Are GM crops killing the bees, are we on the edge of another global catastrophe?

      Home » Science & Technology » Are GM crops killing the bees, are we on the edge of another global catastrophe?

Are GM crops killing the bees, are we on the edge of another global catastrophe?

There is another post here on how bees in America and other countries are dying off at a catastrophic rate and no one knows why. One answer may be GM plants that are widely grown in America.

I don't think we fully understand the importance of what is happening in the bee world at present. We are so fixiated on global warming, the Iraq war, etc that this quiet decemation of bees is unnoticed by the media. Yet this may turn out to be the greatest threat ever to our way of life.

The problem has a number of causes, one being the varroa mite, introduced from Asia, and another is the widespread practice in agriculture of spraying wildflowers with herbicides and practicing monoculture. Another possible cause, according to Haefeker, is the controversial and growing use of genetic engineering in agriculture.

As far back as 2005, Haefeker ended an article he contributed to the journal Der Kritischer Agrarbericht (Critical Agricultural Report) with an Albert Einstein quote: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

Mysterious events in recent months have suddenly made Einstein's apocalyptic vision seem all the more topical. For unknown reasons, bee populations throughout Germany are disappearing -- something that is so far only harming beekeepers.

But the situation is different in the United States, where bees are dying in such dramatic numbers that the economic consequences could soon be dire. No one knows what is causing the bees to perish, but some experts believe that the large-scale use of genetically modified plants in the US could be a factor.

It is particularly worrisome, she said, that the bees' death is accompanied by a set of symptoms "which does not seem to match anything in the literature."

In many cases, scientists have found evidence of almost all known bee viruses in the few surviving bees found in the hives after most have disappeared. Some had five or six infections at the same time and were infested with fungi -- a sign, experts say, that the insects' immune system may have collapsed.

The scientists are also surprised that bees and other insects usually leave the abandoned hives untouched. Nearby bee populations or parasites would normally raid the honey and pollen stores of colonies that have died for other reasons, such as excessive winter cold. "This suggests that there is something toxic in the colony itself which is repelling them," says Cox-Foster.

Walter Haefeker, the German beekeeping official, speculates that "besides a number of other factors," the fact that genetically modified, insect-resistant plants are now used in 40 percent of cornfields in the United States could be playing a role. The figure is much lower in Germany -- only 0.06 percent -- and most of that occurs in the eastern states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg.

Haefeker recently sent a researcher at the CCD Working Group some data from a bee study that he has long felt shows a possible connection between genetic engineering and diseases in bees.

Much more on the site
By netchicken: posted on 24-3-2007

Gm crops should be banned. there is a reason mother nature does not cross animal and plant DNA. It is simply an abomination, and nature will curse us severely. I really wish plague and pestilance upon the seed and food companies that push this garbage.

Whether or not its what is killing the bees does not matter. Mixing plant and animal DNA is evil to any moral person. For Pagans, it is committing crimes against nature. For Christians, it is tampering with God's perfect creation. No matter how you look at it, GM is pure evil.

Of course, you exaggerate when you claim we will all die off if bees do. Bees are not native to North America. yet life thrived on the continent with no problems before Europeans brought the honeybee. Same with South America, Ozz, and New Zealand. Not only do we have insects who perform pollinating duties, but hummingbirds are major polinators in the western Hemisphere. For example, vanilla is either hand polinated in regions where its not native, but in its native central America, hummingbirds do the work.

Killing honeybees, however, will greatly damage commercial farming of non native crops. And of course, what about honey? And beeswax? No more honey?


Say it aint so :(
By Twilight_Rogue: posted on 30-3-2007

While "nature's way" is desirable, mother nature for her part has not been able to fulfill the task of providing adequately for humanity with the natural crop varieties. That is why nations in Africa and parts of Asia do not have adequate food to feed their people and thus sadly humans die out of hunger. Crop research has helped boost food production and thus alleviate death from hunger from most parts of the world and even grow crops in less hospitable regions of our planet to sustain the local populace. So the term "evil" doesnt really cut it. Granted they are out to sell their creation to the highest bidder, which most of the poor can hardly afford but nonetheless it is a path to progress all the same.
By IAF: posted on 30-3-2007

Nature is more than adequate to fullfilling the task. But nature certainly does not support people who overbreed out of sync with what can reasonably be produced by the land.

And despite all the genetic tampering, world hunger hasn't gone down one iota. People still die by the millions in these countries, yet GM crop engineers were claiming 20 years ago their product would wipe out world hunger.

If people started using efficent, intelligent means of farming, vast areas of Africa would not be turning into dust bowls. Crop rotation, perhaps the oldest conservation farming method around, plus growing crops naturally suited to to the local environment, would go a long way.

Nothing good will com out of the unholy frankenstinian crossing of kingdoms of living things.
By Twilight_Rogue: posted on 1-4-2007

It looks like pesticides might be the problem.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US beekeepers have been stung in recent months by the mysterious disappearance of millions of bees threatening honey supplies as well as crops which depend on the insects for pollination.

Bee numbers on parts of the east coast and in Texas have fallen by more than 70 percent, while California has seen colonies drop by 30 to 60 percent.

According to estimates from the US Department of Agriculture, bees are vanishing across a total of 22 states, and for the time being no one really knows why.

"Approximately 40 percent of my 2,000 colonies are currently dead and this is the greatest winter colony mortality I have ever experienced in my 30 years of beekeeping," apiarist Gene Brandi, from the California State Beekeepers Association, told Congress recently.

It is normal for hives to see populations fall by some 20 percent during the winter, but the sharp loss of bees is causing concern, especially as domestic US bee colonies have been steadily decreasing since 1980.

There are some 2.4 million professional hives in the country, according to the Agriculture Department, 25 percent fewer than at the start of the 1980s.

And the number of beekeepers has halved.

The situation is so bad, that beekeepers are now calling for some kind of government intervention, warning the flight of the bees could be catastrophic for crop growers.

Domestic bees are essential for pollinating some 90 varieties of vegetables and fruits, such as apples, avocados, and blueberries and cherries.

"The pollination work of honey bees increases the yield and quality of United States crops by approximately 15 billion dollars annually including six billion in California," Brandi said.

California's almond industry alone contributes two billion dollars to the local economy, and depends on 1.4 million bees which are brought from around the US every year to help pollinate the trees, he added.

The phenomenon now being witnessed across the United States has been dubbed "colony collapse disorder," or CCD, by scientists as they seek to explain what is causing the bees to literally disappear in droves.

The usual suspects to which bees are known to be vulnerable such as the varroa mite, an external parasite which attacks honey bees and which can wipe out a hive, appear not to be the main cause.

"CCD is associated with unique symptoms, not seen in normal collapses associated with varroa mites and honey bee viruses or in colony deaths due to winter kill," entomologist Diana Cox-Foster told the Congress committee.

In cases of colony collapse disorder, flourishing hives are suddenly depopulated leaving few, if any, surviving bees behind.

The queen bee, which is the only one in the hive allowed to reproduce, is found with just a handful of young worker bees and a reserve of food.

Curiously though no dead bees are found either inside or outside the hive.

The fact that other bees or parasites seem to shun the emptied hives raises suspicions that some kind of toxin or chemical is keeping the insects away, Cox-Foster said.

Those bees found in such devastated colonies also all seem to be infected with multiple micro-organisms, many of which are known to be behind stress-related illness in bees.

Scientists working to unravel the mysteries behind CCD believe a new pathogen may be the cause, or a new kind of chemical product which could be weakening the insects' immune systems.

The finger of suspicion is being pointed at agriculture pesticides such as the widely-used neonicotinoides, which are already known to be poisonous to bees.

France saw a huge fall in its bee population in the 1990s, blamed on the insecticide Gaucho which has now been banned in the country.

By netchicken: posted on 8-4-2007

Are GM crops killing the bees, are we on the edge of another global catastrophe? | [Login ]
Powered by XMB
Privacy Policy