The Bee’s Knees

FUBAR is military slang that I can’t translate for you. Someone you know probably knows what it means. Ask them. When you get the translation it will tell you why, though competent to do so, I am not commenting on politics or government–yet. However, there are important things falling from view that are critical, some to our survival. So let me begin with one. Bees.

When my mom was a young woman the expression the “bee’s knees” was popular. It indicated that something was really neat, special or as Kooky would say on Route 66 “the ginchiest.” Today however bees are on their knees begging for help.

I grew up no lover of bees. As an 8 or 9 year old, I stepped on a Bumblebee whilst it and I were frolicking in the spray of a summer sprinkler. He was not pleased and as his final gift to the world, he stung me on the bottom of my tender foot sending me home screaming.

At 15 on an American Youth Hostel bicycle tour through French Quebec’s countryside, I had a herd of Yellow Jackets fly into my crotch having misdirected themselves into a tunnel caused by my billowing Bermuda shorts. They were even less happy than the aforementioned Bumblebee.

In my late 20’s I picked up some steel wool I long ago had left in the basement. As my hand closed about it, the fourth of July happened. A wasp had built its nest therein. My arm went numb. Now I’m supposed to carry an epi-pen.

It was not until last year that I began to learn some things about bees. My interest began when articles appeared about collapsing Honey Bee colonies. I found that according to Michegan State agricultural researchers that 33% of America’s food is pollinated by bees. In other words, no bees, no food. I  learned that the bee population has dropped precipitously. When was the last time you saw a Bumblebee assiduously at work? Not recently? They are almost extinct in North America and three species are almost extinct in Great Britain.In fact, the Guardian Newspaper reports that in the past 100 years 20 species of bees have gone extinct in Great Britain and another 35 are on the list.

The workhorse of the pollinators? It’s the  American Honey Bee. It’s headed down the same path. Pesticides disrupt the Honey Bee’s homing radar. They can’t find their way back to the hive. They die without reproducing. Eventually, the hive dies. This according to the British research organization GreenDustries.

During pollinating season some farmers who hire beekeepers to bring their colonies into orchards or fields are having trouble finding enough keepers with enough bees to do the job. In such a situation, for example, one can end up with beautiful looking and smelling apple blossoms, no apples, and bankrupt farmers. It has been figured by GreenDustries that to replace the work of bees, if that could be done, would cost at least 10% of that spent on the world’s agricultural economy. And I found out the principle cause. Read on.

Remember when we were losing Eagles to the point of near extinction? The reason turned out to be pesticides. The mystery was why the Eagles were dying. It was illegal to kill them by any means. Survey says? The food chain was poisoned. Farmers and ranchers were killing varmints with a poison that remained in their dead bodies. Anything that ate the poisoned animal dead or alive ate the poison that killed it and they too died. Hence the near end of the Eagle. Nature-wise it was a quick fix, once the politics of the chemical lobby were done with. It was also easy because we were killing the national bird, our symbol.

Unfortunately for the bee, it has no such public relations fountain to drink from. Bees are best known by non-farmers as nasty insects that do nasty things to humans like me. The fix is the same though. Stop using pesticides that are so broad spectrum that they not only kill the pests but the bees while they do G-d’s labor for man. That’s not to mention what they might be doing to us as the poisons build up in the food chain. And but for the politics, the fix could be fast.

Brought to my attention by an FOA report, Food Organization of the America’s, is that not only will we be losing food, prices will begin to skyrocket, and along with your money, flowers that are pollinated in the process as a bonus prize by the bees, will also begin to disappear.

Here in the U.S. two non-profit conservation groups, all over the Monsanto Company begging, pleading, politically attacking are suing for the halt of mislabeling in the use of one major killer chemical. They are Beyond Pesticides and the OCA, Organic Consumer’s Association through their DC law firm, The Richman Law Group. The European Union has placed a two-year ban on pesticides that contain–take a deep breath–neonicotinoids. Progress seems to be shown but they EU did it without Great Britain, the same Great Britain whose bees are actually disappearing. It seems the chemical industry has a much better lobby than the bees. And more so here in the good ole USA.

Bees need a lobby group and we should be part of it. You too can possess the same information I have, and also, if you are so disposed, the chemical industry’s side as well, merely by going on line and exploring the issue for yourself–or for your future. Unless of course, you look forward to one without honey, and with Tang, ersatz foods, MRE’s (yummy!), and no flowers to grace the table while you are chowing down–at least from my perspective.



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