Image provided by Tim Simpson
In the last decade, bees have been dying off in such mass numbers that it is threatening the world food supply. It has been estimated that a third of the food we eat is depended on bee pollination. Bees are needed to pollinate certain plants so they can reproduce.
Bees are great pollinators because the hairs on their bodies are designed to attract pollens. When bees collect nectar from the flowers of plants, some pollens stick to their hairs. As bees travel to other flowers, these pollens are rubbed off onto the stigma of flowers. This process allows fertilization. Certain trees depend on this process to develop fruits properly.
According to a new study out of Purdue University, neonicotinoids, which includes clothianidin, are harming honey bees to near extinction levels. The study also found that these chemicals are not easily biodegradable and can easily contaminate soil and plants, even various plants that are not treated with these toxic insecticides. Bees are very sensitive to neonicotinoids because these insecticides destroy their nerves, causing them to become paralyzed. The study shows strong evidences that these types of insecticide may be responsible for colony collapse disorder.
Below is an excerpt from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov about the new study out of Purdue University.
Neonicotinoid insecticides, which are widely used and highly toxic to honey bees, have been found in previous analyses of honey bee pollen and comb material. However, the routes of exposure have remained largely undefined. We used LC/MS-MS to analyze samples of honey bees, pollen stored in the hive and several potential exposure routes associated with plantings of neonicotinoid treated maize. Our results demonstrate that bees are exposed to these compounds and several other agricultural pesticides in several ways throughout the foraging period. During spring, extremely high levels of clothianidin and thiamethoxam were found in planter exhaust material produced during the planting of treated maize seed. We also found neonicotinoids in the soil of each field we sampled, including unplanted fields. Plants visited by foraging bees (dandelions) growing near these fields were found to contain neonicotinoids as well. This indicates deposition of neonicotinoids on the flowers, uptake by the root system, or both. Dead bees collected near hive entrances during the spring sampling period were found to contain clothianidin as well, although whether exposure was oral (consuming pollen) or by contact (soil/planter dust) is unclear.
Insecticides, such as neonicotinoids and clothianidin, are not just harming honey bees but also the environment and our health. As soil and underground drinking water become contaminated with these toxic insecticides, our health and food supply are threatened.
Nowadays, the genetically modified food (GM food) industry is genetically modifying food so the food can grow its own pesticides. A great example of this is GM corn. If insects die from eating GM corn, imagine what this corn is doing to your health. If you live in the US, nearly 90 percent of the corn grown in the US is genetically modified.
In China, colony collapse disorder is such a big problem that the Chinese government has to hire workers to pollinate flowers of fruit trees. As this problem increases, the Chinese government will have to hire more workers, causing an increase of food price. The increase of food price will get worse as more bees die off.
As described at blog.lib.umn.edu.
Such a situation does not translate well into American agriculture especially considering labor wages. If we were to do so it would look like this: It takes twenty Chinese workers working for 10 hours to pollinate a half acre (see pictures). Translated into an orchard in the United States where the workers were paid $9 per hour, it would cost the growers $3,600 in pollination services. This would probably double the cost of apples.
The problems I mentioned in this article are just a few of the many problems that arise from using conventional and GMO farming techniques. There is a lot of people who believe that conventional and GM food are essential for reducing the cost of food. What they do not understand is that conventional and GM food are cheap because of government subsidies. In other words, our taxes are being used to support hazardous food.
In the long run, techniques use for growing conventional and GM food will destroy the environment and the health of the public, causing problems that are unsustainable, such as expensive health care and nutrient depleted soil. The lack of nutrients in soil will increase the risk of the formation of deserts and chronic diseases. These problems are starting to really manifest because of the decisions and actions made decades ago to support conventional and GM food.
One of the answers to these problems is to learn how to live in harmony with nature by respecting nature. This means that we will have to go back to organic farming and rotate crops to preserve nutrients in soil. When the soil is rich in nutrients, plants can grow better and are healthier; therefore, they can fight off diseases more effectively. As a result, we would not need to use pesticides and other toxic chemicals to grow food. If we allow nature to play its role and work with it, food will become very cheap and world hunger would not be such big problems.