Save the Bees

18 Jul

I just read a couple of articles recently about the worrisome trend of bee populations dwindling. Over the past 50 years the number of bee colonies has shrunk by half. The phenomenon is called Colony Collapse Disorder. Worker bees basically just fly off and die. Nobody seems to be certain about the causes but potential factors include: viruses and bacteria (toxins in genetically modified crops may have an impact on the health of bees making them more susceptible), parasites, cell phone frequencies (might interfere with bees’ navigation back the hive), genetically modified crops, pesticides, and global climate change. Coincidence that bee populations started to decline about 50 years ago and it was also around 50 years ago that genetically modified crops, chemical fertilizers and pesticides made their way onto the scene? Think of the impact this could have on our food supply. I read that about one third of what we eat is pollinated by bees – most of our fruits and veggies. But it extends even further than that – bees pollinate alfalfa, which is fed to cows, which produce milk. The negative impact of GMOs, chemical fertilizers, and chemical pesticides is so vast. I feel like I’ve just begun to scratch the surface when it comes to my own education on these matters. There is so much more for me to learn and it scares me to think there is so much more bad news out there.

If you’re interested, check out these articles:

“Buzz Kill” by Tom Sturm, published in the Valley Advocate July 5, 2007: http://www.valleyadvocate.com/article.cfm?aid=1745

and “Moving a hive of bees while saving the swarm” by T. Jeff Williams, published in the San Francisco Chronicle June 16, 2007: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/06/16/HOGI2QF2TP1.DTL&hw=bee+swarm&sn=001&sc=1000

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2 Responses to “Save the Bees”

  1. Tom July 18, 2007 at 12:29 pm #

    I’ve heard this is sort of a hoax. Bees are dying, but it is mostly due to bee distributors going cheap on shipping and the insects dying as a result of poor packing, etc. I haven’t read a lot about it, so I’m commenting only out of pure ignorance. Any thoughts on this? Have you heard this side of the discussion?

  2. BTO July 19, 2007 at 4:03 pm #

    To add to Tom’s post: http://www.slate.com/id/2170305/

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