If you are interested in eating you might want to check out Time magazine this month. The cover story is titled, “A World Without Bees”. It seems, this actually is a possibility.
Some say he said it, but many doubt that Einstein ever said, “If bees disappear from the surface of the globe, man would have no more then four years to live”. That may not be exactly true but nevertheless the point is made. The loss of the honeybee would be catastrophic on a global scale.
The honeybee is mankind’s smallest domestic animal. One third of our American diet is dependent on the honeybee for pollination. Whole Foods graphically demonstrated this fact when they removed from their vegetable section, all those fruit, vegetables and nuts, which are dependent on honeybees for pollination. Of 453 food items in the produce section, 257 were removed. A few of the items on that list were apples, lemons, zucchini, squashes, cantaloup, cranberries, almonds and cucumbers. That’s only 8 of the 257 removed!
Here’s the deal and it reads like a science fiction story. About 2006 Jim Doan commercial beekeeper went to one of his fields to inspect some of his hives. He had been tipped off by another commercial beekeeper that something was very wrong. Jim went to a field where he kept a hundred hives. He donned his bee suit and approached the hives, smoker in hand and smoked the hives as usual, to calm the bees. When he lifted the lid from one of the hives he saw the barren truth of it. The hive was empty. He pushed the hive over to its side then went to the next hive. Soon they were all down in the grass. All one hundred of his hives at that location were empty. Jim Doan was one of the first beekeepers whose hives where lost to the new threat, Colony Collapse Disorder – CCD.
Since 2006 it is estimated that 10 million beehives have been lost at a cost of about $2 billion. Experienced beekeepers are leaving the industry in droves. Jim Doan is one of them.
In China where the overuse of pesticides has wiped out wild bee populations in some areas, hand pollinating with brushes has become the norm.
Many like to say that the verdict is still out on just what might be the cause of this kind of devastation. Is it the massive industrial farms? Their monoculture environments are virtual deserts to foraging bees. Perhaps it is the Varoa mite which attacks the honeybee pupae? Some say it is the combination of the above. Many insist it is a new form of insecticide called neonicotinoids. It is interesting to note that the use of neonicotinoids began about the same time colony collapse disorder first appeared. Neonicotinoids have been banned at least temporarily in Europe. Maybe it could all be stopped just that easily here?
Check out the article in this month’s Time magazine. It is important you and the children’s future might depend on it.