According to the recently released annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), more than a third of U.S. managed honeybee colonies—those set up for intensified pollination of commercial crops—failed to survive this past winter. Since 2006, the decline of the U.S.’s estimated 2.4 million beehives—commonly referred to as colony collapse disorder (CCD)—has led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of colonies: Hives are found empty with honey, larvae, and the queen intact, but with no bees and no trail left behind. The cause remains unknown, but appears to be a combination of factors impacting bee health and increasing their susceptibility to disease. Heavy losses associated with CCD have been found mainly with larger migratory commercial beekeepers, some of whom have lost 50-90 percent of their colonies. Read more

New York City urban beekeepers (and lovers of honey, fruit and flowers): tomorrow is the big day to let your legislators know that you want beekeeping to be a legal activity by giving an oral testimony at the public hearing on the issue between 10am-12pm, 125 Worth Street, Room 330.

Beekeeping is currently illegal under the health code of NYC, which prohibits the possession, keeping, harboring and selling of “wild animals” and “venomous insects.” However, beekeepers are becoming commonplace in cities across the United States. These cities have realized that bees are essential to a thriving natural environment, including as a support to urban vegetable gardens.

Just Food, an organization that seeks to expand access to healthy food to all New Yorkers, has spearheaded the campaign to get this antiquated law changed. Nadia Johnson from Just Food sent over some of of the organization’s testimony. Hopefully it will inspire you to come along and speak your mind on this important subject: Read more

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that it’s gotten more and more difficult for me to get a steady supply of California oranges for juice at my cafe. I keep getting offered oranges from Florida, from Texas, and from Mexico. I have nothing inherently against any of those locations, and wish them well with their citrus crop, but I’d prefer to buy what’s in my home state. Read more