Bees

World Bee Day
Before adding brood boxes

World Bee Day

 

Today I celebrated World Bee Day with 100,000 little friends.

The were buzzing about the nectar flow and collecting pollen.

They ate pollen patties, and drank sugar syrup.

And, I gave them extra room to build more brood.

Today is a great day for the honeybees

World Bee Day
Extra brood boxes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pesticides Influence Bee MemoryWhat does this have to do with you...

Royal Holloway University of London compiled a decade of studies on agrochemical research and the effect on bees. Their research determined that very low, field-realistic dosages, of pesticides significantly reduced the bee's memory. Their ability to memorize rewarding scents, which are a vital component in their search for food, were damaged. Exposed bee's had trouble remembering what type of flower to visit, where to find flowers, and which flowers they'd already drained of nectar. Another consequence of pesticide exposure is that the exposed bees couldn't find their way back to the hive.

 Could Alzheimer’s Be In Your Future?

Studies link pesticides with Alzheimer’s

DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) was used extensively as an insecticide in the 1940s, but has been banned in the United States since 1972 after scientists linked the compound to wildlife health and environmental concerns. DDT is still used in other countries to combat the spread of malaria.

"We have additional studies underway that will seek to directly link DDT exposure to Alzheimer's disease," said co-author Dr. Dwight German, Professor of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern. "If a direct link is made, our hope is to then identify the presence of DDE in blood samples from people at an early age and administer treatments to remove it."

The study found elevated levels of DDE in blood samples of 86 patients with Alzheimer's disease as compared to 79 control patients from the UT Southwestern Alzheimer's Disease Center and the Emory University Alzheimer's Disease Center.

Source: UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution's faculty includes many distinguished members, including five who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985.

Children and Pesticides

Beyond Pesticides has a Pesticide-induced Disease Database  The database links studies and research about children's exposure to agrochemicals. 

Protect Yourself

Since the repeal of Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) it's not easy to identify where fruits, vegetables and meat is coming from. Outside of the United States, other countries allow classes of pesticides which are banned in the United States.

Consuming products containing pesticides may increase your exposure.

Limiting your exposure is as simple as switching to an organic diet. You can do that by growing your own fruits and vegetables, buying organic meat and dairy, and by using clean products around your home.

Remember, You have control over your health.

Related posts:

Healing the Earth

 

Bug Jugs, Homemade Herbicide, Garden Dust

If you're a backyard orchardist and garden enthusiast here are three recipes to keep your fruit trees pest free, kill weeds, and repel cabbage worms. Best of all - the ingredients are right in your kitchen or available at a garden center.

'Bug jugs' protect fruit trees by trapping apple maggots and moth larvae. The weed control recipe is a safe herbicide that controls vegetation around young trees and kills garden weeds. And the third recipe for garden dust effectively controls cabbage worms and larvae. These recipes are safe to use around kids, pets, and pollinators.

Insect Traps for Fruit Trees

Fruit trees need special care; pruning, dormant oil, weed suppression and pest control. Here's a solution that's a safe and effective control to protect fruit from pest damage.

Safe, Alternative Pesticide and Herbicide Recipes

Bug Jugs

  • clean gallon jug
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 banana peel
  • enough water to fill the jug 1/3 full

Tape the cap to the bottom of the jug (for easy disposal because the jug will be full of gross, dead pests). Place the banana peel inside the jug, add the remaining ingredients.

After the blossoms are set hang one jug per inch of tree diameter. Use wide twine or a soft cloth tied through the jug's handle to hang them. Don't use thin string or fishing line because it cuts into the tree's protective bark.

Weed Control

Eradicate and control weeds use the following recipe, It's is very effective and with a few precautions it's safe to apply.

Homemade Herbicide:

Mix all the ingredients together. 20% vinegar is available at farm and garden supply stores or through online retailers. 

Wear gloves and eye protection, 20% vinegar can burn on contact.

When applying  in small areas, or to kill weeds in close proximity to desirable plants, use a dish sponge wand filled with this solution. Wipe the leaves of undesirable plants.

For larger areas use with a garden sprayer.

Apply in dry, warm weather. A second application may be necessary for tougher weeds.

Be careful - this mixture will kill all plants, both desirables and weeds.

Safe, Alternative Pesticide and Herbicide RecipesControl Garden Pests

The final recipe is for controlling garden pests, especially cabbage worms.

Garden Dust

  • 1 cup Diatomaceous earth or all-purpose flour
  • 3 TBS Cayenne pepper

Sift the ingredients together and apply with a garden duster or use a screen sifter (your kids sandbox sifter works great for this) dust plants in the morning while they're wet with dew.

Diatomaceous earth is available at garden centers, farm supply stores and online. It will repel a larger variety of pests than household flour, but we've been successful using both.

Apply this mixture a couple of times per week or after it rains.

These three recipes are a practical and powerful alternative to harsh chemicals.

Happy Gardening!

 

World Bee Day

Every third spoonful of food is dependent on pollinators. That's why it's important to honor them.

 

 

Here are some Bee Facts:

  • One bee produces 1/12 teaspoon of honey in it's lifetime
  • 40% of invertebrate pollinators, primarily bees and butterflies, are facing extinction
  • Bees pollinate as many as 170,000 plant species
  • The majority of pollinators are wild, including over 20,000 species of bees
  • 87 of the leading food crops worldwide are dependent on pollinators
  • Pollinators affect 35% of global agricultural land
  • In the last 50 years agricultural production that's dependent on pollinators increased by 300%

A New Type of Hive

Here in Iowa the winter took it's toll on honey bees. Some beekeepers lost  90%  of their bees.

World Bee Day

We're using Apimaye Hives. These bee friendly, Langstroth style hives are insulated and have a great winter feeding system. The top feeders are easily opened without disturbing the bees or causing heat loss to the hive. Because the Apimaye hive is so well insulated the bees are building brood faster than in past years.

You Can Make a Difference

Make every day World Bee Day by protecting pollinators, use bee friendly products and supporting local honey producers.

Related Posts:

Healing the Earth

Healing with Honey

Happy Earth Day!

 Actively participate in healing the earth.
Here's what you can do:
  • Don't use pesticides
  • Don't use herbicides
  • Plant bee friendly plants
  •  Permanent pastures cool the earth and prevent erosion
  • Support Grass-based farms
  • If you're buying non-dairy milks; almond, soy, cashew, etc. buy organic
  • One grass-fed steer has the power to heal the earth

Bee Deaths- A Lethal Combination

Bee expert Reed Johnson of The Ohio State University, with support from the Almond Board of California, determined the cause of bee deaths in about 80,000 colonies brought in to pollinate almond trees.
The deaths and deformed brood were caused by a combination of fungicides and pesticides. Each product was deemed "safe" for honey bees.
However, when combined, these products turned lethal. 5% of the bees brought in to pollinate the 2014 almond crop died.
Bee Deaths - A Lethal Combination

One person can make a difference. Be the one!

Healing with Honey

Healing with HoneyA few years ago Eva, our shepherd was in an accident. She had a wound on her paw that wouldn't heal. For over a year we tried several remedies. She wore boots like the dog's in the Iditarod, took antibiotics, went through miles of bandaging, nothing worked until she started healing with honey.

One veterinarian suggested re-breaking her leg to readjust the rod and plate. The theory that if Eva could walk straighter it would take pressure off the wounded paw. That seemed like a traumatic solution.

Then a family friend, who's also a veterinarian, suggested sugaring or honeying the wound. I decided to use crystallized honey. Every day we cleaned Eva's paw, spread honey on the wound and bandaged it. She started healing within a few days. By month's end the healing was nearly complete.

Bacteria can't grow in a high sugar environment, and honey is antimicrobial, too.

The healing properties of honey are well documented. Organic honey is perfect for cuts, burns, skin ulcers and surgical wounds.

The Results of Healing with Honey

Healing with Honey
Before Applying Honey

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing with Honey
1 Week after Applying Honey, The white area is new tissue growth

 

 

 

 

 

More Sweet, Healthy Benefits of Honey:

  • Consuming honey instead of sugar reduces weight gain, improves memory and reduces anxiety
  • Diabetic ulcers and infected wounds that stagnate under traditional care heal rapidly with honey
  • Burn victims and amputees, including civilian casualties during the Iraq war, respond well to honey bandages, making painful skin grafts unnecessary
  • A spoonful of honey helps alleviate side effects of head or neck radiation in cancer patients
  • Honey proves more effective and safer than children's cough medicines
  • Functioning as both a prebiotic and probiotic, honey stimulates intestinal health
  • Cataracts respond well to honey from sting-less bees from South America

This list is from the book, Two Million Blossoms; Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey, by Kristen S. Traynor, M.S.

 

 

Bird and Flying Insect Populations are on the DeclineWe haven't seen a Red Tailed hawk on this farm in three years. Where have they gone? The barn swallow numbers are declining, too. As a matter of fact there are fewer birds in the area. Their numbers have declined in the last few years. The peripheral area surrounding the timber, where the brambles and wild flowers are abundant, is prime nesting ground. The wild turkeys and pheasants are thriving but the local and migratory bird numbers are dwindling. Bird and Flying Insect Populations are on the Decline

Is Your Windshield Clean?

David Kline, editor of farming magazine has noticed a scarcity of flying insects. He doesn't drive a car but asked drivers if they've noticed a difference. We've noticed. When we take a drive through the countryside the windshield stays clean, not bug splattered. We use to buy special washer fluid to get rid of the bug goo, not anymore.

Here in north east Iowa the helicopters and small planes (the aerial applicators) are unleashing insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides over the crop fields. Our farm is on the Sensitive Crop Registry to protect the bees we raise and our organic status. The sprayers don't fly over our farm which is a contentious issue for some in the area.

The next time you take a drive notice the windshield. If it's clean think about the possible causes and consequences. Why are the insects and birds disappearing? New studies show the negative effects agricultural chemicals have on developing brains, children's health, behavior and immunity. PLoS ONE links agricultural chemicals to the Decline of flying Insects

Save

Celebrate Bees

In the early spring, when the apple, peach and cherry trees are blossoming I keep the bees interested in pollinating the fruit trees by cutting the grass very short. This keeps the dandelions down until after the trees have finished blooming. It’s my trick to get bigger fruit crops.

Later in the spring there are still plenty of dandelions to keep the bees happy . And there's a variety of clovers and flowers planted for the bees, too.  It’s a pollinator paradise.

Bee FriendlyCelebrate Bees

On a trip to Seed Savers Exchange I bought Blue Boy Bachelor’s Button, Lambs Ear, and Heritage Farm Poppy seeds. The bees love these.

On our farm the pollinators are safe from  pesticides and herbicides. We’re an organic farm, it’s all about health and quality of life.

Recipes to Help Both You and the Bees

Honey Lemonadecelebrate bees

This lemonade is a great energy booster. Not only does it taste great it helps the honey bees and your local beekeeper.

  • 1 cup Fresh squeezed lemon Juice (if you don’t have a citrus juicer this one works great)
  • 1 cup local honey (support a local beekeeper, don’t by commercial honey, It's probably not be real honey, anyway)
  • 6 cups water
  • Put the honey and lemon juice in a blender and mix at high-speed for one minute.
  • Pour into a pitcher, add  water and ENJOY!
  • You can add fresh fruit, raspberries or strawberries taste great. Adding ginger or mint is an extra tasty treat, too.
  • Meyer lemons make this even better, they’re sweeter than regular lemons. When they’re available buy them in bulk and freeze the juice.

Bug Jugs and Bee Safe HerbicideCelebrate Bees

Plant bee friendly gardens and keep them pesticide free. These recipes protect your fruit trees and kill weeds without using glyphosate.

Save the Bees!

 

 

Save

Save The Honey Bees

Save the honey bees

They're vanishing at an alarming rate.

Lets pretend that in your line of work the numbers started to change. There's a sudden decline in people needing your services. Lets pretend that you're a teacher.

One morning you walk into the school. Something's wrong, you can feel it. When the bell rings one-third of your students are missing.

A few minutes later the principal walks in and asks to speak with you. She shares that in each classroom thirty percent, and in some classrooms seventy percent, of the students are missing. The trend continues day after day. The declining enrollment is alarming. And it's not just your school. This is happening at all the schools in your state.

In the coming months you learn the trend is happening globally. 30 - 70% of school-aged children have vanished. What's causing this and where have the children gone?

Now it's getting personal. The decline is affecting your contract. Lower school enrollment equates to lower numbers of teachers. How will you meet your financial obligations and feed the family?

Seems far-fetched, right? Well, this is exactly what's happening to the bees. They're vanishing without a trace. Beekeepers have lost 30% of their colonies. In some areas the numbers are closer to 70%. Remember; one out of every three bites of food requires bees for pollination.

In the book, More Than Honey , (there's also a video available) Markus Imhoof and Clause-Peter Lieckfeld use a similar scenario;

If 70 percent of all cattle or 30 percent of all chickens were to die annually, states of emergency would be declared everywhere. The death of bees is at least that dramatic and with even more far-reaching consequences.

Vanishing Bees is a Global Crisis

The more personal an issue is the more meaning it has for you. The declining bee population does directly affect you. One of the reasons for the decline is due to herbicide and pesticide use. Studies show that when hives are located close to genetically engineered crops both honey and pollen contain toxic levels of chemical residue. Bees suffer with memory loss and nervous system disorders after visiting plants genetically engineered with systemic pesticides (neonicotinoids). The toxins create confusion, the bees can't find their way back to the hive.

Save The Honey Bees

Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) has a free publication; Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects.

Planting a cover crop of Buckwheat is great for honey bees and other pollinators. It will improve your garden, too.

Please,  Save the honey bees.

August 20, 2016 is National Honey Bee Day.