White House Takes Action

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Did you read President Obama’s White House memorandum released last Friday (June 20, 2014) that outlines the Federal Strategy for researching, preventing, and restoring the pollinator population in the US? The Government is obviously taking the issue very seriously, as well they should with the rapidly growing people population and land development, and the expanding use of pesticides and chemicals for home, public and commercial applications.

I am always asked “what is causing colony collapse disorder”. This memo answers that question based on what most scientists believe (I believe it too):

“Scientists believe that bee losses are likely caused by a combination of stressors, including poor bee nutrition, loss of forage lands, parasites, pathogens, lack of genetic diversity, and exposure to pesticides.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/20/presidential-memorandum-creating-federal-strategy-promote-health-honey-b)

This statement identifies the main problems in a nutshell, the point being that the problem is actually a combination of problems.  I wish the Federal Government every success, and I hope the effort continues long after President Obama’s administration. However, I can’t help but wonder what they know that we don’t.  How severe the situation must be if the Government is suddenly jumping in and taking such dramatic action. But then maybe it has been in the works longer than we think.   Did you know the White House has a bee hive? See the video below.

So one beehive isn’t going to save the world, but visibility is important…and hopefully, within a year or two, they will split that sucker and populate the White House grounds with lots of beehives. The White House is a great way to promote urban and not-so-urban beekeeping – and what better way to educate the kiddies who come to visit and plant gardens with Mrs. Obama?  For their 6th annual planting, they added a pollinator garden to the White House grounds – see the video below.

Good for Michelle Obama!  She’s bringing attention to a cause that affects everyone, and better yet, she’s starting with the kids. Getting kids interested at a young age is one of the best ways to ensure the long term future health and welfare of our bees and all other pollinators. I promise you, this is not a pro- or anti-Obama post, but as a beekeeper, I do find it encouraging to see the President and First Lady taking this situation seriously and doing something about it through action and education.  I just hope the big political wigs assigned to the Pollinator Task Force take this responsibility seriously, as it may someday bee a life for death situation.

One other suggestion that might improve their efforts is to implement generous tax incentives for beekeepers.  Yes, indeed we help keep the bees going.  Besides, not only would more people bee encouraged to take up beekeeping, but existing beekeepers would have more money for maintaining more hives.  Seriously, it’s a no brainer.

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