Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Raine Lee Ritalto - Beekeeper

Just yesterday, I crossed paths with Raine Lee Ritalto, a lady with a passion for bees. She was circulating a petition on the net calling for the state of Oregon to assume all regulatory responsibility for beekeeping. Why? Because local governments tend to treat beekeeping as an agricultural trade, which has led to local regulations that exclude or make life harder for beekeepers who have hives inside urban boundaries.  

Raine points out that pollination is a critical function carried out by bees, and it doesn't stop outside the city limits. Humans depend on pollination to grow the food we eat. In fact, about 40% of all pollination is carried out by bees.

Having one set of regulations at the state level makes great sense.  The fact is there is little threat posed by bee hives inside a city's borders. Only one percent of people are allergic to bee stings. Moreover, unlike yellowjackets and wasps,  bees are generally not aggressive, except to direct threats to a hive. 

Wild bees occur naturally in most places. At least they did until recent years, when a combination of factors has led to a precipitous decline in honey bee populations. One of the biggest threats to bees and other beneficial insects appears to be the indiscriminate use of pesticides and herbicides like Roundup.   Monsanto, the company that makes Roundup, denies a connection with their chemical and the loss of bee colonies. Despite the denials, the evidence, while not conclusive,  is highly compelling.

Where city governments are concerned, the regulatory burden should not be on beekeepers, it should be on purveyors and residential users of poisons like Roundup and Weed-B-Gone.  

Here is a link to Raine Lee Ritalto's online, national petition for shifting regulatory responsibility for beekeeping to the state level...


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