ECOWATCH: Is the web of life crumbling?

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“We warned that one day you will no longer be able to control what you have created, and that day is here.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Lakota Native American Spiritual Leader

What is the Web of Life? Many people fail to realize that understanding this description of nature is crucial for human survival. One of the best explanations of what the Web of Life is comes from a University of Illinois report on the environment and ecosystems. He says: “An ecosystem is made up of all living things, animals and plants, and non-living matter in a particular place, like a forest, a lake or other areas. All living things in an ecosystem depend on all other things – living and non-living – for food supply and other needs for continued survival.

In some ways, the actions and reactions that take place within an ecosystem are like a spider’s web. When a strand is broken, the canvas begins to unravel. What affects one part of an ecosystem affects the whole in one way or another.

Recently, a Zack Barrett report on NBC-2 reported that local beekeepers in Alva, a town in Lee County, had thousands of dead bees in the past two weeks. State inspectors said the bees appeared to have been poisoned. Other beekeepers in the region have also seen the majority of their hives disappear.

Beekeepers did not believe the poisoning was intentional, as other sources of spray in the area could have caused death. “Pesticides sprayed nearby in orange groves or perhaps neighbors spraying fruits and vegetables in their own garden” could have been the culprit.

This alarming report only made the news for a day, when the seriousness of the news should have sounded the alarm that something is wrong in our environment yet.

President Dennis Riggs of the Southwest Florida Beekeepers Association has warned people to be careful about spraying insecticides in their gardens – especially using insecticides against what the label recommended. He said that “most people will never know that what they are using is potentially killing tens of thousands of bees.”

The search for a pesticide that is safe for wildlife continues, when many would agree that there is no such thing as a safe pesticide. However, the rest of us in our own backyards could help save hundreds of thousands of bees by not using toxic chemicals to spray on gardens, flowers, and other plants.

Recommendations from four researchers at sciencenews forstudents.org suggest planting native flowers and leaving unmaintained areas in yards and gardens for insects and bees to feed and survive. Native bees will nest in these areas. This helps ensure that there will be more pollinators next year. Experts all recommend avoiding the use of pesticides around our home. In fact, a small portion of a vegetable oil mixed with Seventh Generation soap would repel many insects.

According to the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), “bees are an essential link in American agricultural production. Pollination by managed honey bee colonies adds at least $ 15 billion to the value of American agriculture each year through increased yields and superior crops. But managed honey bees have come under serious pressure from many different stresses, resulting in colony loss. “

One of the main issues plaguing bees since 2006 is Colony Collapse Syndrome (CCD), which is a syndrome specifically defined as a dead colony, in which the majority of bees have disappeared, leaving no adult bees but with a living queen and immature bees still present. .

The USDA reports that the total number of managed honey bee colonies has grown from 5 million in the 1940s to around 2.66 million today.

The USDA recommends that the best action the public can take to improve honey bee survival is to not use pesticides indiscriminately, and in particular to avoid applying pesticides during midday hours. when honey bees are most likely to be foraging for nectar and pollinating plants. Additionally, the public can plant pollination-friendly plants such as red clover, foxglove, lemon balm, and Joe Pye grass.

However, many environmentalists believe that the use of any pesticide is a death sentence for bees and other insects in the web of life. Can we survive without using harmful pesticides? The European Council banned a group of pesticides called neonicotenoids, which are still used in the United States. Let’s face it, the chemical industry will never let its products go away. During this time, bees and other insects are dying at an accelerated rate. One of the main causes of bee extinction is the increased use of pesticides.

What can the average person do to prevent the demise of bees and their pollinating activities that provide us with a variety of foods including onions, zucchini, melons, apples, berries, carrots, and many other crops? Be aware of what you are purchasing for your garden. Read the labels. For more information, you can access two sites: the Charlotte County Co-0p Extension Office at (941) 764-4340 or the UF / IFAS Extension in Charlotte County at (941) 764- 4340.

Plus, if you haven’t read Rachel Carson’s “Silent Springs”, consider doing so. You will then understand the harmful effects of pesticides.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse was right. We have developed, overused and oversupplied pesticides, and now the situation may be out of control. We will have many silent sources.

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