Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pen Meets Paper Aug. 16'10

Opinion by Helge Nome
When was the last time you saw a honeybee moving from flower to flower in your garden? When was the last time you saw one anywhere? Quite a few years in my case.
This last spring my Nanking Cherry tree blossoms were visited by bumble bees and and some very small bee-looking creatures, but no honeybees made their appearance. That is in contrast to some 15-20 years ago when they seemed to be everywhere, beginning with the pussy willow flowers in early spring and moving on to the dandelions when they greeted the spring sun.
The disappearance of the honeybee has now been recognized as the calamity that it is and is called “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD for short). So far, it has proven to be impossible to identify one single causal agent, but one major factor has been colony infestations by the Varroa mite which attaches itself to the body of the bee and is a carrier of bee disease agents.
The bigger question is: What has brought about this phenomenon? Is it just a natural cyclical event that recurs from time to time, or do apicultural practices have something to do with it? I think it has to do with the latter, where the bee colonies’ state of health has been drastically diminished by winter feeding practices. For many years, bee keepers have substituted commercial sugar syrup for honey in their bee colonies in order to maximize profits. The bee colonies’ protein supplies, in the form of pollen stored, have also been removed because of a good commercial market for this product.
Antibiotics were then used to deal with emerging colony health issues. It was all about the bottom line without any thought about the future. And now the consequences of these practices are becoming evident: In addition to supplying us with honey, bees are used to pollinate large commercial plant crops in order for them to set seed and provide us with our food. It’s a loose-loose situation.
This is beginning to sound faintly familiar! Where else is something similar happening today? The job market for our young people has seemingly disappeared, just like the honey bee colonies. Is this a natural cyclical event, or is it man made? The answer is that it is an un-natural cyclical event and that it is man made. Our debt ridden financial system is to blame where money is being withheld from the industrial/commercial system and so starving our up and coming honey bees, rendering them weak and vulnerable to predation by pests and diseases such as drug use and related gang activities.
However, unlike the honey bees, they won’t just go away and die somewhere, unless we send them off to some god forsaken war, that is. More likely, they will poison the environment they live in, including us privileged folks. Something to think about - and then do something!

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