bees

Making the Case for Better Coffee through Bees

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By now it’s common knowledge that bees are in jeopardy throughout the world. As agricultural practices have intensified and pesticide use has increased, bee populations are being decimated. New research…

“Bee-Friendly” Plants May Harm Bees

BEE KILLEUGENE, Ore. — A new report finds so-called “bee-friendly” plants may actually be harming bees.

Researchers found that home garden plants sold at Lowes, Walmart and Home Depot have been pretreated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees.

The study was released by Friends of the Bees and allies, including Beyond Toxics. Researchers found 51 percent of garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers in 18 cities in the U.S. and Canada contained neonicotinoid pesticides. Some of the flowers contained neonic levels high enough to kill bees, and 40 percent of the positive samples contained two or more neonics.

The pesticides are a key contributor to recent bee declines. Bees and other pollinators are essential for two thirds of the food crops we eat every day, and they’re on a decline in countries around the world.

Researchers say these pesticides don’t break down quickly so the plants could be toxic to bees for years. To be safe, gardeners are advised to buy organic plants.

State Investigating Eugene Bee Deaths

BEE KILLEUGENE, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Agriculture is investigating why hundreds of bees are dying in a west Eugene neighborhood.

Bee advocates say something needs to be done soon to prevent more insect deaths.

Glass Tree Care and Spray Service says it performed tree maintenance on Jacobs Lane.

In a statement, the company says it’s cooperating with the state’s investigation.

ODA is doing some tests to find out if the company used a pesticide on linden trees that were banned last year.

The pesticide is believed to be lethal for bees and other insects like ladybugs.

Bee advocates estimate hundreds of Oregon-native honey bees are lying dead on the sidewalks, and that action needs to be taken because bees are still coming to the trees to pollinate and then dropping dead.

“I wouldn’t want to advocate cutting down trees, but in this case something has to be done immediately because we are impacting our local beekeepers pollination of bees. We could be transferring this poison back to our hives,” said Doug Hornaday of Healthy Bees=Health Gardens.

The tree company says it’s not only cooperating with the investigation, but it holds itself to the highest business standards and is taking this matter very seriously.

Last year, pesticides were blamed for tens of thousands of bees found dead in a shopping center in Wilsonville. Two companies that sprayed the pesticides were fined.

GloryBee Foods Hosts Bee Weekend

Glory BeeEUGENE, Ore. — Veteran and novice beekeepers are coming together this weekend for GloryBee Foods Annual Bee Weekend.

The GloryBee Foods parking lot just off Highway 99 was filled with vendors and visitors for the 40th year. There are demonstrations and you can try some free honey.

Organizers say it’s a great opportunity to learn about the key role these insects play in our lives.

“Bees are so important some people say that the statistics show that for every third bite that we eat, bees are responsible for that bite by pollenating those crops,” said Alan Turanski, GloryBee Foods Vice President.

The free event runs through Saturday. It kicks off at 9 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m.

Demonstrations will be held at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

When the Bees Go, We Go (A Film Review)

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Do you eat honey as an alternative to sweeteners? Did you know that the bees that produce that honey are given a steady diet of high-fructose corn syrup? Try and run from the cold hard truth of this warm and delightful movie, Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?, and you won’t make it far. The truth is that the mono-cropping practices of large farms in America have caused over 5 million bee colonies to disappear. We rely on bees to pollinate our crops. It’s as simple as that. I don’t know about you, but only having oatmeal and bread for the rest of time (because the price of fruits and vegetables skyrocketed due to massive crop shortages, and even losses) does not sound healthy. Queen of the Sun is a documentary that takes an alternative look at a topic that most people are downright afraid of… bees.

I’m sure it has happened to almost everyone. Here in the northwest we’ve got a lifestyle that lends itself to bee stings. When I was a kid, I stepped on a nest and had a very pissed off swarm fly up my pant leg and into my shirt. Now that I look back on that event, I realize they probably weren’t even bees. That’s part of the problem, the fear that people have. When in reality, bees are fairly docile insects that only sting when provoked. Most of the time, bees get a bad rap from yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets, that are all aggressive creatures known for stinging first and asking questions later. Even now, while I research bees, half of the websites I run into are something along the lines of- “Bee problem? Dump gasoline in hole after dark, ignite, etc…” Only every once and awhile does someone chime in and say, “uh, call a beekeeper?” It’s that fear that we must educate our way through. If people knew the truth about bees, they wouldn’t run for the gasoline and the blazing torches.

But I digress… Queen of the Sun (from director Taggart Siegel) is beautifully filmed, the locations are amazing, the close-ups of bees and hives and honeycombs are all superb. While some of the interviewees are a little more colorful than the rest, all of the experts and beekeepers that lend a hand to Queen are intelligent, funny, and thoughtful people who obviously care deeply about bees… And why shouldn’t they? Bees are an essential part of our ecosystem, without them, pollen would not be spread, plants would be stuck, unable to breed. Most movies like to tell the end of the world as a bang, Queen is telling it with a whimper.

The message of this movie is clear, if we don’t change our habits in America and Europe, bees could disappear altogether. remember that movie 2012? Yeah, except without all the explosions and bad acting. Bees pollinate 40% of our food supply on Earth… with out them, well… are you going to do it? I can’t even get my kids to take out the garbage, less “go out back and pollinate the garden kids… otherwise no fruit… ever.”

I love movies like this. That make it to my hands through no fault of my own, strictly on chance (it happens a lot, most recently with The Way Back), and it ends up not just informing me, but moving me. To know, now, that chemicals developed in wartime, explicitly to kill humans, is now sprayed onto the food we eat… well I shudder to even write it. The neurotoxin-based insecticides that are used these days are the same chemical agents we developed to destroy each other almost a century ago. The great part about this movie is the many different angles it shows, and the multiple theories it presents as to why these mass-extinctions are happening with our bees.

The footage in Queen of the Sun is simply breathtaking. The intricate ways that a colony moves, shifts, grows, and dies are fascinating to watch, and the movie never lingers too long in the sadness of its message. In fact, it keeps an upbeat rhythm and never seems to become complacent or stagnate. The movie will open on Earth Day at the Bijou on Earth Day, and everyone should check it out. If for no other reason than to educate themselves on the importance on these highly evolved little creatures. I highly recommend it! I have to say, after watching this movie, I will never look at bees the same way again.

 


 

Don’t miss the new film “Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?” returning to Portland, OR and will be playing in Eugene at Bijou Art Cinemas starting APRIL 22nd! Also theatrically premiering in 4 other Oregon cities beginning on EARTH DAY 4/22! Queen of the Sun is a profound, alternative look into the problems and solutions of the global honeybee crisis from Taggart Siegel, the director of the award-winning, grass-roots hit The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Film.com calls Queen of the Sun, “Stunning… as soulful as it is scientific, as uplifting as it is alarming.” Shawn Levy at the Oregonian calls it, “Entertaining, gorgeous, and relevant.”

FOR MORE INFO VISIT: WWW.QUEENOFTHESUN.COM