Saturday, 14 June 2008

It's not just in the Who-niverse....

The bee populations in the world are diminishing. Albert Einstein predicted, "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left."

This article, written last year, talks about bee populations in the United States diminishing by up to 70 percent in some areas.

Most bee keepers in the US travel around the country with their hives, pollinating farmers' crops. The article goes on to talk about growers of GM crops getting very angry at these bee keepers for allowing their bees to cross-pollinate with their crops.

Is it that far of a stretch to consider that the manufacturers of genetically modified crops would try to find a way to prevent bees from destroying their products?
This BBC article from earlier this year explains that there is a combination of factors involved in the bee decline. One of the major problems is the varroa mite:

The mite, which latches onto bees and sucks their "blood", arrived in the UK in 1992. Within a few years it had spread throughout the country and took the wild honey bee population to the brink of annihilation. Managed hives were also hit hard.

But having long been kept under control using chemical treatments, there is now a new problem.

"The mites are becoming resistant, there are no good alternatives for treatment," says Carreck.

And as well as varroa, the devil that beekeepers know, there is another cloud on the horizon. Across the Atlantic US honey bees are being wiped out in vast numbers by a mysterious condition that leaves hives deserted.

Colony Collapse Disorder is affecting the nomadic beekeepers, possibly because the bees are stressed and less resistant to disease, but they don't know the exact causes.

This German article (translated) basically comes to the conclusion that the combination of pesticides and GM crops have destroyed bees' immune systems; the bees in one study had up to six different bee infections in their bodies, including fungal infections.

The bee experts maintain that these kinds of deaths have never been found in nature before.

The natural world seems to be self destructing, and it's a scary thought.

1 comment:

AmyBee said...

AHHHHHHHH! The beeeeeees! *cries* If Chris wasn't allergic, I'd get my own hive.