You’ve heard all about mysterious death of honeybees. There are many potential causes. It could have to do with practices that amount to little more than industrial farming techniques applied to insects. When generation after generation of these unique creatures are fed genetically modified corn syrup, transported across the country, and regularly treated with chemicals in the hive it seems likely that their immune systems and navigation abilities might become impaired.
But a more obvious cause has been identified: neonicotinoid pesticides produced by Bayer. 94 percent of corn seeds used in the US are treated with this pesticide. It emanates from the plant’s pollen and nectar to attack the nervous system of insects. It affects all insects, including those that pollinate, eat pests, and provide food for birds. Including honeybees. Bees are exposed in two ways. First in huge doses during planting, when farm equipment and waste talc kicks up lethal neonicotinoid dust clouds. And then in tiny doses when bees bring toxic pollen into the hives. The poison damages their immunity and navigation abilities.
It’s not just in corn. It’s in soy, wheat, cotton, sorghum, and peanut seed. Oh, and in your garden. Many products marketed to home gardeners contain versions of these neonicotinoids. Don’t ever use them? Potting soil used by greenhouses and nurseries is commonly treated with it. That means the plants you tuck into your soil will keep emanating the toxin for weeks.
Agribusiness giants like Monsanto have a monopoly on the seed business. Farmers have great difficulty finding and affording non-treated, non-genetically modified seed. And then they must treat the seed with Monsanto chemicals at timed intervals or lose the whole crop, even though such practices create chemical-resistant “super weeds.”
Time for action.
5. Find out more and get involved through Millions Against Monsanto.
4. Boycott all Monsanto products. This will be difficult, since nearly every non-organic food product is likely to have Monsanto genetically-modified ingredients.
3. Boycott all Bayer products. You can find a listing of their products, from veterinary medications to insecticides here.
2. Support your local beekeepers by purchasing their products. Whenever possible buy organically hived, raw honey.
1. LIMIT YOUR INTAKE OF NON-ORGANIC CORN. Neonicotinoid treated genetically modified corn is ubiquitous in the US. Avoiding it may be harder than you think, as corn and corn syrup is ever-present in most commercial products. And remember, livestock in the U.S. is largely raised on corn as well. Give it a try for the bees. As the bees go, so we go.