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Earth Dr Reese Halter's Blog


Honeybees are just like people we both like to dance, travel, touch, mimic one another, and we both enjoy caffeine, nicotine, voting, seeking thrills and we both get sick. The honeybees are indeed 21st century canaries in the coal mine showing us that putting 5 billion pounds of pesticides annually into the biosphere is killing it. And what we do to the biosphere, we do to ourselves. Photo credit:

Story ran on Huffington Post February 16, 2014

This past Wednesday afternoon the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to conduct a study on legalizing urban beekeeping.

New York, Denver, Santa Monica and dozens of other cities across America have embraced backyard beekeeping. There are many good reasons why Los Angeles will very likely join with many cities around the globe in allowing honeybees a safe haven and an opportunity to pollinate urban plants, trees and throngs of food gardens.

There are tons of diverse poison-free bee forage in an ideal climate within the city of Los Angeles to support millions of honeybees. Just like people, bees require a wide array of food sources rich in nectar (to make honey) and pollen (for its protein) to produce healthy and vibrant offspring.

Colony Collapse Disorder is a disease that has killed over 10 million hives or a half a trillion honeybees around the globe; it is worsening and urban bees require protection. According to Rob McFarland, co-founder of the Angeleon nonprofit HoneyLove, “Bees are in real trouble and urban beekeeping is part of the solution.” In America alone our honeybees account directly for $44B in commerce, annually. Any measure undertaken to help stabilize honeybee health will ultimately bolster the U.S. economy especially in the face of climate disruption.

McFarlen is indeed correct that “The bees are already here.” And so the Los Angeles City Council also passed a motion on Wednesday to explore more humane ways of removing beehives from urban settings and dwellings other than extermination.

The third motion the Los Angeles City Council passed supports federal protection against pesticides. This measure offers much needed momentum to reduce poisons in our state since the Sacramento-based California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) agency continues to approve new bee-killing products i.e. neonicotinoids before fully evaluating their impacts.

“DPR has been saying for five years that neonicotinoids may be killing California’s honeybees, and yet the agency allows more and more of these pesticides to be used each year,” said Greg Loarie, an attorney for EarthJustice.

Even more concerning, Portland-based Xerces Society found that some commercial neonicotinoid products available at garden centers are 120 times higher than those applied on agricultural fields.

Do not use any pesticides in your yard. Please consider supporting this petition to strongly encourage Lowe’s and Home Depot not to sell these known high concentrations of bee-killing poisons.

Australia, Radio 1, National: Ockham’s Razor

Earth Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster and distinguished conservation biologist. His latest book with Chris Maser is Life, The Wonder of it All

Text © by Dr Reese Halter 2014. All rights reserved.


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