Honeybee Die-Off


Everyone is talking about it, so here is my take. Basically, there is a small but intensifying die-off of honeybees, called colony collapse disorder, and its causes are still unknown, though it is thought to be environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition, pathogens (i.e., disease including Israel acute paralysis virus), mites, pesticides such as neonicotinoids or imidacloprid, genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics such as transgenic maize, or a mix of any of the above.

This is very serious because bees and other pollinators are essential to the reproduction of many of the fruits and vegetables you grow in your garden including tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, melons, peaches, pumpkins, squash, and apples.

A couple of things we can do to help are avoiding altogether pesticides and GM crops and by planting bee-friendly plants.

Some bee-friendly plants include lavender, glory bushes, jasmine, rosemary, coreopsis, violets, thyme, wisteria, burdock, chives, bluebells, trumpet vine, sunflowers, cosmos, asters, calliopsis, clover, marigolds, poppies, zinnias, buttercups, clematis, crocuses, dahlias, echinacea, English ivy, foxglove, geraniums, germander, globe thistle, hollyhocks, hyacinth, rock cress, roses, sedum, snowdrops, squills, tansy, yellow hyssop, blackberries, cantaloupe, cucumbers, gourds, peppers, pumpkins, raspberries, squash, strawberries, watermelons, wild garlic, bee balm, borage, catnip, coriander, cilantro, fennel, lavender, mints, rosemary, sage, thyme, blueberry, butterfly bush, button bush, honeysuckle, indigo, privet, alder, American holly, basswood, black gum tree, black locust tree, buckeye trees, catalpa tree, eastern redbud, fruit trees (especially crabapples), golden rain tree, hawthorns, hazels, linden trees, magnolia trees, maples, mountain ash trees, sycamore, tulip trees, poplar, willows, and cone flowers. It is best to get these seeds from an organic dealer; the seeds you find at most stores (think Wal-Mart, Target, Publix, etc) are grown to be unvaried and sometimes genetically modified or pollen-free. Here is a nice PDF with another list of pollinator-friendly flowers.

If anyone has any pollinator-friendly seeds they would like to donate to the Jacksonville Seed Exchange, we would be grateful, and so would the pollinators.


~ by Mike on May 3, 2008.

One Response to “Honeybee Die-Off”

  1. […] The name thyme is derived from the Greek word thymos, which means perfume, and was used as incense in Greek temples. Common thyme contains a chemical called thymol, which has strong antiseptic properties. Ancient Egyptians used thymol for its ability to help in the preservation of mummies. It is known to kill bacteria and fungi. Thymol is also found in the bee balms wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) and Monarda didyma (whose common names include bergamot, scarlet beebalm, scarlet monarda, oswego tea, or crimson beebalm). The Blackfoot Native Americans recognized this plant’s strong antiseptic action, and used poultices of the plant for skin infections and minor wounds. A tea made from the plant was also used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by dental caries and gingivitis. Thymol has also been found to be useful in controlling varroa mites in bee colonies, thus helping in the colony collapse disorder problem. […]

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