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Appalachians learn beekeeping skills. John Farrell

Displaced Coal Miners Turn to Beekeeping

By Marlene Cimons

Mark Lilly, 59, grew up and still lives in West Virginia. He spent three decades as an insurance adjuster, often talking to people struggling through the decline of coal. At the end of some very long days, he would escape to his bee hives. "It was therapeutic," he said. Life in coal country may no longer be what it once was, but "the bees haven't changed," he said.

Lilly has since retired from the insurance business, but he still tends to his honeybees. He now is using what he learned from these insects to help out-of-work miners and others hurt by coal's demise. He's turning them into beekeepers.

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It’s Time to Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides

The Canadian government is banning plastic microbeads in toiletries. Although designed to clean us, they're polluting the environment, putting the health of fish, wildlife and people at risk. Manufacturers and consumers ushered plastic microbeads into the marketplace, but when we learned of their dangers, we moved to phase them out.

Why, then, is it taking so long to phase out the world's most widely used insecticides, neonicotinoids? Scientists have proven they're harming not only the pests they're designed to kill, but also a long list of non-target species, including pollinators we rely on globally for about one-third of food crops.

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Food

75% of World's Honey Laced With Pesticides

By Jessica Corbett

Raising further concerns about the global food production system, a new study found that bees worldwide are being widely exposed to dangerous agricultural chemicals, with 75 percent of honey samples from six continents testing positive for pesticides known to harm pollinators.

"What this shows is the magnitude of the contamination," the study's lead author, Edward Mitchell, a biology professor at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, told the Denver Post. He said there were "relatively few places where we did not find any" contaminated samples.

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Climate
Bees rely on flowers for food. Jim, the Photographer/Flickr

Longer Flowering Seasons: Bad for Bees?

By Dan Nosowitz

Scientists from North Carolina State University stumbled into a weird paradox while analyzing certain high-altitude bees in the Rocky Mountains.

The team studied three species of bees in the subalpine regions of the Mountain West along with 43 years of local flower bloom data in order to understand how climate change might affect the pollinators.

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A honeybee visits a coffee flower. Geraldine Wright, AAAS / Science

Buzz Kill: Climate Change Threatens Coffee-Pollinating Bees

By Marlene Cimons

The best coffee grows in the mountains, where it is cool. It needs low temperatures to thrive, which is why growers often put shade trees in their fields. But the mountains are getting hotter. And the higher you go, the less room there is to grow coffee. This is one reason scientists predict coffee will suffer in a changing climate.

New research suggests the fate of coffee may be worse than previously thought. Earlier projections underestimated the effects of climate change, specifically in Latin America, and failed to consider the consequences for coffee-pollinating bees, according to the study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Bolton Bees

Turning Solar Sites Into Pollinator-Friendly Habitats Is the Sweetest Idea

A married couple in Minnesota found a genius use for the swaths of land occupied by solar systems—coupling them as pollinator-friendly habitats.

Travis and Chiara Bolton of St. Paul-based Bolton Bees partner with solar companies to host commercial bee operations. So far, the Boltons have established hives at Connexus Energy, the largest customer-owned power company in Minnesota, and at solar facilities in Farmington and Scandia owned by NRG Energy.

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Astounding: 35,000 Bees Found in a Brooklyn Bedroom Ceiling

By Dan Nosowitz

A beekeeper in Brooklyn, New York made an astounding discovery last week: A report of some bees in a bedroom was just the tip of a 35,000-bee iceberg.

After seeing a few bees in her bedroom, East Flatbush resident Cherisse Mulzac called in a local bee expert, Mickey Hegedus (also known as "Mickey the Beekeeper"), a man known for his chemical-free, cruelty-free extraction of bees. But even Hegedus wasn't prepared for what he found above the bedroom ceiling.

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Bee Study Author Fights Back Against Bayer and Syngenta Accusations

By Joe Sandler Clarke

The lead author of a major study which found that neonicotinoid pesticides harm honey bees has hit back against criticism from the chemical companies that part-funded the work.

Dr. Ben Woodcock from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), said Bayer and Syngenta, which produce the controversial pesticides, had looked to undermine his work after it was published, despite providing $3 million in funding.

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New Evidence Shows Bayer, Syngenta Tried to Influence Scientists on Bee Study

By Joe Sandler Clarke

Bayer and Syngenta repeatedly asked scientists to give them raw data on a major new study which found that neonicotinoid pesticides cause harm to bees before it was published, according to emails obtained under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Both companies cited their position as co-funders to try to get information from researchers at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), including on experiments paid for by the government backed National Environment Research Council.

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