Sacred Honey Bee Evening video clip, CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO VIEW

Sacred Honey Bee Evening video clip, CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO VIEW
Click on this photo for a video of "Evening in Honor of the Sacred Honey Bee". Photo by Daniel Bahmani

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Feed the Bees, Harm the Bees? A Citizen Science Update

YourGardenShow - Emmet Brady

As a continuing part of YourGardenShow's Citizen Science initiatives and support for The Great Sunflower Project, we will bring you a series of posts with breaking news about our pollinators, the bees.

In an ironic twist, the poisoning of the bees could come as a result of farmers and beekeepers trying to feed them. The industrial usage of the bees on an annual basis requires farmers to feed them substitutes to the nectar they gather in the fields. When the bees arrive at a monocultured pasture, there are few abundant sources of the nectar. The commercial beekeepers often feed them high fructose corn syrup, which, as a recent study suggests, could contain trace amounts of pesticides, especially the neonicotinoid class pesticides.

As posted in the Wired online article, the study by a Harvard researcher examined a dietary exposure to imidacloprid, a commonly used neonic made by Bayer. Even though the amounts were potentially higher than what might be found in the wild, the study showed a dramatic increase in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in the colonies exposed to the chemical.

The topic has international implications. The debate of the use of certain toxic pesticides - in particular the neonics - have caused a massive division between Europe and the United States. In fact, the very chemicals indicated in the study are outlawed in a number of European countries.

Stranger yet, the suggestion that corn syrup might carry trace amounts of the pesticides after being processed beckons the question of whether humans could be exposed in some capacity.

To learn more about efforts to support the bees by citizens like you, visit the YourGardenShow Citizen Science pages.

BIO: Emmet Brady has worked for over a decade with sustainable industries as a biologist, business developer and event producer. He is attracted to gardening through his predilection for insects and, as the Founder of the Insect News Network, he intends to redefine the field of Cultural Entomology - which addresses how people think and feel about 6- and 8-legged animals (especially the ones in your garden!).
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