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.
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.
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.
- Text “BUZZ” to 77177 to get updates and how to take action
- www.earthjustice.org and read about “The Case of the Vanishing Bees”
- Read “Toward Saving the Honey Bee” by Günther Hauk
“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.