Aug. 19 column

Here is a link to my column in today's edition of The Spokesman-Review: Avoid pesticides to help protect pollinators. It's about the different insects and animals that pollinate our gardens and orchards. We all tend to think of honey bees as being the only insects that pollinate our crops, but there are also solitary bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and so on.

The take-home message of my column is to make our gardens attractive to these pollinators and to avoid using pesticides to protect these important garden inhabitants.

Note: I would like to clarify the reference I made to a potential cause of Colony Collapse Disorder in my column. At this point in time, there is no one cause of CCD that has been identified by the scientists studying this disturbing crisis for honeybees. Exposure to pesticides is only one possible cause although there has been a lot of press devoted to this.

Other potential causes of CCD include a lack of genetic diversity in the honeybees, hive management practices which includes the use of chemicals to keep hives healthy, the use of GMO (genetically-modified crops) since chemicals are involved in producing the seeds for the crops, diseases and parasites that affect bees, or a combination of some of the above factors. CCD is certainly an alarming problem that we should all be concerned about.

Here is an informative fact sheet on CCD that is worth reading: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in720. Naturally, in a column, I'm not able to go into as much detail on an issue as I'd like but this itemizes many of the potential issues that could be causing or contributing to CCD.