But application on a warm, sunny afternoon?   That will drop
millions of our pollinators.

    Malathion label directions forbid application while bees are "foraging"
in the application area.  Apparently that concept is too complex for our
mosquito control people.  So they spray away, in complete violation.

    I had told K&K officials, and I had told North Carolina officials that
bees were foraging during the scheduled application times.  Bees were
vigorously visiting goldenrod and aster until almost 6 pm yesterday.  But
they ignore me.  And they refuse to look for themselves.  Does this not sound
like a wilful violation?  Wilful violations are criminal misuse.  The people
involved should be arrested!

    They try to evade the label directions by demanding that beekeepers
"protect" the bees.  But the label directions are to protect an environmental
resource; they do not refer only to kept bees.

    I am a beekeeper who pollinates crops for a living.  I have never lost
anywhere near as many bees from varroa mites as from pesticide misuse.
 Varroa mites have killed off wild bees, but are easily controlled by
beekeepers.  Pesticide misuse has put me in poverty, over and over again.

    After Hurricane Hugo, illegal application stripped away the bees that
were outside the hives.  I fed sugar syrup, trying to stimulate the queens to
lay more eggs, to make replacement bees.  It was too late; too cold; the
queens refused to go against nature, and the tiny hives died en masse in the
first cold winter weather.

    The following spring I had few bees, and a lot of empty equipment.  I
scrambled to find bees to fill up my hives.  My growers were calling for
their pollination bees, and I just did not have enough.  It nearly sunk my

    Please call your public officials and demand that they obey the law.
 Require them to LOOK to see when bees are out visiting flowers, and adjust
application times accordingly.  We must protect the food supply for our
children and grandchildren.

Pollinator@aol.com    Dave Green,  PO Box 1200,  Hemingway,  SC
29554        (Dave & Jan's Pollination Service,  Pot o'Gold Honey Co.)

Practical Pollination Home Page            Dave & Janice Green