Respite for the Bees

U.S. beekeepers lost 42% of their honeybees from April 2014 to 2015.This is the second highest loss ever recorded. Although Congress is frustrated with the conflicting research, it has asked President Obama to release a strategy to protect our pollinators within the next 2 weeks.

Although the U.S.D.A. finds no reason to restrict soybean seeds coated with neonicotinoid pesticides, the E.P.A. has recently restricted any new use of these pesticides accused by consumer groups for decimating the bee and pollinator population. This includes aerial spraying or any different application until all data is evaluated.

On April 2,a letter to chemical companies indicated any new  use of clothian,dinotefuran, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam will not be approved any time soon. The manufacturers are asked to withdraw them from production or delete them from outdoor use. The E.P.A. admitted lack of sufficient data to determine the outcome of usage on bees and  pollinators. Peter Jenkins, Center for Food Safety, says under federal regulation (F.IF.R.A), the E.P.A. should suspend existing use of these pesticides, pending a thorough investigation of impact of these pesticides on the environment. The outcry and demands from the public have retailers removing neonicotinoids from their shelves and have forced the E.P.A. and government agencies to seriously reconsider use in the future. Until the E.P.A. can prove these pesticides are safe for pollinators and the public, further use may be restricted all together.

Sources: Chemical and Engineering News, May 11 and May 16, 2015.

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Update on Honeybees

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.

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Natural Insect Repellents from the Ancients

Recent regulations by the European Union to assess all insect repellents for toxicity and safety leaves only a few choices for consumers.Among the pending insecticides, lavender geranium and citrus essential oils and a seed extract from the Neem tree,Margosa, are expected to pass assessment.

In my travels and research over 20 years writing  Mother Nature's Herbal, I learned about these and many other natural insect repellents. I have found the best repellents come out of my gardens. I successfully use lavender for ants, moths and many flying insects. Lemongrass and citronella repels mosquitoes and geranium repels fleas, and most household pests. What the essential oils don't repel, Neem will. It has been used by gardeners for centuries to repel bugs from food crops and restore wood products. It's now recommended to wait up to 7 days before harvesting crops after application of Neem. It's time to take notice of what's growing in your garden that can replace potentially toxic products.

Author Judy Griffin, PhD.

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How to make a Natural Perfume

Youtube now has my How to Make A Natural Perfume lecture available for viewing . We learned during the class that the base aromas extend and hold the fragrance of a perfume. I taught how to make a base using essential oils, concretes and absolutes to achieve a lasting natural perfume. Two formulas for bases are available on Utube that can be used with many, if not all natural perfumes. One base uses vanilla and balsams; the other has an oakmoss scent. I introduced tonka bean and labdanum base scents as very fragrant base aromas. Next , I gave many formulas of the heart or body of the perfume. These include roses, jasmine, litsea cubeba, champaca, tuberose, neroli and frangipani, ylang ylang extra, and other essential oils that combine well with these aromas. Champaca and Tuberose are the most exotic perfume heart perfume ingredients.. The heart of the perfume includes the dominant scents. The top scents are next and are usually citrus,such as the 4 oranges made from the orange tree, lime and litsea cubeba, a flower used for its lemon scent. Top notes also include spices, such as coriander, nutmeg, and cardamom. Top notes are the first scent we smell when we open a perfume. Top aroma notes define the aroma and grab our attention to continue exploring this wonderful perfume.

Natural perfumes are cured, or married, for 2-4 weeks so the flavors can become a unified living entity of scent. After analyzing this new aroma, we can add a few drops of any of the scents to further define the aroma. Actually, you can quickly take a sniff after a few days, but be sure to allow the aroma to blend a full 2 weeks or longer. Oxidation can change the blend after opening, so be patient!

It's important to understand why we want a natural perfume and what essential oils, absolutes and concretes actually do in a perfume.  Natural perfumes are living scents that evolve and change like we do in the course of our lives. Commercial perfumes are made from chemicals that mimic the scents of plants. Concretes , absolutes and essential oils are made from the plants and have all the subtle scents that unfold in petals of aroma. Natural perfumes do not harm the environment. They encourage bee activity and do not offend the water supply or environment. Chemical perfumes are in all personal care, household, and skincare products. These are one category of pollutants that harm fish, wildlife, and our domestic pets who drink contaminated water. Synthetic perfumes are also in organic and natural products listed as parfume and fragrance, lavidin, vanillin, just to mention a few. These perfumes do not blend with our unique aroma we have since birth and support self healing. Natural perfumes do and release a cascading , large amount of endorphins as they caress and unfold from our skin. Perfumes made from Nature can increase longevity and our experience of quality living. Our smell awareness awakens to increase memory and keep us from having neurological illness,such as Alzheimers. Scent can be an enjoyable  force for a healthier life.

Join me on Utube to learn more about making a natural perfume. Also read the previous blog describing concretes and absolutes in natural perfumery.I teach limited class intensives when we make a personal, natural perfume. If you are interested, please contact me at

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