Know What's in Your Food

Promoting awareness and change about the food we eat, and where it comes from.


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The Bees Are Back!

Honey bee on Sedum autumn joy (Hylotelephium t...

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A few years ago I had the most beautiful roses in my neighborhood. I consistently used a product called Bayer All In One Advanced Rose Care. In addition to that, I had used Tru Green Chem Lawn for my yard and I had a local pest control company come and spray my yard and the outside of my house on a regular basis. I learned how systemic pesticides such as Bayer All In One Advanced Rose Care can harm honey bees. You can read my blog post about that by clicking here.  To the shock of my neighbors I cut down my roses and I stopped using the Bayer product, but I kept using the lawn and pest control companies. I had not seen a bee in my yard since I started using the Bayer product. About three years later, my dog Paulie became very ill. His ideal weight is 15lbs and he got down to about 8 lbs.  He had severe gastrointestinal issues. I took him to the vet. The vet was concerned that he had cancer or something else that was terminal.  I would have to pay $3,000.00 for the testing to find out. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that kind of money. The vet told me that even if it were cancer, there was nothing he could do. For the next 11 months he was so sick, I really didn’t know if he would be alive the next morning when I woke up. I had taken several times to the vet. We had tried different foods, diets, and B-12 shot to stimulate his appetite, but nothing seemed to work. He wasted away and his hair began to fall out. Then, something changed, he started to slowly put back on weight and his energy increased.  During this year period, I stopped using the lawn and pest company. I didn’t know what was wrong with Paulie, but I am glad he was recovering. I started wracking my brain to try to think of what could have caused his illness. I have two other dogs that were perfectly fine during this time. All three live in the same house, all three stay in the same fenced in back yard, and they all three eat the same food. But there is one thing that Paulie does do that my other two fur kids don’t do…. he loves to chew on sticks. We don’t have too many sticks that are in our yard, but if he finds one he loves to gnaw on it. I can’t prove, but I am convinced, that Paulie ate a stick that was contaminated with some toxin from the companies and products I was using in our backyard. 

Paulie

Paulie is 14 years old, but he still looks great. He is curious, smart and has lots of energy. I had a hard time thinking that all the junk that was putting in my yard to make it look good was really poisoning the bees and my beloved fur kids. It has been 6 years since I stopped using the Bayor product and 3 years since I stopped the lawn and pest companies. This morning I came out to find, for the first time in 6 years, these buzzing little beauties.

bees on flower

Just a few weeks ago, I started a worm farm and a compost bin in my back yard. Both are doing well. My husband, as I write, is putting cornmeal gluten on the lawn to control the weeds. I have been taking small steps every year to improve our environment and the food we eat.  I am so happy to see the bees return  to my yard. It lets know that my yard is healthy. I took this photo with my cell phone. It is hard to see the bee, but he is there. His wings are blurry from buzzing. If I had my better camera it would have turned out much better, but I am sharing anyways because I am excited.

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Bee Farmer’s Bee Hives Seized

English: Apiary of Langstroth hives in South C...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Terry Ingram’s bee hives were taken from his property by the state of Illinois. According to the Organic View,

“Terry Ingram is a well-educated farmer who holds degrees in physics and math, with minors in history, biology and education. He has been farming for over 50 years, has been a beekeeper, apiary instructor and bee researcher for over 56 years.”

Mr. Ingram had 15 years worth of research with his bees. He had worked hard  at cultivating a bee that was possibly resistant to Monsanto’s Round Up pesticide.  The department of Illinois Agriculture came to Mr. Ingram’s property when he was not present. They had no search warrant, and declared his bees had a disease called foulbrood.  Mr. Ingram was prepared to prove, in court, his bees did not have the foulbrood disease. About a month  before a court hearing, the Department of Agriculture came unannounced and seized most his bees. Of the bees that were removed from his property, they included the bees that were possibly resistant to Round Up. At first, Mr. Ingram thought the bees had been stolen, but while in court, Mr. Ingram asked a member of the Department of Agriculture if they had taken the bees. The Department of Agriculture agreed that they had taken the bees before their legal counsel could advise them not to answer the question. After admitting in court they took the bees, they claim they did not know what happened to them.

Honey Bee Happy Dance

(Photo credit: bob in swamp)

According to Mr. Ingram, during the court hearing, a member of the Department of Agriculture declared that a hive box that hadn’t contained bees in several years actually contained bees with the foulbrood disease. Mr. Ingram showed the court the hive box had been covered with vines, and the vines had not been removed from the hive box. No inspection had taken place of the empty hive box. You can see a full 16 minute interview with Mr. Ingram here.

Mr. Ingram thinks it is possible that the bees were turned over to the biotech giant, Monsanto for research.  It is odd that the Department of Agriculture’s practices are eerily similar to Monsanto’s practices of  searching farms for their genetically modified seeds. Which includes coming on to farmers property without notification,or search warrants, and taking samples of crops without farmers present. Monsanto has such a hold on our food supply. They continue to buy seed companies around the world. Lately, Monsanto has been under attack for the disappearance of the honey bee. Could it be that Monsanto who makes seeds that work with Round Up pesticide will now try to make bees to go with their seeds and pesticide?

Whether or not Monsanto is involved in Mr. Ingram’s case remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, there are plenty of oddities in this case. Beekeepers in Illinois are threatening to not register their hives as required by law for fear of what happened to Mr. Ingram. With damaging pesticides causing population of the honey bee to dwindle, intimidation of American bee farmers is not going to help revive the honey bee populace.

Questionable practices by the Department of Agriculture.

  •      Several unannounced visits to Mr. Ingram’s property.
  •      No search warrants ever presented to Mr. Ingram.
  •     Searches of beehives executed without Mr. Ingram present.
  •     Bees confiscated by Department of Agriculture without notification to Mr. Ingram.
  •     No accountability for the whereabouts of the bees.

Sources: Mercola, Global Research


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Honey Bees Are Not Just About Honey

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(Photo credit: Mike_tn)

The honey bee is responsible for 1/3 of the food we eat. These beautiful buzzing creatures pollinate many of the foods we eat such as apples, alfalfa, blueberries, cucumbers, kiwifruit, pears, plums, some citrus fruits, broccoli, onions, lettuce and a several others.

Since 2005 the honey bee has been in gradual decline all around the world. Some bee keepers are losing up to 55% of their bees each year. The normal bee loss is considered to be between 5-10% per year.  While there are debates about what is causing the decline of the honey bee, the focus has been narrowed down to the use of pesticides in crops.  In particular the use of neonicotinoids.  Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides that live within the plant for the duration of the plant’s life. Bayer is a company that produces a large amount of neonicotinoid pesticides.  The chemical in neonicotinoids that has been keepers most concerned is clothianidin.

Honey bee on Dandylion

Honey bee on Dandylion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to James Frazier, PhD., professor of entomology at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences,

 “Among the neonicotinoids, clothianidin is among those most toxic for honey bees; and this combined with its systemic movement in plants has produced a troubling mix of scientific results pointing to its potential risk for honey bees through current agricultural practices. Our own research indicates that systemic pesticides occur in pollen and nectar in much greater quantities than has been previously thought, and that interactions among pesticides occurs often and should be of wide concern.”

In an article for the New York Times, Eric Mussen, an apiculturist at the University of California, Davis, said analysts had documented about 150 chemical residues in pollen and wax gathered from beehives.

“Where do you start?” Dr. Mussen said. “When you have all these chemicals at a sublethal level, how do they react with each other? What are the consequences?”

Bayer Advanced All-In-One Rose & Flower Care Systemic Pesticide

Bayer Advanced All-In-One Rose & Flower Care

It may seem like the systemic pesticides are in the hands of big agriculture, but they can be found in our own backyards. Bayer makes this systemic pesticide for rose care. This pesticide is a systemic pesticide that is active in the roots, stems, pedals, and pollen for up to 6 weeks with one application. I used this product several years ago in my own yard. It works like a charm for keeping your roses bug free and fertilized at the same time. I have stopped using it due the concern of systemic pesticide may have on honey bees. It was only last year that I saw a bee in my back yard. It makes me wonder if the effects of these systemic products last much longer than 6 weeks.

Bee and Shadow with Sunflower

Bee and Shadow with Sunflower (Photo credit: cobalt123)

What You Can Do to Make Difference:

  • Call your state representative and ask them to ban systemic pesticides.
  • Refrain from using systemic pesticides in your own yard.
  • Use organic pesticides and fertilizers in your yard.
  • Plant flowers that are bee friendly in your yard.
  • Learn more about honey bees by watching the film, Vanishing of the Bees.

Sources: pesticide Action Network (PAN), New York Times, California Country Magazine