In the last few months, the largest commercial bee operation in the country, Adee Honey Farms, has lost 55 percent of its bees. Another company, Big Sky Honey in Fairview, Montana, told the New York Times they’d planned to truck 13,000 beehives from Montana to pollinate the almond groves of California. But when it came time in March, there were only 3,000 hives still alive.
Perhaps all the brilliant scientists who are planning to “bring back” all kinds of species who are currently going extinct should add bees to the list of animals they’re all excited about trying to clone.
As if it would make any difference.
The condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder has been getting worse for several years. Numerous theories, from an unknown virus to cell phone tower radiation, have been put forward.
Most strongly implicated are pesticides and other chemicals sprayed all over the flowers to which the bees are sent during each crop’s pollination season – most particularly the neonicotinoids, derived from nicotine. They are systemic pesticides, becoming part of the plant itself, so very effective at killing insects. (So why are we all shocked and surprised when the bees all start dying?)
Panic is taking root at the huge fruit and vegetable plantations of California and other states.
As the prospect of honeybee extinction mounts, and with it the loss of almost all flowering plants – including almost all the fruits and vegetables we eat – panic is belatedly taking root at the huge fruit, vegetable, nut and other plantations of California and other states, along with the beekeepers.
They’re all pointing the finger squarely at the companies manufacturing neonicotinoids, in particular Bayer and Syngenta. According to Reuters, these two companies are trying to head off a ban on their poisons by suggesting various small ways to support the bees like planting other kinds of flowers around the edges of farms. But such token gestures are not going to ward off the now-impending extinction.
Beekeepers are moaning about their potential losses. But you only have to consider that Big Sky Honey, just as one example, was ready to load 13,000 beehives onto 31 tractor trailers and drive them from Montana to California to realize that this is bound to put yet more stress on the bees.
Token gestures are not going to ward off the impending extinction.
Commercial beekeeping companies routinely drive bees coast-to-coast to pollinate crops. In California alone, it takes two thirds of all the “commercial” bees from all across the country to pollinate 800,000 acres of almond trees. (Two hives per acre of trees.) And at the end of the season, hives are sometimes simply destroyed.
As more bees die, that means more pressure on the ones who are still alive.
And bees aren’t the only animal suffering from the neonicotinoids. A study by the American Bird Conservancy concludes that these poisons are lethal to birds (and doubtless other animals, too).
A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird. Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, can poison a bird. As little as 1/10th of a corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction with any of the neonicotinoids registered to date.
Neonicotinoids aren’t only used by big commercial farms. They’re in the lawn and garden sprays you may be routinely using at home. Check the ingredients.
And if you want to help the bees, stop buying commercial honey. It’s just the product of slave labor.