Monday, October 29, 2007

Bee buzz finally catching on

Maybe someone should get Multnomah County (Ore.) Commissioner Jeff Cogen and his staff a subscription to the Capital Press. On Cogen's chief of staff, Marissa Madrigal's blog this morning she has a post about the threat Colony Collapse Disorder posed to America's honeybee population and the crops they pollinate. She learned about the potentially significan impact of the threat while watching PBS's Nature series on TV.

The mysterious affliction plaguing bees has been covered extensively in the Capital Press and on, including this most recent story about the upcoming convention this weekend of beekeepers in Oregon. It seems hardly a week goes by without something about the issue appearing in at least one of our four editions.

But covering the issues of bee health are nothing new to Capital Press. On my desk is a mounted version of the Capital Press from Oct. 26, 1984, and on the front page stories has the headline, "Mites pose bee threat."

Now that PBS is on the story, maybe people outside of agriculture are starting to catch on and pay some attention.

Note: This post has been updated to correct who wrote the blog post on Commissioner Cogen's staff.


Marissa Madrigal said...

Hi Gary! This is Marissa, Commissioner Cogen's chief of staff. I'm the one who watched Silence of the Bees last night. What struck me about the Nature special, unlike other things I have read or heard about Colony Collapse Disorder, was how badly agriculture needs honeybees to grow affordable food. My parents have used Mason bees for years in their little hobby orchard but I thought it was just a local problem. Let me ask you this, is there anything urban Multnomah County could be doing to help out Oregon Agriculture with respect to honeybees?

Gary L. West said...

Marissa, that's the multi-billion dollar question, which even the experts are still struggling with. For example, Michael Burgett, a professor emeritus of entomology at Oregon State University, said earlier this year that he things the CCD crisis is being blown out of proportion.

Oregon's beekeepers, which you referred people to in your post, will also be talking about the issue and improving hive health this weekend at their meeting on the Oregon Coast. Maybe something will come out of that about how to improve public awareness and ways the public can help with the situation.

And I'm sorry to miscredit what you wrote to the commissioner. I was making my first visit to the site and didn't see your name in the tag on my first visit.

Marissa Madrigal said...

No Problem Gary, I'm glad you found the site! It's not always easy to see our tags, in fact, we should probably fix that. I'll be tracking the bee collapse problem for Jeff and seeing whether there is anything we can do locally to help out. If you hear of anything out there let us know.

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