The World Impact Of The Bee Die-Off
The trouble with bees. Their die-off is now global. We follow the bee problem around the world.
If bees go, we all know, humans are in trouble. And a lot of bees have been going lately. Huge die-offs. Colony collapse. All over.
The bottom line issue, of course, is that bees pollinate a big chunk of the crops that feed us. In China now it’s gotten so bad they are hand-pollinating blossoms in orchards. Doing by human hand what billions of bees once did. Talk about unsustainable.
New or old breeds of bees may save the day, but the biggest of those are killer bees.
This hour, On Point: the latest on the lives and deaths of bees.
- Tom Ashbrook
Markus Imhoof, Academy-Award-nominated director and screenwriter of the new documentary, “More Than Honey.”
Eric Mussen, extension apiculturist at the University of California Davis.
From Tom’s Reading List
USA Today: Scientists Take Swat at Honeybee Loss — “Paul Campanis lost half of his beehives on his 16-acre Nashville farm this winter. Nashville gardener David Davies has seen so little honeybee activity this spring that he’s resorted to using a paintbrush to pollinate his tomato and squash plants. The nation’s honeybees are dying off in record numbers and researchers, including at the University of Tennessee, are scrambling to figure out why.”
Reuters: Honeybee food may contribute to U.S. colony collapse -study — “Bee keepers’ use of corn syrup and other honey substitutes as bee feed may be contributing to colony collapse by depriving the insects of compounds that strengthen their immune systems, according to a study released on Monday.”
NBC News: ‘Killer bees’ leave Texas man dead, woman in serious condition— “A Texas man was stung to death after he drove his tractor into a pile of wood that concealed a hive of 40,000 “killer bees,” authorities and family members said Sunday. Every inch of exposed skin was covered with stings on the body of Larry Goodwin, 62, of Moody, Texas, family members told NBC station KCEN of Waco.”
1,500 Colonies of Honeybees Die in Campeche
1,500 colonies of honeybees, from a community in Hopelchen, Campeche, died this February 6 from the fumigation of Monsanto’s GMO’s in a nearby area.
This has directly impacted more than 50 impoverished families, who recently suffered a poor corn crop due to drought. The community was relying on their sale of organic honey to compensate for the lack of maize. The current honey left by the bees is also lost due to the contamination of pesticides and transgenic pollen.
Alvaro Mena, a mayan farmer from Hopelchen and member of the Network in Defense of Maize, estimated losses at nearly 10 million pesos and is the equivalent of one year’s worth of corn and honey production for the community.
Fumigation has intensified where GM crops have been planted in Mexico. GMO’s are known to be resistant to pesticides and are planted in large monocultures, applying huge amounts of Roundup. It is no accident says Mena: it is the toxic onslaught that comes with GM crops and the threat of allowing millions of acres of GM Maize to be planted.
Mena attended the debate at which officials failed to attend and began with his witness of GMO’s. Thousands showed up to participate in the debate on GM maize on Thursday, February 7, in a packed auditorium of the Faculty of Science, organized by several networks, including #YoSoy132 Environmental Via Campesina Popular Urban Movement, and the Network in Defense of Maize.
The officials were called to discuss the authorities of Agriculture, Environment and the Interministerial Commission on Biosafety and Genetically Modified Organisms (Cibiogem), but did not attend the meeting of social organizations and visiting scientists. The two secretariats claimed that they had no position on the issue. Currently, there are thousands of hectares of experimental and pilot fields in Mexico contaminating transgenic maize fields. Cibiogem, is reported to have had a busy schedule and could not attend.
Semarnat’s response, sent the day of the debate, stated that the “reports that are pending will not go away because of a think tank debate.” The debate was composed of academics from UNAM, CINVESTAV, Colpi, Conacyt UAAAN and was meant to determine a “public policy on GM corn.”
Several opinions are not in favor of GMOs, and many scientific recommendations have been given to the recently elected Mexico Government from the first day they took office. They have received a solid flow of documents signed by researchers from the above mentioned institutions and others (over 3,000 scientists and experts, who have a high number of national and international awards) calling to cancel transgenic maize crops in centers of origin for the risks involved, and to establish “an immediate review of the environmental and social aspects that would be impacted by planting transgenic maize in Mexico, based on rigorous science and broad public participation (…) for the consideration of the best technological options to address food production in our country. ”
Nick The Beekeeper
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