The Birds, the Bees, and You


Blazing Stars Along the Dead River

This was an exceptional summer for blazing stars at Illinois Beach State Park, and I wanted to share them with you.  I think I’ll probably paint a whole series, because it was just so pretty.

This kind of beauty is worth hanging on to, don’t you think?  Luckily we have nature preserves.  However, everything on this precious Earth is connected, and that brings me to today’s title.

Have you read the yahoo headlines today?  I have, and I felt ill.  Thousands of bees found dead in Oregon; the cause?  Insecticides.  Around here, ash trees are dying because of the emerald ash borer.  I was fortunate enough to attend a program given by some leading ecologists and it was very interesting to hear what they had to say about this.  They are not worried, because the ash is an abundant seed producer and a not so important component of the woodland ecosystem.  Their thinking is that it is likely the borer will race through the area and pretty much fade away when it runs out of fuel.  That abundant seed bank will then give rise to a new generation of ash trees.  The problem is that communities planted so many of them.  In the future, hopefully, we will learn to embrace diversity and plant a variety of trees along our streets.  But here is why I bring the ashes up:  at nurseries and hardware stores, I am now seeing chemicals advertised as ideal for treating emerald ash borer.  This is bad news for a couple of reasons.  First of all, by the time the homeowner notices that there is something eating his ash tree, it is too late to save the tree.  Period.  Second, these chemicals soak into the soil and kill everything they come in contact with!  That is what killed the bees found dead in Oregon, and it is what is killing bees and other beneficial insects all  over.  And it doesn’t stop there, of course.  The birds and other creatures that eat these poisoned insects are killed as well.  We are not immune, either.  Cancer rates are on the rise, as well as other disorders related to chemical poisoning.

WE MUST STOP USING PESTICIDES !!  Please, the next time you are experiencing a nuisance bug of some sort or other and reach for the RAID, think twice.  This stuff spreads into the soil and water and combines with other chemicals that are being sprayed, creating deadly cocktails that do not go away.

The beautiful blazing stars in my painting depend on insects.  The plants may be saved by the Nature Preserve boundary, but the chemicals applied by neighbors don’t recognize boundary signs.


4 thoughts on “The Birds, the Bees, and You

  1. Jim in IA says:

    The bees are having a very difficult time. They are such an essential part of the ecosystem.

    Did you know that home owners in suburbia apply at least 10x as much herbicides and pesticides and lawn fertilizer per acre as a farmer. They figure more is better, I guess. Well, not true. My son-in-law is reducing the use of these chemicals per acre on his operation through new technologies that target and deliver the right product instead of a general broadcast shotgun approach.

    We are carefully monitoring the trees in Iowa. So far…

    By the way…nice to see your post. It has been a while.

  2. melissabluefineartm says:

    Thanks, Jim, I have been avoiding my computer for awhile but it is good to be back. I had heard that homeowners use considerably more chemicals per acre than farmers. It is great to hear about your son-in-law’s approach.

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