The makers of neonicotinoids, the bee-killing insecticide that was banned all over Europe, won’t be able to refute this latest phenomenon. Millions of bees were found dead after GMO corn was planted in Ontario, Canada. This isn’t new news, but it should be known news.
The keeper of these bees, Dave Schuit, who produces honey, reported that he lost over 600 hives – around 37 million bees.
“Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said.
With increasing bee deaths and consumer petitions targeted to places like Home Depot and Lowe’s who sell neonics, the US Department of Agriculture has failed to ban neonicotinoids, manufactured primarily by Bayer CropScience Inc., as well as other biotech companies.
Two of Bayer’s best sellers are suspect this time around: Imidacloprid and Clothianidin. They are both known to seep into pollen and nectar, damaging beneficial insects such as bees.
The more widely they are used, the more bees seem to die.
Schuit’s report of dead bees is corroborated by other farmers, too. Nathan Carey is another local farmer who noticed a disappearance of bees on his farm this past Spring. There were so few that he could not count on them as he normally did to help pollinate his crops. He correlates their absence to the use of these toxic insecticides.
While many scientists are still unconvinced that “colony collapse disorder” (CCD) is caused by neonicotinoids, there has been a consecutive die-off of bees in the U.S. for seven years now – directly correlated to higher insecticide spraying.
Even US scientists have found 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen, lending credence to the notion that pesticides are in fact a problem.
Jeffery Pettis, of the ARS’s bee research laboratory, says:
“We believe that some subtle interactions between nutrition, pesticide exposure and other stressors are converging to kill colonies.”
A recently released study published in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences described that neonicotinoid pesticides kill honeybees by damaging their immune system, making them unable to fight diseases and bacteria.
The study abstract concluded:
“The occurrence at sublethal doses of this insecticide-induced viral proliferation suggests that the studied neonicotinoids might have a negative effect at the field level. Our experiments uncover a further level of regulation of the immune response in insects and set the stage for studies on neural modulation of immunity in animals. Furthermore, this study has implications for the conservation of bees, as it will contribute to the definition of more appropriate guidelines for testing chronic or sublethal effects of pesticides used in agriculture.”
A third of everything we eat is pollinated by bees and other beneficial insects. This accounts for over 30 billion in the global economy. If bees die, our food supplies die, too. Here is a list of foods we would lose without the bees.
Bayer denies that their insecticides are causing CCD. Will they be responsible for feeding the world when 30% of our food supply is gone with the bees?
||Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.