Much has been mentioned lately about what is happening to our bees on a global scale.
This is very frightening. Some claim this is a result of pesticides, hybrid crops, fungi and varied other explanations.
Is this man's interference without caution with our environment, a purposeful plan to invoke world wide famine, a natural extinction of a species...something else???
Bring your theories and information and let's try to figure this one out!
Bees - What Nature's Biological Geiger Counters May Be Telling Us
Mar 16th, 2007 6:16 AM
Bees - Biological Geiger Counters
By: Mark Sircus, Ac., OMD
Source: http://Inetrnational Medical Veritas Association
March 16, 2007
Approximately one-third of the typical American’s diet (primarily the healthiest part) is directly or indirectly the result of honey bee pollination.
On their travels, they transfer pollen from plant to plant, flower to flower, fertilizing the blossoms and allowing them to set fruit. This ancient partnership of pollinator and plant is essential to life as we know it. One-third of the food we eat comes from crops that need animal pollinators, a role often filled by bees but sometimes by butterflies, beetles, birds, or bats.
The New York Times and other major media sources have recently published scary articles about a catastrophe in the making, about a disaster that will soon have a direct impact on our collective stomachs. In 24 states throughout the country, beekeepers are getting the shock of their lives seeing hundreds of millions of their bees literally disappearing. Beekeepers go out to open their hives and find them empty. Bees are flying off in search of pollen and nectar and simply not returning to their homes, they vanish without a trace. Researchers say the bees are dying in the fields, perhaps becoming exhausted or simply disoriented and eventually falling victim to the cold. Researchers have labeled this affliction “colony collapse disorder.”
Farmers across North America have been blitzing their fields with millions of tons of herbicides and pesticides for decades. And since the mid to late 1990's massive numbers of genetically engineered crops have been planted.
Greg Ciola wrote in his book GMOs, Beware of the Coming Food Apocalypse, “In one German study done at the University of Jena they tested bees on a field of genetically engineered rapeseed (canola). The bees were released onto the crop and then took the pollen back to their hive and fed it to young bees. When scientists analyzed the bacteria in the gut of the young bees they discovered that it contained the same gene traits as those of the modified crops. This study is very alarming because bees are one of the most important insects to mankind. From bees we get honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, and bees wax. Irrespective of GM crops, there is already great concern in America over the health of the honeybee. American apiaries have been dealing with many other problems over the last few years. They can’t be too pleased to know that altered genes from rapeseed can now be transferred to the bee. Just think how many honeybees in America are now pollinating on genetically modified rapeseed! Better yet, how many honeybees are now pollinating on all genetically modified crops? When bees start dying off, it’s only a matter of time before men does too!”
Safe pastures where bees can forage without being poisoned by pesticides are becoming increasingly rare.
In the UK, there have been "a few but significant examples" of what experts call the "Marie Celeste phenomenon" - colonies abandoning hives altogether leaving no evidence of what caused their disappearance. Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain have also had their bouts with “colony collapse disorder.”
More than 90 crops in North America rely on honeybees to transport
pollen from flower to flower, effecting fertilization and allowing production of fruit and seed. The amazing versatility of the species is worth an estimated $14 billion a year to the United States economy.
Honey bees are responsible for approximately one third of the United States crop pollination including almonds, peaches, soybeans, apples, pears, pumpkins, cucumbers, cherries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Investigators are exploring a range of theories, including viruses, a fungus and poor bee nutrition. They are also studying a group of pesticides that were banned in some European countries to see if these are somehow affecting the bees’ innate ability to find their way back home. It has been noted that to give bees energy while they are pollinating, beekeepers now feed them protein supplements and a liquid mix of sucrose and corn syrup.
There are no tell-tale bee corpses inside colonies or out in front of hives, where bees typically deposit their dead nest mates.
Experts are speculating that it may be the consequence of a new infection, or of several diseases simultaneously, leading to a fatally compromised immune system. It is also possible that severe stress brought on by crowding, inadequate nutrition or perhaps the combined effects of prophylactic antibiotics and miticides sprayed by beekeepers to ward off infections. Another particularly sad possibility is that accidental exposure to a new pesticide may cause non-lethal behavioral changes that interfere with the ability of honeybees to orient and navigate; brain-damaged foraging bees may simply get lost on their way home and starve to death away from the hive.
Honeybees contribute to our food chain in more ways than any other animal species. They are vital to alfalfa and clover, which is processed into hay to feed beef and dairy cattle.
The public does not recognize the magnitude of the threat that these mysterious events present but we should be more than alarmed. Scientists have been observing how one species after another is disappearing from our planet but never before has one with such a direct bearing on food production been threatened. Extinction of a species doesn't just affect the group that disappears - it tends to alter much more.
Earth's biodiversity is being overtaken by a mass extinction which, if allowed to proceed unchecked, could well eliminate between one quarter and one half of all species.
Bees do make excellent biological geiger counters. They are especially valuable perennial mobile biomonitors of the local environment. Foraging honey bees fly and crawl into flowers and inspect many substrates and openings. As such, they come in contact with naturally-occurring materials in the environment as well as manmade pollutants including heavy metals and pesticides. Pollen and these exotic materials stick to their hairy bodies and are carried back to the nest cavity where they often become incorporated into the beeswax, pollen and honey stores. Thus, with their wide foraging range and collecting activities, they are natural monitoring agents for investigating the ebb and flow of floral resources and toxic substances within the environment. At least one researcher has effectively used honey bees to collect pollutants including heavy metals, radionuclides and pesticides, which are concentrated within their nests and can be subsequently analyzed using modern chemical analytical instrumentation.[i]
This reporting of “colony collapse disorder (CCD)” is a very interesting lesson in science. Either scientists have lost their ability to think intuitively[ii] or the media is again demonstrating its dishonesty by refusing to publish essential but unpopular information that threatens incoming advertising dollars. Though it is not reasonable to assume that any single factor is responsible, it is a glaring error to omit from the equation the rising tide of mercury on the land, water and air to which both we and honey bees are exposed. Most beekeepers affected by CCD report that they use antibiotics and miticides in their colonies, though the lack of uniformity as to which particular chemicals are used makes it seem unlikely that any single such chemical is involved. Yet when one chemical weakens a biological system, another can come in with a killer blow.
The decline of honeybee populations has brought the agricultural community to the brink of a pollination crisis.
Scientists have already studied mercury levels in the head, abdomen and thorax of bees (Apis mellifera) from 20 bee populations coming from industrially contaminated areas with a dominant load of mercury (10 populations) as well as from uncontaminated areas. The following mercury levels were found in bees from the contaminated area: heads 0.029-0.385 mg/kg, thorax 0.028-0.595 mg/kg and abdomen 0.083-2.255 mg/kg. Mercury levels in samples from uncontaminated areas ranged from 0.004 to 0.024 mg/kg in the heads, from 0.004 to 0.008 mg/kg in the thorax and from 0.008 to 0.020 mg/kg in the abdomen. In honey samples from the contaminated and uncontaminated areas mercury levels ranged from 0.050 to 0.212 mg/kg and from 0.001 to 0.003 mg/kg, respectively.[iii] Researchers have also demonstrated heavy metal accumulation in honey suggested that honey may be useful for assessing the presence of environmental contaminants.[iv]
Because of their experimental traceability, recently sequenced genome and well-understood biology, honey bees are an ideal model system for integrating molecular, genetic, physiological and socio-biological perspectives to advance our understanding of converging environmental stresses. Honey bees have the highest rates of flight muscle metabolism and power output ever recorded in the animal kingdom. Researchers believe that it is likely that changes in muscle gene expression, biochemistry, metabolism and functional capacity may be driven primarily by behavior as opposed to age, as is the case for changes in honey bee brains.[v] Even at low levels of exposure, mercury can permanently damage the brain and nervous system and cause behavioral changes in people. Mercury is a harsh neurological poison that affects neurological tissues throughout the animal kingdom and it is very possible that it is affecting the sensitive brains of honey bees.
When gilial progenitor stem cells in the brain were exposed to 5 to 6 parts per billion (ppb) of mercury, these cells stop dividing and simply shut down! These cells are absolutely crucial in building the brain in infancy and beyond.
Professor Mark Noble
University of Rochester NY
Power plants are the largest unregulated source of mercury emissions, releasing 48 tons of mercury into the air annually in the United States alone. Oil, fertilizers, pesticides and the countless other chemicals, byproducts and debris that enter our water, air and land continually afflict species worldwide and produce damaging, long-lasting effects. Mercury is however one of the most prevalent and powerful poisons, and it manages to infiltrate everything.
Mercury pollution is making its way into nearly every habitat in the U.S., exposing countless species of wildlife to potentially harmful levels of this neurological toxin.
“From songbirds to alligators, turtles to bats, eagles to otters, mercury is accumulating in nearly every corner of the food chain,” says Catherine Bowes, Northeast Program Manager for the National Wildlife Federation and principal author of a recent report on the issue. “This report paints a compelling picture of mercury contamination in the U.S., and many more species are at risk than we previously thought. Fish, long thought to be the key species affected by mercury, are just the tip of the iceberg.”
Global decline of amphibians has been a hot issue in recent years among both the scientists who study them and the general public. A paper by University of Georgia researchers in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry suggests that atmospheric deposition of mercury in aquatic habitats has the potential to have significant impacts on amphibians in the larval stage of development.[vi]
The National Wildlife Federation report, Poisoning Wildlife: The Reality of Mercury Pollution, is a compilation of over 65 published studies finding elevated levels of mercury in a wide range of wildlife species. The report highlights mercury levels in fish, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians living in freshwater, marine, and forest habitats from across the country. The accumulation of mercury in fish has been well-understood for years, leading 46 states in the U.S. to issue consumption advisories warning people to limit or avoid eating certain species of fish. However, scientists have recently discovered that mercury accumulates in forest soils, indicating that wildlife that lives and feeds outside aquatic habitats are also at risk of exposure to mercury.
“Scientific understanding of the extent of mercury contamination in wildlife has expanded significantly in recent years,” says Dr. David Evers of the Biodiversity Research Institute, wildlife toxicologist and leading researcher in this field. “We are finding mercury accumulation in far more species, and at much higher levels, than we previously thought was occurring. This poses a very real threat to the health of many wildlife populations, some of which are highly endangered.”
The scientific studies compiled in the report show mercury in a wide variety of species:
Freshwater Fish: Brook Trout, Walleye, Yellow Perch, Rainbow Trout, Northern Perch, Largemouth Bass
Birds in Aquatic Habitats: Bald Eagle, Great Egret, Wood Stork, Northern Shoveler, Common Loon, Red-winged Blackbird, White Ibis, Common Tern, Belted Kingfisher
Birds in Forest Habitats: Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Louisiana Waterthrush, Bicknell’s Thrush, Carolina Wren, Prothonotary Warbler
Mammals: Florida Panther, Indiana Bat, Mink, River Otter, Raccoon
Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates: Two-lined Salamander, Snapping Turtle, Crayfish, American Alligator, Bullfrog
Marine Life: Tiger Shark, Sperm Whale, Striped Bass, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Narwhal, Polar Bear, Beluga Whale, Ringed Seal
It is understandable that those who are at the helm of our system do not want to create a massive scare by creating an association between a disaster in agriculture (via the collapse in bee colonies) and the tremendous rise in mercury that the government is trying to suppress. This book, The Rising Tide of Mercury and Other Toxic Chemicals, (coming at the end of 2007 from IMVA Publications), will clearly demonstrate the threat of mercury which is now taking on gigantic proportions, and how virtually no one is effectively dealing with the crisis. What good is it for Europe to eliminate the use of mercury from the continent when it is being spilled into the environment in huge amounts by the United States, China and India? Mercury circles the globe just as radiation from nuclear accidents and the use of deleted uranium weapons does.
It is very possible that the honey bees are being affected in advance of other species in a massive way but it has already been demonstrated by scientists that humans, especially children, are also being seriously affected neurologically by mercury in the air. (See Chapter on Mercury in the Air and rising rates of autism.) The United States is being hit simultaneously by two increasing waves of mercury pollution: one could be responsible for triggering the collapse in bee populations, and the other long-standing issue of constant large tonnage being released each and every day.
The increasing occurrence and intensity of wildfires due to climate change is worsening mercury pollution in North America according to a new study from researchers at Michigan State University, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the Canadian Forest Service. Wildfires are releasing mercury long since sequestered in Northern wetlands and will without doubt add to health problems in both humans and animals.
Industry puts out more than carbon monoxide into the air, tons of mercury are put out into the air each and everyday.
A 2002 study from the University of Santa Cruz, California illuminates the mechanisms of a second pathway where mercury is increasing. This study found that mercury from coal emissions in China ends up in rainwater on the California coast.[vii] Atmospheric mercury travels around the globe as a gas and must be oxidized into charged ions that will attach themselves to water molecules before they are washed out as rain. Ozone, abundant in industrial and urban smog, plays a key role in this oxidative process. When the gaseous mercury blows into San Francisco Bay from Asia, the local smog is there waiting to "enrich" it and set in motion the process of introducing more mercury into the food chain via rain onto surface waters. With China and India putting up new dirty coal fired plants at a furious rate it is literally raining mercury in the United States and all over the world. By 2020, the United States will emit almost one-fifth more gases that lead to global warming than it did in 2000, increasing the risks of drought and scarce water supplies, and of course, though no one is talking about it, mercury emissions will continue to rise.
Scientists from the University of Quebec who have been studying the Amazon basin since 1992, measured riverbank sediments for mercury levels in small increasing increments and discovered that the most recent sediments contained 1.5 to 3 times the amount of mercury compared to those of 40 years earlier. The timing of the mercury increases fits well with the huge colonization of the area initiated during the 1960s by Brazil's National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform. Through this program, tens of thousands of families relocated from the poorer regions of northeastern Brazil to the Amazon basin. Most of these families turned to farming, and cleared more than 2.5 million hectares of Amazon forest using "slash and burn" methods. While most people are aware of the perils of deforestation in terms of global warming and depletion of protective ozone, only now are scientists beginning to understand that the consequent erosion of soils contributes to worldwide mercury contamination. "When you have forest cover, this mercury is extremely stable in the soils," explains one of the researchers. "There is hardly any release to the aquatic ecosystem. The mercury is bound to clay, organic matter, humic acids, and so on."[viii] Without the forest cover, exposed soil is washed into waterways as regularly as it rains. Once in contact with bacteria in the rivers, inorganic mercury is converted to methyl mercury and thereby introduced into the food chain.
Mercury continues to appear in places and via means that scientists could not have predicted. Two studies in the March 15, 2002 issue of Environmental Science and Technology describe the phenomenon of "mercury sunrise," an event first described in 1998 in the Arctic north. During a span of only five months during the polar spring each year, the northern-most coast of Alaska receives more than twice the amount of mercury that would usually fall during an entire year on the northeastern coast of the US. This phenomenon also occurs on the southern polar region, and researchers estimate that as much as a hundred tons of mercury are dumped on both poles annually.[ix]
It has been clear since the infamous 1950s case of women in Minimata, Japan who gave birth to children with severe birth defects because of mercury-tainted fish in their diet, that exposure to high levels of mercury can be harmful. Subsequent studies have revealed that even low-level mercury exposure threatens normal development of the fetus. Problems with vision, hearing, language and motor skills are typical of mercury-related neurological damage. Some recent studies indicate that men with elevated mercury levels may suffer more heart attacks. Animal studies suggest that low-level mercury exposure produces autoimmune diseases and other immune system anomalies.[x] The mercury is there but the recent publicity about this issue is centered on how safe it is to eat mercury contaminated fish!
Because mercury is everywhere - in our water, foods, air, soil, vaccines and dental amalgam - it needs to be factored into ALL disease etiologies.
Are we next? Will humans start to fall like the bees? It is very possible, more likely than not, that top federal health officials have already previewed the looming disaster but cruelly refuse to face the public with the truth. It is either that or they are the most ignorant medical scientists in the universe. Instead of warning humanity and directing the government’s efforts to reduce and even eliminate mercury, as the European Union is setting out to do with earnest, health officials each and every year, at an increasingly frantic pace, are warning of hundreds of millions of deaths from influenza and the bird flu. Never once will you hear them quote research that indicates that mercury toxicity increases the frequency and intensity of influenza symptoms and could be one of the root causes of death from the flu. We know that mercury is rising in threatening concentrations, it is a scientific fact. Yet the United States government is doing practically nothing to stop mercury pollution. To the contrary, a hundred and fifty new coal fire plants are on the drawing board.
What do you think?