Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,025 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
By Reps. Tom Rooney and David Valadao
July 1, 2014, 10:18 a.m.




For some time now, the media has been issuing dire warnings of the coming “bee-
pocalypse.” Time magazine ran a cover story titled, “A World Without Bees.” A headline in the London Telegraph proclaimed “Honey bees in US facing extinction.” CBS warned of the drastic threat to our food supply if these essential pollinators are lost. Yet reports of bees’ catastrophic demise are greatly exaggerated.

Activists with an anti-pesticide agenda have noticed the issue and are using it to call for a ban on neonicotiniod insecticides — “neonics” for short — which they claim are responsible for bee health problems. The most factual science does not support these allegations. Neither do the facts on the ground. Such a ban would damage entire sectors of U.S. agriculture and do more harm than good for bees. Despite this fact, legislation was recently introduced in Congress to prohibit this critical crop protection technology.

Members of Congress should consider the facts rather than the headlines. We are far from facing a world without bees. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of honeybee hives has remained more or less constant for the past 14 years, slightly increasing from 2.63 million colonies in 2000 to 2.64 million colonies in 2013.

Across the globe, there’s more good news. Surveys by the United Nations show Europe’s colonies have increased slightly since 2001. Canada’s government reports the largest numbers since the 1980s. Worldwide, the managed bee population has risen dramatically, from about 40 million in the early 1960s to more than 60 million today.

While the overall picture is much more optimistic than what is portrayed in the media, some beekeepers have experienced problems maintaining the health of their hives.

Higher-than-normal losses of bees over the winter in some years have resulted in economic setbacks for some beekeepers, though the USDA found last year’s loss rate much lower. In reporting on these numbers, many journalists fail to recognize that worker bees only live for six weeks in the summer and hive strength can quickly regenerate to compensate for losses.

The USDA cites many factors afflicting bees, but the primary one is the epidemic spread of the varroa mite and the crippling diseases it vectors into the bee. Additional problems include lack of forage and the stresses of the transcontinental pollination business. As for pesticides, the USDA places them near the bottom of the list. In fact, the USDA is concerned about the miticides beekeepers themselves use to control varroa.

It’s clear from real world experience and extensive field studies that neonics are not a significant factor. Bees thrive in the millions of acres of neonic-treated canola grown in Western Canada and the pesticides are used extensively in Australia, a continent that has some of the healthiest bees in the world.

But while bees aren’t harmed by these popular pesticides, farmers — and consumers — would be if they were banned. Neonics are all that is saving the U.S. citrus industry from destruction by “citrus greening” disease. Without them, rice and cotton farming would become economically unviable throughout much of the U.S. Leafhoppers would devastate vineyards in California and the Pacific Northwest. Neonics are one of the most critical pesticides used in modern agriculture and safely utilized in the production of numerous crops, from corn and soy to vegetables of all kinds.

We must understand why activist organizations have decided to target neonics for elimination. They won the day in Europe, where the EU overrode the doubts of its own scientists and pushed through a political ban. As a matter of fact, the EU just conducted a survey to find out how bad the losses really are and were clearly taken aback by the findings. Seventy-five percent of the bee population experienced overwinter losses of 15 percent or less — a rate considered completely normal in the United States. High overwinter losses occurred among 5 percent of the bee population in the very cold north.

Summertime losses were insignificant. The biggest danger to bees in the EU are the older classes of pesticides, especially the pyrethroids now used as a result of the neonic ban.

The activists want us to ban first and ask questions later. We should not legislate based on sensationalist and fallacious press accounts. The facts clearly don’t support the calls for a ban.

Reps. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and David Valadao, R-Calif., are members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Pesticides are not the problem, they are the result, of poor farming techniques. It goes far beyond just bees, they are merely an indicator.

When we take the cattle out of the pastures and put them in feed lots instead of rotating them on pasture and rotating crops behind them, we starve the soil of vital microbes.

When the microbes are depleted, there is no longer a natural defense in place, in comes Monsanto and Bayer with their pesticides and alien seeds which harm the ecosystem.

We live in a symbiotic world. Every little creature has a purpose and when we try to eliminate one that we may not know what its purpose is, we upset the ecosystem.

Getting away from monocropping will basically solve all of our agricultural issues.

Imagine instead of industrial, steroid and antibiotic supported livestock packed in a feedlot by the thousands, we had small farms scattered across the country supporting their local communities with healthy food!!

Run the cattle in paddocks, follow them with chickens or turkey, and follow that with a crop of vegetables. Free food for the cows and chickens, and free fertilizer for the crops.

The more we meddle with nature, the more we screw it up and make things tougher for us and drive prices for food through the roof.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
By Reps. Tom Rooney and David Valadao
July 1, 2014, 10:18 a.m.


Reps. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., and David Valadao, R-Calif., are members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.
Is this published out side of your Legislature? This should be on bee-L and everywhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
The more we meddle with nature, the more we screw it up and make things tougher for us and drive prices for food through the roof.
I haven't noticed that final result, have you? I bet you have no problem feeding yourself and your family on your income.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
I haven't noticed that final result, have you? I bet you have no problem feeding yourself and your family on your income.
I choose not to afford (much) supermarket beef anymore. Pork prices have been rising - enough to where I have gotten myself a couple of pigs. And my garden... Hunger is a very real problem in my area, in part due to grocery store prices and in part due to the economy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
The title is misleading, or revealing. There are thousands of species of pollinators besides Apis Melifera.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,229 Posts
Pollinator numbers aren't 'up'. It's just Honeybee colony numbers which may well have increased.

You could certainly double the number of Honeybee colonies in the U.S., if you wanted to.

However, that has nothing to do with the environmental impact of pesticides, like neonicotinoids.

For example, Monarch butterfly populations are plummeting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
I choose not to afford (much) supermarket beef anymore. Pork prices have been rising - enough to where I have gotten myself a couple of pigs. And my garden... Hunger is a very real problem in my area, in part due to grocery store prices and in part due to the economy.
Okay, but prices paid for food have not gone "through the roof" as stated in a previous Post.

We produce and sell the least expensive food in the world. If someone has the where with all to be sitting here using a computer, paying for internet, and not out working then boo hooing about the price of food is ludicrous. Hunger everywhere in Ameica is a real problem. The price of food isn't the problem. Another Tailgater Topic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Okay, but prices paid for food have not gone "through the roof" as stated in a previous Post.

We produce and sell the least expensive food in the world. If someone has the where with all to be sitting here using a computer, paying for internet, and not out working then boo hooing about the price of food is ludicrous. Hunger everywhere in Ameica is a real problem. The price of food isn't the problem. Another Tailgater Topic.
The current system is a joke, and supported by poisons. If someone doesn't think eating small amounts of poison is not harmful, especially to young developing children, I really am not interested in pursuing this topic with them. Logic has lost the battle.

Imagine a food system with no trucking, no need for preservatives, no need for insecticides, no need for antibiotics, and so on...

If we went back to small farms supporting their local communities, we would not even need grocery stores as we see them today. There were no grocery stores as we know them today until around the 1950's.

There has always been enough food to feed the world, it's the delivery of the food that prohibits it.

Even in areas like northern Africa where it has become desertified, people have successfully returned large tracts of baren wasteland back to productive status in as little as 5 years by re-introducing herbivores to the land to improve the soils.

The evidence is there.

And if one could get a gallon of milk that is pasteurized and all the nutritional value removed for 4 bucks, why would it be a bad thing to be able to get a gallon of milk that is actually beneficial to you for 1 or 2 bucks off a local farmer?

What we have as the "cheapest food on the planet" is not food at all. It is a food like product stripped of nutrition.

We also have the highest percentage of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and on and on. It goes hand in hand with the junk food nation we have become.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
We live in the World that we currently live in, not 1940s America when the majority of our people lived on or near farms. Be nastolgic for the past, that's fine, but deal w/ the way things are now.

I think we should perhaps take any discussion about Food Prices and Hunger in America to another Thread. I'd be glad to discuss that w/ you elsewhere. This is not the place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
There is plenty of land around every city for numerous farms to prosper. It would also help with the economy, farms need farmers and farm workers.

I did go down a rabbit trail, but that rabbit trail is directly related to why our bees are in need of treatments and babying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
608 Posts
Just because some have a tendency for sensationalism doesn't mean the opposite is true. And just because hive numbers are maintained does not mean that overall pollinator populations are healthy, or even honey bee populations specifically. Managed colony numbers neither prove nor disprove pollinator issues.

Are the authors registered as a pesticide lobbyist? They may as well be. Evidence against neonics is considerable. To claim that "the most factual science does not support these allegations", when the only studies who deny them are sponsored by the pesticide companies themselves, is ridiculous. Higher viral replication, increased nosema damages, decreased yields, orientation inhibition, increased brood mortality, colony death, and CCD have all been linked to neonics. A great number of colonies are reported to die when neonic crops are sown in Canada. Despite how quickly these pesticides degrade within the corpses of bees, a good deal of samples come back positive for neonic intoxication. Researcher after researcher come before us to tell us of new field impacts of neonic crops. And they go about stating that "It’s clear from real world experience and extensive field studies that neonics are not a significant factor"? That's called willful ignorance.

They then go about with the same kind of dramatization and sensationalist that they denounce when they started off, by saying how vital neonics are to farmers and consumers. Did the EU agriculture implode when they banned neonics? Are all of their farmers now living on the streets as hobos because they've been deprived of their essential neonics? They state that multiple crops won't survive if it isn't for neonics, but their systematic use on all cash crop seeds and everywhere else they can be used is the best way to let pests develop resistance. It's just a matter of time. What'll happen to these crops then? How much are they willing to trade off for just a few more years of unsustainable crops? Isn't cotton subsidized? Fact is, crop values fluctuate over time. Profitability isn't fixed. We constantly adopt new crops, and abandon less profitable ones. Cotton, rice, citrus... how much of these were cultivated just a century back in North America? If these crops stop becoming profitable, then farmers can switch to other more sustainable crops, and still make profits. And that's if their claim that they will no longer be profitable is even true, which I have serious doubts over. In Canada, trials exposed that the vast majority of surfaces treated with neonics did not need them and had no yield gains from them. To claim that agriculture would become unprofitable without a substance that is scarcely ever useful is highly dubious. Indeed, the more wild pollintaors are affected, the more crops that rely on pollination will need to hire migratory beekeepers, and pay for their services or else suffer yield losses. Thus, crop prices will increase and the consumers will pay.

Their call is as sensationalist and fallacious as the rest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
AB, there is a small group of keepers that keep crying wolf, the vast number of keepers are doing fine.
But Keith, crying wolf is so much easier figuring out what the problem is and doing something about it. As long as you aren't starving in the mean time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
Are the authors registered as a pesticide lobbyist? They may as well be.
It's highly doubtful that the two congressmen actually wrote it. Maybe they had their staffers look it over, but almost certainly the article was written by someone in a lobbying company.

In reality, the practical and scientific issues aren't black and white either way, but in the realm of politics, the "facts" are unimportant. What matters is the spin and the political muscle to pass bills or block them, and to influence the agencies that affect regulations and enforcement. In that context, this article, supposedly written by two members of Congress (with close ties to corporate agriculture), is just an opening salvo. And note the ex-politician named below, Dick Gephardt. It's not a Democrat/Republican issue. It's about big money, and the power to make even more money by gaming the science and the regulatory apparatus.

"The Costly Lobbying War Over America's Dying Honeybees," National Journal, July 1, 2014:

In an effort to protect their product, pesticide makers are loading up on high-powered lobbyists. Bayer, the largest manufacturer of neonics, has signed former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt's firm to lobby on the issue, according to disclosure records filed at the end of June. Gephardt himself is listed as a lobbyist for the company, along with his former chief of staff, Thomas O'Donnell, and aide Sharon Daniels.

Bayer also signed a contract in April with Cornerstone Government Affairs as part of its honeybee lobbying push.

A Bayer spokesperson declined to comment on the message its lobbyists plan to push. But the company confirmed that it recently hired both lobbying firms, and its line on pesticides has been well-publicized.

"Some critics contend that neonicotinoids may be involved in honeybee losses," Bayer's website proclaims. "However, there has been no demonstrated effect on colony health associated with neonicotinoid-based insecticides."

In addition to its honeybee lobbying, Bayer has launched a public-relations offensive. The chemical giant opened the doors to its North American Bee Care Center in North Carolina in April. And last month, Bayer hosted a reception for members of Congress in Washington to talk about its efforts to help honeybees during National Pollinator Week.

Bayer isn't the only pesticides maker fixing for a fight. Syngenta, the second-largest neonic manufacturer, is registered to lobby on pesticides. A Syngenta spokesperson said the company actively discusses "the pollinator issue" with government officials.

The lobbying push is backed by deep pockets. Bayer ponied up more than $2 million for all of its lobbying efforts in the first quarter of the year, according to lobbying disclosure records. Syngenta, meanwhile, paid out $350,000 in the same interval for total lobbying expenditures.​

Their call is as sensationalist and fallacious as the rest.
But you can't read it at that level. Their call is carefully deliberated and part of a much larger campaign. :popcorn:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,799 Posts
And if one could get a gallon of milk that is pasteurized and all the nutritional value removed for 4 bucks, why would it be a bad thing to be able to get a gallon of milk that is actually beneficial to you for 1 or 2 bucks off a local farmer?
One real problem is that milk costs close to $10/gallon to produce. What you see in the grocery store is the magic of subsidies. I need to figure out how to preserve cider for year round consumption. I think I could produce enough, but storage will be a problem. (That and water which as I have a well and my pump is powered by my PV solar system doesn't cost me directly to operate.)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,229 Posts
Have you noticed how their narrative has changed?

It used to be "...there was no scientifically validated evidence at field realistic doses for neonicotinoids causing colony losses...".

Then came neonicotinoid colony kills in Canada and the PMRA announcement.

They do need help from the lobbyists in writing a better narrative.

It's too easy to poke holes in the "colony numbers are increasing" argument.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,361 Posts
The current system is a joke, and supported by poisons. If someone doesn't think eating small amounts of poison is not harmful, especially to young developing children, I really am not interested in pursuing this topic with them. Logic has lost the battle.

Imagine a food system with no trucking, no need for preservatives, no need for insecticides, no need for antibiotics, and so on...

If we went back to small farms supporting their local communities, we would not even need grocery stores as we see them today. There were no grocery stores as we know them today until around the 1950's.

There has always been enough food to feed the world, it's the delivery of the food that prohibits it.

Even in areas like northern Africa where it has become desertified, people have successfully returned large tracts of baren wasteland back to productive status in as little as 5 years by re-introducing herbivores to the land to improve the soils.

The evidence is there.

And if one could get a gallon of milk that is pasteurized and all the nutritional value removed for 4 bucks, why would it be a bad thing to be able to get a gallon of milk that is actually beneficial to you for 1 or 2 bucks off a local farmer?

What we have as the "cheapest food on the planet" is not food at all. It is a food like product stripped of nutrition.

We also have the highest percentage of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and on and on. It goes hand in hand with the junk food nation we have become.
May I be so bold as to ask what you do for a living? Are you out growing your own food on your own land and feeding those in your own small town setting? If not, why not?

I have farmed, raised cattle & hogs my whole life (over 50 years) and now my own bees too. If your idea of farming came true, you'd see mass starvation in areas of the world & USA because of changes in weather or insect pressure unless you packed up and moved like the nomadic tribes of he past. Are you looking for a way of life change? :s

Farming and ranching is the way it is today because that's the way it has developed for the good of the masses. Without pesticides food prices would be higher than even you could afford.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
"The lobbying push is backed by deep pockets. Bayer ponied up more than $2 million for all of its lobbying efforts in the first quarter of the year, according to lobbying disclosure records. Syngenta, meanwhile, paid out $350,000 in the same interval for total lobbying expenditures. :popcorn:
Here's another article, "White House Task Force To Save Bees Stirs Hornet's Nest," which also gives a link to a list of lobbyists who've registered as having an interest in one bill, "H.R.2692: Saving America's Pollinators Act of 2013." And each of those names includes a link to their lobbying firm, with more info. Some of the info is getting out of date, but you can get a picture of who's in the mix.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top