Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck United States Science

US Government Introduces Pollinator Action Plan To Save Honey Bees 143

Posted by samzenpus
from the won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-bees? dept.
An anonymous reader writes The White House has announced a federal strategy to reverse a decline in the number of honeybees and other pollinators in the United States. Obama has directed federal agencies to use research, land management, education and public/private partnerships to advance honeybee and other pollinator health and habitats. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department will lead a multi-agency task force to develop a pollinator health strategy and action plan within six months. As part of the plan, the USDA announced $8 million in funding for farmers and ranchers in five states who establish new habitats for honeybee populations.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Government Introduces Pollinator Action Plan To Save Honey Bees

Comments Filter:
  • by Daimanta (1140543) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @09:43AM (#47292999) Journal

    Isn't that a rounding error for an organisation the size of the US government?

    • Re:8 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @10:01AM (#47293089)

      Isn't that a rounding error for an organisation the size of the US government?

      Programs do not need to be expensive in order to be effective. As a beekeeper, I think the most effective government program would actually generate money for the government, rather than have a net cost: Farmers are required to notify the local beekeeper organization when they spray certain pesticides, but few do, and the fines, even if they get caught, are too low to matter. We should have stronger enforcement, funded by much steeper fines. There is no excuse for failing to notify. All it takes is a one minute phone call or a few clicks on a website.

      • Re:8 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Immerman (2627577) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @10:12AM (#47293149)

        > There is no excuse for failing to notify

        Of course there is: if they made the notification then you wouldn't bring your bees to pollinate their field. What happens to your bees afterwards has no effect on their profits, and the fine is an acceptable expense compared to a non-pollinated crop, so they are behaving in a perfectly rational (if short-sighted) manner.

        I agree, if the government really wants to save the bees then there's a couple of really simple options available: set the fines so high that nobody will "forget" to make the notification, or better still ban neonicitinoid use completely so that wild bee populations can make a comeback as well.

        • by jythie (914043)
          That is a justification or explanation, but not an excuse. An excuse is something that excuses a behavior or action, and even if it is rational such a reason does not excuse failing to notify bee keepers about spraying.
      • Re:8 million? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SydShamino (547793) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:52AM (#47293593)

        You should write into your contract that you're allowed to take samples from fields where your bees work, and that the farmer is liable for damages if something happens to your bees, you test those samples, and find the bad pesticides.

        Contract law is a lot simpler than laws to "protect nature", and since the nature in this case has an owner (you) it's not just a common resource to exploit.

        No help if neighboring farms spray that pesticide, of course.

        • Re:8 million? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by davester666 (731373) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @12:32PM (#47293757) Journal

          Sure, beekeepers will have no problem suing large agricorp farms for damages.

          • by tlambert (566799)

            Sure, beekeepers will have no problem suing large agricorp farms for damages.

            Sure, large agricorp farms that cause damages will have an easy time bringing in crops when they are boycotted by all the beekeepers and can't get their crops pollinated.

            • Sure, large agricorp farms that cause damages will have an easy time bringing in crops when they are boycotted by all the beekeepers and can't get their crops pollinated.

              Plenty of farmers don't give a crap about pollination. If I have a field of alfalfa, I am harvesting the hay, not the seeds. So in the absence of fines, I have no incentive to notify before spraying.

        • You should write into your contract that you're allowed to take samples from fields where your bees work

          I am just a hobby beekeeper, with a couple hives in my backyard, so I don't have any contracts. But even if I did have a contract, it wouldn't matter because BEES CAN'T READ. There is nothing to prevent bees from a hive placed in a orchard from flying to an alfalfa field a mile away. They go where they please. Spraying without notification is not violating a contract, it is violating the law. Farmers are required to notify whether they have a contract with a beekeeper or not.

      • Farmers are required to notify the local beekeeper organization when they spray certain pesticides, but few do, and the fines, even if they get caught, are too low to matter. We should have stronger enforcement, funded by much steeper fines. There is no excuse for failing to notify. All it takes is a one minute phone call or a few clicks on a website.

        Thank you for injecting some sense into the conversation.

        Rather than focusing on "pollinator health" (which of course we all want), we should first be looking at reducing "pollinator poisons" that we already know to exist. Obama's approach is trying to treat the symptoms rather than the cause.

        We must stop using neonicotinoid pesticides. It's pretty much that simple. In the meantime, notification of beekeepers before spraying should be a top priority, including enforcement and fines big enough to be a

      • It's not the farmers that are killing wild bees and butterflies, because they grow crops that actually need protection (true some of that could wait for protecting the grain when put into storage from bugs, not while it's growing in the open fields, and in the open fields supplying predators are a better natural harmony), but it's the urban sprawl idiots pushing their lawns all over the place, and keeping it pure green, all flowerless. There is simply no fucking reason to mow a lawn, let alone spray it with
        • Oh, I just saw the post below. They are talking about spraying insecticides right before inviting a bee pollinator on a contract. Now that is sick, and the beekeeper has no idea his bees are getting poisoned, so it makes good financial sense for the farmer. Again, if you absolutely have to spray insecticides, wait till the bees come and go, and spray only after. But Monsanto should get into selling natural predators instead of insecticides or insecticide-making genetically engineered plants. Spiders are har
    • Rich farmers and ranchers already get huge government subsidies. Why should we pay them any more at all?

      If farmers need honeybees, they will pay bee keepers for them. If there's a shortage of bees, farmers will pay more. Seeking profit, bee keepers will expand their hives to produce more bees.

      No government meddling and no government money is needed. Let some rich guys pay their own money to solve their own problems for once.

      • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

        Rich farmers and ranchers already get huge government subsidies. Why should we pay them any more at all?

        If farmers need honeybees, they will pay bee keepers for them. If there's a shortage of bees, farmers will pay more. Seeking profit, bee keepers will expand their hives to produce more bees.

        Sorry, even Ayn Rynd cannot produce hives of dead bees. The pollination process is where they are getting doesd with what kills them.

        The problem is after the first field of nicotinid sprayed crops, the bees are toast. Your solution appears to be raising a single (flock?) of bees to be sacrificed on every field. The timing of pollination is pretty important, so there would need to be armies of pollinator companies, that only provide their service to a couple farmers. They would have to depreciate the capit

    • by skywire (469351)

      Not a rounding error. A decimal point shifted left three places.

  • For a First Step (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JenovaSynthesis (528503) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @09:47AM (#47293021)

    How about banning the pesticide that's killing them off?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2014 @09:56AM (#47293059)

      No! That's regulation.

      If honeybees were really important to anyone, the free market would take care of the problem. Since it clearly isn't doing so, I'm forced to conclude that the role of honeybees as so-called "pollinators" is just another lie perpetrated by corrupt welfare-supported "scientists" in exchange for grant money and/or to bring about their envirosocialist wet dream of sending humanity back to the preindustrial era.

    • by iksbob (947407)

      That would make sense. This however, stinks of lobbyist action.

    • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Sunday June 22, 2014 @09:58AM (#47293075)
      Good luck convincing Bayer - the same wonderful people who brought you buffered aspirin. Neonicitinoids are big business - who cares if a few beekeepers are inconvenienced? There's no money in aspirin anymore, think of all the employees of Bayer.
      • They're big business because there is no incentive to use anything else.

      • by jythie (914043) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @10:45AM (#47293317)
        And that is why free market solutions are not enough. The self adjusting nature of markets are generally only sensitive to the two parties involved in a transaction, they react poorly to the effects of the transaction on 3rd parties. It is why free markets tend to have slavery or something functionally equivalent, it is great for owners and sellers, and the people being trafficked are not factored in.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Good luck convincing Bayer - the same wonderful people who brought you

        ...Zyklon B.

      • by jafac (1449)

        lol. Also the same wonderful people who brought us Zyklon B.

    • How about sex? We are suffering from two major problems. Increasing monoculture in our food and industrial crops, and a decline in pollinators. If we shifted towards more sexual reproduction in these areas, we might be able to help with both issues simultaneously.
      • by Immerman (2627577)

        Sex for who? Last time I checked bee hives still reproduced sexually, and plant sex (aka pollination) is the whole purpose of importing bees to the fields. Plant monocultures might plausibly be a a bit of a problem for the bee's nutrition, but we have a mountain of evidence that one of the largest problems for bee populations is neonicitinoid-based pesticides.

    • by MrEkted (764569)
      http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/... [epa.gov] The EPA is not currently banning or severely restricting the use of the neonicotinoid pesticides. The neonicotinoid pesticides are currently being re-evaluated through registration review, the EPA's periodic re-evaluation of registered pesticides to ensure they meet current health and safety standards. The EPA bases its pesticide regulatory decisions on the entire body of scientific literature, including studies submitted by the registrant, journal articles and other sourc
    • by mysidia (191772)

      How about banning the pesticide that's killing them off?

      Yes... maybe force them to switch back to DDT and carefully restrict who can use pesticides and in what amounts and concentrations; require a permit to use agricultural pesticides, and use regulations to establish required abatements.

      For example: no applying dangerous chemicals to your yard, just for aesthetic purposes. Pesticides must only be used to protect specific food sources, human shelters from property damage, and control numbers

      • For example: no applying dangerous chemicals to your yard, just for aesthetic purposes.

        That's probably a non-starter.

        I've noticed that the yards in my area that look the most like putting greens tend to be the most likely to have political signs on them around election time.

        • by mysidia (191772)

          I've noticed that the yards in my area that look the most like putting greens tend to be the most likely to have political signs on them around election time.

          Perhaps so.... on the other hand.... personal use of pesticides as a luxury item is just the sort of use that is needless destruction to the environment.

          Also... the EPA doesn't really have to answer to the voters, and since they apparently don't need to consult with congress either; I'm not entirely sure all the political signs matter.

    • How about banning the pesticide that's killing them off?

      The worst offenders are the neonicotinoid pesticides [wikipedia.org]. Europe has already put some restrictions on them. Even if they are not banned outright, it would be useful to put restrictions on their use. For instance, they should not be used on bee pollinated crops while in bloom, and a "setback" should be required even if spraying adjacent to such crops or wild/fallow areas. Notification requirements to local beekeepers before spraying already exist, but should be strengthened and enforced. It is unfortunate t

    • by Illserve (56215)

      One word of caution about proclaiming the involvement of these pesticides in bee deaths is recent findings that these pesticides are not found in the reproductive regions of plants:

      http://entomologytoday.org/201... [entomologytoday.org]

      Here's another study from last year which found no link between pesticides and bee deaths:

      http://www.producer.com/daily/... [producer.com]

      It's a popular and appealing story, but recent data suggest that it may not be true!

      • Fact check your facts. Your second link's researcher was funded by Bayer [globalnews.ca]

        • by Illserve (56215)

          Fact check your facts. Your second link's researcher was funded by Bayer [globalnews.ca]

          You've discounted one of the linked articles (for a reason I understand but don't entirely agree with). What about the other? Does finding a reason to discount one piece of data allow you to discount all of it, in your opinion?

           

          • Does finding a reason to discount one piece of data allow you to discount all of it, in your opinion?

            Isn't that what you're doing by highlighting these minority view papers, ie: cherry-picking? No matter what the question you will almost certainly find a handful of papers that disagree with the consensus position, that's what is supposed to happen in Science. If you claim 95% certainity then by definition it means one in 20 papers will return a contradictory result. If you claim 100% certainty then it's not Science, right?

  • Come get the )(*)!# Bees Nest in my tree please, they're doing fine. Also I thought the pesticide link was conclusive? [discovermagazine.com] How about banning imidacloprid and clothianidin as well?

    • by PPH (736903)

      No! No! Leave them there. You are missing the point of the grant.

      You need to find out how to apply for a part of that $8 million for providing habitat.

      • by Virtucon (127420)

        Do I have to wear a jacket with question marks all over it to get the grant? Where's my government cheese?

  • Even bees carry NSA backdoors.
  • Save the Honey Bees (Score:1, Interesting)

    by hackus (159037)

    Yeah, introduce foreign proteins and compounds into food crops and then wonder why dozens of birds, honey bees and other animals are on huge declines.

    I got an idea, put Monsanto and all these other GMO "I wanna rule the worlds food production" companies and make THEM PAY to restore the honey bees, birds and other species they destroy through pollution of destructive genetic engineering of our biosphere.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      GMO's have absolutely nothing to do with this.

  • Isn't that what got Clinton in so much trouble?
  • I could use some honeybees to pollinate my girlfriend's garden. If the USDA is handing out hives, I'll take one!
  • Sounds like it will pretty much do nothing but give out money to people who really don't need it.
  • Then justice will actually be served when even the corporate leaders starve
  • Native bees are actually better pollinators [cornell.edu] than non-native, imported honey bees. You don't have to wait for the government to do something in order to help them, you can do something right now in your own back yard. Simply add plants native to your area and the pollinators will come! These aren't usually available at mainstream nurseries, so seek out nurseries specializing in native species. Native insects rely on native plants. The typical suburban yard is basically a dead zone when it comes to inviting a
  • The corn has nicotine in it's design so as to keep insects away. Similar approaches for other vegetables and fruit. Bees come, they are mutated, and there is no reproduction. Ergo, there is much much reduced crop fertilization.

    So, where losses were low due to insects, they are now truly low due to killing the insects that did the pollination. Time to reconsider GMO and it's cost benefits, leaving aside health issues.

    And I bet if in-depth research was performed, there would be an argument against GMO foo

  • The US administration should rather curtail the rampant use of poison that kills bees and also strictly regulate if not even prohibit bee travel. Bees are shipped across the country for thousands of miles causing tremendous stress to the bees and playing a role in the drastic decline. As so often, the US should look at Europe where many countries added bees to the list of protected animals, basically outlawing the killing of bees. Such straight forward ideas will not work out in the US. They are cutting int

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

Working...