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Scribbles – A Sticky Rant

22 March 2016 5 Comments

I like honey. In fact, I might go so far as to say I love honey, although not as much as my daughters. This rant has two prongs to it; one being that the next person to tell me Billy Bee honey is so wonderful is gonna get a foot in their arse, and the second is that constant article about the guy in Ontario that went through colony collapse.

First, I’m not condemning people who like Billy Bee. Go for it. Eat whatever corn syrup-flavored honey you want. I’ll stick with local, high-quality, yummy liquid gold, thanks. Take this into consideration though, before you pop that tenner down at the local store for a 500ml bottle of Billy Bee. Some representative of Billy Bee stated that Canada had a shortage of honey, and that is why they felt they needed to turn to Argentina for their supply. There are how many beekeepers in Canada, and all of them – ALL OF THEM – experienced a low production year in the last year or two?

Really? Really, Billy Bee? Did you even check with initiatives within Canada before you came to that lazy excuse? I mean, wow. Seriously. Also, your honey tastes suspiciously like corn syrup and/or molasses. Granted, it’s been many, many years since I had to have low-quality honey in my house, but still.

Maybe I’m biased. My youngest is a beekeeper, hence why I don’t have low-quality crap-honey in my house. Maybe people should start looking for local honey and pay the same for the good stuff, instead of filler brought in from Argentina and China (yes, I said China – go use your Google-fu).

Rant, part deux – in which I cut/paste my response to a comment placed by a “bee-activist” onto a post by a well respected pagan author I won’t name just because. My comment, which I removed myself not wanting to get into it with an online warrior (snicker), is between asterisks below. Her comment was that any and all bee colony collapse is down to neonics, and GMOs.

She was replying to the post, which was yet another article about the collapse in Ontario. Manipulated to create more drama around an event that happened four years ago, the story is plenty popular around Snopes, etc. Maybe the guy did lose 37 million bees, maybe it was less, maybe it was more. It wasn’t this production year, which hasn’t even begun here yet. Whenever it happened, *if that many bees were relying on that single field of bio-engineered slash sprayed corn or canola or whatever the article stated this time (I’ve seen it as both), either he’s not very smart, or there was simply nothing else for miles around. Miles.*

I can see that actually, because here we have miles and miles and miles of canola every year, broken only by the occasional road or house. Seriously, by the end of the summer I’m so sick of seeing yellow I could smack someone with a canola oil bottle.

If I had one. Erm, back on rant.

*I am old enough to remember fields being yellow – AND blue – AND green and gold – AND black (fallow). Fifty-sixty years ago fields weren’t hundreds and thousands of acres in size and woods were allowed to stand, there was more pasture and open lands, the ditches and roadways were allowed to have wildflowers and grasses grow high. It’s not just the chemicals killing the honey bee population, it’s the lack of diversity.

My daughter works for a producer who successfully lobbied to have our local government stop spraying ditches. Where his hives go in the spring before honey flow, we’re seeing the wildlife come back; not just the flowers, but also small animals and insects. An invasive species of plant that they’ve been spraying for but is resistant (so said my grandfather 30 years ago, and he seems to have been proven right!), are dying out under the anemones, bindweed, and soapwort that are native to the area. Purple haze, prairie crocus, certain species of goldenrod and ironweed (endangered here), yarrow, wild bergamot, wild onion and garlic, certain clovers, bedstraw, wild berries of all kinds, hazel trees… We can taste the diversity in the honey, and the colonies thrive.*

Under the problems of drainage, local authorities also passed a bylaw stating that no one is allowed to pull down more than 2 acres of trees per section (I believe it’s per section) per year. Why? Because there are two or three local farming concerns that will buy up or lease property, bulldoze and burn every living tree and wild thing on it, and ‘reclaim’ for arable acreage.

The bees need diversity just as much as every other living creature. Thankfully there are some smart people out there that are starting to realize this, and are taking steps to bring change.

I hope I didn’t lose track too often. I will try to get back here more often…things just aren’t working out in that direction right now.

<3
JL