Diggout From Inder

That title was a typo, but I decided I liked the twist on “digging out from under”. So here I am, finally with computer issues sorted out and a HEAP of blogging buzzing around in me head, so without further ado, let’s start with:

IN RATHER A JAM

Last week was National Pollinator Week. Yes, I missed it, but Bug Girl didn’t! Pollinators include not only honeybees, but also solitary bees, bumblebees, various species of wasps, flies, butterflies & moths, bats, and birds. Honeybees are not native to the Americas, but are vital to the production of other equally non-native crops, such as most tree fruits, bramble fruits, tree nuts, herbs, seeds for vegetables and herbs and flowers, the clover and alfalfa consumed by our non-native livestock, cotton, even wine grapes. As Bug Girl points out, the estimated value of all this pollen-transfer is in the billions (with a B) of dollars for the US alone — it is multiply times larger when you consider all the crop production in the rest of the world, such as tropical crops like neem, coffee, tea, and chocolate!

The reason why I have the nearly-empty jar of jam pictured is because pollinators are not only vitally important for anyone who likes to eat (or wear cotton et cetera), but also because Colony Collapse Disorder is creating great losses of honeybees. According to a recent release by the USDA, honeybees are responsible for the pollination of 130 major crops, at a value of $ 15 billion annually. Beekeepers lost 31% of their hives in 2006, and then 35% in 2007. Not only are food prices rising due to a number of other factors (drought, flooding, fuel costs), but also from the reduced production of produce due to honeybee losses. Do your part to protect pollinators by using any pesticides only when necessary, and following the directions carefully — for example, Sevin is toxic to honeybees, and if you see honeybees around, they are likely someone’s livestock. (You wouldn’t stop by a field and start shooting cattle, would you?) I made a large batch of fantastic blueberry conserve with lemon last year, but this year berry production has dropped, so the quarts of produce are just too dear (expensive). When this jar is empty, we have No. More. Left.

“BLAST THE CRUSHING FORCES OF STUPIDITY!”

In other topics, the Carnival of the Elitist Bastards #2 has just been posted, and the ship returns to dock full of stories. Not familiar with this new carnival? Their description asks of you, Read the rest of this entry »

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