US Postage stamp
The aficionados of alternative pollinators will be pleased by the US Postal Service issuance of a stamp set featuring alternative pollinators. It is a four stamp set, includes a hummingbird, a bat, a butterfly and a bumblebee. I felt honeybees, the most viable commercial pollinator, should have been included but no.
I cant believe there is no honeybee.... they pollinate 1 in every three foods we eat.
Maybe I am just being paranoid but I can't help but suspect the folks that made the decision to exclude honeybees have the same mindset as the folks that hijack the committee meetings whenever the importance and/or plight of the honeybee is brought up. I suppose they reason that if they emphasize other pollinators, they can distract from and downplay the need for funding honeybee research, inclusion in farm bills etc..
I think the stamp is gorgeous and it is good to promote native species but they should have specified "Native". When you talk important pollinators in the U.S., how can you exclude the honeybee? Maybe they are considering honeybees more as livestock? As opposed to natural?
I realize this is a thread for alternative pollinators and if they are protected the environment and honeybees will all benefit, which is a good thing.
Paranoia is out to get you
Well, you might be paranoid, but I agree that the slant towards the "wild" pollinators on a national stamp is a disservice to U.S. beekeepers, who provide a much-needed service to agriculture.
In the National Academies' "Status of Pollinators of North America" October 2006 publication, they mention the decline of the honey bee (termed as "Managed Pollinators"), its importance in agriculture, but stress that "Long-term honey bee population data have been gathered by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) since 1947. However, the assessment of populations in North America has been complicated by NASS’s historic focus on honey production rather than on the number of colonies, its exclusion of hobbyist beekeepers in its survey, the movement of colonies around the country, and inconsistent data collection methods among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Population data are not available for other managed pollinators, such as alfalfa leafcutting bees and bumble bees." They recommend better information gathering and databases by NASS.
Further on in the article they also indicate "For some wild species, competition with exotic pollinators (including the honey bee, A. mellifera, which is not native to North America) has led to population declines."
Apparently "Managed Pollinators" take a back-seat to "Wild Pollinators"...
I think it is strange that they stress that the honey bee is not native to North America... How many crops are truly native to North America?
>>>Well, you might be paranoid<<<
It's only paranoia if they AREN'T out to get me
>>>I think it is strange that they stress that the honey bee is not native to North America... How many crops are truly native to North America?<<<
Very good point, I hadn't thought of that, duh!
In addition, mono cropping of even native crops certainly isn't natural.
As for honeybees interfering with or somehow negatively effecting native species, I would think any negative effects would be offset by honeybee pollination of native plants that otherwise would not be pollinated due to loss of native pollinators because of habitat loss, pesticides etc. Admittedly what is cause, what is effect might be in question.
But I am not well versed in this. Since this is an alternative pollinator thread, does any of the better versed members know of specific examples of negative impact of honeybees on native pollinators?
Honeybees will occasionally commandeer the hummingbird feeder, do they do this with less concentrated nectar sources?
I posted the following to Bee-L in response to a posting from the
head of the "Xerces Society" announcing that a companion bill to
HR1709 (the bill to fund more CCD work) had been introduced in
the Senate with the addition of "alternative pollinators" language.
> H.R. 1709
> This bill not only addresses Colony Collapse Disorder in honey bees,
> but also the decline of native pollinators in North America.
And who added "native pollinators" language?
> with the decline in the number of managed honey bee colonies from
> diseases, parasitic mites, and Africanized bees—as well as from
> Colony Collapse Disorder—it is important to increase the use of
> native bees in our agricultural system as well.
The comment about "native bees" is a classic "answer looking
for a problem" tactic. Oh so reasonable, and oh so cynical.
Finding the cause of CCD and use of native bees are two very
different problems, and I am starting to get annoyed at the
well-paid professional "native pollinator" advocates and their
ongoing well-funded PR campaigns. They now stoop to attempting
to hijack a simple effort to fund some CCD research.
Their efforts work at cross-purposes with the simple need for
funding and enhanced awareness among the general public about
the specific plight of honey bees at hand and the resulting
impact on practical agriculture.
Even at the USDA "CCD meeting" in Beltsville, a meeting called to
address a single specific problem that affects only colonies of
Apis mellifera, precious time was wasted while "native pollinator"
advocates droned on and on about other types of bees, which have
not been affected by CCD. Gentle attempts to redirect the
discussion back to CCD and Apis mellifera were not enough of a hint,
so the meeting facilitator had to overtly shut down the long-winded,
non-productive, off-topic monologues so that the assembled group
could get back to the business at hand.
With everyone from the anti-cell-phone luddites to the anti-GM-food
activists pointing to CCD and screaming "See? We were RIGHT! The
bees are dying, so we must have been right all along!", we don't
really need groups like the Xerces Society, who should know better,
doing the same thing.
Get this straight - CCD has nothing to do with the Xerces Society,
native pollinators, or a "native pollinators" agenda. The efforts
of the "native pollinator" advocates in this area of inquiry are
cynical, self-serving, and fraudulent.
Yes, we all agree that the general environmental deterioration has
hurt native pollinators, and that these insects and animals are
excellent sentinels for environmental quality. But they got the
NAS pollinator report to dedicate most of its pages to "pollinators"
that pollinate insignificant numbers of blooms of plants that
have nothing to do with agriculture,
And we did not complain.
They also got their stamps, having successfully lobbied to exclude
our favorite insects,
And again, we did not complain.
They also dominated "National Pollinator Week" and all the
the promotional materials, bundling "bees" into a single
category, giving equal weight to flies, beetles, wasps, ants,
butterflies, moths, birds, and bats. Specific mention of
honey bees was only made when it was to point out problems
that were positioned to make them look like less viable
And yet again, we did not complain.
So we kinda hoped that they'd have the tact to leave a simple bill
to fund CCD work alone. The bill was written to provide
desperately-needed funding to find the actual causes of CCD.
It was simple, it was clean, and it had a single purpose.
But no, they had to go lobby to insert some language to get some
of that money and attention too.
They just have to stick their fingers in every pot, insert their
wishful thinking about THEIR favorite insects somehow becoming
economically-viable large-scale pollinators into the agenda, and
thereby, ONCE AGAIN, diluted the message, complicated the situation,
and added confusion to what was a simple and straightforward request
to fund a very narrow set of tasks.
Let's get something straight here - when beekeepers are asked to
support efforts to protect native pollinators, we provide that
support, with words, deeds, and cash. We don't try to twist things
around to include Apis mellifera, we don't lobby to get some funding
for our honey bee related agenda, and we certainly don't insert
our favorite insects into the discussion.
So stop hijacking this discussion, stop lobbying to insert your
agenda into our mission-critical bill, and give us the same
courtesy we extend to your efforts.
Withdraw your changes that divert funding away from specific
CCD work in HR 1709, and stop damming Apis mellifera with the
"faint praise" of claims that alternative pollinators are some
sort of practical "solution" to the problem at hand until you
can point to a specific general-purpose pollinating native bee
(or fly, beetle, wasp, ant, butterfly, moth, bird, or bat)
that can be managed and deployed on anything more than a very
limited basis on a very narrow range of plants.
If you don't get with the program, and get your sticky fingers
out of OUR funding bill, don't come 'round here no more expecting
us to support your slick PR and advocacy campaigns.
Last edited by Jim Fischer; 06-27-2007 at 06:47 PM.