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Are Honey Bees Dying – Are We Losing Our Food Supply?

I have seen hundreds of reports about the honeybees dying. If we don’t do something soon we will loose 75% of our food supply. Chemicals are killing them by the millions. But are they really dying? Do we have a catastrophe on our hands or do we have a bunch of fear mongering authors who do not understand science?

From a myth busting point of view this is an interesting story. The truth depends very much on how you ask the question.

Are honey bees dying?

Are honey bees dying?

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Honey Bees vs Native Bees

This is not a comparison of honey bees and wild native bees. Instead I will discuss the miss-use of the word bee and how this is leading the general public to reach all kinds of incorrect conclusions.

Headlines about bees are common, but many are incorrect or at least misleading. What do these headlines really mean? Which bees are they talking about?

The Bees are Dying

Save the Bees by Planting Flowers

We Will All Starve If We Don’t Save the Bees

Is this a honey bee or native bee?

Is this a honey bee or native bee?

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The “Science Does Not Know Everything” Conundrum

What happens when science says one thing and you believe something different? Our brains are designed to fight such situations and we try to apply logic to justify our beliefs – we basically make stuff up so that we can continue to accept our beliefs.

One of the most common reasons to dismiss science, is to point out the fact that “science does not know everything”. If it does not know everything, then it might be wrong in all cases.

That seems logical, but it’s not.

If science proves facts that conflict with Buddhist understanding, Buddhism must change accordingly. We should always adopt a view that accords with the facts. - Dalai LamaLink to the source of this image

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10 Top Gardening Myths of 2016

2016 was a banner year for Garden Myths. We had over 1 million visitors this year, attracted by 34 new posts,  covering a wide range of topics. To celebrate the new year I have selected the 10 most important posts of the year and present them again for your viewing pleasure.

10 top garden myths of 2016

10 top garden myths of 2016

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Compost Tea – Does it Work?

Compost tea is all the rage but does it really work? Research studies so far have produced mixed results. A 2007 meta data review on compost tea by Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott concluded that “Clearly, the science is not strong for aerated tea use on crop plants, much less on lawns, shrubs, and trees”.

There seems to be a lot of work done in this area but much of it is not published in peer reviewed journals and most of it has been done in labs and greenhouses, not in the field. Until the work is repeated in the field we can’t conclude it works in gardens.

The other problem is that controls have been poorly selected. For example, in one study (ref 3) they compared ACT compost tea to water, using lettuce that had been under-fertilized. Guess what, compost tea improved growth. This only proves that adding nutrients, when they are deficient, will improve growth. The study never compared compost tea to adding nutrients in other ways.

In this post I will review one study that compared the use of compost to compost tea, in field conditions.

Effects of compost tea on the growth of trees, by Garden Myths (data from reference 2)

Effects of compost tea on the growth of trees, by Garden Myths (data from reference 2)

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