Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Not a Lot of Buzz About this Announcement

I am one of those individuals who never grew out of that childhood phase during which one is compelled to turn over rocks and logs to see what kind of creepy-crawlies are living underneath. I love my precious little bug buddies- I also like lectures about insects, even eating insects. Needless to say, I was bummed out by listening to a report of the rusty patched bumblebee being placed on the endangered species list, with the Trump maladministration reversing its policy of undoing federal regulations in this case- of course, the bumblebees are crucial pollinators, the loss of which would be an utter disaster for humans.

The main threats to the rusty patched bumblebee are the loss of suitable nesting space (they lair underground) to development, the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, and pathogens. Steps should be made to reduce the use of neonicotinoids and to preserve suitable habitats for insects. I have long considered the modern obsession with well-manicured lawns to be pathological, and would suggest a shift to yards which combine native wildflowers, ornamental plants, and herb/vegetable gardens. Well-manicured grassy spaces are more appropriate for municipal athletic fields. I also think that highway margins and medians should be devoted to the planting of native plants (with patches of milkweeds at least every quarter-mile). The maintenance of such plantings would be more costly and labor-intensive than simple mowing would be, but don't we need jobs to make America great again?

I fondly remember watching the bumblebees hovering around the azaleas in the backyard of the family home, those improbably chunky flyers with their noisy wings. I would be upset if this buzz were silenced forever. The implications of the collapse of pollinators are terrifying, though I can imagine a joint venture between Monsanto and Raytheon to manufacture pollinator microdrones after killing off the beneficial insects, which terrifies me even more.


Jimbo said...

This is terrible news. You are 100% correct about the well-manicured lawn nonsense. I think the obsession with keeping lawns chemically sterile and poisoned is also a deeply conservative bias towards order and control. When we moved to our current house 14 years ago, the backyard was a sterile grass expanse of boredom albeit with nice tress along the edges. Since then, we have no put a single chemical on the lawn and introduced an array of native plants, bushes and new trees. As a result, it is a riot of birds of many species, bumblebees galore, many kinds of butterflies and foxes and raccoons. We have also struggled but have been able to mostly keep out deer pests, which are so destructive to the local vegetation.
It wouldn't surprise me one bit if, in fact,Monsanto and Raytheon did invent a micro-drone pollinator. Sigh. So much pointless self-destruction in this country.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

It's amazing what letting nature take its course results in. More people need to turn their lawns into wildlife refuges.

Labrys said...

We killed off the last of the grass -- never golf course grade, just play areas for children -- in 1997. We have flowers, herbs, and veggie gardens. My last honey bee hives perished of colony collapse in about 2008 and I wept over the hives' funeral pyre.

We do have a lot of bumblebees, but there are even fewer of those. Next week I begin the spring weeding, and as I go, I will plant wildflower seeds.