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Honey Bees Work For Monsanto --- Roundup Ready Pollinators

 
Dale Hodgins
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It has occurred to me that domesticated honey bees are an essential component of chemical based agriculture. Long term exposure to herbicides and pesticides may have imparted them with a degree of tolerance that native pollinators lack. In some highly polluted areas, they make up the majority of insects seen on crop flowers. They are the roundup ready army of pollinators that the GMO, chemical farm can count on when the bumblebees die out.

According to sites sponsored by bee keepers,
certain crops would never get adequately pollinated without their services. They promote the idea that famine would wipe out humanity in short order without honey bees. To some extent, this might be true.

I'm not claiming to be an expert on bee genetics or their resistance to pollutants. I'm relying on information produced by the honey and pollination industry. They say their bees are tougher than other pollinators. I'm also basing my assumption that bees would become resistant to poisons, on the fact that many other insect pest species have become resistant to pesticides. Millions are spent each year in tweaking chemical formulas that fail to kill the target pest after a few generations of them have been exposed to a new poison. Bees wander everywhere and have been exposed to it all.

Human Transportation of Bee Hives ---
My friend John, is a bee keeper. He has hives in Northern B.C. that feed on fireweed and other forest species. A great way for him to make money, is to build up his hive numbers in this clean environment and then transport them to California to pollinate almonds and other crops. This is often a one way trip for the bees. He told me that 3/4 of them die during a season of this. Losses are higher when you first start doing it. "After a few years the bees are used to it and your losses go down." ----- The practice of transporting bees to areas that don't have enough pollinators, allows chemical farming to continue in an environment that they have drastically altered. Without the imports, crops would fail.

Pollinator die off should be the " canary in the coal mine." It should provide a natural way for chemical farming to fail economically. The honey bee is used to shore up the crumbling foundations of an agricultural system that is destroying land and poisoning those who eat the food. Honey bees are therefore an indispensable cornerstone of the status quo in agriculture. They work for Monsanto, DuPont, BASF .... Without them, the current state of affairs in corporate agriculture could not continue.
 
John Elliott
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I would describe it a bit differently and put Monsanto in the same category as Varroa destructor -- external parasites that weaken the bee by sucking the life out of it, spreading disease, weakening the colony, and eventually causing a collapse of the hive.
 
Dale Hodgins
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John Elliott wrote:I would describe it a bit differently and put Monsanto in the same category as Varroa destructor -- external parasites that weaken the bee by sucking the life out of it, spreading disease, weakening the colony, and eventually causing a collapse of the hive.


John, would you agree that imported bees can be the only option on farms that have killed off their beneficial creatures, including bees? And, does the availability of imported hives allow chemical farming to succeed where nature is telling it to fail ?

---------------------- I see you are a pollinator, so being used by corporate interests in this way must get under your skin.
 
R Scott
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It isn't JUST the chemical companies, it is the huge monocultures. The huge almond farms, for example, have NOTHING for the bees 11 months out of the year. Bees can't survive a roundup ready monocrop even if it isn't the chemicals because all the ragweed and clover are not there to get them through the season.
 
Michael Cox
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Also, evolutionary pressure forces all species to respond to chemicals that are spread in the environment - not just honey bees but all bugs. Ultimately this is why chemical based approaches are unable to succeed long term - the pests adapt and the pesticides stop working.

To my mind monocrops and lackmof diverse food year round are bigger threats.
 
Lisa Paulson
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My sense of alarm was tweaked when I read that crops of say kiwi in New Zealand are sprayed with a substance that causes the plants to all bloom the same weeks while the rented bee hives are present. Elsewhere I had read the substances sprayed weeks before the pollinating dates were toxic to family pets and they were kept indoors . I am wondering if crops like the almond trees as well would be crop dusted with something that would regulate the plant production but produce toxic results to other living things besides the pesticides and fungacides and such we are familiar recognizing as problems ?

 
John Elliott
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Dale Hodgins wrote:

John, would you agree that imported bees can be the only option on farms that have killed off their beneficial creatures, including bees? And, does the availability of imported hives allow chemical farming to succeed where nature is telling it to fail ?

---------------------- I see you are a pollinator, so being used by corporate interests in this way must get under your skin.


I would say that we are leaving some fascinating subjects of study for archeologists far into the future. When they unearth our technologies, they will marvel both at the cleverness we used to figure stuff out, and the dumbness we had to ignore all the interconnections. How we learned just enough chemistry to goose plants with chemical fertilizers, but how we completely missed the boat on biological fertilizers. Well, unless they do a dig at a permie settlement.

You seem to have an engineering bent, so I will describe modern technology as being cantilevered in the extreme. We keep adding one more plank, just a little bit further out there and agribusiness can realize that tantalizing profit goal. And they see that it has not collapsed, so they send for one more plank. Maybe that is in the way of solar powered nanobots that can flit from flower to flower just like bees, but only more efficiently since they are robotic.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Those sprays that Lisa mentions, are not something we usually hear about, probably since it's not clear if they are poisons. They are a big question mark.

John, I'm going to take that as a yes on both counts.
 
Ken Peavey
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It would follow that taking away enough of these exposed, adapted bees would then cripple the GMO industry.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Ken Peavey wrote:It would follow that taking away enough of these exposed, adapted bees would then cripple the GMO industry.


I think it might be possible to curtail their movements. If it could be shown that these bees are harmful to any creature listed as an endangered species, that might trigger legislation. The best spots in the U.S. to target would be California, Texas and Florida. Lots of endangered habitat along with high value crops. Stop the bees and a financial disaster would ensue.
 
tel jetson
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honey bees have a relatively long life-cycle compared to most insects that are considered pests. in temperate regions, honey bee colonies generally take at least a year to reproduce.

while a queen can start laying upwards of 1000 eggs a day from just a few weeks after she hatches from an egg, those are sterile workers. when the colony is strong enough, she may start to lay drone eggs, which are essentially flying gametes since they're haploid while females are diploid. it's only when the colony decides to swarm that bees capable of reproduction (queens) are reared.

the insects agriculture considers pests can pass through many generations before a honey bee colony passes through one. for most adaptation, the faster the generations, the faster the adaptation. the upshot of all this is that the pests will adapt to toxins more rapidly than honey bees, so the impetus to further escalate the war and ratchet up the weapons used remains.

honey bees facilitate all this not by being adapted to industrial agriculture, but by being manipulated by migratory beekeepers. if everything works out according to plan, the bees are brought in during a break in the spread of toxins, they pollinate, and they're moved on so that the biocide can resume. in practice, the bees get exposed to a whole lot of nasty shit and a great many die. migratory beekeepers accept enormous losses because they are paid enormous sums for pollination service.

the one chap I'm familiar with in town who does pollination keeps in the vicinity of 2000 hives. he trucks them to California, Oregon, Idaho, North Dakota, and ships them to Hawai'i. I don't know exactly what the numbers are, but each one of those hives is rented for pollination services several times each season at over $100 a pop. if he loses half of them, well, everybody else probably did, too, so the price for pollination goes up to cover the losses.

so yeah, honey bees make much of the nastiness of industrial ag possible, but I don't think it's because they're adapting to the toxins. it's because the money has so far been there to make widespread honey bee death acceptable.
 
R Scott
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The commercial honey guys near me don't expect a hive to live past 3 years for stationary hives. It is just ridiculously unsustainable.
 
wayne stephen
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If Colony Collapse Disorder could be definitively linked to the practice of shipping hives from place to place and also be shown to be endangering native pollinators ; I think you could make a case with the EPA . I don't think they would put a stop to the practice. A rapid collapse of the GMO / RUR / Monocrop system would also cause famine . More than likely tighter regulations and governmental oversight would ensue and make food even more expensive and taxes go higher. I think Dale has made an excellent point . These practices may be destructive to bee populations , but the adapted bees may be the ones best suited for that job. They are like the Cornish/Rock Crosses of the bee world. Suited for a shorter life with a magnified purpose. What do want to bet that Monsanto is already playing with bee DNA ?
 
tel jetson
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R Scott wrote:The commercial honey guys near me don't expect a hive to live past 3 years for stationary hives.


all my third year hives seem to be doing just fine.
 
wayne stephen
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A June 2013 article in the St. Louis Dispatch reveals the Monsanto is developing a "technology" to help cure CCD . They are working on a substance to feed bees that will alter the RNA of the varoa mites that feed on those inoculated hosts. Monsanto insists they have no plans to alter bee DNA. This substance will need to be fed regularly . I assume Monsanto will enforce their patent rights vigorously.
 
Dale Hodgins
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In this case, it would seem that the bee keeper would be working for Monsanto on a part time basis. I guess it would depend on the percentage of income required to buy the stuff. I spend about 15% of my earnings on mortgage interest. I like to say that I work for a bank, part time.
 
R Scott
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tel jetson wrote:
R Scott wrote:The commercial honey guys near me don't expect a hive to live past 3 years for stationary hives.


all my third year hives seem to be doing just fine.


I am in midwest farm monoculture country and they are running Langstroth hive. Even the pastures are monocrop. I am an anomaly.
 
tel jetson
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R Scott wrote:I am an anomaly.


yeah. that was kind of my point. bees that aren't treated like machines seem to be doing a whole lot better than those in the care of conventional beekeepers.
 
Jeff Sayler
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wayne stephen wrote: What do want to bet that Monsanto is already playing with bee DNA ?


Back 2011 Monsanto bought Beeologics, a bee research firm. I'm afraid they are working on owning the worlds honey bees.

 
jimmy gallop
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So I guess the bee transporters are supporting there own demise .
 
Dale Hodgins
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David Williams wrote:http://www.infowars.com/illinois-ag-department-illegally-seizes-privately-owned-bees-resistant-to-gmo-poison/



This doesn't completely prove my original assertion, but it proves that I wasn't alone in assuming resistance was involved.

I've never raised a bee. Many other members have and they've done it in an ecologically sound manner.
------- For me, it's important to carefully examine every link in the chain of our food production. And it's important to examine every chink in the armor of agribusiness, looking for weakness and vulnerability. I see agribusiness as my enemy, and as the enemy of every thinking person. This issue of pollination is costly and wasteful. It could be their Achilles heel, their weakest link. Anything that can be done to further increase cost and logistical difficulties, through enactment of transport bans, endangered species legislation or other disruption to this nasty business, will weaken our enemy. Huge financial losses to big bee keepers and to their clients could be the result. No, it wouldn't cause famine.----- It would cause regional disruption, huge wastes of time and hopefully, continual reexamination of the problem. It might even push a few growers away from chemical farming and toward something more sustainable. I don't believe that wholesale change in agriculture will be achieved solely by appealing to the better nature of human beings. Some will need to be dragged into the light, kicking and screaming all the way.

I started this thread, about replacing honey bees with native pollinators, almost two years ago. The two topics naturally go together. http://www.permies.com/t/10917/bees/Time-replace-European-honey-bee ----- These topics both take a dim view of the present state of bee keeping. My issue with this business has always been centered on attacking agribusiness. Many on this forum, raise bees in a manner that is good for permaculture and good for the bees. It has never been my intent to slander any of you or to imply that there is anything wrong with that. Whenever I tackle a topic where we have a villain, I like to hammer away at them relentlessly, like a fighter who has his opponent on the ropes. In such a battle, feelings can get bruised when people see that their little niche is being picked on. I'd like to see many small bee keepers in my corner, now that it's clear that we have a common enemy.
 
Ludger Merkens
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Well it is highly unlikely, that honey bees already developed some resistancy against the agricultural chemical warfare around them. Such a rapid adjustment usually needs a short reproductive cycle, which the bees don't have. (bees produce reproductive offspring only once a year, so limiting themselves to one generation per year.) The commercial practice of buying/importing package bees from other regions. (even australia and New Zealand) even further limits the probablilty, that the bee population develops a resistance to those chemicals. This import of bees effectively imports the non adapted genetics also, thus limiting the chance of the bee population to develop a resistance.
If there are locally kept bee strains, which have developed such a resistance, thats a rare and probably praised exception. (Which might be scientifically interesting)

My conclusion is - a newly developed resistancy of bees against agrochemicals is highly unlikely.

But the commercial beekeeping practice/pollination services (with foreign bees), nevertheless compensates for some of the effects of those chemicals, wich would otherwise be more obvious.

 
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