EPA defines a bee killer

A wild bee collects pollen from a flower.“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.”  – Naturalist and preservationist John Muir, 1838-1914

The quote received a bit of supporting illumination from the Environmental Protection Agency this week – a little reminder that this great life-system of which we humans are part is a sophisticated (some might say complicated) bit of cosmic machinery.

In a report published Wednesday (Jan. 6, 2016), the EPA said it has figured out what is killing honey bees. The culprit (or one of the culprits), it seems, is neonicotinoids-based pesticides. That has been a suspicion in some quarters as an explanation for what is generally termed “colony collapse disorder.”

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Storm troopers on gossamer wings

They are reportedly as aggressive as they appear.Something caught my eye, something that didn’t quite belong among the long green needles. I don’t know why I looked up for it, except that I habitually wander around with my eyes pretty wide open, the better to see stumps and other things I might run into while walking through the woods or paddling close along the shore.

Then I found it, a volleyball-size wasp nest hanging from a Pitch Pine, about 10-12 feet up from the ground. And about six feet from the trail, where joggers, bicyclists and other woods wanderers regularly pass by, probably without noticing the armory above their heads.

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