Friday, September 10, 2010

Where Have All the Bees Gone?

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man." - Albert Einstein
This winter, US farmers reported that they lost an average of 40% of their colonies, but some lost upwards of 60-70% and some as high as 90%. Colonies across Europe are collapsing in dramatic numbers as well. 2006 marked the first year that the mass disappearance of honey bee colonies was recognized as Colony Collapse Disorder, though the decline in numbers really began in 1972 and has only gotten worse each year. There are many variables that factor into the decline including urbanization, viruses, malnutrition, fungal infections, antibiotic use, pesticide use and tracheal and Varroa mites. But it is now suspected that Genetically Modified or GMO crops are also playing a part. The United States grows nearly two-thirds of all genetically engineered crops with roughly 171 million acres worth. Billions of bees rely on these fields. A German research study on Colony Collapse Disorder has found that when bees are are exposed to Bt (bacillus thuringiensis), a bacterium in the GMO seeds used to control insects, that the Bt, according to Professor Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, "altered the surface of the bee's intestines, sufficiently weakening the bees to allow the parasites to gain entry -- or perhaps it was the other way around. We don't know." Another study showed that Cry1Ab, the primary toxin in Bt, impairs bees learning performance, causing them to not gather enough food which can cause colony collapse. More research certainly needs to be done. This is a major problem that has been largely ignored by the government and that millions of people are unaware of. Not only is bee pollination responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables, but our entire existence hinges on it.

What can you do to help? is hosting a petition to the world governments asking them to take action and save our bees, it can be signed here. You can also vote with your dollars. Healthy Home Market carries Raw Organic Brazilian Forest Honey Products. This honey comes from native Brazilian bees who have not been treated with antibiotics or pesticides and who have fed from many sources of pollen and nectar, all GMO free. And as an added bonus, these products are all currently buy one, get one free! For more information, please visit their website.

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