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Monday, April 1, 2013

Bee Collapse....Can We Thank Monsanto?

Colony Collapse Disorder is a growing problem. Is it possible that as the use of genetically modified plants loaded with systemic pesticide and herbicide chemicals is part of the reason?

Soaring Bee Deaths in 2012

It's no joke. While honeybees are not the only pollinators, some crops depend almost entirely upon the busy little honeybees, the almond crop in California, for example. They generally import more than a million beehives every year. Here's a bit from the article:
A coalition of beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups sued the E.P.A. last week, saying it exceeded its authority by conditionally approving some neonicotinoids. The agency has begun an accelerated review of their impact on bees and other wildlife. 
The European Union has proposed to ban their use on crops frequented by bees. Some researchers have concluded that neonicotinoids caused extensive die-offs in Germany and France. 
Neonicotinoids are hardly the beekeepers’ only concern. Herbicide use has grown as farmers have adopted crop varieties, from corn to sunflowers, that are genetically modified to survive spraying with weedkillers. Experts say some fungicides have been laced with regulators that keep insects from maturing, a problem some beekeepers have reported. 
Eric Mussen, an apiculturist at the University of California, Davis, said analysts had documented about 150 chemical residues in pollen and wax gathered from beehives.
“Where do you start?” Dr. Mussen said. “When you have all these chemicals at a sublethal level, how do they react with each other? What are the consequences?”
Experts say nobody knows. But Mr. Adee, who said he had long scorned environmentalists’ hand-wringing about such issues, said he was starting to wonder whether they had a point.


Christina Reyes said...

This is not the first time there has been a collapse of bee colonies. from the USDA WEBSITE:

The main symptom of CCD is very low or no adult honey bees present in the hive but with a live queen and no dead honey bee bodies present. Often there is still honey in the hive, and immature bees (brood) are present. Varroa mites, a virus-transmitting parasite of honey bees, have frequently been found in hives hit by CCD.

This is not the first time that beekeepers are being faced with unexplained losses. The scientific literature has several mentions of honey bee disappearances—in the 1880s, the 1920s, and the 1960s. While the descriptions sound similar to CCD, there is no way to know for sure if those problems were caused by the same agents as CCD.

There have also been unusual colony losses before. In 1903, in the Cache Valley in Utah, 2000 colonies were lost to an unknown "disappearing disease" after a "hard winter and a cold spring." More recently, in 1995-96, Pennsylvania beekeepers lost 53 percent of their colonies without a specific identifiable cause.

The "green" type blame Monsanto because they hate all big business. The fact that modern agribusinesses feed the poor in third world cities doesn't matter: They are rich purists who don't work in agriculture.

The catholic elites here in the Philippines are pushing "green" crops (they used to push liberation theology, but now have changed their religion to ecology), which is nice for us, because we are organic farmers, but it means the poor in manila eat cheap rice from VietNam and veggies from China because our organic rice and veggies cost too much.

But you know, you can't blame both GM crops AND pesticide/insecticides. The reason some are using newer hybrids (either natural or GM hybrids) is to cut down the use of pesticides and herbicides by making crops.

So do you want GM rice, or rice contaminated with pesticides? Do you want GM rice grown using dry techniques, or do you want rice grown the old fashioned way, by rotting weeds by flooding the rice paddy, which is a major producer of green house gases?

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I've done a lot of reading on GM crops and they are loaded with toxic chemicals, so it isn't a choice between pesticides and GM. The gene in "round-up ready" seeds means you can spray the crops and the round-up won't kill them but only the weeds. Of course, what's happening now is the development of "super weeds" resistant to round up so the crops require even MORE PESTICIDES, not less. Don't bet me started on Monsanto. I am pro-business, but not profits at all costs.

As for the third world, some studies of glyphosates show that they damage the reproductive system of the farm animals that ingest it. Do you really think there are no consequences to humans? They are finding these chemicals in breast milk. Anybody who wants to consume GM food is welcome to in my opinion, but I support GM food labeling. Consumers should be able to choose.

Anonymous said...

It was determined a few years ago that this was caused by a parasite which embeds itself within the honey bee. You may want to check out for details.

Anonymous said...

I have never posted here before so please bear with me. I have been looking into specificly GMO wheat and how it may effect the Blessed Sacrament. So far, I have learned that the only country where GMO wheat is grown is India. Here in the US hybrid wheat is grown.It is wheat on the molecular level. GMO's or transgenic crops have something called recombinent DNA added,so the GMO crop is not really the same as the non GMO. I am not a scientist,but asked one if wheat could be so modified that it would be no longer wheat on the molecular level. He said yes. The only way to find out is by using a very powerful microscope. We understand as Catholics that proper matter must be used in the priest confecting The Eucharist along with form and intent. This worries me. I would hope that people with the proper knowledge would look into this. Also blessed John Paul said he was not in favor of certain farming techniques in the year 2000 while giving a talk to farmers.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Thank you for posting. I had not even thought about the issue of proper matter, but I certainly hope, as you say, that someone in authority is looking into it.