Skip to comments.Nature's dying migrant worker
Posted on 06/29/2014 2:34:16 PM PDT by Daffynition
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, CALIF. | First in an occasional series
On a cool January day in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Steve Ellis culled his sick bees. The only sounds were their steady buzz and the chuffing of the smoker he used to keep them calm as he opened the hives, one by one, to see how many had survived. The painful chore has become an annual ritual for Ellis, and, hardened now like a medic on the front lines, he crowned another box with a big rock to mark it.
This one is G.A.D., he said. Good as dead.
Ellis, of Barrett, Minn., is one of some 1,300 commercial beekeepers from across the United States who migrate to California each year, along with nearly 2 million hives, for the single largest pollination event in the world. Below him in the sprawling valley, nearly 1,400 square miles of almond trees three-fourths of the global supply were ready to burst out into a frothy sea of pink and white. To grow into a nut, every single blossom would need at least one American honeybee.
Ever since the ominous phrase colony collapse disorder first surfaced in 2006, scientists have struggled to explain the mysterious mass die-offs of honeybees. But here in Americas food basket the escalating stakes are laid out as clearly as the almond trees that march in perfect rows up to the horizon.
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That’s incredibly tedious labor. I’m too old for it now, but even thirty years back, I would not have wanted to do that for more than one hour a day, if that. People never think about this part of food production.
The migrants also suffer here in California, because the Central Valley water has been largely stopped, diverted on brought to a trickle in order to preserve various and sundry field mice, lizards and ground nesting birds.
All suposedly endangered creatures, of course. What can I say, California majority elects these people who bring their warped ideas with them. These idea are usually trumpeted during their campaigns. You can’t say you have been tricked. They told you. We told you too.
As the British Bee Keeper Association recently warned, rushing to ban neonics, when the evidence remains contradictory, could well do more damage than good, as other pesticides, some known to be more harmful to bees, would of necessity be reintroduced.
On the use of pesticides:
Last week I awoke to ants crawling all over the walkway at my doorstep. I had read a few months ago to put Diatomaceous earth on the entrances to the ants nests. Guess what? It works! I haven’t seen a single ant since I put it on the entrances to their nest.
I use it in the chicken coop. It stops lice.
Diatomaceous earth is sold almost everywhere that sells pesticides or hardware. Larger quantities are sold for swimming pool filters. Heck, people even eat the stuff.
Walmart, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, etc.
I haven’t tried this but my sister swears by it. Mix baking soda and powdered suger in equal proportions, then add a small amount of water to form a paste. Place in a jar lid on the ant colony. They will take it into the colony and all who eat it will explode. You will find dead ants all around the lid.
There are times, here in NE....when during blossom-time [usually around the 2nd week of May], it is so cold the bees don’t come out of the rented hives to do their *bee-thang^ to pollinate the fruit trees. Mother nature is unpredictable and fickle.
Americans won’t climb a fruit tree starting at 5 in the morning and work practically non-stop in all kinds of hideous weather until dusk. That is why legal alien Jamicans are brought in by the labor dept to do the work.
It seems that, at the very least, part of the problem has to be the stress of being the linchpin of the commercial pollination industry. The industry is focused on honey production (for the hive owners), and following after the crop cycles of almonds, fruits, and so on.
Bees, for a species that until 130 years ago was content to live in hollow logs to have been domesticated and forced to carry the burden of producing the world's food supply from artificially created homes, some of this is not unexpected.
The surest way to rid your home of ants quickly and safely is to mix equal parts sugar, flour and borax, put it in a bottle cap and set that in an area where you've seen ants. Some people add a few drops water to make a liquid or paste.
The ants carry the borax back to the nest, and the borax erodes the waxy coating that protects them. A few capfuls will take out an entire nest, inside or outm in a matter of days.
I imagine you could spray it around your foundation and it would work.
Do you remember the spray dusters? They spray fertilizers on the plants. That would be my first choice instead of mixing DE with water.
Make sure you don’t eat the stuff they use for pool filters though. Some of the DE sold is ‘food grade’ and other DE isn’t. We use a lot of DE around pets and our chickens but we only use food grade stuff. I also use it to get rid of aphids on my peppers and tomatoes.
DE mixed with water is much less effective. I use something like this: