I overheard a conversation where my mother was talking about the garden in our back yard. She talked about vegetables that once plentiful are mainly the ones that fail to grow today. At first, she suspected the soil was dying, but then she realized that there were no bees around anymore. I searched in my head to reflect a moment on that observation, and I too noticed that bees that used to swarm around the house are no longer to be found. It as if the bees moved away or perhaps died.
Let me be honest by saying bees are not something I consider as a pet. But they are wonderful to have especially if you have flowers, plants or a garden. It is somewhat like having a garden snake. Sure, they can scare the crap out of you, but they do keep other critters away from the garden; and sometimes me because I am scared of snakes. But I am concerned to realize that our bee population has dramatically disappeared. I began searching credible websites to find answers. What was strange about my search is that number of times Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and the seed company Monsanto kept appearing. Many arguments point to Monsanto that designs its proprietary commercial seeds with pesticides that are possibly passed on bees. I was disturbed to read a government report published by the Canadian government. It says pollen becomes genetically modified or sterile; the bees will potentially go malnourished and die of illness due to the lack of nutrients and the interruption of the digestive capacity.” The argument is because of GMO and “Terminator Seeds.” My question is why isn’t the USDA mentioning this as a letter of warning to FDA regulated industries?
What about grant research? I did some digging around and found that the USDA provided $8 million to help boost declining honeybee populations. Apparently, Land Grant universities are requested to apply, but I couldn’t find any University that won that particular research grant. Folks, life without bees can be just as devastating as the loss of water or global warming issues. It’s somewhat like a domino effect. Another disturbing observation is that there are plenty of beekeeping websites with up to date information about the declining bee population but very little published from universities or government agencies. Are they fearful of companies such as Monsanto and is politics playing its ugly hand?
I have a bit of concern that if things can happen to bees, then it can happen to humans and potentially other living beings. I think we need to push back somewhat to large seed companies to determine what is in the seed and disclose its method. The tobacco companies for decades hid the harmful effects of nicotine and other additives in cigarettes. Why not apply this level of transparency to GMO’s? Perhaps now is that time to better understand what happened to our bee population.