I can’t say that I’ve ever picked up a beekeeping book as well-researched as Farming for the Landless by Sarah Waring. I had the pleasure of reading this book recently and was surprised by the level of detail and supporting data found within the pages because not many beekeeping books cite as many real world studies and examples as Farming for the Landless.

This book is very focused on European beekeeping practices and politics, which I was not very familiar with (even though the bees that I–and most of us–keep are European honeybees). It doesn’t take long, while reading this book, to realize that many of the problems affecting bees are spread worldwide. Waring explores the lives of beekeepers big and small as well as agricultural scientists as she details many of the ailments currently threatening honeybees across the globe.

If you are a beginner beekeeper looking for an instructional “how-to” guide, this is likely not the book for you. However, if you are a beekeeper (or not) concerned about the health and survival of honeybees, then this book is likely one of most informative books you will find. Even if you never plan on keeping bees yourself, the information in this book will alter the way that you look at bees and open your eyes to the huge problems that the tiny honeybee is facing.

Farming for the Landless is an excellent book to add to your beekeeping library and Waring’s research and commitment to the study of honeybees shines through every page of this book.

FarmingForTheLandless

Farming for the Landless
By Sarah Waring
Published April 2015
Platin Press

 

Missing Bees CCD Poster

Yesterday it was announced that Ontario will begin phasing out the use of Neonicotinoid (neonics) in farm settings in the province. This decision in the first of its kind in North America and is part of Ontario’s plan to ban neonics.

Under the new law, which takes effect July 1:

  • Starting in the 2016 season, farmers may only use neonic treated seeds on 50% of their corn and soybean fields.
  • In order to plant more than 50%, farmers must prove to the government that they have a pest problem and take a pest-management course.
  • In 2016, all farmers wanting to buy neonic-treated seeds will need to take the course and prove the existence of a pest problem.
  • Starting in August, all seed sellers must apply for new licensing to sell neonic-treated seeds and collect documentation from farmers when selling the seeds in the future.

The province of Ontario hopes to reduce the use of Neonicotinoid laden crops by 80% in 2017.

For more information, visit these news stories at Global News and CTV News.

Ontario Urban Honeybee Loss

A few weeks ago, the OBA sent out a survey to gather information about winter honeybee loss in Ontario. This survey was great, but may have unintentionally left out data from urban beekeepers–those who keep bees within city limits, etc.

If you consider yourself an urban beekeeper in Ontario, please take 3 minutes and fill out this survey on urban honeybee loss. Please do your best to spread this survey to anyone else you know who is keeping bees in an urban location. Please share on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Once the survey has circulated, I will be posting the results on my blog.

Thanks to Rick Beatty for the great idea and for help in preparing this survey.

Take a few minutes and watch this TED Talk. Anand Varma has some incredible imagery in his time lapse videos of a bee egg becoming a worker bee.

This talk discusses threats to bees, including Varroa Destructor mites. Look for more of Varma’s photographs in the May 2015 issue of National Geographic.

The Ontario Beekeepers’ Association has released their findings after a survey was sent out for beekeepers in Ontario. You can download the full PDF or if you want to cut to the chase, here are some of the highlights and comparisons with last year:

  • 46.1% of respondents reported losses of 25% or less (compared to 28.4% in 2014).
  • 29.5% of respondents reported losses of 15% or less.
  • 21.6% of respondents reported more than 75% losses (compared to 25.1% in 2014).
  • 34.6% said bees doing ‘better’ or ‘much better’ than 2014.
  • 28.2% said bees doing ‘worse’ or ‘much worse’ than 2014.
  • Top three suspected causes of colony loss: colonies too small, normal winter losses, pesticides.
  • Least three causes suspected: overload of varroa, problem with queen, insufficient stores.
  • ‘Some’ or ‘most’ bee colonies of 70.5% of respondents were located within 3 km of corn or soy crops.