This is a reprint of a comprehensive article by Brit Amos. It is a sobering essay on the effects modern technology and biological chemistry is having on our food supply.
GMO Crops and the Decline of Bee Colonies in North America
Commercial beehives pollinate over a third of [North}America’s crops and that web of nourishment encompasses everything from fruits like peaches, apples, cherries, strawberries and more, to nuts like California almonds, 90 percent of which are helped along by the honeybees. Without this pollination, you could kiss those crops goodbye, to say nothing of the honey bees produce or the flowers they also fertilize.1
This essay will discuss the arguments and seriousness that affects the massive deaths and the decline of Bee colonies in North America. As well, it will shed light on a worldwide hunger issue that will have an economical and ecological impact in the very near future.
There are many reasons given to the decline in Bees, but one argument that matters most is the use of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and Terminator seeds that are presently being endorsed by governments and forcefully utilized as our primary agricultural needs of survival. I will argue what is publicized and covered by the media is in actuality, masking the real problems of Terminator seeds and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s).
Terminator seeds; genetically produced and distributed by powerful multinational lobbies manipulate government and agricultural policy to encompass their agenda of dominance in the agricultural industry. American conglomerates such as Monsanto, Pioneer Seeds, and others, have created seeds that do not reproduce (whereas these seeds have a life span of the crop chosen). The sterilizing of the plant by the means of sterilizing the flower pollen genetically altered and mutated for production in the agricultural industry. Logic states that if the flower pollen is sterile, bees are potentially going malnourished and dying of illness due to the lack of nutrients and the interruption of the of the digestive capacity of what they feed on through the summer and over the winter hibernation process.
I will argue that the media’s publications distract the civil population of the true cause of the Colony Collapse of Bees. As such, outlined are four major arguments in which the conglomerates of GMO’s and terminator seeds use to redirect public awareness concerning the truth about the demise of the bees. These arguments include Varroa mites, parasites, cell phones, and terminator seeds
Argument 1: Varroa mites2
Firstly, while there are some people who want to pin the blame on these mites, such views are unconvincing in that the argument does not make any sense because the main source of disease for these bees is intestinal disease. In fact, many bee experts assumed Varroa mites were a major cause of the severe die-off in the winter of 2005. Yet when researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, traveled to Oakdale, California, where Anderson and a number of his fellow beekeepers spend winter and spring, they could find no correlation between the level of Varroa mite infestation and the health of bee colonies. “We couldn’t pin the blame for the die-off on any single cause,” says Jeff Pettis, a research entomologist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland,3 However, treatments against mites may be leaving hives open to the onslaught of powerful pathogens, much in the same way the overuse of antibiotics lead to super bugs in society today. What does that say about our future? We have learned that in the 1960;s and 1970;s, among other human ailments, DDT was a major cause of cancer in humans and animals; however, the substitution of such pesticides was a closely guarded secret. Unfortunately, the long term effects on the human population has yet to be understood as the compromise of the immune system may be happening quicker than we are ready to accept, even regarding the advent of super bugs. One can see that even this medical implication has severe economical implications.
Argument 2: Parasites
Secondly; Crops and even hedges, verges, and woodlands, and even where bees remain are sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. These chemicals are the practical extension of an exasperating belief that nature is our enemy. Pouring poison on our food is a very simplistic way of dealing with our problems however it ignores the root causes. New genetically modified crops, designed to be immune to certain pesticides and herbicides, have resulted in the increased usage of these chemicals. Pesticides, particularly Bayer’s imidacloprid, a nicotine-based product marketed under the names Admire, Provado, Merit, Marathon, and Gaucho have been concretely implicated4 in the destruction of bee populations before (see also)5. The fact that other bees and insects are not raiding deserted hives to feed on the honey as they normally would lends some credence to the theory of a toxic overload. The toxic overload is certainly a concern, but wouldn’t it also need to be considered that this is systematic in the degeneration of the digestive process, such as in humans inability to digest preservatives and not absorb the enzymes to break down the foods eaten for survival?
Argument 3: cell phones
Thirdly, there was also a misconstrued study on cell phone radiation 6 and its effects on the bee’s ability to navigate which turned out to be an over-zealous unthinking reaction by an article in the Independent news. Some have also mentioned other navigational hindrances such as UV radiation, shifting magnetic fields and even quantum physics7 as a reason to the destruction of the bees.
There is certain implications to this theory, and it has been proven that electromagnetic radio wave lengths to affect the navigation of the bees. However the sun emits radiation spurts all the time, yet this has not offered a hindrance to the bees.
Argument 4: Terminator Seeds
Lastly, Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show that Canada wants all governments to accept the testing and commercialization of Terminator crop varieties. These seeds are genetically engineered to produce only infertile seeds, which farmers cannot replant, also to mention that the bees that are trying to collect pollen, found to have their digestive tract diseases, such as amoeba and nosema disease8. These diseases are mainly located in the digestive tract system. After studies of the autopsy, the most alarming trait is that the lower intestine and stinger have discolored to black vs. the normal opaque color, Synominus with colon cancer in humans.
When thoracic discs were cut from sample Georgia A-2 the musculature of bees was notably soft and discolored (A) when compared to healthy thoracic cuts (B).
This discoloration suggests that the bees were dead upon collection. When questioned the beekeeper confirmed that the bees were alive at the time of collection. Further, the tracheal system of these bees did not show signs of desiccation usually associated with the collection of dead bees. Thoracic discs from this sample, after being placed in KOH for 24 hours, revealed peculiar white nodules9
As seen above, it is certain that the digestive shutdown is due to hard material in the digestive tract that compromises the immune system. Circulatory problems would without doubt. Could it be that humans are going through the same process with the rise of Colon Cancer? As seen below in the comparison of the healthy Bee and the unhealthy bee, it is obvious that the bees that are ingesting GMO pollen are having severe digestive problems, so severe that the disease is terminal.
The rectal contents of Georgia bees (A) were distinctly different then the contents of Pasadena bees (B). The rectal walls of GA bees were notably transparent revealing contents that looked like small stone packets (C). While Fyg (1964) describes similar stone like contents in poorly laying queens, the stones observed in the GA bees were not attached to the epithelium layer as Fyg (1964) describes. When these packets were ground and mounted, some unidentified floating objects (UFO’s) were observed. A cubic particle that resembles the cubic bodies of polyhedrios viruses (this viruses attacks wax moths) excepting that the cube observed was ~10x too big for a virus particle. There were fragments of pollen grains husks in all samples examined. All PA samples were found to have nosema spores in their rectal contents while none of the GA samples did. In two samples, epithelial cells were packed with spores.10
The North American reliance on bees for pollination is at minimum from 30 to 40%. Does it not seem obvious that the digestion of foreign genetic agriculture directly affects the digestive process of the bees. Could it also be that there are similarities in the human population digestive process? It must also be noted that this increased epidemic of the bee colony collapse has risen significantly since the use of GMO agriculture in our foods. It is also suspect in the rise of new cases of medical ailments in humans such as colon cancer, obesity, heart disease, etc. In the writers opinion, the inability of the bees to pass matter digestively is quite similar to the present problems in the human digestive system
The proof is obvious that one of the major reasons of the bees’ decline is by the ingestion of GMO proteins. This is problematic, as there is such an increase of indigestible foods in humans and bees. The situation of colon cancer in humans is somewhat similar in occurrence. This is only a theory but leaves one to wonder what are we eating en mass. The external or complementary good of the bee is obviously a rise for a global concern. The long-term economical and environmental impact has yet to be completely understood.
The Ecological Impact of horizontal gene transfer and increase of rampant disease is not fully examined and if so, is kept silent by these Conglomerates. The Economic Impact of the Colony collapse would mean higher inflation, scarcity of agricultural goods, and ultimately the collapse of North America Agriculture Business.
The Environmental Impact of scarcity and increased demand for resources, will beyond doubt have severe repercussions for our long-term food security. The bio-diversity of the bees causes positive economic and ecological externalities. The negative externalities have yet to be fully grasped or understood.
Organic crops: still relatively untouched
The truth is that organic farming is relatively untouched as the bee crisis is concerned. Organic farming maintains the diversity of the eco-system and preserves the quality of the foods produced. The economic impact that the scarcity of bees will potentially have on our society as a whole is very worrisome. In the end, only our children will fully realize; that it was greed that destroyed our beautiful blue planet.
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http://www.alternet.org/module (Accessed 7/9/2007 10:06 PM)
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(Accessed July 12, 2007)
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(Accessed June 30, 2007)
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HONEY BEE Research Program. RIRDIC Honeybee Research Program Home Page. http://rirdic. gov.au/program/hb.html#top, (Accessed July 7, 2007)
Ho, Dr. Mae-Wan. â€˜Recent Evidence Confirms Risks of Horizontal Gene Transferâ€™. ISIS Contribution to ACNFP/Food Standards Agency Open Meeting 13 November 2002, Institute of Science in Society, PO Box 32097, London NW1 0XR (Accessed July 16, 2007)
ISIS Contribution. â€˜Recent Evidence Confirms Risks of Horizontal Gene Transferâ€. ISIS Contribution to ACNFP/Food Standards Agency Open Meeting 13 November 2002(Accessed July 17, 2007)
Vidal, John. â€˜Canada backs terminator seedsâ€™, The Guardian. Wednesday, February 9, 2005.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/gmdebate/Story/ (Accessed July 17, 2007)
Wilson, Dan. Lost colonies: â€˜Where have the bees goneâ€™? Appelton Post-Crescent, 5/18/2007 (Accessed July 19, 2007)
Whatâ€™s Causing the Mass Disappearance of Honeybees? â€˜What is causing the Dramatic decline in Honeybee Populations in the U.S and Elsewhere in Recent yearsâ€™? HealthNewsDigest.com â€“ New York, NY, June 2, 2007
http:/www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/archives.php (Accessed July 10, 2007)
1 Hill, Scott. AlterNet, Posted on June 11, 2007, Printed on July 9, 2007
3 â€˜The Vanishingâ€™
8 Vidal, John. â€˜Canada backs terminator seedsâ€™ Wednesday February 9, 2005. The Gaurdian
9 Fall Dwindle Disease: A preliminary report
December 15, 2006
December 15, 2006