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Pollinators and Monsanto
July 22, 2013


Assume The Position.

That is what it reminded me of when I watched this squirrel drop and spread in one swift move.

(No, I've never been arrested.)

The heat this past week had lots of squirrels dropping and assuming the position.

It also had many birds breathing with their mouths open.

Most birds body temperatures are about 10 degrees warmer than people, breathing through their mouth allows the air to circulate and cool them down internally.

Rain all around us.

Some storms were severe.

Not here, once again there was enough rain to get the pavement wet.

This is one hideous looking Grackle.

Actually it is quite common for Blackbirds, Jays, and Cardinals to get the 'Kojak' look during the summer.

It seems that mites are the main culprit.

Where birds can't preen, they drop the feathers and start over anew.

Check out the ear hole, that has to make for some uncomfortable flying.

Here is a Red-winged blackbird going bald.

Do you notice how quiet your gardens are now days?

Sure there are a few birds chirping and some chip here and there, but most of the songs are now gone.

I do hear a Northern cardinal in mating song, On rare occasion a Robin in the evening, Throughout the day I may hear a Gray catbird in song and the every present House wren.

All other songs are now gone for the season.

As more summer flowers bloom, I am experience a few more hummingbird sightings.

It has been a poor year for hummers up till now.

Take note of the Female cardinal feeding a Brown-headed cowbird baby pictured below.

Cowbirds are parasitic birds, they lay eggs in other birds nests.

In turn, cowbird eggs usually hatch a day or two earlier.

This gives the parasitic cowbird an advantage in parents caring for it, and often the cardinal babies (or whatever species), often die of starvation.

I think Liatris is so attractive when they first start to bloom.

Add a backdrop for added beauty.

This coming week (Thursday-Sunday) Karen and I will be on our annual trip to Bay View, MI (Petoskey) and our special Bed and Breakfast, The gingerbread House.

This may be the last year, as Mary (innkeeper) is 83 and we never know from year to year now.

It is also our only time to be alone with each other.

News maybe late next week, but you will get something.

The Gingerbread House used to be a boarding house, and Like all of Bay View, is a registered landmark.

It isn't the most posh B&B, but it is a friendly one and just a stones throw from The Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan.

Karen likes the quaint shops, I like the little town atmosphere, the history, and of course, the Big Lake.

I can lose myself looking over the bay.

Okay, I could write on pollinators for several more weeks, however this is the last of the short series.

The topic today is Pesticides, with a heavy slant against Monsanto and other Chemical companies.

Read on, and I encourage you, when you have time to watch the videos, and read the articles.

You will be in for some real eye openers (I was), and possibly slow down on any chemical use at home.


To some people, anything that buzzes around and might possibly sting is a pest.

Gardeners know better, or we should.

Many of those buzzing insects are busy moving essential pollen within or between flowers.

Pollination is not just natural history.

God didn't create just to create, there is a purpose behind it all.

It is an essential ecological function.

Without pollinators, the human race and all of Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems would not survive.

Something like 90 percent of the world’s flowering plants require a pollinator to reproduce.

Animals that assist plants in their reproduction as pollinators include species of bats, butterflies, moths, flies, birds, beetles, ants, and bees.

Not to mention you and me.

To quote the United States Fish and Wildlife Services, “pollinators are nearly as important as sunlight, soil and water to the reproductive success of 75 to 90 percent of the world’s flowering plants.”

When you think outside of the vegetable and fruit garden, you will realize that the purpose of any bloom is to produce viable seeds and a way for that plant to reproduce.

Pollinators are there to help.

The decline of wild bees and other pollinators may be an even more alarming threat to crop yields than the loss of honeybees.

Studies worldwide suggests, the irreplaceable contribution of wild insects to global food production.

Scientists studied the pollination of more than 40 crops in 600 fields across every populated continent and found wild pollinators were twice as effective as honeybees in producing seeds and fruit on crops including oilseed rape, coffee, onions, almonds, tomatoes and strawberries.

Bees feed on pollen, and crops like corn p

Indeed, research shows our own Mason Orchard Bees out work honeybees 100 to 1.

That is quite efficient, don't you think?

Furthermore, trucking in managed honeybee hives did not replace wild pollination when that was lost, but only added to the pollination that took place.

This isn't just a North American issue my friends.

Excerpts from 'The Guardian'.

The new research shows for the first time the huge contribution of wild insects and shows honeybees cannot replace the wild insects lost as their habitat is destroyed. Garibaldi said relying on honeybees was a "highly risky strategy" because disease can sweep through single species, as has been seen with the varroa mite, and single species cannot adapt to environmental changes nearly as well as a group of wild pollinators.

"The studies show conclusively that biodiversity has a direct measurable value for food production and that a few managed species cannot compensate for the biodiversity on which we depend."

Wild pollinators perform better than honeybees because they deploy a wider range of pollinating techniques, such as "buzz" pollination. They also visit more plants, meaning much more effective cross-pollination than honeybees, which tend to carry pollen from one flower to another on the same plant.

(you may recall, I have mentioned in the past, that Bumblebees are the master of "buzz" pollination.)

There are more than 3,500 species of bees in North America, and they are joined by thousands of species of other pollinators, including butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, ants, beetles, birds and bats.

While declines on this continent have only recently started to be widely documented, every other continent (with the exception of Antarctica), has seen serious decreases in pollinator numbers over the past 25 years.

Around the world, almost half of all documented insect extinctions have been pollinators.

Honeybee hives are collapsing at alarming rates.

It sure looks like pesticides are finally getting looked into as the main cause.

(Squash Bee)

I can't stress the importance of a healthy habitat for all of your wildlife, especially pollinators.

We all need pollinators.

While flowers are good for adult butterflies, larvae need host plants to lay eggs and have caterpillars grow.

Specific plants, for specific butterflies.

We learn more and more the dangers of pesticides and herbicides.

As mentioned last week, the are designed to kill and very few are species oriented.

Dust or spray for leaf hoppers and everything else gets a dose as well.

"Genetically Modified Seeds" are laced with herbicides and pesticides.

80% of the corn we eat and the farm animals we feed comes from GMO corn.

We too ingest the toxins.

At what risk?

Will the day come when there are no more insects to pollinate and to feed the birds?

Will all of us have health issues because of the so called "Safe Risk Factor"?

June 24, 2013

50,000 Bumblebees Dead After Neonicotinoid Pesticide Use in Oregon

An estimated 50,000 bumblebees, representing more than 300 colonies, were found dead or dying in a shopping mall parking lot in Wilsonville, OR.

It was confirmed that the massive bee die-off was caused by the use of a neonicotinoid pesticide, dinotefuran, on nearby trees.

Smaller die offs have occurred as well.

Neonicotinoid Pesricide, Get used to hearing that name.

You Can Read the Article Here.

Monsanto can purchase the very company that does research on bees and colony collapse.

So powerful has Monsanto become, they even have political protection.

I try not to get political, but when our president signs an act to protect Monsanto, and our senators and congressmen, want to do an end round...

It does give one pause to think.

I want what is best for our present, and our future.

We wont have one without pollinators.
President Signs Act Protecting Monsanto.

Here are some more goodies.

Now, this happened a few years ago, as the trend was already in place.

The U.S. Agriculture Department illegally takes bees.

Ag Dept. Takes Bees Illegally.

Big Chemical companies are allowed to put products on the market because they say it is safe.

While pollinators continue to disappear.

Not just bees, any pollinator, or other wildlife that ingests pollen or nectar, or plants and insects, feeds on the poisons already in the plant.

Food is now fed to the colony or eggs are laid already tainted by the poisons.

Bayer and Monsanto must be stopped and our voice has to be heard.

I filled in this form and it was sent off.

Americans, Let Your Congress People Know by Signing the Petition. Our Canadian friends, pester your politicians too.

I never heard from Senator Carl Levin.

I did get a nice form letter from Senator Debbie Stabenow's office.

In a truncated version, it stated how congress is looking into the issue, but we have to be wise. As a world leader we have to feed more than 7 Billion people.

At what cost I ask, and most of them don't like us to boot.

I'm sorry if this letter isn't too friendly or light hearted.

These are issues that need to be addressed by all of us, not simply our governments.

I for one have had my eyes opened wide on this subject.

I'm guilty of using Sevin dust and spray, not thinking of all that it touches and life it effects.

Not anymore, I think I'm finally seeing the 'Big Picture'.

This topic goes far beyond bees and butterflies.

It immediately takes a toll on our birds.

It passes on down to frogs, toads and lizards.

All aquatic life.

What about you and me?

God set a delicate balance when he created everything.

Nature is also forgiving, if we give it the chance (too late for some wildlife already).

Well,, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American Philosopher and Writer

I've been known to march to a different beat.

I've been called different, Weird, and a few other choice things.

I'm good with that,

It's not important what others may think of me.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Proverbs 29:25

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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