Honey Bee Decline

Yesterday a friend of mine posted a link about the effects of GMO’s on bees. Then I was talking with my Uncle about his garden, and he told me it could be doing better, but they weren’t any bees, and that even his attempts to plant bee attracting flowers weren’t working..

Last month I was gardening with my 14 year old daughter, and she started getting annoyed with all the bugs. On a hot day in North Dakota you can encounter deer flies, dragon flies, mosquitoes, punkies, fire ants, wasps, hornets and or course, bees. We have huge bumble bees, and honey bees here. My daughter Kamiel, (who I call Meelie), is terrified of them.

Meelie: “Bugs are so stupid, why do we need them?”
Me: “Everything has a purpose, everything is part of a food chain”
Meelie: “Well why do we need mosquitoes, why do we need BEES?”
Me: “Did you seriously just ask me that?” “Bees do everything! When the bees are gone, we are up the creek lady, and don’t forget it.”
Meelie: “Ha ha it’s true! I guess that was a stupid thing to say I didn’t think about it before I said it, (laughing).

So what’s the deal? Where are they going? Haven’t heard the news about their decline? Don’t know how special they are?

Aside from pollenation, what do they do?
Bees are also special because scientists have discovered that bee venom kills the HIV virus.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/visualscience/2013/03/17/chemical-in-bee-venom-kills-hiv/

It also helps with a variety of autoimmune disorders like rhuematoid arthritis. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18807725
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apitherapy

Local honey has long been a homeopathic cure for allergies. (I swear it works!)
Royal jelly (the nutritous jelly the bees feed the larvae) and bee pollen have been used for centries for healing.

Don’t underestimate the bees.

Honey bees are very common here in North Dakota, but most of them are flown in from California and from other places, to be kept here on farms. Since ND is heavily farmed, almost every farmer is a beekeeper. (Because of this we are in drowning in local honey, which is fabulous) But what about everywhere else? If we the people are terrified of losing bees, why isn’t anyone else? Don’t they know what will happen when they are gone? What is happening to all the bees????

Mass genocide by way of insecticide is one way. Sounds too harsh for you? Don’t think the term genocide applies to bees because they are insects? Well I do, they are important enough. Well what do you think insecticide does?

“Krupke and Hunt received reports that bee deaths in 2010 and 2011 were occurring at planting time in hives near agricultural fields. Toxicological screenings performed by Brian Eitzer, a co-author of the study from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, for an array of pesticides showed that the neonicotinoids used to treat corn and soybean seed were present in each sample of affected bees. Krupke said other bees at those hives exhibited tremors, uncoordinated movement and convulsions, all signs of insecticide poisoning.”
from – (http://wakeup-world.com/2012/01/20/scientists-link-mass-death-of-honey-bees-to-farm-insecticide/)

I have also read reports that GMO crops affect pollen and therefore cause bees to starve to death. Don’t forget either, GMO pollen means GMO honey. They are overpowered by africanized bees, that take over their colonies and kill the gentle honeybees.
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is, what can we do?
Maybe we can lobby against GMO corps like we have been. Will we win? Do we have the the money, the political influence? I don’t know.
Maybe a start is to use heirloom seeds, on our small sustainable farms, and have our own honeybees. Maybe if enough of us do so, we could increase the population a little. I don’t know.

I don’t have the answer, but I sure am afraid for us. I’m afraid for our disregard for this earth, our environment, our atmosphere, our oceans, our fish, our crops, our food and our bees.

http://www.beesource.com/bees-supplies/united-states/

http://www.honeybeehaven.org/content/take-pledge

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6 responses to “Honey Bee Decline

  1. Good morning Kerie!

    Great post on the concerns of colony collapse, and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. With bees, I personally believe it isn’t any one smoking gun, but instead – a death of a thousand cuts. From the insecticides we’re using, to the mass movement and commercialization of the beekeeping practice, diseases like foulbrood, mites, etc.. to a certain extent, we’ve ‘monocultured’ bees like we’ve monocultured crops – and as a result, fungicides and other treatments are ‘needed’ to keep the hives healthy.

    I think that the solution to colony collapse begins with the individual, and an ultimate re-taking of the ancient practices that have been a part of our history for a long time. I think the best way to counter the collapsing of bee colonies is to help aid in their increase. Small backyard hives, people getting to know bees, their behaviors, and educating people to remove the stigma associated with them – that not ALL stinging insects need to be eradicated.

    We just installed a hive in the backyard over here at our place and are working on getting the colony established – it’s been a blast to watch them the last few days, coming and going, gathering nectar, pollen, and hopefully the queen inside is going gangbusters as well. We trapped a swarm in the hive, and are letting it build and grow. Hopefully doing our part. 🙂

    If you haven’t seen it yet, and have Netflix – check out ‘Queen of the Sun’ – it’s a bit wierd in parts (Shannon and I’s favorite wierd part was mustache guy) “ZEY LIKE TO BE BRUSHED!” but an interesting documentary on colony collapse.

    Cheers!
    Ben

    • YOU DID!! I’m so excited for you! Haha! That is so great. I will check it out. I totally agree with you, it isn’t one thing, but the general disregard for bees in general. No one thinks about the little guy.
      Good job having your own hive, I really believe that it is part of the solution.

      I REALLY look forward to seeing moustache guy.

  2. Local honey as a cure for allergies? That’s what I need to do! Did okay this allergy season, but had very itchy eyes for about the past month. I like honey, but sometimes I buy it from Costco, so I have no idea where it came from.

    • NICE! Yeah, most honey now days is mass pruced, some of it isn’t even honey!!! Make sure it’s local, and you know what? If the bees pollenated clover, you will taste it in the honey. same with orange blossoms. It’s totally rad!

  3. I love bees. My granddad used to keep bee hives but one year they were sabotaged by a certain Mr Rowse (aka founder of mass honey producing company). Hmph. We don’t Rowse’s any more 😉

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