Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Bonus post: big corporation may be killing the bees

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

One of the things I love about the internet is that I never know where I will end up. I was looking for something on the Google when I saw a link about the bees. I have been worrying, quietly, about the bees for some time. There have been increasing reports about sudden hive collapses all over America, and in Europe too. One report I saw said that in places in China where all the bees had died people had resorted to doing pollination with feathers. It's the internet, so I cannot be sure this is true, but if it is even half true it is fairly terrifying.

You see, without the bees, there is no food. It's as stark as that. I'm not just going all hippy dippy and worrying about the sweet beekeepers with their charming headgear. I'm not merely longing for honey. This is not some niche eco side-issue. This is the survival of the species. The bees, very kindly, do all our pollinating for us, so that we can grow crops and eat. (We do bugger all for them, which seems a bit unfair.) If the bees die out, there are no more crops and then what?

The irony is that it seems that pesticides, devised to help crops grow, may be to blame for the death of the bees, which will mean no crops will ever grow again. The leading culprit appears to be something called clothianid, made by the German company Bayer. There is conflicting scientific evidence, but a growing amount of circumstantial proof, to the extent that the German government has actually banned the stuff. The news that has shocked me today is that a leaked document shows that the EPA in America knows that the chemical represents a 'chronic toxic risk to honey bees' and yet continues to approve its use.

If you want to be shocked to your very core, have a look at these:

Not very Christmassy, I know. But oh oh, the bees.


(Photograph by Unknown.)


  1. There were a couple of scary bee documentaries on the tv and radio not long ago. And the price of honey has gone totally crazy too. It seems odd that not much seems to be being done about it.

  2. Damn, that's scary. Seriously, where are the people with the longterm views in our governments? Save the bees!

  3. It is terrifying to hear about the honey bees but it's not just them it is all insect pollinators. There is little we can do except put pressure on governments to ban the stuff and to put more money and urgency into research. Problem is we all need cheap food, NOW.
    On a practical front don't use pesticides or herbicides in your own gardens and devise ways to make your neighbourhood/garden a haven

  4. that is indded a horrible thing for a company to they have devised ways to kill bees tomorrow they may do that to humans.A strict action must be taken against EPA

  5. Ah bbut in the papers only last week apparently the bee population in London is SOARING - apparently the good people - and you wouldn't think it of Londoners necessarily - have taken to bee-keeping like gangbusters, making use of their balconies and roof gardens and so on. That is a cheering thought.

  6. AWFUL. On a lighter note, loved the bee pic and as for your process post...brilliant!

  7. Many pollinators are in danger. Here in Arizona, the bats are dying in record numbers, and they pollinate much of the flowering desert vegetation.
    Hive collapse has been a problem for several years now, but the Africanised bees (on the every cloud has a silver lining theory)that are taking over the US are ubiquitous so a natural sort of pollination,as opposed to the imposed, take the bee hives in trucks to various fields, kind, is still taking place.
    When I think how stressful I find moving house, I can't imagine how the bees handle being on the go from farm to farm.

  8. Betty M & Life in pink fibro - could not agree more.

    Tattie Weasel - thanks for the links. Oddly, I am fanatical about keeping my garden entirely chemical-free, and furiously dig the ground elder up by hand. But I am rewarded with an amazing amount of wildlife, from birds and bees to worms and beetles.

    Sudheer - am very sad about the EPA, esp under the new Obama administration.

    Jo - LOVE the happy thought of the London beekeepers.

    Knackered Mother - so delighted you liked the process post. Thank you.

    Colby - absolutely fascinating about the bats and the moving hives. I always love it when I learn something from my readers. Bulletins from Arizona are especially fascinating. Am currently slightly obsessed with your governor. Don't think me rude if I say I find her a little baffling. :)


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