We Poisoned our Bees. But What do We Know? By
We’ve never been fans of the “told ya so” game, but here goes:
Someone has been messing with our honey.
More specifically, with our little worker bees. It is no great secret that the American honey industry is in kind of a rough patch. For starters, much of what we consume as “honey” is about as far removed from the bee as a chicken nugget is from a bona fide fowl. Most of what you see in the MegaMart is from overseas from evil clone bees, and has been filtered and pasteurized to within an inch of its amber life. It contains no pollen, and is full of high fructose corn syrup.
Another big issue is colony collapse, where entire hives just up and disappear in a freaky Happening/I Am Legend sort of Stephen King way. Beekeepers expect to lose a certain portion of their colony every season due to natural death, migration, and bad weather. Colony Collapse points to something much more sinister. Hive today, gone tomorrow. In keeping with our recent music themes, “This Bee has Gone to Heaven”. Sorry if you were born too late for that one.
Scientists have been trying to figure this out for a while, and have pointed to bad bee-breeding, global warming, and the crazy stuff that we do to our plants and vegetables. It seems that on at least one aspect, they’ve been buzzing up the right tree.
Researchers from Harvard got twenty beehives a-buzzing. They treated sixteen of them with varying doses of imidacloprid, a common industrial pesticide. Four were left alone. After twelve weeks, all of the bees were happy, though those with the bug spray were a little sick and cranky. By 23 weeks, four hives were happy, one was nursing a serious hangover, and 15 were gone. Not dead with little X’s over their little bee eyes, but up and disappeared. Poof.
Where do we most commonly use imidacloprid? On corn. What do big commercial beekeepers feed their workers? High fructose corn syrup. When did we start feeding corn syrup to bees? Around 2004. When did we start spraying the corn? Around 2004. When did we first notice that the bees had left the building? Around 2004.
I’m not a biochemist, farmer, or apiculturist, but if it smells fishy, looks fishy, and sounds fishy…Good thing that we didn’t eat it.
But we did! And don’t get us started on fish!
The un-named company that makes the insecticide (Bayer CropScience) assured the EPA that their chemical was perfectly safe for bees. They know, because they tested it on real bees. They set up four hives in a 2½-acre field of corn that had been sprayed with their miracle goo. Only problem? Bees like to roam. They buzz over thousands of acres in their quest for perfect pollen. The un-named company (Bayer CropScience) has been listening to the steady hum of concerned beekeepers and researchers, so they recently opened two “bee care centers” to promote further research. Does this mean that they’re going to exercise the bees or teach them how to use finger-paint? It probably means that they’re going to try out some new goo.
“They don’t like the imidacloprid. Let’s try paint thinner.”
Maybe they could try some good stuff like arsenic or Benadryl.
Oh. Sorry. We’re saving that for our chickens.