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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many beekeepers have lobbied their local government to cut back or stop ditch spraying? I have, and my ditches are full of season long bee forage, yet I drive around the country side and there is nothing but grass.

These ditches are one more reason why my hives are thriving.

Of all the time and thought put into fighting big Agri and chemical application why is there virtually nothing done about this simple act of ditch spraying ? This is something tangible and we can achieve it.

We need a bit if space, perhaps if we inform the public and farmers, they will give us the ditches!?
 

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The ditches around here get cut in the middle of the summer to keep the brush down. Today, they are full of goldenrod, hawksbeard, and asters.

We've only been here for a year (as of this weekend), so I've been watching pretty close what happens in the area. Haven't seen a sprayer of any type, just a brush cutter in June, and I believe that was hydro keeping the brush from even getting a start under the power lines.

We haven't done any lobbying here on this subject, but I will start if it turns out to be an issue. So far, it looks like the folks have already accomplished that part before we bought this place, or, maybe the regional district has never started, probably an expense related thing. It's been a pleasant surprise watching the hive on the scale thru August, we were expecting it to be a dearth, but they put on a good chunk, and that hive is at my winter weight target already, without any feeding. It'll be interesting to see if they can stay there for another month, or if I'll need to give them a little help in September.
 

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I've tried... my issue is mainly ditch mowing... here, as soon as anything flowers (clover, birds foot) it triggers the mowing command structure to activate their mowers. Flowers are often mowed down within two days of flowering. I've spoken with the County Public Works folks, but I'm just the crazy bee lady... I need more beekeepers to speak up with me, but they won't.

This year, though they did wait until most of the blooms in my area were done before mowing. Maybe they listened!
 

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Good on you Ian for taking the time to make the effort. It is so much more productive than moaning and groaning. No one can help if they do not know you need help.

Jean-Marc
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
who else is or has made this effort?

Write a simple respectable letter to your local government counsel. Ask to stop ditch spraying, or as Fameflower mentioned, delay mowing until later in the season.
 

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In Ohio ODOT is doing trial plantings of pollinator friendly plants along roadways. http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2014/08/11/state-establishing-bee-friendly-areas-toue-medians/

I know that Pheasants Forever made pushes to delay roadside mowing to reduce damage to nesting pheasants.

There are places in Ohio that have a lot of sweet clover growing along the roads. It usually isn't mowed until mid-bloom or later. There are people who will complain about unmowed roadside looking unkept. PR about being pollinator friendly and reducing taxpayer expenses can help overcome some of these complaints.

An eight foot wide strip one mile long is one acre.

Thanks for the heads-up Ian.

Tom
 

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I've spoken with the County Public Works folks, but I'm just the crazy bee lady...
This comment reminds me of a situation in an Astronomy group that I was a part of a few years back. That group had been lobbying city council to reduce light polution for years, and it was all essentially falling on deaf ears. Then one year a new member joined, who was a civil engineer, and he listened to a report from the 'light pollution committee'. His comment after the report was 'you guys are doing this all wrong, let me take a stab at this, give me a couple months'.

Two months later, he made a presentation to the city council. He had case studies, and financial reports, along with proper cost estimates etc etc all lined up. His work showed that installing full cutoff street lights results is a more expensive fixture (one time purchase), that uses a less expensive bulb (onging replacement purchases), and half the electricity (ongoing operating expense). Net result, the exact same number of lumens (I believe that's the metric they count) reaching the ground area under the light stand. A very well done presentation, focussing on the economics, that showed roughly 10% increase in cost during installation (normally borne by the developer) and close to 50% reduction in ongoing cost for operation (borne by the city). Within 3 months, ordinances were passed that required all new installations, and all replacement installations, to use full cutoff lighting fixtures. Interesting tidbit from the meeting with the first presentation, one of the council members asked a question after the full presentation. 'Would this change get those wacky stargazers off our back about light pollution ?' The astronomy benefits were not mentioned even once during the presentation, it was all about the economics of using full cutoff street lighting.

You guys are farmers, so, I'm assuming folks understand land management plans. To really make headway with the politicians, rather than lobby to 'stop the spraying', which sounds just like any of the other myriad of 'stop something' special interest groups politicians listen to all the time, an alternate tack that may work a lot better goes along this line. Start by first identifying the end goals of the city / district / whoever that is doing the spraying and/or mowing. Then, develop a well thought out land management plan for that land, but one that meets your goals as well as theirs, and ideally, can save a big chunk of money in the process. Present the new land management plan as a significant cost savings measure, and only mention bee habitat in the 'side effects' part of the pitch, not the end goals part of the pitch.

Come across to the politicians as an 'interested taxpayer, trying to help save money', and you will get the ear of that politician. Come across as a 'save the [insert item of choice here]' kind of zealot, and you just get lumped in with all the other save the world type of zealots.

There's a whole bunch of folks reading this part of the forum, with a serious vested interest in the subject, and many of you are also farmers, that have a much better understanding of land management than the rest of us. So if some collective thoughts are put 'out there', as in typing them here, what kind of management plan can be put together for presentations to various political groups that would satisfy their particular end goals, yet end up with a much more bee friendly land use ? I'd start of by suggesting 'let it go wild' is not a viable options, simply because if it was, the politicians would not vote to spend money on spraying and/or weeding today. So, what other options are available, that can accomplish the same end goal, but in a manner that preserves a bunch of bee forage ?

I dont know much about it, but the first thought that comes to my mind, if the end goal is weed control, what kind of bee friendly smother crop could thrive in the same landscape, suppress the weeds, while providing bee forage, and keep it 'looking good' for the folks worrying about how it all looks more than how it functions ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Crop farmers are accomplishing their goals very effectively recently with the introduction of in crop non selective week control. They also have been given the tools to improve the land where as every acre can now be utilized. This means anything collected off that land from beekeepers narrows to a slight two or three week period...

But we still have ditches...

I have lobbied my local counsel to stop spraying the ditches around my apiary, and hold off mowing until later, and my ditches are thriving with life. The Municipalities around me are sprayed and mowed , and have nothing but grass... Right now I am moving my yards off late bloom canola fields back into the municipality that still has forage left in the ditches. It make a substantial difference.

I dont hear any beekeeper making any type of noise on this front. With so much attention in the media on bee decline, beekeepers should be piggy this anti chemical campaign and bring life back to our ditches!!!!!
 
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