A Honey of a Retraction

organic-raw-golden-honey-comb

Every Post or Blog I write or will write is something I’m passionate about. Each writing consists of what I have learned over the years, practice in my own kitchen and life…and research utilizing different sources.  I don’t just make this stuff up.

My purpose…is to share information and hopefully gain the trust of visitors so they come back again and again to see what’s new and try delicious, easy to prepare recipes that become favorites for themselves, friends and family.

In my recent Post, What are the best foods to eat? Part 3  I focused on honey. In the closing paragraph, entitled “One last word from the bees…”  I referred to the Department of Agriculture and their “statistics” on honeybee colonies and honey production being at a 20 and 10 year high, respectively.

Sadly this claim may not be as accurate as we would like… and brings up a few questions…Who’s in whose back pocket, who’s in charge and who’s looking out for us? But that subject is for another day, another time…not here, not now.

One of my readers called my attention to a 2009 documentary, entitled “Vanishing of the bees.” which aired last week on Pivot. I highly recommend watching this documentary, which you can now view via Netflix. It’s eye-opening and heart wrenching. As you watch, keep in mind this was made only 6 years ago.

Did you know… honeybees from one hive can visit over 100,000 flowers on any given day? Bees carry out the most important task in nature…pollination.  Without honeybees, there would be no fruits or vegetables in the world.

Did you know… the honeybee is the only creature, besides us, who manufactures food for humans? Think about it…just about everything we eat was pollinated by a bee.

honeybeeSomething is Killing the Bees

According to David Hackenburg, the first US bee keeper calling attention to this phenomenon , states that since November of 2006, honeybees have been disappearing in alarming numbers. It’s been a mystery and scientists are scratching their heads trying to understand what’s happening. Mr. Hackenburg, who has raised bees since 1962, owns and manages Hackenburg Apiaries in Lewiston, PA along with his brother. They have around 3,000 hives. Bret Adee, the world’s largest beekeeper, lost over 40,000 hives in a three week period of time during November, 2006. That’s over 2 billion bees that just vanished.

Colony Collapse Disorder

We better get used to this term, CCD, because I think we’ll be hearing a lot about it over the next few years and we better decide what we, the human race, are going to do about it. CCD leaves no dead bees behind, no mites or other pathogens to explain the problem.  The entire hive abandons the queen and just a small handful of babies.

Commercial beekeepers compromise the health and vitality of queen bees. The natural life span of the queen bee is 5 years, however, commercial beekeepers are routinely killing the queens when they’re just a few months old, replacing them with younger, artificially raised queens which have also been artificially inseminated.  Why, I ask.

Are farming practices to blame?

Now-a-days, large commercial farms raise only one crop, like corn or sunflowers, for example. This monoculture in the world today invites disease and pests and the need for pesticides.  The result? Major trouble for the fuzzy little honeybee. Commercial farmers use systemic pesticides which accumulate over time in the crops and soil…and we are eating it too.

According to the documentary, “Vanishing of the Bees”…the company Bayer developed this deadly systemic pesticide about 10 years ago originally to control aphids, however, it also turns the plant poisonous to the bees that are collecting the pollen. It’s lethal for bees, interferes with their immune system and damages their ability to navigate back to their hive.

The result of pesticide residuals moving through our ecosystem doesn’t only harm our honeybees, it harms all native pollinators like hummingbirds, bats and butterflies.

France to the Rescue

Unlike the US, France researches, waits and tests before approving products that can be either detrimental or helpful to the environment. Thus, the use of this systemic Bayer product has been banned in France and since 2013, cannot be used in any country in Europe. But it’s OK in the US? What? Obviously, here in the good ol’ US of A, “chemicals are deemed innocent until proven guilty…sometimes with disastrous results.”

In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which is supposed to “protect” us, is not in the research business before giving their stamp of approval. In this particular case, they simply relied on data supplied by Bayer…the very company that most profits by its’ use. The EPA has been corrupted. In the US, more than 95% of the food we eat is treated with pesticides…that’s over 1 billion pounds of toxic chemicals annually.  What do you get? Genetically modified crops.

Large US bee keepers have been forced to relocate to areas in the country far away from monoculture agriculture.

If that shocks you… there’s more.  The FDA allows diluted honey from China to be brought into this country. It’s loaded with lactose syrup, Beech sugar, high fructose corn syrup and the FDA is allowing this to occur, every single day. And commercial grocers prefer it because it has a long shelf life. Not only is the honey from China diluted, it’s tainted with pesticides, antibiotics as well as heavy metal contamination. Before you buy your next jar of honey, please read the label and know where it came from.

Any Light at the End of this Dark Tunnel?

The NRDC, Natural Resources Defense Council, sued the EPA to obtain scientific studies on the Bayer insecticide.  They want proof that the insecticide is not linked to the widespread honeybee collapse. So far, the NRDC has successfully won every step along the way and has been successful in stopping the retail sale of this deadly systemic pesticide created and produced by Bayer.

bee

Final word from the bees… buy organic.

Shop at the local farmers market or plant an organic garden, like I have, and grow your own.  Have lots of flowers in your gardens to attract the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. A good suggestion is Bee Balm, a favorite to all pollinators. Bee Balm blooms in shades of pink, blue, red or white and is very fragrant.  Another is Milkweed, the sole food source for Monarch caterpillars. Or how about tall purple Phlox or Penstemon, which Hummingbirds love. These are tall tubular blooming plants that come in purple, white, pink, blue or red.

And do what I’m going to do…have a beehive. Let’s live in harmony with the environment.

Skål

 

For lots more information, visit:100-organic-stamp

“We have to take care of them…and by taking care of them, we are taking care of ourselves.”

 

Wouldn’t it be great if a little post about honey and the plight of honeybees could actually make a difference?  Please like/share this post and as always, I welcome your feedback and comments.

Skål

 

 

 

23 comments to A Honey of a Retraction

  • Mike

    Thanks for calling attention to the disappearance of the bees. It is a strange and alarming phenomena and we won’t know the consequences for yeas to come I’m afraid. I agree with the sentiment of buying organic. That’s good advice. Why do you think the French government has been able to deal with this more effectively than the US?

    • Karen

      Thanks for reading this important blog and taking the time to comment. To answer your question about the French…they take the time to test products before approving them to be sold in the open market. They test to see if pesticides and herbicides are detrimental to the environment…just the opposite of the EPA and the FDA in the US. While France banned the Bayer product “Roundup” and all of Europe followed suit, this product is still sold in the US in every store across the country where garden supplies are sold. Shame on them.

      Please read my blog “How to Save the Monarch Butterfly from sure Extinction”…I think you’ll find it equally important. I have a link in the blog where you can purchase or even get free Milkweed flower seeds which attract bees, butterflies and humming birds…so you can do your part in saving them.

      Thanks again for commenting and I hope you will share and pass these blogs along.

  • Chris

    I feel that there is corruption in many industries that you can think of even off the top of your head. Take the food industry for example and all the evidence of abuse going on with cows and pigs. Obviously that is off topic but the point I’m trying to get across is that we need to pay more attention to how we treat our environment before it affects us negatively.

    Nice page!

    Chris

    • Karen

      Hi, Chris…I couldn’t agree with you more. Look at the typical chicken “farm”; how they’re raised (if that’s what you want to call it) in overcrowded cages. Look at the salmon industry…farm raised salmon are fed chemicals to make the meat that pinkish-red we’re told is their natural color. Wild salmon meat doesn’t look like that and is the only salmon we should be consuming….and only if it’s Atlantic salmon! Stay away from Pacific salmon or you may soon glow in the dark.

      Great comments, Chris…thanks for writing.

  • Phil

    I’ve heard that we have lost about half of the life sources on this planet in the last 40 years, what are we going to leave for our children?
    It’s not just people, cats and dogs that we need to look out for.
    We are all a part of a system where large and small play a part in keeping life alive.

    Thanks for a very informative article.
    Phil

    • Karen

      Phil…I’m so sorry not to respond to your comments; somehow I totally missed it. I agree with you that we’ve been abusing planet Earth with no regard for the future. Please read my blog “How to save the Monarch Butterfly from sure Extinction”…I’ve included a link where you can purchase or even get free Milkweed plant seeds which bees, hummingbirds and butterflies love…and we can do our share to help them survive and thrive.
      Best wishes,
      karen

  • Sarah

    Thanks Karen for this page, you gave us important information about one of the keys in our environment.. no one can ignore the importance of bees and natural produced honey that maintain our health and have been used since history. we should all stand together to maintain our environment and return the natural balance back!!

    • Karen

      Sarah, thank you for your feedback and comments. I’m very happy to hear the same concern about the plight of the honey bee. I’ve been reading and researching raising bees; what’s involved, how to build a hive, where to locate it in my yard and the best bees to purchase. I’ll be writing an on-going blog covering my experience and anticipated success with the hope that readers realize how important this is and will want to follow suit. I’ve learned that you don’t even need a yard for a hive…a rooftop terrace is perfect.

      Please share this article. The more people that are aware of this problem….the more attention will be paid to it. Thank you.

  • HolisticJB

    Hi
    very interesting article!
    I must admit I have noticed a dwindling of the bee population where I live and assumed there must be some reason for it.
    The most important thing in my view is education, as you are doing with this article.
    In my last school we actually put some hives in the yard and trained the kids in how to maintain them…not one sting was had…but lots of respect for the bees was gained!

    Jason

    • Karen

      Hi, Jason…thanks for your feedback and comments. I read an article just yesterday on the internet that talked about insecticides and their overuse. Some companies sell their seeds with a covering of insecticide that treats the entire plant…eventually killing bees and other pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds.

      Thank you for your interest and I hope you will share and forward my article to friends, peers and students. The more that know about the plight of the honeybee, the more we all can protect them. I’d love to hear of your progress. I love a success story.

      Karen

  • Elizabeth

    It’s so devastating finding out these statistics! All I want to do is make as many people as possible aware of the situation and begin my own beekeeping venture. Thank you for writing this post. I will definitely do all that I can to raise awareness and participate in saving the bees!

  • Margaret Kennedy

    It is of great concern that the honey bee is at risk. I hope your site will help to make people understand how vital they are to all of us. I think you have chosen a great subject for you site and you are handling your subject very well. Your site has lovely graphics and your post is full of good information.
    Best wishes to you.
    Margaret

    • Karen

      Margaret, thank you for your comments. They’re most appreciated. Please like, share and pass this post along to others.

      Best to you as well,

      Karen

  • Kyle

    This is definitely a valid concern and one that doesn’t get the publicity that it deserves. Honey Bees are truly the miracle workers in our food chain and without them our entire plant system (and food chain) would collapse.

    I love my honey and I love my honey bees. We are the only ones that can make a difference voicing our displeasure for pesticides and companies like Monsanto that are putting profits ahead of our bees (which could have a substantial negative impact on the longevity of the human race).

    • Karen

      Thank you, Kyle, for your comments and obvious mutual concern. I’m reading about how to become a holistic backyard beekeeper and soon will have my first hive or two.

      This is scarey stuff…my intention is to reach as many people as possible, get them interested enough to pass it along. If 2 people share it each with 2 other people and those 4 people share it each with 2 others and those 8 people…you get the picture.

    • Karen

      Please “Like” and “Share” this as much as you can. It’s greatly appreciated.

  • Brian

    This is such a great article bringing attention to a very serious dilemma in our current agricultural environment. I watched this documentary last year and i’m ashamed to say i was not aware. Like most people i go to the store and buy my honey from a typical named brand. Not anymore….i only buy local honey now and have even entertained the idea of getting my own beehive. Unfortunately my trust in the FDA seems to get less and less these days so the more we can bring this to the surface the better. People like yourself is what we need, great article.

    I used to be scared of bees and now i get excited when i see them! SAVE THE BEES!

    Regards
    Brian

    • Karen

      Brian, Thank you for your positive feedback and comments. By liking and sharing this Post, you can help bring more awareness to this problem. The bees will thank you. 🙂
      Karen

  • Johann

    Hi, Karen. I love your site. I just recently became an amateur chef. I am trying many new things, so I will be visiting and sharing your stuff extensively.

    A HONEY OF A RETRACTION. This incredibly important. I was raised (as are my kids) in a country garden. That’s where you have to go to learn these things and how it works. Unfortunately, most people are oblivious to this frightening development of losing the bees.

    Your article is very well written. I am going to send it through my channels to get the widest distribution I can muster. I feel so helpless about this situation and what can I do about it. I can tend my own garden. One of my Sons is a ‘beekeeper.’ I just don’t have the ‘snap my fingers’ influence I would like to have about these things. God bless you, keep on a keepin’ on

    At least you are writing about it. I shall endeavor to assist you the best I can. Thanks for this. J

    • Karen

      Johann, Thank you for your feedback, your interest and your obvious passion. I’m researching and reading about bee keeping as I am very serious about having a hive or two. Happy to hear you son is doing his part!
      Best wishes,
      Karen

  • Linda

    I have been very aware of the vanishing bee issues for a number of years now. It is one of the most alarming worldwide situations. You have hit a nerve, an important one, by highlighting that the EPA is part of the problem, which really is such a shame. While the EPA is not in the research business, the policy of allowing a company who has a financial interest in a product to provide the data that will become the foundation for an approval is ludicrous and absolutely unreasonable. This sad situation repeats itself in other organization too, like the FDA.

    I very much appreciate that you highlighted what the European community is doing as related to this alarming situation here in the United States. That alone should help a person to stand up and take notice!

    In the meantime, your recommendation to have your own garden is critically important. I would love to see your post get more exposure. For some folks the small font will be a problem and they may not know how to enlarge it for their computer screens, and not having ever done this I don’t know how much that would skew how your post/page is organized. Nevertheless, I will like it and see that yours is one more voice that gets the word out.

    Thanks for the time you invested in composing this. Good Job and Excellent ‘Heads Up’!

    Linda

    • Karen

      Linda,
      Thank you again for your feedback and comments. I’ll try to play around with the font size…anything to help people find it easy to read.
      Karen

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