Bees-Colony Collapse Disorder

Last weekend The Nature of Things on CBC ran another moving and informative documentary titled To Bee or Not to Bee. In it David Suzuki narrates the story of Colony Collapse Disorder as is best understood by entomolgists today. In it they say, "Bees are all around us. And while some might consider them no more than a nuisance, the role that bees play in nature simply cannot be overstated - they pollinate many of the food crops that we depend on. A world without bees would be unrecognizable since they also pollinate many of the plants and trees in our gardens, forests and meadows."

From it, and my own research these last few days, i've learned that the causes of this disaster are many-the possible solutions within our greedocracy few. Monoculture is one culprit. Monoculture starves bees by forcing them to live on one type of pollen whereas their natural diets are as varied as the flora in the area they evolved in. Like a human who eats only one thing-be it apples or twinkies-a bee needs variety to have access to the wide range of nutrients that make up a balanced diet.

Bees are under stress and weakened by both diet and constant movement from monoculture to monoculture. All bees evolve in co-ordination with the flora around them. Our native North American bees were found long ago to be[e] to uncooperative and unruly for the greedocracy so our ancestors started importing Eurpean [honey] bees whose genetic makeup evovled over time in consort with the diseases and flora in that area. Now we rely on their descendants who have a very limited geonomic variability and little resistance to the evolving diseases of the new world.

So we have huge colonies of nearly identical genetic background who are not evolved to compete in our bio-sphere and who, like all bees, have very limited gene sequences devoted to resistance. We ship them from monoculture to monoculture, often thousands of miles apart, we spray them and the blossoms they pollenate with pestacides and insectacides. We now treat even the seeds of the plants the blossoms grow on with insectacides like neonicatinoid so that the poisons are no longer just on the plants they are in them.

Them along comes global warming in response to which all organisms respond by moving their habitat to more suitable conditions. Like the pine beetle, and billions of other organisms big and small, this means away from the equator. For our bee buddies the notherly movement of both the Varroa Mite and the viruses it carries are deadly. In 85% of all colony collapses the Varro Mites are some part of the cause. So the starved, stressed, imported, genetically similiar, widely poisoned bees that our monocultured food system and all of us rely on are now under attack by micro-organisms and parasites for which they have little to no resistance. Ain't capitialism wonderful.

The beekeepers are trying their damndest to breed resistant queens and new colonies in isolation so as to slowly increase the areas where the bees can survive. Good luck to them, they'll need it. But as i argued the other day causes have causes and like most problems the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder go many levels of reasoning beyond the list above. 'Ask every question, question every answer'. When i do it i end up back at human greed and its cause, our worldview as seperate from the enviroment we live in. We are the bees, we are the disease, we are the flowers, we are the trees.