Sadly I’m finding more support for something that I have long suspected. Monsanto is a major player in the deaths of honey bees, which could in turn cause mankind to starve. The shame is that it is not a direct cause so many are duped into believing that these genetically manipulated products cause no harm. For a long time bee colony deaths have been attributed to pests, pesticides, and environment. The primary pests were Varroa mites which are like microscopic vampires sucking the life out of the bees. But healthy bee hives where there is no smoke or antibiotics have been able to survive these attacks. There are a variety of pesticides which also kill bees but these are obvious because death is fairly immediate. The biggest factor in the environment seems to be widening holes in our planet’s ozone layer. These holes are allowing more ultraviolet light to come through causing an increasing incidence of human skin cancer, as well as the deaths of frogs and many insects. However, while these attacks are significant most bees have been surviving in spite of them.
Then Monsanto comes on the scene. They took a previously used bacterial disease, Bacill Thuringiensis ( also known as “Bt” ), but instead of spraying it on the plants as was previously done, Monsanto incorporated Bt into the produce itself, genetically. Spraying put most of the poison on the outside of the plants where bees had less contact. Genetically modified plants are the poison. Genetically engineered plants containing Bt were approved for use with the understanding that there would be no harm to non-target insects. (There was no mention of us humans, of course.)
So Bt was studied for its effect upon bees, but only as a direct cause of death. The actual mechanism for death seems to be ingestion of the poison by bees through plant nectar and pollen, then Bt produces a sort of bee Alzheimer, if you will. Normally when bees die of other direct causes, the bodies are piled outside of the hives by workers. Bt affected bees get memory loss and lose their ability to navigate to and from the hive. In the winter months, when the bee has to travel further to get food, they simply lose their way and don’t return home. Beekeepers just find an empty hive in the spring when they go to check on their colonies.
There are scientists who are giving us a 30 year life span until starvation. Personally, I would think that event could come sooner unless some is done to stop the present proliferation of Bt-laced products as well as the build up of Bt levels in water and soil along with the increasing cross pollination of Bt plants with organic ones. Some organic farmers are even using Bt pesticides since they are listed as “natural”. This only adds to contamination levels, hastening the time when honey bees could become extinct.