Big Bee is Dead

Thank you City of Calgary Councillors, and thank you 70.71% of Calgarians. You have single-handedly managed to decimate the bee population in my yard from about 20 bees down to 4. Way to Go! You must be so proud of yourself, standing before the world and watching those nasty weeds wither away, along with those dead bees. Congratulations.

I’ve been wondering what happened to Big Bee! He hasn’t been around my Delphiniums for a few days. Coincidentally, the green space behind my yard, the nearby soccer field, and surrounding beds near the children’s playground were sprayed with Trillion, 2-4-D, and Vantage.

You know what those pesticides do to bees?

This.

 

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Dead Big Bee – July 28, 2015

Fact Sheet on Trillion: http://www.flora.org/healthyottawa/trillion.htm

To save you the trouble of reading the whole article on this, Calgary people, let me summarize some of it for you here:

“Humans are much more heavily contaminated with 2,4-DCP than with 2,4-D. 2,4-DCP is considered a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).”

“A study in the peer-reviewed journal “Environmental Health Perspectives”, noted that the commercial, off-the-shelf mixture of 2,4-D, Dicamba and Mecoprop may pose serious reproductive risks.”

“2,4-D, was recently found to be persuasively linked to cancers, neurological diseases and reproductive problems (Sears et al., Paediatrics and Child Health, April 2006). Since then, very recent research greatly strengthened the scientific links between non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and 2,4-D.”

See you in the Cancer Ward, you idiots.

Not a Happy Bee today.

ūüė¶

Pesticide Use Poll has Disastrous Results

Hello Bee Friends,

Recently, on June 11th Calgary’s Global News conducted a poll asking its citizens if pesticide use should be increased to control weeds, specifically dandelions. The results were disastrous – for bees, birds, and other wildlife (not to mention people). ¬†Here is the result of the poll. [1]

Pesticide-Use-Poll-Calgary

This is a complete flip from the similar poll conducted in May 2007.¬†“In a Global CTV poll 71% of respondents voted no to the question “Should the City of Calgary increase its pesticides use to control our dandelion explosion?” 29% voted in favour.” [2]

So, what happened in the eight years since the last vote? Especially when the decline of Bees (and other important and essential wildlife) are so much in the news?

I can only imagine that the majority of people in Calgary have become so self-centered that a green sterile mono-culture grass lawn is more important than bees, their pet dogs and cats, their own children, and their own health. Green weed-free grass is more important than the fish that swim in the world-renowned Bow River, or the effects of run-off for every creature that depends on this source of water downstream. Grass weed-free boulevards and parks are more important than getting cancer [3]; more important than getting Parkinson’s [4]; and more important than potentially causing ADHD in children, and endocrine disorders in pregnant women, and brain cancer in children [5].

Pesticides are poisonous!!!¬†That’s why they work!!! http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/warning.html says:

Warning on the Use of Chemicals

Pesticides are poisonous. Always read and carefully follow all precautions and safety recommendations given on the container label. Store all chemicals in the original labeled containers in a locked cabinet or shed, away from food or feeds, and out of the reach of children, unauthorized persons, pets, and livestock. Consult the pesticide label to determine active ingredients and signal words.

Pesticides applied in your home and landscape can move and contaminate creeks, lakes, and rivers.Confine chemicals to the property being treated and never allow them to get into drains or creeks. Avoid drift onto neighboring properties, especially gardens containing fruits or vegetables ready to be picked.

Do not place containers containing pesticide in the trash or pour pesticides down sink, toilet, or outside drains. Either use the pesticide according to the label until the container is empty, or take unwanted pesticides to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection site. Contact your county agricultural commissioner for additional information on safe container disposal and for the location of the Hazardous Waste Collection site nearest you. Dispose of empty containers by following label directions. Never reuse or burn the containers or dispose of them in such a manner that they may contaminate water supplies or natural waterways.”

When most other cities and provinces in Canada are implementing pesticide bans, Calgary takes two steps back (or ten?).

  • Even though twenty-two million Canadians (65% of all Canadians) are protected from exposure to cosmetic pesticides under comprehensive bans in¬†Nova Scotia,¬†Ontario and Quebec¬†(based on Statistics Canada’s 2011 census data) [6].¬†Ontarios’ ban covers “more than 250 previously sold chemical pesticide products” [7].
  • Even though Physicians [8] are very concerned about adverse health effects.
  • Even though The Canadian Cancer Society [9] warns against pesticides effect on health.

Bees cannot read warning signs!! Neither can birds. “Contact pesticides are usually sprayed on plants and can kill bees when they crawl over sprayed surfaces of plants or other media. Systemic pesticides, on the other hand, are usually incorporated into the soil or onto seeds and move up into the stem, leaves, nectar, and pollen of plants.” [10]

There are other, more friendly ways to control weeds: like… let them grow, or mow the grass more often.

I’m very sad today, my friends. ūüė¶

Can we every really Save the Bees (or even humankind?)

Source: http://www.cbc.ca ot-dead-bees-070330.jpg [11]

Bee (as) Nice to Bees (as you can, because others just don’t care)

Sources:

[1] Source: http://globalnews.ca/news/2049574/should-calgary-increase-herbicide-use-to-control-dandelions-weeds/

[2] http://www.healthycalgary.ca/

[3] Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Specific Pesticide Exposures in Men: Cross-Canada Study of Pesticides and Health Source: http://old.ecceterra.org/doc/captano_nov01.pdf

[4]¬†If there is strong evidence that exposure to a pesticide causes Parkinson’s disease, cancer, other serious illness or negative environmental effects then regulatory action will be taken. Source:¬†http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/pesticides/health_effects.html

[5] http://www.toxicsaction.org/problems-and-solutions/pesticides

[6] http://www.pesticidefreebc.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=53&Itemid=72

[7] http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/pesticides/ontario-pesticide-ban-raises-bar-for-other-provinces/

[8] The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment,a non-profitable organization dedicated to environmental issues especially as they relate to human health, have campaigned on the hazards of lawn pesticides. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticides_in_Canada

[9] On April 3, 2008, the Canadian Cancer Society released opinion poll results conducted by Ipsos Reid, which established that a clear majority of residents in the provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan want province-wide cosmetic lawn pesticide bans, and that the majority of respondents believe that cosmetic pesticides are a threat to their health. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticides_in_Canada

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees

[11] http://www.cbc.ca/polopoly_fs/1.2283994.1383188771!/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/original_300/ot-dead-bees-070330.jpg

Neonicotinoids and Other Hard to Pronounce BUZZ Words

Hello Bee Friends,

Yesterday when I was cleaning up the leaves from a small section of my yard (yes, I wasn’t following my own rules for waiting a few more weeks!) I noticed a leaf that seemed like it was moving.¬†When the sun came out from behind a cloud it opened up to this:

Angelwing Butterfly looks so beautiful with wings open

Angelwing Butterfly looks like a leaf with its wings closed

On to less beautiful, but more important things…

So much has been in the news about neonicotinoids, it’s hard to keep up, but … what are they really? And how do I know if I’m contributing to the problem or helping the bees?

What are Neonicotinoids?

Neonicotinoids are agricultural pesticides that are sprayed on fields to rid harmful insects that destroy food crops. ¬†They are also sprayed on seeds. These products are water-based and are absorbed into the system of the plant including the leaves, stems, flowers, nectar and pollen. They act on insects which eat or suck the juices of the plant by affecting the insect’s central nervous system. Neonicotinoids are related to nicotine. After ingesting any part of the plant,¬†Neonicotinoids slowly kill the insect over hours or days. These chemicals were thought to be safer than previous pesticides, but increasingly, studies are showing that even low doses can be detrimental to bee’s foraging behaviors. Some studies like this one have shown that within 20 minutes of exposure, a bee will ‘forget’ where the flowers are, and other bees will have trouble ‘learning’ from other bees where to find the food.

Why are they so horrible?

A few weeks ago, I asked you what plants you were planning to buy to help the bees. Many plants tested at garden shops including Rona, Home Depot, Lowes, and Canadian Tire have been tested and found to contain traces of neonicotinoids in the flowers and pollen of plants. The Council of Canadians reported here and quoted below:

“…when researchers purchased 71 bee-friendly plants (including daisies, lavender, marigolds, asters and primrose) at 18 big box outlets across the United States and Canada, ¬†‚Äúmore than half of the plants, the researchers measured neonicotinoid residues in the flowers at levels between 2 and 748 parts per billion. A dose of 192 parts per billion is enough to kill a honeybee, she says, and dozens of studies have found impairments in bee navigation, memory and foraging ability at between 4 and 30 parts per billion.

“In Canada, the CBC reported that a study found neonics in the flowers and pollen of plants tested from Rona, Canadian Tire and Home Depot in garden centres in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.”

Home Depot ¬†in both US and Canada requires its suppliers (in Canada as of Dec 2014) to label plants exposed to neonicotinoids. Lowes will phase out these by “the spring of 2019”.

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Bee on Marigold – last year’s photo. I never checked with the Garden Shop if it contained any neonicotinoids. I will this year though.

How to help the Bees (and other beneficial insects like butterflies):

Many garden products may have neonicotinoids in them, and it’s often hard to know. ¬†Here is a list of products that contain neonics, and here is another list.

Some of the key ingredients to look for on labels of garden products – and avoid – are these:

  • Imidacloprid,¬†
  • Clothianidin,¬†
  • Acetamiprid,¬†
  • Thiacloprid,¬†
  • Thiamethoxam

But this doesn’t help when seeds or young nursery plants are exposed to these chemicals. ¬†Home Depot should now have these plants labelled, but not all garden shops have implemented this important change. If you have time, this an informative¬†article that explains what effect these chemicals have on bees and other wildlife.

So, my lovely Bee Friends, this week you can do this to help the bees:

When you buy your spring plants this year, check if there is a label on the plant. If there isn’t,¬†ask the garden shop what they are doing to help the bees by keeping the plants neonicotinoid free.

Bee nice to Bees!! ūüėÄ