Four More Years?

Collapsing Colonies: Are GM Crops Killing Bees?
by Gunther Latsch
March 28, 2007
Spiegel Online

A mysterious decimation of bee populations has German beekeepers worried, while a similar phenomenon in the United States is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions. The consequences for agriculture and the economy could be enormous.

Is the mysterous decimation of bee populations in the US and Germany a result of GM crops?

Walter Haefeker is a man who is used to painting grim scenarios. He sits on the board of directors of the German Beekeepers Association (DBIB) and is vice president of the European Professional Beekeepers Association. And because griping is part of a lobbyist’s trade, it is practically his professional duty to warn that “the very existence of beekeeping is at stake.”

The problem, says Haefeker, has a number of causes, one being the varroa mite, introduced from Asia, and another is the widespread practice in agriculture of spraying wildflowers with herbicides and practicing monoculture. Another possible cause, according to Haefeker, is the controversial and growing use of genetic engineering in agriculture.

As far back as 2005, Haefeker ended an article he contributed to the journal Der Kritischer Agrarbericht (Critical Agricultural Report) with an Albert Einstein quote: “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.”

Mysterious events in recent months have suddenly made Einstein’s apocalyptic vision seem all the more topical. For unknown reasons, bee populations throughout Germany are disappearing — something that is so far only harming beekeepers. But the situation is different in the United States, where bees are dying in such dramatic numbers that the economic consequences could soon be dire. No one knows what is causing the bees to perish, but some experts believe that the large-scale use of genetically modified plants in the US could be a factor.

Read it here.

And there’s this, submitted by Mariann Wizard:

The mysterious deaths of the honeybees
By CNN’s Amy Sahba
March 29 2007: 5:28 PM EDT

Honeybee colony collapse drives price of honey higher and threatens fruit and vegetable production.

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Beekeepers throughout the United States have been losing between 50 and 90 percent of their honeybees over the past six months, perplexing scientists, driving honey prices higher and threatening fruit and vegetable production.

At a House Agricultural Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., today, members of various organizations came together to share their concerns about what they have been calling the “Colony Collapse Disorder,” or CCD.

Honeybees have been mysteriously dying across the United States, sending honey prices higher and threatening the agriculture industry.
Beginning in October 2006, beekeepers from 24 states reported that hundreds of thousands of their bees were dying and their colonies were being devastated.

In December 2006, beekeepers’ associations, scientists and officials formed the CCD working group, in hopes of identifying the cause and solving the problem of CCD.

Most of the beekeepers who have recently reported heavy losses associated with CCD are large commercial migratory beekeepers, some of whom are losing 50 percent to 90 percent of their colonies.

Read it here.

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2 Responses to Four More Years?

  1. tmpgrace says:

    I appreciate your concern about GM crops, but I believe that you are jumping to conclusions. There could be many explanations, including pesticide use, diseases not yet identified, etc. Remember, that people have been selectively breeding for characteristics of plants and animals for many millennia, so let’s not just apply the latest bugbear to every unexplained problem.

  2. Mariann says:

    Passover starts Monday evening, and today I met with the Mother-Out-Law to discuss the seder meal. My specialty is charoses, a heady concoction of apples, walnuts & raisins, chopped and steeped overnight [or longer] in red wine & honey. Lots of honey.

    This year, whatever spring festival(s) we observe, let us spare a good thought for the bees; may they be passed over, survive whatever is plaguing them, live long and prosper.

    “Three-quarters of the world’s 250,000 flowering plants… require pollination…”

    I feel a bit as those ancient Hebrews may have felt, waiting to leave Egypt, wondering if the plagues would destroy them, too. Some of my friends are worried about potential war with Iran. But this thing with the bees bothers me more. Lots more…

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