“Hey farmer, farmer, put away your DDT. I don’t care about spots on my apples. Just leave me the birds and the bees, please.” Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell
Did you see this little news item that ran back in May: “Italy Bans Pesticide for Bee Health”? I honestly thought at the time that it would generate more … um … buzz than it ultimately did in the media and among beekeepers, farmers, gardeners, nature lovers, as well as everyone else who likes to eat. I’m not surprised, though. We were likely all distracted by the 24/7 coverage of another end-of-times scenario playing out in slow motion in the Gulf of Mexico. It has lately been a very intense news cycle, and I guess colony collapse is so very 2006.
In case you missed it, it seems that last year as a “precautionary measure” the Italian Agriculture Department banned the use of nicotine-based pesticides (known as neonicotinoids) that coat or are infused into crop seeds – in particular corn, sunflower, rapeseed seeds — and their precautionary bet paid off. Bee populations were restored! There were no significant bee losses in the apiaries around the corn fields. In southern Italian citrus groves and vineyards where these neonicotinoids were not banned, bee losses continue unabated.
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