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Author Topic: Sad tale of possible pesticide kill  (Read 2167 times)
tillie
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« on: June 01, 2007, 10:05:43 AM »

I drove the mile long bridge across the Mississippi River this morning to walk along the river at Vidalia, LA.  There's about a 10 foot wide concrete river walk for about 1 1/2 miles there. 

On the walk out all along the 1 1/2 miles I saw lots of honeybees, not dead, but just sitting still.  I wondered if they had been zapped by a bug zapper but there wasn't one on the light poles along the path.  I nudged a  number of them and they seemed dazed and relatively unresponsive.

As I walked back, there were few honeybees but lots of starlings, looking satisfied.  The bees in the state in which I found them were not going to fly...easy pickings for the starlings.  Some of the bees were being consumed by ants.

In this part of Louisiana and Mississippi, there are huge cotton and corn farms.  Cotton and corn are the #1 and #2 most poisoned crops in this country.  I imagine these little bees were caught by a pesticide spraying and dying on the path.  Then a starling eats them and it ingests the poison even further into the food chain and on and on

Wanted to post because I knew you all would understand how sad I felt.

Linda T in Natchez, MS on the mighty Mississippi

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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2007, 10:34:26 AM »

there may be some good come out of it if it kills the starlings!
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2007, 07:02:56 PM »

I don't think you should jump to conclusions on what killed these bees.  It may very well have been insecticide, but it likely wasn't sprayed by a farmer on fields.

I am a 57 year old farmer.  My number one crop since 1972 has been corn.  I've raised tens of thousands of acres of corn over those years, and I've not sprayed my first insecticide on corn.  Very little corn is sprayed with insecticide - very little.  What insecticide that is used on corn is usually buried in the soil at planting time.

Cotton is a different story.  There is quite a lot of insecticide sprayed on cotton.  Most of those insecticides are not harmful to bees, but many of them are.

Still, they are not sprayed indiscriminately, because they are too expensive.  There are always exceptions to the rule.  Bees will not be in a cotton field, either, until it begins to bloom, which is not now.

If they were sprayed with insecticide, it was probably done deliberately to a swarm.  Or it may have been from insecticide sprayed to control mosquitoes in a public area.

Farmers are not always innocent, but they are blamed too often because they are such an easy target.

I will probably get "roasted" for making these statements.  I could go much further.

Insecticides being used are getting much safer for the environment and for people.  Remember that they are being used to provide a sufficiently large and an affordable food supply.  We can ban insecticides on crops but we will need to put a few million more acres of land into food production to make up for the shortfall.

I will be glad when we are able to eliminate them with genetically modified plants that are immune to insect damage.  I may get "roasted" for that statement also.

One last statement before I get kicked off the forum - most people that condemn insecticides are quite happy to use chemicals when they find roaches in their homes, ticks in their backyards, ants in their kitchens, or mites in their beehives.

Please forgive me.  As a farmer, I have to defend myself continually.
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TwT
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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2007, 07:59:37 PM »

the wall might have been a resting spot for water overloaded bee's, shot I dont know Wink , but it could be something beside pesticide's....
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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2007, 09:35:47 PM »

Hopefully it wasn't a pesticide kill.
Mike G,you are right,it could just as well have been caused by a homeowner trying to control something else or exterminate a colony.
This forum has been open to both sides of a discussion,and many times others can be enlightened by hearing the second side of a story.Don't worry about expressing opinions as everybody has one.We don't always agree on things,but we all work to get along and have a good time here!
Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree. Wink
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MikeG
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2007, 10:20:14 PM »

I appreciate your comments, buzzbee.  I am more familiar with other forums where people roast each other alive for small differences in opinion.

I sure haven't seen that within this group of kind people.

Mike
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DayValleyDahlias
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2007, 11:00:22 PM »

Key word "possible" not "probable"...and yes it IS sad...I use only OMRI products on my land, and it is full of beneficial insects and birds.  They practically do all my work for me...organic farming...it works.
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tillie
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2007, 11:00:39 PM »

I was mystified that they were so stunned, poisoned, etc.  Just a theory that it was pesticide - I'm open to all thoughts.  I didn't mean to malign the farmer - both my brothers and my dad own a cotton/corn farm together, so I'm not anti-farmer, but made the assumption that it might be pesticide.  Sure could have been a homeowner spraying as well.  Or something else entirely

I was at a retirement party for my father tonight and asked if anyone had noticed the dead honeybees on the RiverWalk - since my brothers' offices are right beside the river walk - others said that there are dead bees there almost every day, so who knows how they die??  

I'm walking there tomorrow morning - I'll see if I see more dead/paralyzed bees.

Linda T still in Mississippi
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2007, 06:29:05 AM »

And the mystery continues!Let us know if you discover anything.Could it be a weed control in the grass along the riverwalk?
If it is,maybe the local authorities who care for it should be made aware of the killing of beneficial insects.
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tillie
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2007, 10:20:30 AM »

I walked the same path today at the same time and there was nary a bee - not dazed, not dead, not flying.  I love TWT's theory that they were "water overloaded" - the path is on top of the river levee
about 60 feet above the edge of the mighty Mississippi, one of the most polluted rivers around - so maybe they od'd on river water!

Linda T in Natchez MS
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2007, 12:10:27 PM »

Linda, love your posts.  Great little story and I always enjoy them.  Glad you didn't see any dead bees today.

MikeG.  Your comments about pesticides were very interesting.  And, you would not likely get roasted on this forum for comments.  That is good.

When I was at our bee club meeting the end of last month we had a speaker that came from the Ministry of Land and Agriculture who gave some very interesting speech about the use of pesticides on food crops.

The advancement in pesticides being much more friendly to human, insect population, etc. is incredible.  Farmers are becoming much more knowledgable too about the need to protect the pollinators' lives.  If we didn't have pollinators, we would be in trouble in the food area, for sure. If we allow pests to destroy crops, we will no have food.  Pesticides are integral to this world in which we live, (be them natural or chemical, shall we call it), we would not have as much food if these "armies" were not in place.

I do not use pesticides on my food crops, but I am a small time hobby farmer.  I have the luxury of not having so much to grow that I cannot take the time to rid my plants of pests.

One pest that I am hand picking now is the asparagus beetle.  Every year I hand pick off as much as I can, there are two species here and they are annoying.  But I pick them off, crush them between my fingers and the ants have a hay day.  I have learned to trick these little buggers.  They see you when you want to "get" them, so they either fly away or move to the other side of the fern.  So, I knock the stem sideways a bit and they drop into my hand and then I do the crush, yeah!!!!  Killed another one.  So far (I have been counting, I have killed about 100).  I have harvested now over 200 spears, the window is soon closing for picking, the spears are coming up pencil thin mostly and that is nature's sign to stop.  The big, fat spears are not very prevalent now.  Too bad that it doesn't go on for months.  Oh well, about 20 meals have gone into the freezer for wintertime.  Yeah!!!

Ooops, I think that I got off topic.  Have a wonderful day, great life and love the life you're livin'.  Cindi
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2007, 02:21:26 PM »

linda do you read Greg Iles??  smiley
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
tillie
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2007, 02:41:24 PM »


he's a friend and classmate of my younger sister - I've read a couple of his books

Linda T
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JP
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2007, 07:08:24 AM »

Cindi, was wondering if you had lizards where you live. We have a green anole here. If you have them, I was thinking that you could put some empty hive bodies with frames and some say plasticell foundation in your garden. The lizards here make homes in the empty hive bodies. It seems I am raising lizards as well as bees! They even get into honey supers I have moved near the extractor. They could help with your bug problem. Oh yeah, I along with others here have mentioned how lizards coincide with the bees as well, of course they are a little extra healthy from some of the bees they eat, but they hardly reduce any bee population, they probably just eat dying bees anyway. Anyways, just a thought. Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2007, 07:52:55 AM »

JP, we do not have the luxury of any kind of lizard living in my immediate climate.  About a two hour drive away we do, I know, because when we used to go to my Auntie's for visits in the summertime, we would catch them.  It was quite dry compared to my Lower Mainland area.  I live about 45 km from the west coast of British Columbia, we are a very very moist climate here.  The lizards do not like our moisture issues (well, for some that would not be an issue, but it is very rain forest here).  We have lots of salamanders that live the in the dank bushes, but not lizards.  That is really too bad, I love the lizards.

I do have gardner snakes that live on my property.  Now and then I see one basking in the sun.  I always marvel at these creatures of beauty.  I don't like to pick them up because they poop on you and that really really stinks.  I see the kids get one now and then and I chuckle to myself inside, cause I know that they won't be holding them for very long.

When I used to operate a small greenhouse nursery business on my property, I had a big old gardner snake that loved to bask in the sun infront of the uppermost greenhouse, which got full sun from early morning, all day long.  He would always be there every morning, laying in the sunshine, I would open the greenhouse doors and that was his cue that stuff would be going on and his little world would be interrupted until the next morning.  He would go elsewhere, I knew where, cause I would see him later on, basking in another sunny spot, away from the feet of people.  I don't know where he lives now.  That greenhouse is no longer there, in its place is a garden that my sister grows her alien vegies in.  I have never seen cukes and such grow as fast and as big as she can get it going, turkey manure and composts are her friends.  Have a wonderful day, great life.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2007, 09:23:36 AM »

Cindi, I would think that if Garter snakes did well in your area that the common anole would as well. Perhaps you could import some to your area. Have a great day, JP.
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2007, 09:27:53 AM »

JP.  Now that is some very good food for thought.  Awesome.  Have a wonderful day, love the life you're livin'.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2007, 05:42:59 PM »

It is usually against the law to let animals from another area loose in a new area.  Someone from Louisiana should be very familiar with Neutria.  Has anybody herd of Starlings?  In Australia they imported cane toads to help with the sugar cane pests, now they're a large problem. 

Oh, and what about AHB's?  There's a lot of evidence of what can go wrong when someone tries to play mother nature.  My suggestion-- banish any such thought.
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2007, 09:51:22 PM »

Our dear honeybee isn't indigenous either..oops! shocked
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2007, 05:25:30 AM »

Brian, you have a good point. Let me clarify my sentiments. My opinion is that if Cindi has garter snakes in her area, I would bet that somewhere nearby she has lizards of some kind that she could introduce in her direct area to help her control those beetles. Lizards are natural prey for garter snakes in many areas. I would suggest checking with the local authorities before importing lizards to the area though. In my neck of the woods we have the common anole, and now more and more, I would say in the last 10 yrs or so the Cuban anole has taken up residency. They are fast, hard to catch, and a down right handsome lizard. (if you like lizards), and we also have geckos, which are nocturnal. They all seem to coincide fine, unlike what the Nutrias did to our Muskrats.
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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2007, 09:09:27 AM »

Brian, I do say as well you have some good points.  There are reasons why many "things" should not be imported/exported.  I was only indicating that it is some food for thought.  Travelling down the right avenues, for example, finding out if there are local anoles/lizards is what is thought about in my own mind. 

If there are lizards only 2 hours travel from here, indeed, surely these lizards are around my property, but just keep themselves hidden.  I am sure there are ways I can find out if these little dudes are indigenous to my home area.  Have a wonderful day, great life, love that life you're livin'.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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