And So That Is How It All Works

            The May 6 Columbus Dispatch reported on a massive honey bee die off in central Ohio.  Thousands of lifeless bees were found piled at the entrances to hundreds of bee hives in several central Ohio counties. No one can live with the bees. Though they communicate with each other, they don’t communicate with us. However, finding piles of bees in front of a hive usually indicates the outcome of a pesticide application that the insects came in contact with. Bees are very clean. They prefer not to defecate, let alone die, within their colony. They exit to do both. Hence, field bees returning after being contaminated or while carrying contaminated accumulations exchange the poison within the ungodly crowded conditions of a built up healthy hive (trust me, worse than a claustrophobic/agorophobic’s most extreme nightmare). Voila! Beaucoup bees sicken, exit and die. In Ohio, bees must be registered with the state which costs a fee. This falls under the state department of Agriculture. There is even a state apiarist and an additional official bee researcher through the Ohio State University with an exclusive bee research lab in Wooster for study and experimentation. The state’s response has been that we don’t know what killed these bees (““We are trying to figure this out because we don’t want it to happen again,” state apiarist Barb Bloetscher said.” Four days in April deadly for bees Cols. Dispatch May 6, 2012). Researchers say more research is needed! (what else would they say?) The involved beekeepers, not entomologists with phd degrees per se, but folks who make it their business to stay abreast of what is going on world wide with regard to bees (after all, bees ARE their livelihood) claim it is the use of the new neonicotinoids by grain farmers. “Jack Boyme, a spokesman for Bayer CropScience, one of the largest manufacturers of neonicotinoids, said the company has been in touch with Ohio officials, and Bayer thinks something other than pesticides might have caused the bee deaths. “It’s been kind of an unusual weather pattern with a mild winter and an early spring,” Boyme said. “Some of the reports that we’re hearing is that the bees are coming out earlier and that there is not enough available food for them.”” (Four days in April deadly for bees Cols. Dispatch May 6, 2012) Local beekeepers are curious to see those reports Mr. Boyme. April 2011 and the state of Ohio was under record amounts of rain. Yes, bees go hungry then. This year’s mild winter, early and incredibly fine spring has not only left plenty of residual honey stores but also generated nectar flows from mid March on. Besides, no commercial beekeeper of any experience would allow their hundreds of hives to go hungry, let alone starve. Finally, overwinter bees that do starve are found dead in a tight cluster inside the hive, regardless of outside weather conditions.

            We’ve all seen this movie before. Credits at the end usually contain names like A. Gore, etc. The people involved intimately with the environment know first hand that some manufacturing process or something manufactured has had an enormous and detrimental impact on their livelihood, and the world around them. Those who manufactured the product or process blame mother nature for anything going awry, and not their thumb in the pie. The state officials in charge can’t really say (or do anything) for the most curious and unspoken reasons. In Ohio today, there is a big push for all state agencies to be a public /private collaborative (see previous blog posts). Agency logos will soon be “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” with three seated monkeys as an icon. Eventually, all this will appear before the legislature with the lobbyists for Bayer, Monsanto, ADM, Cargill, ethanol producers and other large corporate interests fighting to keep this as part of “jobs creation” and the (non existent) lobby for the honey bees, along with various disparate environmental concerns arguing for “more regulation”. And so that is how it all works.

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