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Huntington Beekeeper Speaks to State Legislature

August 17, 2012

WV beekeepers meet with WV legislators 

Gabe Blatt, of Blatt’s Bee Farm in Huntington and a honey supplier to the Wild Ramp Market is also president of the Cabell Wayne Beekeepers Association. He met with the Agriculture and Agri-business committee of the State Legislature about challenges for the bee population along with recommendations for how the state can help.

Gabe specifically reported that vanishing pastures, poor genetics and dangerous pesticides are combining to hurt honeybees and other critical pollinators.  Approved by the Environmental Protection Agency the use of neo-nicotinoid insecticides causes bee death.  The harmful substance ascends into the tassels of corn, where bees gather pollen .

Bees are finding food supplies increasingly hard to come by, given the diminished pasture land that now is well-manicured grasses.  “There’s no food there for the bees or any of the pollinators,” he said. “They’re not eating correctly.”

The Department of Transportation has been asked to sow sweet clover along roadways to provide bees a source of nutrition.  Blatt said another means of providing food for the pollinators is to convince coal operators to sow abandoned lands with clover and other bee-friendly plants.

Blatt also appealed to home gardeners to refrain from using dust pesticides to keep vegetables insect-free.  “Dust is one of the worst,” he said.  Bees unwittingly pick up the dust, assuming it’s pollen, and once it is taken to the hives, their young feed on it and die, wiping out colonies, he explained.

Blatt said he learned this truth a few years ago when a doctor advised him to check for dead bees with their tongues stuck out in his own hives. Sure enough, that was the telltale evidence of pesticide poisoning, he said. “Please use a spray,” he told the committee. “And spray in the evening when pollinators are not as active. By the next morning, it’s dried up, and you’ll kill very few bees.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rhonna permalink
    August 18, 2012 3:22 pm

    Good article. Loved the bee in a gas mask.

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