The Sprat Issue 15 – Dying Honey Bees
By James Donahue
Beekeepers began noticing the disappearance of entire hives of bees in 2005. By the
following year the phenomenon had spread across the United States and other parts of the world. By that year nearly one-third
of all honey bee colonies in the U.S. had vanished.
Researchers worked overtime trying to solve the mystery they were calling Colony Collapse
Disorder. Theories ranged from a new virus that attacks just bees, an invasive parasitic mite known to kill the bees and possible
pesticide exposure. The U. S. Department of Agriculture spent something like $20 million in research trying to get to the
bottom of this growing agricultural disaster. Without the natural pollination process by the honey bees, farmers were in line
to lose billions in crop damage and eventually it was going to impact the world’s food supply.
If government researchers had just used their heads, or perhaps if the Department of
Agriculture had simply looked at a major change going on in agricultural practices during that time, they might have saved
the taxpayers a lot of money. Then, again, perhaps they knew but just wanted to spend the money and create a lot of jobs and
cover the truth for as long as possible.
The culprit, as should be expected, has turned out to be Monsanto’s new GMO seed
corn laced with insecticide-producing Mon 810 and Roundup herbicide was being planted by farmers all over the United States
and in any other country that would allow its use. The European nations are still fighting to keep Monsanto GMO seeds out
of their land but the invasion has been occurring anyway.
It was a team of French researchers who got to the truth. A recent report in the American
Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology journal, titled Assessment of the Environmental Exposure of
Honeybees to Particular matter Containing Neonicotinoid Insecticides Coming from Corn Coated Seeds," tells the whole story.
The Monsanto corn and perhaps other GMO crops are killing the bees.
Entomologist Christian Krupke and Geneticist Greg Hunt noted that a toxic power or residue
from the seed treatment is mixed in a talc base to keep the seeds moving freely through modern high-tech vacuum seed spreaders
during planting. Some of this powder is released to settle on nearby flowering plants or in the soil.
The insecticides clothianidin, and its precursor, thiamethoxam, are found in U.S. soils
up to 24 months after the treated seed is planted. These insecticides are currently banned across Europe but not in the United
For the bees, contact with these poisons brings on a terrible death. The insecticide
used by Monsanto kills insects by paralyzing their nerves. The company argues that the product is safe because it has a lower
toxicity for animals that feed on the corn. Perhaps the toxicity is lower, but the corn, soybeans and other GMO products are
still toxic. The long range effect of these GMO products are only now being discovered in a variety of assaults on the bodies
of both humans and animals.
The same study by a team led by Gilles-Eric Seralini, a molecular biologist at the University
of Caen, noted that the data "clearly underlines adverse impacts on kidneys and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs as well
as different levels of damages to heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system."
Monsanto has skillfully trapped American farmers into having to return yearly to buy
more of its toxic seed because the seeds also are hybrids. That means the seed from each year’s crop will not germinate
for a new crop if farmers attempt the age-old practice of saving seed for the next year. Once the field is infected by the
patented Monsanto brand seed, farmers risk litigation if they attempt to return to their old ways of doing things. The courts
and the U.S. government has been kind to Monsanto, but not to the farmers caught in Monsanto’s entrapment.
As more and more GMO corn, soybeans and other food products flood the U.S. food market,
concerned citizens are demanding to know what is in their food. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration has stubbornly refused
to demand that the GMO data be included in food labeling. Voters in California have a right-to-know referendum on the November
ballot that will force producers to put this information on food package labels.
Even the Environmental Protection Agency has remained silent about Monsanto’s
In the meantime, the bees continue to die throughout the North American continent. Steve
Ellis, of the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, says beekeepers are at a "critical tipping point" beyond which honeybee colonies
may be unable to replenish themselves.
Yes Mr. Sprat, the disappearance of the honey bees is a serious issue in the United
States and some countries abroad where Monsanto GMO crops are being planted. This is a man-made problem and the solutions
are being blocked by big corporate money moving into the pockets of the key figures in Washington.