by Heather Callaghan
Imagine you own and run an all-natural sweetener factory. You walk into work and all the employees are sprawled out dead – on the floors, over railings, in the vats. They’ve been gassed; poisoned. Your immune system is slightly stronger so you aren’t as affected. Now imagine you have tens of millions of employees and they run farms on the side. That city and the metropolitan areas would be devastated – and it happens in other cities, and other countries – simultaneously for seven years. Think of the headlines and the conclusions – the words “terror attack” would be tossed about. But they aren’t there; the gravity is downplayed to protect corporate interests and an agenda that must destroy the ecology, environment, and the food supply to usher in a new era that requires complete debilitating dependence.
If you think this reframe sounds over dramatic – think again. It’s that important for the food supply, ecology, and even the economy that these co-creators be able to survive.
Recently 25-50,000 bees in Oregon dropped dead with strong evidence pointing to a toxic spray used in trees. The UK just witnessed their biggest bee loss yet, and it’s been suggested that the U.S. lost 50% of its bee population in the last year – affecting both crops and prices. Now we see a massive loss with our neighbors up north in Canada….
David Schuit runs Schuit’s Saugeen Honey near Elmwood, Ottawa, Canada and witnessed a devastating loss of 600 hives totaling nearly 40 million bees. What happened around the same time? A nearby corn field was planted. Bingo.
The group of chemical pesticides called neonicotinoids include chemicals produced by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta has everything to do with this, as seeds – especially genetically modified corn – are treated before planting. These chemicals have been found in soil, plants, pollen, even in the end product of high fructose corn syrup which is often fed to bees as cheap food to replace the honey they would have survived on. Bees get thirsty too; and there is footage that proves when they drink water droplets from treated plants they can die of neurotoxicity within 25 minutes.
Lately Schuit has had to replace queen bees every few months instead of every few years because they die so often. It is getting more difficult to maintain a living keeping bees. Some are taking to keeping bees in an effort to simply help replenish them. It’s surprisingly easy to get started and actually better for the bees when city residents try it. (more info)
Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions…
OMAFRA [Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food Rural Affairs] tells me to have faith.
Well, I think it’s criminal what is happening, and it’s hard to have faith if it doesn’t look like they are going to do anything anyway.
Erika Schuit said:
I would say you could call this a, ‘bee holocaust.’
OMAFRA is sitting on results from testing the bees. Erika believes the samples will prove what scientists already know and have repeatedly concluded about the link between insecticides and die-offs. Their bees were thriving through the winter until the spring planting. She pointed out that pesticide dust from the seed treatment is in the air. Neonicotinoids have a half-life of 120 days but can stay in the soil and water for years. She wonders what they must be doing to us? She has a point: insecticides have been linked to human cancer rates again.
It’s not just Schuit, though, experiencing the loss. Nearby, growers Nathan Carey and Gary Kenny lost bees this spring and point to insecticides. Kenny lost 8 of his 10 hives after corn planting in adjacent fields. Carey feels like everyone has something at stake with this growing problem.
Some of them have taken to holding public workshops to discuss the issue and solutions, as a system that has taken so long to topple over isn’t experiencing an immediate redress or relief. A two-year EU ban on neonicotinoids begins on December 1 of this year. Some of the workshop solutions were discussed here and mentioned that other species such as “sweat bees, squash bees, leafcutter bees (which pollinate alfalfa) bumblebees, some moths, and many others” are dying from pesticides as well as the use of all heavily doused genetically modified crops. Butterflies, fish, birds, and frogsalso top the list for lost habitat likely caused by pesticides.
Companies like Bayer and Syngenta take great efforts to protect their billion-dollar industries – same with biotech giants like Monsanto and DuPont who rely on the idea of pesticides being safe to uphold the use of their genetically modified crops. They are not just going to give all that up to help some bees even though they claim to help with world hunger; yet it is morbidly ironic that they are aiding in killing off the biggest co-creators of the world’s food supply.
And this loss which took years to get going was anticipated. Researchers have already launched robotic robo bee pollinators (think: research funds and patents). Large-scale farmers complain that pesticide bans leave them with few options – that is truly unfortunate. However, they are already having to hire pollinator help as it is. Think of what it will cost them to have use of robo bees if they even can.
The industry heads downplay the gravity and continue to claim that nothing is wrong, yet they cast blame on their customers – the farmers – saying they use the products wrong, and also the media, scientists, and activists for allegedly causing “undue alarm.” Over the years, their solution has been to introduce a “safer” chemical; and regulatory agencies listened. It’s too late for another round of that.
Bee keepers see the reality firsthand of losing their hard work and creations within hours. They never know what they might find when they check their hives. Or if their little ones have taken their last flight.
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