Glück Auf is loosely translated as "good luck to us all".

Friday, May 31, 2013

Bees Confiscated or Destroyed by the Illinois

This story caught my attention because bees are high on my list of animals I would eventually like to have and I had no idea that some, if not all bee keepers must notify the government about their bees and that their bees are subject to inspection and confiscation.

Source: Northwest Illinois' Prairie Advocate

Terrence Ingram reported the theft of $5000 of his bees and bee hives after Illinois Department of Agriculture inspector Susan Kivikko examined his apiary and determined that “foulbrood [was] present” in 15 samples of his bee colonies. Ingram later received a “Disease Notice” and a copy of the “Bee Disease Diagnosis” submitted by Kivikko to the USDA Bee research Laboratory in Maryland. Ingram was later informed that his apiary was infected with foulbrood, and that treatment by burning was ordered in accordance with Sec. 60.50(b) of the Illinois Bees and Apiaries Act.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food

Source: New York Times

Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our produce is relatively low in phytonutrients, which are the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of our modern scourges: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia. The loss of these beneficial nutrients did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, as many assume. Unwittingly, we have been stripping phytonutrients from our diet since we stopped foraging for wild plants some 10,000 years ago and became farmers.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Living Off The Grid On Lasqueti Island

On lasqueti.ca they describe the island as a place where residents live "a self-sufficient lifestyle reminiscent of an earlier century. Lasqueti ís the place where the conversation is more likely about solar panels or composting toilets than about microwaves or toasters -- foreign objects for most of the 400 residents. Nobody can work a five-day week away from home because it takes three days work just to survive -- to cut firewood, to maintain power, water, and waste systems, to work in your garden to produce your food."

Also, "Statistics Canada says is the most highly educated community in British Columbia."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

One-Third of U.S. Honeybee Colonies Died Last Winter, Threatening Food Supply

Source: Wired Science

Nearly one in three commercial honeybee colonies in the United States died or disappeared last winter, an unsustainable decline that threatens the nation’s food supply.

Multiple factors — pesticides, fungicides, parasites, viruses and malnutrition — are believed to cause the losses, which were officially announced today by a consortium of academic researchers, beekeepers and Department of Agriculture scientists.

“We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we don’t have enough bees in this country to meet pollination demands,” said entomologist Dennis vanEngelstorp of the University of Maryland, who led the survey documenting the declines.

“If we want to grow fruits and nuts and berries, this is important,” said vanEngelstorp. “One in every three bites [of food consumed in the U.S.] is directly or indirectly pollinated by bees.”

Scientists have raced to explain the losses, which fall into different categories.

  • Colony collapse disorder.
  • Neonicotinoids make bees more vulnerable to disease.
  • Varroa destructor mites weaken bees by sucking their hemolyph, the insect analogue of blood, and also transmit .
  • Nosema ceranae parasite.
  • viruses and other parasites transmitted by the Varroa mites
The honeybee catastrophe could also signal problems in other pollinator species, such as bumblebees and butterflies, that are not often studied.

“Thinking of honeybees as our canary in the coal mine, a monitor for environmental conditions, is very appropriate,” Cox-Foster said. “With honeybee colonies, you have the ability to open them up and see what’s going on. There are many other species needed for pollination, but with most of those, we don’t have the ability to see what’s happening.”