Friday, January 07, 2011

Bees in trouble - and so are we

Silently, billions of bees seem to be dying off which means that our entire food chain is in danger. Bees don't just make honey, they are a giant workforce, pollinating 90% of the plants we grow.

Many scientific studies blame one group of toxic pesticides for their rapid demise, and bee populations have soared in four European countries that have banned these chemicals. But, of course, the chemical companies are lobbying hard to keep selling their poisons.

One of the big killers is reported to be Bayer with its insecticidal seed treatment Gaucho based on the ingredient imidacloprid.

Gaucho has been used in Australia on broadleaf crops, but in 2010 its on-label use was extended to include field peas, faba beans and lentils.

In recent years there has been a steep decline in bee numbers with some bee species now extinct and large populations diminishing. Scientists have been looking for answers and research has produced strong evidence blaming neonicotinoid pesticides (which includes Gaucho).

Without bees, we can expect massive food shortages.

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