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September 22, 2014 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Flights cancelled? Face plant.

Come goats, sheep, horses, or cows, they take a kickin’ and keep on existin’.

Flyin’ high. (Attitude like Honey Badgers who don’t give…)

Well, some people poked around – probing for answers. (Probably took more than water boarding to pull the secret out.)

ferns.shadows. no permissions granted, all rights reserved, copyrighted

What deep dark secret lurks? ©

So smug. Even simplest vegetation most expert.

  • Takes the cruelest cuts, without broadcasting blame
  • Adapt as needed. Without self promotion and ego.
  • Flexible, but grounded
  • Uses the benefits of their roots, yet avoids getting strangling by them
  • Able to find that place in the sun and flourish without apologies and demands.

And they though no one would notice! 

no permissions granted. all rights reserved. copyrighted. garden doves

Doves, not stool pigeons. ©

Scientists, despite species developmental delay, have squeeze out a bit of truth.

What’s inside can redirect danger from the outside.

Monarch butterflies (always knew they were weak and flighty) gave it up that Milkweed’s devised a plan.

Asclepias turbersa (If ever a nickname was needed. Milkweed:  a tough nickname with serious street cred)

Milkweed, is a village philanthropist. A green Bruce Wayne.

Provides food for migrating Monarchs as well as a nursery for their young. Nurturing and protecting many others.

But the milkweed, delighting no doubt in the flashy arm candy, distributes a dark defense to some: a toxin, cardiac glycocides, in the foliage which makes adult butterflies taste yucky to predators like birds and lizard.

Of course, as in any society, there’s a few rebels who misuse substances, but generally it all works pretty well. Read more about the entire drama of a milkweed village here.)

Butterfly costumes. Bernese Carnival 2010. Sandstein/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Why do all the social butterflies get all the acclaim while the ones providing support get chopped? (Bernese Carnival 2010. Sandstein/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Some observant humans stumbled upon the milkweed’s plan. Decided to mimic it.

Scientists managed to find a way to make food crop plants poisonous to insects.

HA! Take that crop killing corn rootworm!

Nicotine was used as an insecticide since the late 17th century.

In 1994 neonicotinoids was introduced as a new class of insecticides. (“Relatively harmless” to mammals? Like cars and guns are “relatively harmless” to toddlers? On the surface, “relatively” contradictory )

Neonicotinoids now coat seeds as preventative medicine. These substances become an intrinsic part of the plant as it grows.

Sounds like a good idea.

Of course the copy is never as good as the original. (Milkweed silent on that.)

One of the big oopsies is hungry bees. No longer does clover, wild flowers, and weeds that bees, butterflies, and pollinators   require grow between crop rows. Cupboard is bare.

Even bigger possible oopsie is the dozens of new scientific studies that low doses of neonicotinoids may not kill bees immediately, but can damage their navigational and communication skills. Bees can get lost. (and the Queen mistakenly brands them as AWOL? Defamation of character or slander? Either way, it’s an angry buzz.)

Butterfly float. Mardi Gras costumes. New Orleans 2011.Krewe of Muses parade/Muses07Butterlies.inforgmation/B.Kimmel/Commons.wikimedia.org)

What if the only memories of butterflies and bees were from costumes and art? (NOLA.Krewe of Muses/Muses07Butterlies/ inforgmation/B.Kimmel/ Commons.wikimedia.org)

People are going to need more than people if bees and pollinators disappear. (But we have drones, right?)

Some $15 billion a year in food crops depend on bees for pollination.

Currently, the seed coating practice is so widespread, farmers buying seeds have few options.

So there’s the buzz. Now what? Individuals can do something easy.

  • Have an inch of outdoor space on balcony, window, or yard? How about planting some milkweed, crimson clover, or a hardy flowering plant?
  • The bee you feed today may be help make your dinner tomorrow.
  • Support local organic farmers when possible. They pay more for seeds that’s aren’t coated.

Stay informed

As milkweed says, “It takes a smart village.”

Nano Hummingbird surveillance and reconnaissance/DARPA/US PD: by gov.employee/Commons.wikimedia.org

Worst comes to worst, we can use technology to show what species once looked like in the air. Maybe drones could be used to spread pollen for agriculture? Oh. sorry. Spreading pollen might be considered a Weapon of Mass Annoyance (Nano Hummingbird surveillance and reconnaissance/DARPA/US PD:gov.employee/Commons.wikimedia.org)

Could just stick your head in the clouds and hope NASA is able to create some out of this world food farms. Just too much to think about. Too much pressure. Really doesn’t effect…

Life’s all about recognizing something important when it will make a difference.

“Just like that, my eyes became Big John’s, needing to know, wanting to make the best decision and from that day forward, accountable.”

Sounds like someone you ought to know. So read more here.

A whole different way of looking at things.

Flying outta here after planting all that,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Butterfly costume.The Flapper by Frank X.Leyendecker:Life Magazine cover, 1922.US PD.pub.date:Commons.wikimedia.org)

For many, flying is life. (The Flapper.Frank X.Leyendecker/Life Magazine cover, 1922/US PD.pub.date/Commons.wikimedia.org)

 

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38 Comments

  1. Beth / Sep 22 2014 7:18 pm

    I signed a petition this morning to ask that the EPA reject two highly toxic pesticides that could have a deadly impact on bees, so this is a rather timely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 22 2014 7:41 pm

      It must be hearings and agricultural measure facing approval that are helping this issue flying to public’s windshields. (And in the other corner is Bayer CropScience, Monsanto,Sygenta. 3 corporations control more than half the world’s commercial seed market. Enough pre-treated corn seed to plant 2 acres costs $300.00+ (comes with insecticides and fungicides (GMO seed corn…farmers can’t say “Hold the Roundup ready gene”..it’s all done together). Non-engineered corn seed runs about $120.00 for the same coverage. But farmers know the more you protect the seed, the more plants will survive and produce more so farmers (actually, more likely middle men) can make more?
      Hmmm. A huge surplus of grain crops (corn/soybeans) this year? So prices will fall – 14% this year?
      http://news.yahoo.com/us-huge-grain-crops-spell-headache-farmers-055229168.html;_ylt=AwrBEiJEFx9UdAkAtAbQtDMD
      Bonkers. Thanks for flying in with that comment!

      Like

  2. Carrie Rubin / Sep 22 2014 7:41 pm

    I’ve read about the plight of bees and their disappearance. We don’t think much about these little guys other than when we’re fearing their stingers, but the world wouldn’t be the same without them. I suppose the same could be said for every living creature, and yet it’s so easy for us to take them for granted.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 22 2014 7:50 pm

      The imitation just isn’t as good as the original. Getting plants to muster their own defenses against enemies instead of pouring pesticides all over fields is a good idea, but it needs a bit of tweaking. Someone get out the truth serum for that milkweed plant!
      Unlike the yellow jackets the honey bees are welcomed here. Haven’t seen as many as usual which is a concern. Space-X and the other contractors better put full throttle to their space transport production. (Will the plants grown in space have pollen?)
      Hey – new pix? Heading your way. Thanks for buzzing by

      Like

      • Carrie Rubin / Sep 22 2014 8:12 pm

        Yep. New pic and blog header. 🙂

        Like

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 22 2014 8:20 pm

          Really nice.
          Fall must be sweeping in extra energy – people are spiffing up blogs…
          I’m feeling guilting…must appear to be busy or something to avoid appearing to be slacking…

          Like

        • Carrie Rubin / Sep 22 2014 8:23 pm

          I’m sure you’re plenty busy! It takes a lot of time to do these blog things, doesn’t it? It took a while for me to get the new look situated. I’d like to widen my page–the writing space is so narrow–but to do so I need to do HTML in my CSS customization menu, and that scares the poo out of me!

          Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 22 2014 8:37 pm

          When I developed websites/marketing, I dealt with too much complexity and design…not going to drown searching for perfection…if there’s any energy or time available, I really should write something serious…but so far managing to avoid that too….I would disappear into a keyboard for sure then! Oh, look dog Molly’s trying to eat bees…she won’t get close to yellow jackets…

          Liked by 1 person

  3. roughseasinthemed / Sep 22 2014 8:14 pm

    You just need Agent Orange. The world was never the same after that 😦

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 22 2014 8:31 pm

      “Look before you leap” never crosses some minds until it’s Red Alert – which is too late. The drive for profit over caution and potential harmful. Now so much is nothing more than collateral damage. If a person kills an eagle, it’s prison, but an energy/power company is allowed to kill multiple eagles year after year….Big price to pay eventually…but the wealthy/big corporations will be insulated and given pardons for their actions…
      You are right that point in time may be pointed to as the beginning.
      Thanks for flinging a comment right on target

      Like

      • roughseasinthemed / Sep 22 2014 8:40 pm

        One rule for some, one for others…

        Like

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 22 2014 9:20 pm

          Totally wrong interpretation of “sacrifice of the few for the betterment of all”..it wasn’t about corporations and profit. Sheep. Easily led lazy sheep. The ferocious guard dog can’t help if the sheepish charges constantly put themselves at risk by being stupid. Pippa’s right. Naps avoid exhaustion, frustration, and headaches. (Finally sun!)

          Like

  4. Robin / Sep 22 2014 8:57 pm

    I see what you mean about Monarchs being on the mind week. We have plenty of milkweed in our meadows, but only one Monarch to show for it all. Bees, on the other hand, are plentiful and I’m happy to hear and see them buzzing around out there in the goldenrod and asters, loading up their pollen baskets. Bats could save the farmers all that trouble. They eat a lot of insects. Unfortunately, we’re killing off the bats, too. 😦

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 22 2014 9:14 pm

      The Monarch migration has started, so maybe your is lagging? Shoo that one on!
      Houston has a big bat colony close to town – there are evening bat watches and programs. Few realize how important bats are – and that the bat populations not only are being killed off by pesticides, but also by big windmill farms…nasty little secret the electric companies don’t want to talk about, but environmentalists are.
      Milkweed is shaking it’s leaves…people not spending enough time understanding before doing. Enjoy your meadow – a little imitation one here…if Molly would stop digging and stomping…but it’s sunny and not 100, so hard to blame her. Thanks for fluttering by with a comment

      Like

  5. JackieP / Sep 22 2014 9:27 pm

    I haven’t seen a single monarch butterfly this year! It’s scary. We have wild coolies behind our house so we see plenty of honey bees thank goodness. But I know a lot of them have been killed here in Canada too. It worries me about the butterflies though. I have thought of planting milkweed or something butterflies like around my back fence near the coolies. Maybe next spring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 23 2014 2:13 pm

      Last winter fewer monarchs showed up at their winter habitat. Some winter here around the yard – luckily last winter was mild. We seem to always have something blooming in pots that we can move to sunny/sheltered spots for winter. Bees seem to like the hardy lantana (we found some in sand dunes in Galveston that may freeze to the ground, but returns undaunted – and the dogs like to nibble on it for upset tummy. Small heather bushes, and penta seem popular, too. I may try to plant some crimson clover in a pot – it smells wonderful, have big red flowers, and apparently is a favorite of bees. The honey bees never sting, attack or cause problems as they are so busy, not able to say the say about yellow jackets. Thanks for joining the buzz

      Like

  6. EllaDee / Sep 23 2014 5:35 am

    An overgrown garden, a few weeds, messy trees and longer grass is conducive for the birds, butterflies and bees. A great reason to simply & lazily enjoy rather than tidy up the great outdoors. And oh yes, say no to producers who use pesticides. The weekend before last there was a swarm of bees on the ground in the apartment complex’s garden. We hoped the next day they would fly off and make a new hive but unfortunately in the morning they were all dead. It made us really sad 😦

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 23 2014 2:23 pm

      Sometimes people just don’t think. Like a neighbor power spraying mildew preventative on her side of the fence (on the side where she nor anyone else sees or ever goes). The slats between are wide in the old fence and it was coming all the way across the flower bed and hitting the house. She’s very nice but didn’t think.
      When I asked why she had on long sleeves and gloves and googles, she said because it burned and was poison. When I asked what if my dog had been there – and what about this bush loaded with humming birds ( she has a humming bird feeder) and butterflies… her mouth dropped open. Just didn’t think, she said. I spent a log of time washing the area down – couldn’t let the dog out for a bit.
      We’ve all got to stop and think. “What will this do – and is it really necessary?
      Thanks for flying in with a comment

      Like

  7. gingerfightback / Sep 23 2014 12:54 pm

    We have left the bottom of our garden to go wild to support bee and butterfly populations. Some may call me idle (Ii am) but doing nothing I am helping a bee buzz around and there were loads of butterflies this summer! Nothing for a purpose has finally been achieved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 23 2014 2:27 pm

      The wild garden must have been an interesting spot to watch as well as beautiful.
      “Nothing for a purpose”. You know that sounds like an excellent logo…hmmmm
      You do turn a nice phrase.
      Thanks for lighting here to chat

      Like

  8. PiedType / Sep 23 2014 3:23 pm

    I’ve heard about a drive to get folks to plant patches of milkweed to save the monarchs. Their winter gathering in Mexico is one of nature’s wonders. It would be a shame to lose it for want of some milkweed. And the bees. We known forever about how indispensable they are, and yet it seems we continue to wipe out every insect on the planet. There’s a reason for every critter’s existence. We ignore that at our peril.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 23 2014 4:07 pm

      And why anyone in the Dept of Ag. could possibly think raising the level of toxins (that they know without a doubt affect bees, and birds) in farm pesticides is a good idea?…Oh, Big Ag Pharm is right in there this very week in sessions.
      Milkweed has figured out a balance…AG crop pesticides haven’t. (So the “new” seed means less spraying by planes so less danger for people nearby…we’ll just feed toxins to the general public in their food. As long as the stock holders get their money and people have portrait pretty food in the stores…
      (Oh, CO Springs selected as a top place to live in newest poll – I can see that!)
      Thanks for fluttering by with a comment

      Like

  9. jubilare / Sep 23 2014 3:37 pm

    I plant for bugs! No garden is complete without the bustle, hum and dance of arthropods.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 23 2014 4:10 pm

      Too little science taught in schools. Too few people get outside windowless rooms.Milkweed Village story pretty well indicates how plants have sorted things out to maintain a balance. People still working on the concept. (Big Ag’s desire for big profit and customer’s foolish idea that veggies and fruit must look perfectly beautiful causing problems)
      Thanks for growing with the plants and bugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      • jubilare / Sep 23 2014 4:20 pm

        It’s true, very few people know anything about the plants or critters we live with. We have to work on changing that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 24 2014 12:27 am

          Very true. Getting kids reconnected with nature at an early age could make the different…they will wart their parents. It’s their job as kids. Thanks for flying along

          Liked by 1 person

  10. heretherebespiders / Sep 23 2014 9:34 pm

    Are they using this seed in Europe too? We are also having bee issues, and butterflies are lacking. Flies out the yin-yang of course :/

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 24 2014 12:25 am

      Sadly, yes. But the EU is took some steps last week (birds numbers are way down, too, there). One of the linked articles says a lot more, but 2-4 big companies basically control the seeds world-wide. People are probably pretty tired of me writing about this, but the issue keeps surfacing. This week the big seed companies (Bayer is one) are seeking to increase the amount of allowable toxins in the seed coatings – although they know that will affect bees even more. I know they say it’s about growing more food to feed the world, but this year’s crop is extremely large – farmers will make less as the crop/supply is huge. So the argument that the seeds must be protected to increase yield and profits for farmers isn’t completely valid. It appears to be all about the pesticide companies’/seed companies’ profit.
      Milkweed found a balance for it’s “village” (that is an interesting story). Humans need to slow down and look a little closer. We need to learn before too much damage is done.
      Thanks for winging over to chat

      Like

      • jubilare / Sep 24 2014 11:07 am

        And then there’s the irony that the crop-eating insects are adapting to the toxins (which is one reason why the companies want to increase the “dose”) while their predators and the pollinators are dying at horrifying rates… It’s beyond stupid and short-sighted. It’s criminal.

        Like

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 25 2014 3:16 pm

          Yep, the milkweed has figured it out, but people too much in a hurry completely understand how it works…meanwhile we are sooting – uh – stinging/biting/buzzing ourselves in the foot. Nature always wins….she takes harsh steps when her rules aren’t followed. Thanks for buzzing back

          Liked by 1 person

  11. TBM / Sep 24 2014 10:03 am

    We have some bees where we live and even though I’m allergic, I’m always happy to see them. They are vital after all and normally they mean me no harm.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 25 2014 3:13 pm

      The little honey bees here are too busy to notice anything around them. You can bump them and they don’t care. Molly delights in snapping them up into her mouth and then letting them out and they buzz off and she chases them to play again. So far neither side has been injured, but trying to warn her about the mad red wasps of different temperament. Thanks for swatting a comment over this way!

      Like

  12. dogear6 / Sep 24 2014 5:14 pm

    Over the last few years, all that’s coming into my yard are the big ol’ carpenter bees, which I do not need hanging around my house. This year, I didn’t plant any salvia nor did I let the basil go to flower. I don’t know why I’m not getting anything else (I noticed this at the botanical gardens also – very few of any other bees). I don’t know if all the development has driven out the other bees or if it’s more of the chemical issue.

    Nancy

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 25 2014 3:21 pm

      Carpenter bees are so not welcomed. One of the concerns about the Killer Bees is that they do take over and the mild honey bees disappear. In new development and subdivisions, big chemical lawn companies are often an issue (people are too busy trying to pay for the house to do lawn care…). It’s probably a combination of situations/events/products that are creating massive problems for bees, butterflies, the good bugs, birds, and bats. (They do love basil! I bought one plant because it smelled good on the patio and it’s always got some sort of visitor) Thanks for the blooming comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. roughseasinthemed / Sep 25 2014 1:06 pm

    What to say? Yes? And, for individual growers, collect your seeds. In my case, lettuce, rocket, basil, parsley, chillies… At least I know where they come from.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Sep 25 2014 2:40 pm

      How about what a smart Milkweek plant? People seem to be about half way to unerstanding…but too impatient to get the full info….those stockholders demand instant results for investments…
      When I was little Dad watched the garden plants and selected the best veggie/flower plants to collect seeds from. Then after he retired and built the giant garden, he and his brothers poured over Burpee Seeds and the local feed store stock as they were all into growing blue ribbon winners for the fair. But the pile of those ribbons got large enough and he went back to older varieties/heritage plants as they tasted better ( and he and the guys all got interested into “special” categories at the fair….and those versions did taste better even if not perfect and yield was less…you can just can, freeze, give away so much. The food banks benefited during harvest season there)
      Thanks for harvesting a comment to leave

      Like

  14. Paul / Sep 26 2014 6:01 am

    Cool post Phil. I knew next to nothing about the milkweed and coated seeds and bees and butterflys. Thanks for the heads up.

    Like

  15. jannatwrites / Sep 27 2014 2:26 am

    Whenever something like this comes up, I think, ‘that’s what we get for mucking with nature.’ I wanted to plant milkweed last year for the butterflies but couldn’t locate at our local nursery. I saw that seeds could be ordered online but never got around to doing it. I’ll have to be more on-the-ball next year 🙂

    Like

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