Saving Bees Must Be a Global Priority
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s (NYSE: MON) Roundup herbicide, may be playing a role in bees’ deaths around the world
According to GMO expert Don Huber, PhD.,, professor emeritus of Plant Pathology at Purdue University, there are 3 established characteristics of bee colony collapse disorder that suggest glyphosate may be at least partly responsible:
- The bees are mineral-deficient, especially in micronutrients
- There is plenty of food present but they are not able to utilize or to digest it
- Dead bees are devoid of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are components of their digestive system
In many cases of bee die-offs, the bees become disoriented, suggesting endocrine hormone disruption.
Glyphosate is a very strong endocrine hormone disruptor. Dr. Huber also cited a study on glyphosate in drinking water at levels that are commonly found in US water systems, showing 30% mortality in bees exposed to it.
While the majority of glyphosate is sprayed onto agricultural crops, it is even used in city parks, which means bees may get little reprieve. In Y 2014 New York City agencies applied glyphosate to parks and other areas 2,748 times, and that is likely an underestimate.
A Freedom of Information Act request found pesticide information related to Central Park and other parks that are managed by non-profit conservancies has not been made public. The bottom line is that bees and other pollinators are being exposed to pesticides and other chemicals virtually everywhere they turn.
And in all likelihood, it’s not one or two chemicals that are the problem but many. In Y 2013, researchers analyzed pollen from bee hives in 7 major crops and found 35 different pesticides along with high fungicide loads.
Each sample contained, on average, 9 different pesticides and fungicides.
When the pollen was fed to healthy bees, they had a significant decline in the ability to resist infection with the Nosema ceranae parasite, which has been implicated in bee deaths.
To avoid harming bees and other helpful pollinators that visit your garden, swap out toxic pesticide and lawn chemicals for Organic weed and pest control alternatives.
Note: even some Organic formulations can be harmful to beneficial insects, so be sure to check the products carefully.
Better yet, get rid of your lawn altogether and plant an edible Organic garden.
Both flower and vegetable gardens provide good honeybee habitats. Also, keep a small basin of fresh water in your garden or backyard, as bees get thirsty.
In addition, you want to grow your own pollinator-friendly plants from Organic, untreated seeds. If you opt to purchase starter plants, make sure to ask whether or not they’ve been pre-treated with pesticides.
Keep in mind that you also help protect the welfare of all pollinators every time you shop Organic and grass-fed, as you are actually voting for less pesticides and herbicides with every Organic and pastured food and consumer product you purchase.
Take bee preservation a step further, try your hand at amateur beekeeping.
Maintaining a beehive in your garden requires about an hour of your time each week, benefits the local ecosystem, and you get to enjoy homegrown honey.
On a larger scale, in order to save bees and other pollinators we need to stop the widespread use of chemicals that harm them, and at the same time returning much of our land to grasslands, remediating the soil, and building a network of herbivore economics.
There is no better way to improve the conditions for animals, protect pollinators, bring more revenue to farmers, and improve human health via nutritious Real foods from properly pastured animals.
By mimicking the natural behavior of migratory herds of wild grazing animals, meaning allowing livestock to graze freely and moving the herd around in specific patterns farmers can support nature’s efforts to regenerate and thrive, while providing natural, pesticide-free foraging area for pollinators and other beneficial insects.
The good news is that science need not invent another chemical or a new piece of farm equipment to solve the problem.
We simply just revert back to a system that works with nature instead of against it.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively