by Christopher Arnett
Native Foods Cafe
Since 2006, we’ve been hearing reports of mass die-offs of honeybees. No one could provide any answers, and theories popped up that ranged from climate change to omens of the apocalypse. Well, new research has come to light to show that the deaths of our little winged friends are in fact due to changes—but ones wrought directly by humans; and the results could actually be apocalyptic (in terms of food and energy resources).
Hopefully this is just a call-in and not a permanent absence. Native Foods Cafe, vegan, vegan food, vegan restaurant
A recent study was published in the American Chemical Society's Environmental Science & Technology journal that demonstrates the massive decline in bee population (formally termed colony collapse disorder) can be directly traces to insecticides that are used to coat corn seeds. The insecticides in question are of a type called neonicotinoids, which are widely used due to their effectiveness against insects but low toxicity for other animals. The insecticide is applied by using drilling machines that suck in the seeds and coat them with the chemicals prior to planting. The release of insecticide particles into the air is where the danger lies. In fact, beekeepers observed an increase in deaths around the time of the application of the insecticide. Unfortunately, tests to improve the safety of the drilling machines for the bees have proven unsuccessful, thus far.
So what if a bunch of bees die, some may ask? Well, beside the issue of whether it’s morally correct to snuff out millions of little lives if it can be helped, honeybees are important for pollinating food crops. In fact, they are responsible for a staggering $15 billion in crops each year, maintaining the existence of 130 different kinds of food crops! Respect the bees! Furthermore, scientists say the disruption in pollination could dramatically affect entire ecosystems. This could result in a host of problems for humans as well as other organisms. And then there’s the issue of the corn. Its crop production has only been increasing in recent years as a food source, as well as a renewable energy source in the form of ethanol.
So what now? Well, thankfully higher crop yields have kept food prices from rising too high despite the loss of 30 percent of captive honeybees by the end of each winter. So we won’t starve anytime soon, but what about the bees? We could stop using the pesticides. France actually stopped the use of a neonicotinoid when bee populations declined there in 2005. But so far, the honeybee population has not shown significant recovery. On a positive note, beekeepers have been rejuvenating their populations by introducing new queens each season and splitting hives to reduce colony stress. There is even a Florida-based company named BeesFree that developed a special dispenser for bees that provides a special patented super-healthy nutritional compound they claim prevents die-offs. And among scientists, there is talk to “breed better bees.” Whatever the final solution, hopefully it’s one that is balanced and beneficial for life forms involved.
For more info, check out these online articles:
Native Foods Cafe, vegan food, vegan, vegan restaurant, save our bees