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San Diego County supervisors abuzz over bees

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Pay attention: it’s not only state and federal regulators animated about bees. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors seems to be abuzz over the reported drop in honey bee numbers and, like any government entity, is reacting.

San Diego County supervisors recently voted 4-0 (Chairman Greg Cox was absent from the meeting) to direct county staff to work with local beekeepers “and anyone else who was interested” on ideas to update the county’s beekeeping ordinance, which is said to be “outdated.” County staff was ordered to report back in four months. Let's hope that "anyone else interested" statement legitimately includes only those with skin in the game.

In a conversation on a whole host of issues I had with Renee Pinel, president and chief executive officer of the Western Plant Health Association, she said an Australian study on bee health suggests that Ag chemicals are not to blame for colony collapse.

“Every validated scientific study thus far has demonstrated that pesticides are not the cause of colony collapse disorder,” Pinel said.

She went on to say that verifiable investigations into bee deaths have been shown to result from the off-label and improper use of pesticides.

According to Pinel, the study looked at the similarities between Australian agriculture and U.S. agriculture and determined that while both countries use similar ag chemicals and have similar agronomic practices, the only difference appears to be the existence of the Varroa Mite in the United States. The mite does not apparently exist in Australia and they do not have colony collapse issues, she said.

So, if you live in San Diego County, or are remotely concerned about how one local government in California may address the issue, stay informed and involved.

 

tfitchette@farmpress.com

 

Follow me on Twitter @ToddFitchette

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