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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bees Lose Their Way

Many worker bees have lost their sense of direction, and are not returning to their hives with nectar. This week it is front page news. The bees that normally pollinate our crops have disappeared in such numbers that twenty-five percent of commercially kept hives in the United States have collapsed. This is doomsday count news. What do we eat if plants can't grow? Maybe farmers could blow pollen over the fields by machine. Bees bring pollen on their legs into the deep cups where nectar forms. Can you see millions of people in sunhats using tweezers to fertilize plants one flower at a time?

Some blame radio wave towers for cell phones. Others point to pesticides banned in Europe, which permeate the plants and are ingested by insects. These pesticides contain high fructose corn syrup, which has little nutritional value and in the human body goes straight to fat. I inspect labels carefully to avoid this form of sweetening. High fructose corn syrup is also used in the travel food fed to bees when their hives are loaded into huge semis, and their owners drive around looking for pollination work. Who knew? I didn't know there were itinerant pollinators. I never thought about needing industrial numbers of beehives to pollinate acres and miles of crops.

The article I read said that bee die-offs have occurred before, but this one is a lot bigger. I guess I'm assuming that "they," the Department of Agriculture, I suppose, will find out what's harming the bees and do something about it. Or perhaps I should assume that the authorities knew very well what might happen and were pressured into taking a chance that something profitable could be allowed and might not become a threat to our food supply. As for our nutrition supply, even a lot of fresh produce lacks the nutrition it used to have.

Save the bees.


marylandbluecrab said...

While I totally understand why people want to moderate their consumption of HFCS, I haven't completely cut it out of my diet. I drink soda every once in a while, even though it has HFCS and I don't think it's going to have any negative effects on me...in moderation...

Irene Grumman said...

I also drink soda once in a while. HFCS isn't cyanide. I have no idea if there will be a negative effect over time of occasional ingestion. If the same soda was available without HFCS, I would prefer it. I still wouldn't drink soda often.