01 November 2013
GMO Crops Affecting Bee Colonies in North America and Spreading Colony Collapse Disorder
Bees eating GMO crop pollen found with digestive degeneration
Bees, the fuzzy pollinators that instill fear in children while simultaneously creating one of the most delicious sweets on earth, are undeniably important to humanity. The simple process of pollinating isn't quite as simple without our buzzing friends and humans are yet to find an efficient and practical alternative.
With the rise of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) since 2006, whole colonies of Western honey bees have disappeared in North America as well as parts of Europe at an increasing rate. In July 2007, almost a quarter of beekeeping businesses had been struck by CCD and the USDA later confirmed that CCD had killed off a third of all honeybee colonies in the USA.
There are many theories on the causes of CCD, while none have been proven the sole reason for the disappearances of the colonies. A study by Global Research suggested that the increased usage of GMOs in agriculture has been a factor of CCD that is often overlooked. According to a Huffington Post article written by Heather Pilatic corn "is the largest use of arable land in North America, and honey bees rely on corn as a major protein source. At least 94 percent of the 92 million acres of corn planted across the U.S. this year will have been treated with either clothianidin or thiamethoxam [another neonicotinoid]." We can assume that bees are being subjected to these neonicotinoids via corn across the nation.
With the use of GM corn in North America, bees have been found with digestive degeneration when collecting pollen from GM crops, corn specifically. The same Global Research article showed "that the digestive shutdown is due to hard material in the digestive tract that compromises the immune system... In the comparison of the healthy Bee [B] and the unhealthy bee [A], it is obvious that the bees that are ingesting GMO pollen are having severe digestive problems, so severe that the disease is terminal." clothianidin or thiamethoxam (another neonicotinoid).
With increased usage of neonicotinoid insecticides on GM crops, pollinators are dying a rates that are worrisome. The correlation between the two seems to be incredibly evident with the given information. Pollinators' importance to us humans, and the earth's ecosystems alike.
Photo Credit: "Bee" by ndboy on Flickr
Main Image Credit: "Bee Hives of Claymont" by CocteauBoy on Flickr