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#1 Oct 14, 2019 7:12 pm

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Mono Culture and Monsanto mashin the Bees.

For years, entomologists have been warning us about the decline of the honeybee population. These tiny creatures are responsible for roughly 1/3 of the food that we eat, as well as the propagation of 90% of wild plants and flowers. Without bees, which pollinate at least 70 types of edible plants, a hole would be created in our food chain that would cause famine and the decline of countless other species that are dependent on bee-pollinated plants. Simply put, we would be in a world of hurt without these busy little insects.

That’s why the emergence of “colony collapse disorder” and the general decline of the bee population is cause for serious alarm. In recent years, beekeepers and scientists have seen entire colonies of bees die off, whole hives suddenly going silent. The USDA reported that between 2015 and 2016, many beekeepers reported colony losses of more than twice what they normally see. As scientists and universities scramble to find answers, several things have become apparent.

A Multifaceted Problem with Roots in Agriculture


The decline of bees is proving to be directly related to modern agricultural practices. The changes that we’ve seen in farming across the nation are wreaking havoc on the very insects that agriculture itself depends on in several ways:


1.   Monoculture farming results in vast swatches of the same sort of pollen, and honeybees are unable to fly the distances needed to reach other fields. The pollen of the single species planted over vast acreage lasts a certain amount of time before the whole crop’s pollination is over, but then the food supply runs out. Beekeepers try to combat this by relocating hives to different areas so that bees can find food, but this is stressful to the colony, unnatural for the bees, and difficult for beekeepers.


2.   GMO crops lack nutrients vital to the health of honeybees. GMO plants are designed not to reproduce naturally. Every cell of these organisms is genetically modified to differ from natural plants, and the pollen these plants produce is no different. Much of the monoculture fields mentioned above are planted with GMO crops, so bees often have little choice but to feed in these fields. Unfortunately, the pollen in GMO plants does not provide bees with the proper nutrients—essentially starving the insects. Even though the bees may not die, they are left weak and susceptible to a variety of diseases that they would ordinarily be able to fight off.


3.   Glyphosate kills important bacteria in the digestive tract of bees, resulting in a gut microbiome that is unhealthy. This prevents proper digestion in the bees, leaving them nutritionally deficient. Not only that, but the gut microbiome is vital to immune function, and bees with depleted bacterial diversity are far more likely to die from an infection than those who are not ingesting glyphosate.


4.    Pesticides built into GMO corn (Bt toxin) and sprayed on fields (neonicotinoid pesticides) are toxic to bees and result in shorter lifespans, memory and learning impairment, reduced social communication between bees, and disorientation that leads to poor foraging. These problems reduce the ability of worker bees to communicate the locations of pollen, cause them to become lost and unable to return to the hive, and generally to not function properly as a whole.
 


Why the Decline of Bees is Important


We’ve already pointed out that bees are a vital, indispensable part of our food chain—a piece of the puzzle that, if missing, will be devastating to both the crops we depend on and the diversity of plant life as we know it. There is simply no denying that honeybees are worth protecting.


But what else does the downfall of bees tell us?


GMO crops, glyphosate, monoculture farming—all of these have a profound and direct effect on humans, too. Like the bees, humans are suffering from a widespread imbalance of gut bacteria, missing many of the same vital strains that are causing illness in bees. This leads to disease, as well as many of the other symptoms that are disrupting the bee population. In fact, problems with learning, memory, and social communication are on the rise in the human population as well—as are diseases of autoimmunity, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many other illnesses that were rarely seen just 50 years ago.

What does Bayer, the company that produces neonicotinoid pesticides and now owns Monsanto and produces both Roundup and GMO seeds, have to say about all this? A quick search online reveals that the only scientists who are not concerned with the decline of bees are those who work for Big Ag. An article published by the Genetic Literacy Project (an organization that came under fire for its association with Monsanto) had this to say about bees:


“It’s true that about 35 percent of America’s crops — about a third — rely to some extent on bees. Sometimes the bees are essential. In other cases, they’re nice to have around, but their absence does not present a crisis.”


Nice to have around…but their absence does not present a crisis? We would like to suggest that the extinction of any species presents a crisis. To suggest otherwise highlights the reckless, callous attitude that GMO advocates have towards the preservation of the environment.


It’s time that we take the state of our environment, farms, and food much more seriously. Unless we take back our food chain and restore balance to the environment, we will continue to see tragic repercussions both in the honeybee population and in the health and well being of humanity.

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#2 Oct 14, 2019 7:22 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: Mono Culture and Monsanto mashin the Bees.

Honey bees aren't native to the Americas.  They are an invasive species.

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#3 Oct 14, 2019 8:26 pm

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Re: Mono Culture and Monsanto mashin the Bees.

Go back far enough and so are humans whats your point.

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#4 Oct 14, 2019 11:26 pm

Real Distwalker
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Re: Mono Culture and Monsanto mashin the Bees.

Humans are better at adapting to new habitats than other species.

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#5 Oct 15, 2019 6:57 pm

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Re: Mono Culture and Monsanto mashin the Bees.

So we think, however the general decline in health in the last 50 years would put lie to that statement. With astronomical increases in chronic illnesses mostly induced by greedy abuses of food stuff.

With respect to bees, one assumes for the period they were introduced that they have been beneficial, and from watching documentaries, a regular caravan of apiarist trailing up and down America fertilising sundry crops, however if you continue to limit their nectar collecting abilities with these gargantuan monocrops, and then poison them along with every other insect so they will be weakened and fragile, then wham bam there goes your crop stability. Unless there could be an automated RD equipped with a little pain brush running up and down the fields pretending to be bees. Corn, I think self pollinates with the wind, but other crops need a little help from their buzzing friends.

To puff up proudly about modern agricultural techniques so far ahead of the dullard Europeans, and then kill off one of the imports that boosted your crop management seems perverse.   Just saying.

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#6 Oct 16, 2019 7:55 am

Real Distwalker
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Re: Mono Culture and Monsanto mashin the Bees.

Most of the cash crops in the US aren't dependent on bees.   Not soybeans, not wheat, not maize, not oats, not rye, not sorghum, not canola...

That said, I am for trying to preserve bees for sure.  It just isn't the Armageddon it is made out to be.  Most Armageddons aren't.

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#7 Oct 16, 2019 9:11 pm

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Re: Mono Culture and Monsanto mashin the Bees.

Real Distwalker wrote:

Most of the cash crops in the US aren't dependent on bees.   Not soybeans, not wheat, not maize, not oats, not rye, not sorghum, not canola...

That said, I am for trying to preserve bees for sure.  It just isn't the Armageddon it is made out to be.  Most Armageddons aren't.

Well the hive collapses have been a matter of concern for quite a few years now, at what point do we say not a big deal?

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