The USDA National Agricultural Statistics will be collecting more data on what is killing our honeybees. We all know pesticides are a culprit, but mites and lack of habitat will also be included. The new surveys will look at small bee keepers with less than 5 hives. The goal is to document colony movement, stress to the hives and losses. This seems to be necessary to provide funding to help the bees and legislation to remove toxic pesticides from the market. We hope.
The good news is the USDA will provide 4 million dollars to farmers and ranchers to use conservation and provide cover crops that provide food for the bees. This is a small amount, but it is a start.
The reason the USDA is beginning to move to help the bees is because of environmental groups protesting toxic pesticides. Also,folks are willing to contact their congress men and women to aid in the honeybee dilemma. We need research and answers to allow the colonies to grow and pollinate our food. Yes, I'm petitioning each of you to let state and national legislators know this is important. I'm also asking you to plant flowering herbs and plants that attract and feed bees every year. Whether you grow in pots or gardens doesn't matter. If you have questions about easy plants to grow, please contact me or the county agricultural department or local nurseryman. If you live in the area, I may have some cuttings or extra plants you can have for the asking.
We started the organic movement 50+ years ago, one gardener at a time. We can do the same to save bees. Keep the faith.