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A Different Silent Spring

Years ago Rachael Carson warned that pesticides might cause song birds to disappear. Banning DDT helped avert that but newer pesticides can be a problem according to. Pesticide Action Network at Have you heard any buzzing or seen wild bees or other insects around the blossoms of your fruit trees or flowering shrubs? None are around the bounteous blossoms of my plum trees for the first March in twenty years. Now, even the later blooms of quince or lilacs aren’t attracting any insects. What is going on? Could it be related to wide-spread spraying from helicopters trying to kill mosquitos a few months ago?
Commercial hive owners have been reporting mysterious honey bee deaths for several years but could not blame a specific insecticide. During those years I still got abundant crops from my plum, quince, loquat, persimmon, pomegranate and orange trees. A resident scrub jay is still here and I see an occasional group of bush tits. More noticeable is the much lower number of ducks and geese on nearby Lake Natomas where I kayak. They have gone from dozens to a few isolated pairs this year.
In my book I tell how the insecticide malathione harmed my muscles and nerves. We know that anything strong enough to kill an insect can affect similar cellular enzymes in birds or mammals. I say avoid meat and milk from animals produced in factory farms where insecticides, antibiotics and other chemicals are used Food from an organic farm can keep you healthy. We need insects but let’s keep them under control in natural ways, like having weedy fence rows between fields as our grandparents did. This could encourage insect-eating birds.

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