Last night, Dylann Roof walked into a Charleston church, sat for an hour, and then killed nine people. Roof’s crime cannot be divorced from the ideology of white supremacy which long animated his state nor from its potent symbol—the Confederate flag. Visitors to Charleston have long been treated to South Carolina’s attempt to clean its history and depict its secession as something other than a war to guarantee the enslavement of the majority of its residents. This notion is belied by any serious interrogation of the Civil War and the primary documents of its instigators. Yet the Confederate battle flag—the flag of Dylann Roof—still flies on the Capitol grounds in Columbia.—The Atlantic
The number of wild bees in the United States, specifically feral honeybees, dramatically declined from 1972 to 2006. Meanwhile, year after year, beekeepers reported the decline or decimation of colonies, a phenomenon now called “colony collapse disorder.” The Bee Informed Partnership, a collaboration of the Apiary Inspectors of America and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, released an annual survey this spring showing beekeepers lost more than 42.1 percent of their colonies over the past year. This is the second-highest annual loss recorded to date.
Beekeepers in Wisconsin and seven other states reported losing more than 60 percent of their colonies.
“The domestic honeybee and a lot of your native pollinators are under a lot of pressure,” said Wisconsin beekeeper “Little” John Holzwart.
Scientists are looking at the impact of climate change on pollinators. In 2014, an international intergovernmental panel on climate change warned that pollinators faced increased risk of extinction because of global warming.
Scientists also are studying the impact of:
• The proliferation of single-crop farms that reduce the amount of land providing nectar for bees. Most new acres of corn used to be grassland or pasture that supported pollinators.
• Systemic pesticide application, specifically neonicotinoids, which are used on nearly all field corn seed and most soybeans in the Midwest. Honeybees collect and carry nectar and pollen to their hives to provide food throughout the winter. Pesticides, whether applied to seeds or plants, get carried back and contaminate the hive. The bees consume the chemicals as they feed on nectar and pollen.
• Application of fungicides, which are used on field corn and soybeans and, in Wisconsin, on some cranberry bogs and many potato fields.
• Urbanization and destruction of habitat. Like the homogenization of cropland, developments with sprawling green lawns and no flowering plants leave bees without necessary nutrition.—Wisconsin Gazette