After several years of intensive research, scientists have announced that the cause for the alarming die-off among honey bees is a combination of man-made pesticides and fungicides. While they were very careful not to blame any one product or class of products, they did note the lethal brew of chemicals and how they are applied must be looked at. And why does anyone even care about dead bees?
For starters, the bees pollinate an estimated $30 billion worth of crops each year in the U.S. and in the past six years over 10 million hives worth an estimated $2 billion have been wiped out by a mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The researchers think that CCD could be triggered by a number of factors including parasites that attack the bees. It turns out that these parasites seem to have a great time hurting bees once the bees have ingested the pesticides and fungicides.
The problem with solving this issue is that the corporations that create the chemicals stand to lose a great deal of money if their products are deemed unsafe. Thus, they will be looking to discredit this report and possibly even attack the scientists directly via negative PR campaigns, bogus studies of their own or lawsuits. This is why the report is so very careful not blame a company or product and to speak of application, which the companies can’t control but could influence through education initiatives.
Ultimately, if this issue isn’t fixed, the world, or large parts of it, could starve or food prices could skyrocket due to severe shortages. Keep in mind that this issue is not limited to just the U.S. Farmers in Europe are seing the same CCD issue and are also looking into the causes there. CCD and bee deaths have gotten some coverage in the past few years, but it is fleeting since most people don’t make the connection between bees and food. But there is a critical and direct connection and if big business wins in this case, the world loses.
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