Thursday, October 20, 2011

Disappearing Bees

(Pictures are all furnished by yours truly of various kinds of bees.)
I promised to talk a tad bit about Colony Collapse Disorder. I watched a very fascinating film called Vanishing of the Bees by Ellen Page on Netflix. The CCD problem is complicated, making the process of getting the attention of the USA government difficult. Especially since it is more interested in money and power than balancing anything like the environment. I'm not talking about using corn as a fuel, which has caused a huge imbalance, drastically increasing livestock feed prices, diverting fields that would have grown another food crop to growing corn, which is responsible in part of dramatically increased food prices in the grocery store.

Not to mention that it takes more energy to manufacter the corn based fuel than what it creates. And the wind power causes some serious problems to the environment also. Yes, money is the root of the movement, not saving the environment. Not that these things don't have some promise. We are just jumping the gun on mass production and looking to them as our savior to the mess we've gotten ourselves into with our greedy waste.

Money and power, it's what gets things done. So it isn't any surprise that the Environmental Protection Agency has ignored and failed to react to what appears to be the base cause of CCD or Colony Collapse Disorder. They are going to continue to base their belief that the systemic pesticide is a blessing and poses no real threat to honey bees based on the manufacturers testing. They proved that adult bees exposed for three days to the pesticide were fine.
Of course a bee only needs to eat three days out of every year (lie) or is it that a little bit is okay so a lot is also. You and I both know that's a bunch of bull. What about the young? They like any other young are more vulnerable to such things but they were never tested.  

If things keep on course, the loss of 1 in 3 hives effected by the disorder and in some areas the 44% loss of hives will mean a huge decrease in crop production. I've heard that in some areas, they are already hand pollenating things such as almond trees. And what about the bee keeper? He will be out of a job. Some bee keepers with vast amount of hives are now refusing to take their bees to fields that have been sprayed with the pesticide. They can't afford it and bee keepers, like myself, have a real affection for their bees or they wouldn't be doing it. I'll guarantee, it isn't the money. Bee keepers don't make much.
So what's the big deal? What if we loose our bees and other pollinators? Well, we wouldn't have to worry about what's for dinner. There wouldn't be many choices. The grocery store shelves would be bare. No fruit-- no vegetables, just grain. They are safe since they are pollinated by the wind. Keep in mind it wouldn't be just the honey bees lost, but vast numbers of other insects. Too bad this doesn't include the mosquitos or I might consider it for two seconds - at least. LOL 

Don't think this hasn't caused some serious thought for some big wigs for they have planned for a new future. One where we import all our fruits and vegetables and America becomes a grain capitol. Since less than 10% of the crops imported to America are inspected, that ought to work out real well. NOT!!!

But wait a minute, its worked out so well importing nearly all our oil. Okay, maybe no one is arguing that point but come on, can't these people make parrelel comparisons? Oh yeah, they don't care about that. If you are rich, you can live in a different world than the rest of us. 

Bee keepers and some researchers in a number of countries, feel they've found the culprit, systemic pesticides. But since our Environmental Protection Agency here in the USA doesn't do any of its own research, but depends on that which is provided by the companies vying for approval of their products, the EPA considers everything hunky dory and hence are doing nothing. Doing nothing makes certain people a lot richer.
Systemic pesticides are scary. They can't be washed off like the old kind of bug killers. So cleaning your fruits and vegetables you buy in the store to wash off the pesticides is fast becoming a thing of the past. Systemic pesticides are applied to the seed or the leaves and this pesticide becomes a part of the vascular system of the plant expressed through the pollen, nectar, and gulation droplets. It is in the fruit, not just on it. 

Worse than that, the pesticide them becomes a part of the soil to be taken up by the next crop grown. What do you bet it kills the micro-organisms also. This is the soils doctors, nutritionists, transportation system, everything that is responsible to create a healthy crop.

The insects, of course eat any part of the plant, and dies. Makes me wonder what it is doing to us. Probably lowering our days on the earth, I'd guess. How do you clear a contaminated soil to even think of growing organic after wards. Makes me think of nuclear fall out.

Testing proved that Honey bees behavior on organic blossoms was of course normal. On systemic pesticide applied plants, they acted dramatically different. Bee acted disoriented. Some even fell off the blossom.

Bee keepers don't think it is any coincidence that at the same time this pesticide was introduced to countries around the world, that CCD appeared at the same time of introduction.The direct link is a bit hazy though since it isn't CCD alone that has caused dramatic bee losses.  Exposure to this pesticide destroys the immune system of honey bees leaving them vulnerable to disease and mites which in turn also destroy them.
(healthy brood)
Interestingly, many of these hives where almost no body is home still have a laying queen inside doing a good job laying a perfectly normal brood pattern. Those of you familiar with bees know that nobody leaves the queen willingly. She is the whole hives existence and everything revolves around her. The have to go insane to abandon her and the brood, (baby bees). 

The other concern posed by the film is the emphasis on crop yields. A field that once produced 75 bushel 20 years ago, now produces 150 bushel. Progress -- I don't think so for it is much like the dairy cows of today and 20 years ago. Oh the cow produces a whole lot more milk but the cow doesn't produce any more vitamins and nutrients than she did 20 years ago. Hence, that means the milk today has significantly less nutrients and is mainly white colored water. Crops are the same, far less nutritious than they once were. This is another case where more is not better, it is just more.

And I'm not even going to attempt to talk about genetically modified seeds. It won't be long and we will have messed things up so bad we won't have anything to eat.

That is why I grow organic, heirloom varieties in my garden and am trying to learn ho to produce what we eat-- even grain -- just in case.  

So go ahead and watch Vanishing of the Bees by Ellen Page. It is VERY well done documentary. I didn't snore once.
And if you want to learn a little about pesticides check out this web-site. We all need to make a safe haven in our own backyard for the bees. If they don't survive, neither do we.

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