Letters to the Editor

Help save our bees

Thank you for your informative front-page story about honey bees on April 25. I had noticed fewer bees in my own yard this spring. I am distressed to learn that Colony Collapse Disorder may have reached Whidbey Island, but I take heart that local residents can help by reducing our use of chemical pesticides.

One afternoon years ago, I closely read the warning label on a rose fungicide I’d been using. The package stated, “Warning: Keep away from streams and rivers; harmful to aquatic life. Harmful to bees.”

That struck me. Bees. Well, I was spraying this on flowers, and bees feed at flowers. I was unwittingly setting a poison trap for bees every time I treated my roses.

As beekeeper Tom Schioler suggested in the News-Times article, humans rely on bees for pollinating the vast majority of our food crops. I knew I did not want to be poisoning bees, so I immediately sought safer solutions for my roses. Since then, I have discovered countless non-toxic gardening options.

Schioler commented, “People need to decide if they want a beautiful lawn or if they want to eat in the future.” I have good news: you don’t have to choose!

Organically-maintained lawns are beautiful. True, an organic lawn usually does not look like live Astroturf. It is, however, lush and green, vibrant and fully alive, home to billions of beneficial organisms. It is safe to picnic, relax, and play on 365 days a year.

You can find non-toxic gardening supplies easily. Many nurseries on our island offer organic options, and their natural gardening sections are expanding all the time. Bayview Farm and Garden in Langley specializes in organics. To get started with your lawn, I recommend the book “Rodale’s Organic Gardening Basics: Lawns.” You can also read “Organic Gardening Magazine” (Oak Harbor Library has the 2006 issues) and search for organic gardening on the Internet to gather information and connect with experienced organic gardeners.

We need bees, so let’s act now to protect them while we can. Flowering plants, animals, and people all will benefit.

Kim Hallahan

Oak Harbor

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