Honeybees in Florida

Seven million acres of bee habitat will be restored over the next five years in an effort by the federal government to reverse the decline of the United States’ honeybee population. The matter is urgent: beekeepers lost more than 40 percent of their colonies in 2014 according to a federal report. The plan also calls for investing more money in research. But some environmentalists say bolder action is needed, including restrictions on pesticides that studies have linked to honeybee colony collapse disorder. We’ll discuss President Obama’s plan as well as the impact the drought is having on the state’s bees.

Guests:
Claire Kremen, professor of environmental science, policy and management at UC Berkeley and faculty director at the Berkeley Food Institute
Eric Mussen, extension apiculturist emeritus at the UC Davis Department of Entomology
Kendal Sager, education and outreach coordinator for the Beekeepers Guild of San Mateo County
Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director and staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    We have a couple hives as do many of our neighbors here in the Sierra. And friends in the San Joaquin Valley. Why did it take the federal government so long to do something? Between this drought and bee die off I sometimes wonder how many Californians even know where their food comes from and the huge role water and bees play.

  • Bob Fry

    Years ago we took out our front lawn and planted drought-tolerant flowers, which also support bees and humming birds. Maybe you don’t have a lawn to replace, but everybody can plant a few bee-friendly flowers in a pot somewhere. Don’t wait for the government to save us.

    • Tracy Wilson

      I did the same in my front yard in 2009 – replaced lawn with draught tolerant native flowers

  • Linda Panofsky

    one step that can be taken in California is for counties and municipalities to stop spraying pesticides to kill bees that inhabit public areas. Beekeepers are happy to safely trap and remove wild bee colonies, but even cities and counties like San Francisco are still using pesticides to kill bees rather than deal with relocation

  • Liz Hewlett

    Recommendations of plants, that are the most bang for my buck ,to plant in my tiny urban yard for bees and other pollinaters. I assume some plants are better than others. Longblooming and compact, 3 season.

  • Robert Thomas

    Is there a way to approach the status of these species without clogging it up with inevitable left-wing anti-corporate axe-grinding?

    My North Dakota relatives have been farming with severe monoculture techniques since 1900 and they’ve never eschewed very much chemistry or any other technology. But their bees survived them well until recently, when they’ve also seen some declines there. “Systemic” pesticides are NOT used for hard wheat and safflower; they and their neighbors use LESS pesticide than they once did.

    A lot of chlorinated and brominated pesticides and pesticides of other kinds were liberally and indiscriminately used in North America in the decades at least since WWII – that are much more carefully applied now than they once were.

    The pressure on these pollinators, including the useful and agreeable invasive European honeybees is real and obviously some comparatively novel superposition of forces is resulting in their distress.

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      ‘left wing’ caught my eye and made me laugh aloud, because President Nixon got more environmental causes passed than any ‘left wing’ person. National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Created the EPA in 1970, Clean Air Act Extension of 1970, Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, Endangered Species Act of 1973.

      • Robert Thomas

        And vetoed the Clean Water Act of 1972.

        Despite the fact that most of these were much more due to Senator Edmund Muskie’s efforts and despite the fact that Richard Nixon was a sociopath who thought “environmentalists” were fools and rubes and who considered that his own concessions to environmental legislation and the silly enthusiasms of such of his cabinet as Secretary of the Interior Walter Hickel were useful bargaining chips to spend for things he thought were actually important – I agree.

        So what?

        “[My] views are, frankly, whether it’s the environment or pollution or Naderism or consumerism, are extremely pro-business. We are fighting, frankly, a delaying action in many instances. …
        “…[B]ut where there is pollution and where there is safety, the general principle that I believe in is that, well, then we’ll do the best we can to eliminate the toxins. But we can’t have a completely safe society or safe highways or safe cars and pollution-free and so forth. Or we could have, go back and live like a bunch of damned animals. That won’t be too good, either. But I also know that using this issue, and, boy, this is true. It’s true in, in the environmentalists and it’s true of the consumerism people. They’re a group of people that aren’t one really damn bit interested in safety or clean air. What they’re interested in is destroying the system. They’re enemies of the system. So, what I’m trying to say is this: that you can speak to me in terms that I am for the system…”

        Richard M. Nixon
        Meeting in The Oval Office, April 27, 1971
        with Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca
        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/rollover/nixon/

    • Lori Ann

      Neonicotinoid seed treatments are in fact used quite widely as a prophylactic treatment on hard wheat. And we are, unquestionably, using far more pesticides, particularly glyphosate but also many others, on the landscape than ever before. See the data from USGS at http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/pnsp/usage/maps/compound_listing.php?year=1992&hilo=L.

      • Robert Thomas

        Yet, not in all squares of durum, you’ll find.

        Never more than a third of squares of soy have used neonicotinoid treatment and those are in decline because they really have never worked very well.

        Puzzlingly, my relatives and their neighbors see that hives near squares planted with systemic-treated soy and yummy sunflower seem little affected and at the same time, that the bee problems their local beekeepers have had precede and otherwise don’t correlate particularly well with the introduction of these agents there, in the early 2000s. Also, bee survival has conversely had similar reductions both in places where bees eat pollen from systemically treated maize as well as nearby to grass crops where bees don’t pollinate and don’t gather pollen.

  • scovey71

    I have been keeping bees in the Bay Area and have helped start over 200 hives with private urban beekeepers locally in the East Bay and San Francisco. I do believe CCD is definitely a factor, yet I believe it is not a holistic issue across the entire bee community. Rather, in agricultural colonies which are moved from farm to farm, stressed, exposed to toxins, consuming nectars from already genetically modified crops, and constantly on the move I feel it is almost a comprehensive issue of multiple stressors affecting these transient colonies vs sedate colonies in back yards and communities which are less stressed due to less of these factors.

  • Cammy

    I shuddered to see a gardener spraying pesticides on weeds in a neighbor’s home. I don’t know who they are (they live down the street) but I’m tempted to send the word out on our street to avoid these. I think we should have cities banning Round Up. I still see it on store shelves – Ace Hardware, Osh, Target….

  • EIDALM

    just like the canary in the mine ,honey bees are one of many species that face extenction about to join more than near one have of creatures that vanished in the last 50 years ,no thanks to human foolish behavior to the planet earth , I guess good old Fermi was right ,he said that TECHNICAL CIVILIZATION ALWAYS DESTROY ITSELF.

  • Afmed

    These almond orchards seem to be completely useless. They are a topic on the show today about bees in a negative way and they also use massive amounts of water for very little product. We waste a huge amount of water on almond orchards for a snack food. We are in California people! This is a desert and we are in a drought. We need to completely Re do our agriculture system in this state.

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      You have no idea what you are talking about. We personally consume a lot of almonds. In vegan burgers, almond milk, almond butter, almond crackers etc. They use far less water than what a cow uses and almond trees do not pollute the air or ground.

    • jll

      It depends on where they are in regards to water. As for the rest, you need a lot more information before you post stuff like that. Useless? They produce almonds. What else would you have them do?

    • Tracy Wilson

      It’s the cows not the almond orchards. Watch Cowspiracy and learn all “they” don’t want you to know about

  • Christian Johnson

    We welcome you to visit Save Our Pollinators (www.saveourpollinators.org), a newly-formed 501(c)3 non-profit foundation established to bring back our pollinators including monarchs and bees. Visitors can order free wildflower seeds and plant a beautiful pollinator garden directly on our website! You can also donate to our cause if you wish.

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