I had a chat with my mentor and (long time beekeeper) friend about genetically engineering (GE) and chemical issues in Australia. I told him I post here at OpEdNews, and he was pleased to know that people are showing interest in Colony Collapse Disorder, at last!
He told me how in South Australia in the 80's, they had planned to start a pollen trade. After collecting and sending it to Germany, the major purchaser, for testing and quality assurances, he was amazed to be told they would not buy it, due to plastic contamination! Yes! That was when the plastic bee boxes and frames were released and they had bought a few to trial. It showed traces at PPM, and was rejected.
Our Australian chaps said it was beyond our labs to check that fine a tolerance and they denied it could be so. Sadly, they were just using old and inefficient equipment, as PPM is now a standard assay. The business did not get off the ground. Other beekeepers were unwilling to stop using the plastics.
Below are a few links to articles from Australia concerning GMO POLLEN and bees and honey:
Gm pollen contamination in honey: Network of Concerned Farmers.
This one from Spiegel online: Collapsing Colonies: Are GM Crops Killing Bees?.
And, finally: Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Research | BASC. They are so concerned they have put $100,000 into research.
You would think people may finally be aware that chemicals, let alone possibly GE pollen may be an issue. I would have thought it logical, however, I happened on a brand new addition to our local library this week, and delayed this article to read it. I am glad I did. I was gobsmacked to read what a supposedly "artisan" apiarist is recommending people use on the bees in their care.
Fume boards! "Several materials or fumes to remove bees from the hives (supers is the correct term, but I want to keep it as easy to read as I can). One brand is "efficient foul smelling and works fast!" However, it "leaves a smell in the hive and can taint the honey too" same product, but with "cherry scent"?!? Still not nice and if spilt on clothing, he advocates burning it. Oh, wonderful.
Third product is supposedly natural non-toxic and smells of almonds... hmm, a cyanide base?
Now, all this has me puzzled. For centuries, a handful of sawdust or some leaves produces a lovely smoke that the bees move from, and it is free and natural and contaminates nothing. Two or three puffs at the top and they immediately drop down off the comb and protect the Queen in the centre!
No magic, Bee Logic! Get down for fresh air and protect the Lady.
This author is against decapping the frames to extract the honey, using hot knives, as he says that will affect the honey's taste. After the above, it seems silly. In the US, you get the bees out, then take the hives , minus as many bees as possible -- a distance away to a separate processing area. Hmm, so a whole colony is whizzing around, upset and unable to go to the shelter of their hive. The base hive with queen is left, but all the bees will NOT fit in that one area.
So you get a lot of angry bees with no shelter. They will not just go off for a feed while they wait for you, and they waste a huge amount of precious energy flying around, wondering where their home just went. Not smart.
We and others field extract - from hive to extractor a distance of six feet – and comb returned in minutes. Minimum harm and stress to the bees; maximum hard, hot work for the humans.
The next weirdness is a "new" scientist-created Synthetic Brood Pheromone, to artificially fool the bees into making more honey to feed a brood that is NOT there. Field trials are ongoing...but he advocates using it anyway. Sorry, but why? It is NOT proven safe, and is greed driven, not bee wise.
There is also mention of an artificial food supplement to fool bees into feeding the Queen more so she will produce brood earlier than naturally would occur. The mix is -- and this IS worrisome -- soybean and milk by-products, and (!?!) high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), as well as some vitamins and minerals.
This is Un-Natural, intensive and not good for the bees, but a common practice. Seeing as an awful lot of US soy is GM now, and the milk is rBGH, and then the HFCS apart from being GM corn, may also have mercury contamination from the process used to make it... 3 strikes and you're out? Then add poisons on crop plants, IN crop plants, and a lack of natural plants, and a one-pollen diet for weeks on end.
Pretty poor way to treat such a fragile, hard-working, beneficial best friend. About Two thirds of our crops are pollinated by bees. Dammit, if I were a bee, I'd want to go away and die, too, after all that!
An Aussie who is disgusted at chem farming,gm and synth foods and big pharma. I study soil biota, and work with bees,what i see is worrying.
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