I saw a Monarch Butterfly the other day

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I saw a Monarch Butterfly the other day. It's the first one I have seen in several years, and I spend a lot of time outdoors. Not too many years ago, they would have been fluttering about here in masses as they spend their winters around here before migrating back to Mexico. Our paranoiac fear of mosquitoes, native insects nibbling away at big agro-business' profits, and our general distaste for insect critters of all shapes and sizes is forcing many of these little guys and their relatives to go into extinction.

Just how many more species can we eradicate before a tipping point is reached ? And what will be the outcome ? Nature has always been a delicate balance. Social political correctness tends to focus on only one or two issues at a time. In my lifetime I have seen the focus shift from clean water to clean air, to reducing our birthrates, to urban expansion, and now climate change is in the headlines. Sadly, highly developed western nations have taken the lead in responsible regulation, but only in our own backyards, all the time taking advantage of developing nations' momentum to continue down the same road to destruction.

When I first heard of globalization and trade pacts beginning with NAFTA, I thought it was a good idea, because I thought those developing nations would be forced to raise their labor and environmental standards as they developed into first world economies.

Sadly though, big business saw an immensely great opportunity for quick profits and expand their worldwide imperialism if they kept those developing countries down by allowing them to exploit their labor, pollute their land, and rape their resources. So what is the solution ? Is it to give big money corporations free reign to secretly negotiate international treaties that will strip us of our rights to control the environment and our fellow countrymen's standard of living, in our own back yards, or the other side of the tracks? I think not.

A good first step would be to deny the ridiculous idea that money is speech, to place reasonable limits political action comities and require full disclosure of where their money is coming from. A second step would be to restore a full and functioning democracy by requiring every citizen to cast a ballot on each and every voting day.

Our current form of democracy is failing us. The plight of the honey bees is just another warning indicator, a drop in the bucket, when we look at the bigger picture of what is happening to our ever so delicate balance of nature.

Sacramento Dave's picture
Sacramento Dave
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Nov. 27, 2010 9:46 am

Comments

It's too bad that like you, enough people also bought into the idea that NAFTA was going to help other countries and not hurt us. I hope enough people have felt the sting from NAFTA to actually take action against fast-tracking the TPP.

As for the monarch situation.....here is a link to a website with information on glyposate which is killing the monarchs and on that page is a link to a petition that I hope all will sign and send on to their friends to sign.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/31/glyphosate...

Thank you for bringing this up Dave.

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

I thought maybe we should also add the death of bee's to this thread? There is an article here, a documentary video on this link too.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/21/vanishing-...

Maybe we should be doing more to protect our pollinators from MONSANTO and DOW CHEMICAL???

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

Ah, yes, the Roundup connection. Monarch Butterflies rely on milkweed that grows along stream banks, drainage ditches and wetland areas.

About fifteen years ago, I was monitoring the environmental impact of a construction site in Sacramento County. I was astonished one spring day to see all the vegetation on both sides of the drainage ditch that ran by the site turning yellow and dying. I followed the ditch about a half mile upstream from the site hoping to find the source of the pollution, but the dead plants continued much further. Later I noticed the same type of vegetative destruction along drainage ditches throughout the area. After doing a little research, I found out that the local governments and agro land owners were spraying the ditches for weed control. So much for the precious milkweed that the monarchs rely on.

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Sacramento Dave
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Quote MrsBJLee:

I thought maybe we should also add the death of bee's to this thread? There is an article here, a documentary video on this link too.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/21/vanishing-...

Maybe we should be doing more to protect our pollinators from MONSANTO and DOW CHEMICAL???

I've got no problem with less use of chemicals but please note that Colony Collapse Disorder has been around for a long time, pre-dating much of the post war increase in pesticide use, appears to be cyclical in nature, and likely has many "causes":

“Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD) is a new tag name presently being given to a condition that is characterized by an unexplained rapid loss of a colony’s adult population. Collapsed colonies have no or very few bees remaining, either in the dead hive or in the apiary. There are usually plenty of food stores in these colonies and if bees remain, the population consists of a queen and a small number of young workers. The stores appear to remain untouched by robbing bees or honey bee comb pests such as wax moths and small hive beetles for several weeks after the collapse. Affected operations can be devastated by the condition. Some beekeepers have reported losses of 90% of their operation. A recent survey conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America estimated that between 651,000 and 875,000 of the nation’s estimated 2.4 million colonies were lost over the winter of 2006 – 2007. While a majority of these losses were attributable to known bee threats, over 25% of beekeepers were considered to have CCD [1]. In the mid-Atlantic region, continuing surveys from several sources have demonstrated recurring periods of heavy winter losses. Specifically, beekeepers reported experiencing heavy losses in the spring of 2001, 2004 [2], and 2007 [3]. Large-scale losses are not new to the beekeeping industry (Table 1). Many of the symptoms similar to those expressed by CCD-affected colonies have been described before. Like today, in the past, the cause for the colony collapse has not been ascertained with certainty, although speculations as to the cause(s) are plentiful. In this paper we briefly review the past history of colony collapses that are reminiscent of the present situation. The first published record of this disorder appeared in 1869. An anonymous author reported loss of bees which left behind hives with plenty of honey. It was speculated that the death was due to a lack of pollen, poisonous honey, or a hot summer [4]. Subsequently, Aikin [5] described losses in Colorado in 1891 and 1896 where large clusters disappeared or dwindled to tiny clusters with queens in May, hence the name “May disease”. Investigations at the time identified various fungi with these collapses. Burnside [6] was able to isolate, culture, and reproduce symptoms very similar to CCD with a strain of Aspergillus fungi. Stonebrood, caused by the fungus Aspergillus flavus, affects both immature and adult bees. Infected larvae turn into solid, hard mummies that are not easily removed by the bees [7, 8]. Stonebrood-infected adults fly or crawl a considerable distance from colonies before dying [6]. Superficially, the adults appear normal [6]. It is believed that stonebrood is spread through the sharing of infected combs [9], as the fungus has been isolated on combs [10]. In addition, Giauffret [11] believed that disruption of the intestinal flora of bees due to antibiotic use may allow the fungus to spread. It is yet to be determined if the losses that are being seen today will, like with stonebrood, appear suddenly and then disappear [12]. In three epidemics between 1905 and 1919, 90% of the honey bee colonies on the Island of Wight in the United Kingdom died [13, 14]. Bees afflicted with this disorder could not fly, but crawled from the entrance [15, 16]. Researchers disagreed as to the cause of this affliction. Some concluded that the losses were due to acarine disease or the honey bee tracheal mite, Acarapis woodi [13]. Others believed that starvation was the cause of the losses [14, 17]; while still others thought Nosema disease caused the high losses [18]. Some affected beekeepers over the years have blamed their losses on the so-called “Isle of Wight disease” whenever they could not find another cause [14]. Bullamore [17] noted that genetics likely played a role and emphasized the need to dispose of colonies after a maximum of 3 years."

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mjolnir
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Mar. 3, 2011 11:42 am

I forage milkweed in areas that I know haven't been sprayed, hay fields etc. It can also be easily grown in "disturbed" ground at the edges of your garden or in a dedicated butterfly garden.

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mjolnir
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Mar. 3, 2011 11:42 am

We spread seed mature milkweed pods in the fall too. Our bees love it- almost as much as catmint--man they love that stuff.

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stwo
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

BJ

Thanks for the link, part of which I am quoting here:

Blamed for Bee Collapse, Monsanto Buys Leading Bee Research Firm

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/21/vanishing-bees-film.aspx

Genetic engineering of crops has also been blamed for dwindling bee populations. Monsanto, which is the leader in this type of biotechnology is likely none too pleased about the accusations, which, if found to be truthful through the dedicated application of research into the mystery, stands to lose just about everything—both their genetically engineered crop seeds and the pesticides/herbicides to go with them. It appears Monsanto has taken a proactive stance to the problem and is getting more involved—by purchasing one of the leading bee research firms... A recent Activist Post article reportsxxi :

"Recently banned from Poland with one of the primary reasons being that the company's genetically modified corn may be devastating the dying bee population, it is evident that Monsanto is under serious fire for their role in the downfall of the vital insects. It is therefore quite apparent why Monsanto bought one of the largest bee research firms on the planet.

It can be found in public company reports hosted on mainstream media that Monsanto scooped up the Beeologics firm back in September, 2011. During this time the correlation between Monsanto's GM crops and the bee decline was not explored in the mainstream, and in fact it was hardly touched upon until Polish officials addressed the serious concern amid the monumental ban.

Owning a major organization that focuses heavily on the bee collapse and is recognized by the USDA for their mission statement of "restoring bee health and protecting the future of insect pollination" could be very advantageous for Monsanto. In fact, Beelogics' company information states that the primary goal of the firm is to study the very collapse disorder that is thought to be a result — at least in part — of Monsanto's own creations."

It'll be interesting to see the results emerging from Beeologics in the future, with regards to Monsanto products and their impact on bee populations, now that Monsanto owns it lock stock and barrel...

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Nov. 27, 2010 9:46 am

"Beeologics, bought by Monsanto in 2011, is (now) working on a gene-silencing technology that would make bees’ blood deadly to mites." http://www.psmag.com/nature-and-technology/save-the-honeybee-sterilize-the-earth-pollination-industrial-complex-95566

Very interesting: Beeologics' company information (at that time) stated that "... the primary goal of the firm is to study the very collapse disorder that is thought to be a result — at least in part — of Monsanto's own creations."

OK, Bees genetically engineered so that their blood is deadly to mites? Does that sound like a good thing ? ... or not ? So what happens if the bees blood is deadly to other tiny little "beneficial" critters as well ? What if the sacred balance of nature relies on these mites to remove weak and injured critters from the gene pool.

And just how long and extensively will Monsanto, the FDA and the EPA explore and test the overall environmental safety and potential side effects of this poison bee blood ? What will the effects of their poisoned blood be on their honey ? How will their poison blood effect the toxicity of the venom in their stings ?

Leave it to Monsanto. They gave us genetically engineered poison corn. Their products are eradicating agricultural and developed land of a wide variety of beneficial plants, and now they want to give us poison honey bee blood ?

And : Even if having poison blood ends up being good for the bees, Just what good will poison bee blood be for my beloved Monarch Butterflies ?

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Nov. 27, 2010 9:46 am

Thank you for planting milkweed. Your efforts are appreciated.

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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

Thank you TOO stwo for your efforts also! It's truly appreciated.

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

Don't you think it's like having the fox guarding the hen house with Monsanto owning that bee research firm? Why do they have to OWN it? Why didn't they just donate funds for the research. I guess they can control the outcome and what is reported. NICE..... :-(

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

ALL EXCELLENT QUESTIONS but WHO is demanding the answers before they let loose their frankenbee's into the environment. Or will one or two just accidently escape?

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

africanized bees escaping from Brazil research station. And now frankenbee from Monsanto. If anything it would be another reason for Monsanto to sue any bee keepers or apiary.

I'm planning on catching my own wild bee swarms... It's pretty easy. (may end up in the bins of "famous last words")

CCD in US is serious enough that researchers are hybridizing European bees here in US with those from caucaus region?? Some where there abouts. No point arguing whether its a new or been around phenomenon.

smilingcat
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Sep. 23, 2010 8:14 am

Swarm capture can be very easy Smiling cat. I get 2-4 swarm calls every year. I no longer respond to "cutouts" any more (bees colony in the wall of a building) I never had a cut out survive or stay put in their new hive, it takes quite a bit of time and effort to remove them, and too much liablity cutting into someone's home.

Just have your hive body ready and advertise on Craig's list/spread the word you're looking. Be prepared to feed them for a while if you don't have drawn comb ready for them, since they'll need to draw out lots of new comb. I'd be glad to offer any info you want- I'm currently building a website for the club I started in my area and you can reach me through it www.grbee.club (and yes, the photos are of me :)

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stwo
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Nice page stwo.

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Mar. 3, 2011 11:42 am
Quote stwo:

We spread seed mature milkweed pods in the fall too. Our bees love it- almost as much as catmint--man they love that stuff.

I have been carrying Milkweed seeds on daily walks in a nearby open forest. I have been planting them in shallow holes made with a walking stick in well lit areas.

Better ideas are appreciated.

Do you have any sources for seeds that have produced better results than others?

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Dexterous
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Apr. 9, 2013 8:35 am

As a riff on the ancient meditation about the flap of a butterfly's wings; the last dieing flap of the butterfly wing creates havoc thousands of miles near and far for eons to come.

rs allen
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Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

Here is a link to good info on milkweed propagation.

"When to Plant
Milkweed seeds can be sown outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. Refer to the seed packets for special instructions on sowing the seeds. Keep in mind that seeds have a range of soil temperatures at which they will germinate. Also, remember that under sunny conditions the soil temperatures can be much higher in the daytime than the ambient air temperatures you experience. Plant the seeds early since those planted late in the season may not germinate because of high temperatures. In addition, new seedlings from late plantings can "dry off" before they are even noticed. Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) and A. syriaca (common milkweed) germinate poorly at high temperatures (>85˚F). However, other species such as A. curassavica (tropical milkweed) and Cynanchum laeve (blue vine) germinate well at these temperatures. Germination outdoors depends on soil moisture and temperature and could take several weeks if conditions are not ideal."

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mjolnir
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Mar. 3, 2011 11:42 am

As to seeing, I keep fallow about 2 acres of natural occurring milkweed habitat (though next year I will cut out some aspen type popular trees (garbage) wanting to move in) and I saw very few butterflys last year. Bees have it even worst, none during the clover flowering and only started showing up for the planted flowers and shrubs around the house much too late in the season for any hope of survival of the hive.

rs allen
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Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

I just ran into this article.......Almost 1 BILLION MONARCH BUTTERFLIES HAVE VANISHED!

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/10/1363564/-Almost-1-billion-monar...

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MrsBJLee
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Feb. 17, 2012 8:45 am

Perhaps the bee crisis is abating, assuming that there was one.

"Honey production in 2014 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 178 million pounds, up 19 percent from 2013. There were 2.74 million colonies producing honey in 2014, up 4 percent from 2013. Yield per colony averaged 65.1 pounds, up 15 percent from the 56.6 pounds in 2013. Colonies which produced honey in more than one State were counted in each State where the honey was produced. Therefore, at the United States level yield per colony may be understated, but total production would not be impacted. Colonies were not included if honey was not harvested. Producer honey stocks were 41.2 million pounds on December 15, 2014, up 8 percent from a year earlier. Stocks held by producers exclude those held under the commodity loan program."

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mjolnir
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Mar. 3, 2011 11:42 am

Certainly, planting milkweed is a great individual action.

However, we need to reject free-market capitalist thinking. It fools us into believing we are helping with individual action alone, while the systematic destruction continues. It's to pacify the most active among us, cognitive slight-of hand.

The insane (individual action) modern market corporate capitalist philosophy poses that individuals acting in their own self-interest, essentially alone, will lead to a better society. As a result, they deregulated us into a polluted, greedy, destructive, dog-eat-dog. sociopath glorifying hell.

Capitalism was great at encouraging (relatively few) people to turn (seemingly unlimited) natural resources in a big wide world into things of greater value. It worked so well, we now have way too many people and too little un-renewable resources. Not to mention pollution.

The world can no longer afford capitalism. We can no longer encourage economic and population growth. Doing so is insane. It's a slow suicide. We are frogs relaxing in the water not realizing the temperature is changing.

We need to begin to conserve natural resources, not for individual or corporate profit, but for all humanity and the future of all humanity. It sure seems to me a less individualistic/capitalist and more global-community/socialist mentality is unquestionably required. This is a truth I hold as self-evident.

The philosophy that cumulative individual action alone is enough to achieve change is measurable false. It has always failed. It is a capitalist philosophy that discourages people from uniting, and it is a philosophy that is killing us all.

No individuals. One earth, one people, one love.

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Chris Gah
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America: Meet Your Overlord Rupert Murdoch...

Thom plus logo The main lesson that we've learned so far from the impeachment hearings is that if Richard Nixon had had a billionaire like Rupert Murdoch with a television network like Fox News behind him, he never would've resigned and America would have continued to be presided over by a criminal.
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