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Saving Bees

Bee Keepers in Warsaw dumped thousands of dead bees on the steps of the Poland Ministry of Agriculture in protest against genetically modified crops and pesticides. Specifically targeting Monsanto’s MON810 GM corn variety.  This variety was approved by the European Union in 1998. GMWatch says that this variety has been linked to millions of acres of pesticide resistant super weeds in the United States. The Polish Parliament had adopted a law in 2006 prohibiting the production, use, and importation of GM animal feed. However, implementation of the law doesn't begin until 2013.

 

Plant diversity is a boost to the health of bee colonies. Pollinating multi-plant species improves nutrition and plant diversity provides a variety of beneficial bacteria and probiotics. This is critical in fending off diseases like Colony Collapse disorder.

Bee loss is attributed to the use of Neonicotinoids, a new class of chemicals, to control insects. Neonicotinoids are used to treat seeds before planting and most field crops in Iowa have had this seed treatment. It's extremely toxic to bees; a single kernel of corn with a 1250 rate of neonicotinoid treatment contains enough active ingredient to kill over 80,000 honey bees.

Other contributing factors to their decline include; Varroa mites, pathogens, habitat loss, pesticides, and possibly GM crops (the studies are still being conducted).

Field entomologist specialist's with Perdue University, Christian Krupke and Iowa State entomologist, Erin Hodgson have taken a closer look at how the bees might be interacting with the neonicotinoids. Read the study here

On a related note...

Victory in Europe...BASF is leaving Europe. The company hasn’t found European’s to be GMO friendly. Instead the company will concentrate on plant biotechnology activities in North and South America. BASF Plant Science headquarters will move from Germany to Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Stefan Marcinowski, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF, responsible for plant biotechnology stated, “We are convinced that plant biotechnology is a key technology for the 21st century. However, there is still a lack of acceptance for this technology in many parts of Europe - from the majority of consumers, farmers, and politicians. Therefore, it does not make business sense to continue investing in products exclusively for cultivation in this market.”

Congratulations, and kudos to the consumers, farmers and politicians of Europe, Way to go!

Meanwhile, Americans are increasingly concerned about genetically modified (GMO) foods. 1 million Americans have signed the “Just Label It” campaign’s petition demanding that the FDA require GM food labeling. The Mellman Group released a new poll showing that 90 percent of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike are in favor of labeling. The fact that these groups all agree on any issue is significant. When was the last time they agreed on anything?  I think a pig just flew past my window. Yep, this could be the day that pigs fly.