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Old 11-27-2011, 11:32 AM   #21
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Based on my limited understanding of larger orchard based commercial operations.... they're not so different from the average homeowner armed with synthetic fertilizers and countless commercially available silver bullet pesticides.... neither's gonna willingly embrace more “bee-friendly” management practices unless they're forced to and that’s not gonna happen what with the billions of $$$ BigChem’s invested in marketing kill-alls. Seriously… I don’t see BigOrchard or the average homeowner expending any resources educating themselves on ecologically responsible protocols let alone employing them and they’re NOT going to do much to meet the needs of native pollinators by providing appropriate habitat because…. well…..conservation just isn’t their “bag”…. they’ve been leaving that biodiversity-nonsense to tree huggers. Food for thought…. native bees can't be smoked and temporarily moved off a "larger orchard based" property to minimize the negative impacts of a spray regime and ongoing increases in sales of these products strongly suggest homeowners aren’t willing to quit with the RoundUp and Bayer Advanced. Combine the arsenal of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides used by homeowners with what ever formulation du jour BigOrchard’s spraying on their monocultures to maximize the amount of marketable fruits and I just don’t see how these chemical cocktails can create anything but an environment inhospitable to all but…. the production of a blemish free fruit.
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Here’s what’s at stake in this er uh… minor 2-sided debate…. pollinators… our pollinators. All pollinators are threatened and many are endangered….once we start sanctioning the farming of OUR native bees for profit…. they’ll be forced to “congregate” in artificially high numbers on hostile tracts of agricultural lands so as to provide “ecological services” to their “owners” which historically has been a big time recipe for disaster so…. I’m thinking history’s capable of repeating itself if we go that route but what do I know because…. I’m not on any side that would have others believing any manipulation of bees is wrong considering all the habitat destruction going on and…. and I’m definitely not on this “other” BigOrchard side mentioned that’s evidently rationalizing the exploitation of even more of our natural resources for some perceived “greater” grass roots good. I really think it’s time to stop leading our aculeatan lambs to slaughter to make a quick buck so I’m tossing in a 3rd “side” to this so-called “minor” debate, http://ofrf.org/funded/supplements/black_08f24_organic-farming-for-bees-xerces-society.pdf.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:31 AM   #22
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Cornell University
Chronicle Online
Oct. 24, 2011
Native bees are better pollinators, more plentiful than honeybees, finds entomologist
By Krisy Gashler
Quote:
The honeybee has hogged the pollination spotlight for centuries, but native bees are now getting their fair share of buzz: They are two to three times better pollinators than honeybees, are more plentiful than previously thought and not as prone to the headline-catching colony collapse disorder that has decimated honeybee populations, says Cornell entomology professor Bryan Danforth.
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"In the past, the attitude has always been, 'Well, you have the crop, and you have the honeybee, and that's all you really need.' But nobody has ever bothered to ask, well what about all these other bees that are out there?" Danforth said. "The role of native bees in crop pollination has been largely unappreciated -- until colony collapse disorder created a crisis."
Cornell Chronicle: In native bee vs. honeybee, natives win
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:07 AM   #23
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There are more than 20,000 bee species in the world, including roughly 450 in New York state, Danforth said. The species in New York can help pick up the slack of the declining honeybee, which is not native to North America. In fact, native bees may have been doing a lot of pollinating work all along but not getting credit for it, Danforth said.
Isn't it amazing that so little has been known about the many native bees out there. Such diversity in bees should be encouraged by making sure that appropriate habitat is allotted to maintain that diversity rather than encourage an overpopulation of specific bees that look best for the job. We need to learn from the problems besetting the honey bees. It is the differences that create resilency when problems arise.
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Old 11-28-2011, 08:38 AM   #24
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It's not that I am against some management of bee populations. It is the course of that management that has me worried. There is a reason agencies are working to educate people on native bees and biodiversity and best agricultural practices.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:33 AM   #25
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It is a good thing that people are being educated about the role of the native pollinators.
Thanks for all of the input.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:39 PM   #26
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It is the course of that management that has me worried.” Me too!!! There aren’t just 2 sides to the debate unless…. someone's got a vested interest in the sale of mason bees and they’re targeting a market that’s in a tizzie over colony collapse disorder. There’s $$$ to be made “managing” native bees by offering harvesting and field services for replacing tubes and cleaning pesticide residues from nest boxes and even bigger $$$ to be made from the sale of replacement bees when backyard hobbyists and orchardists unwittingly killing off their “livestock” in pursuit of that golf course perfect lawn or that blemish free fruit with their pesticide use. Ensuring our long term “food security” is a tad bit more involved than some folk would have desperate orchardists and concerned homeowners believing. Organic orchardists and farmers have been “manipulating” and “managing” locally native bees for decades without buying bees or bee accessories. These folk aren't killing off their native pollinators year in and year out... it can be done and Xerces does a GREAT job educating us on ecologically sound bee management practices, The Xerces Society Managing Habitat for Pollinators.
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:21 PM   #27
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Seems to me that depending on only one species of pollinator is not a good idea.
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Old 12-19-2011, 11:00 AM   #28
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Missed this, "Perhaps the native bee population is different, but I think we should let bees be bees." I'm not thrilled about all the attractants being sold.... they're probably pheromone lures but.... attractants encourage the unnatural congregation of solitary bees. Densities nature never intended. 4B nailed it, "Use native plants to attract bees." Another thing that doesn't thrill me is somebody contacting me privately to "share" my bees claiming they'll make sure they get passed to the "needy".
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dapjwy> Putting all our eggs in 1 basket has never been the way to go although there are many who… under the lure of “cost effectiveness” and being able to compete in a “global” market…. would have farmers believing otherwise. Xerces’ direction is the route to take IMO but undoing all the brainwashing would take some doing and the opposition is fierce. I just don’t see Dow or Bayer sponsoring and/or partnering with an organization like Xerces to affect meaningful change… no no no…. can’t have that. That would not make their stakeholders happy…. mustn’t lend any credibility to an organization like Xerces that empowers folk to make educated decisions…. must keep farmers addicted to silver bullets.
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