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To Bee or not to Be

Over the past couple of months we here at SOTT have been following the Bee crisis with some interest. It caught my eye when I read the first media article about it that was brought to my attention; I knew this was important. As Albert Einstein observed:

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

This really is BIG, people! Do you realize how CLOSE you are to the total collapse of whatever lifestyle you have, including having food on your table (let alone having a table to put it on or a house to keep the table in!) Don’t yawn because the habits of bees might be boring and it certainly isn’t as entertaining as TV or whatever mindless thing you do and call it entertainment. If you read every word I have written and assembled here, you will know more about global agriculture than you probably ever thought you WANTED to know, but just now, you had BETTER know it because YOUR life depends on it! The fact is, the disappearing bees are giving you a gift, right now, a choice if you will only take the time to read and learn.

The first clue that something was amiss was this odd item back on January 8:

Wacky weather throws birds and bees off balance

If you think you’re confused by this winter’s warmer than usual weather, take a moment to ponder our feathered friends and furry neighbours.

While this season’s record-breaking temperatures have offered humans a welcomed reprieve, the unseasonal weather has played havoc with the lives of birds and animals.

The balmy winter weather has tricked many members of the wildlife community to alter their usual migration schedules, sleeping habits and feeding and breeding patterns.

Now, wildlife biologists, ornithologists and zoologists are concerned that the survival of some of these birds and animals could be threatened by the winter months ahead.

Among the anomalies reported in Eastern Canada:

-The Canada goose, which usually migrates south, staying put. An annual Montreal Christmas bird count found an all-time high number of the water fowl, 2,832, roosting on the open waters of the St. Lawrence.

-Raccoons and skunks foregoing their shorter but still important hibernation period and, burning up fat stores that they will need if and when a January or February deep freeze arrives.

-In Montreal, the eastern gray squirrel is feeding instead of nesting and getting fatter. At the same time, it has been joined by the Fox squirrel, a bigger and brown-reddish colored squirrel with a more southern range.

-Possums, a marsupial associated with the southern United States, have been spotted in southern Quebec.

“There’s a pile of stuff going on,” said Lynn Miller, a Montreal wildlife biologist based at Le Nichoir, a bird refuge in Hudson.”There will be winners and losers,” she added.

Miller recently had to euthanize a great blue heron because it couldn’t stand up. Frostbite had destroyed its toes. The species usually migrates to Florida and other sunny climes for winter.

“The weather has been so warm, he thought he could stay,” she said. “It was bloody awful.”

Note that this article was written just before all hell broke loose weather wise on the planet. I have speculated elsewhere that the dramatic weather shift of early January could have been due to the brief stoppage of the Atlantic thermohaline current (Gulf Stream.) Go to this site and look at the pictures of the Gulf Stream. Scroll down to the bottom where you will see “Animations of the Gulf Stream velocities are here.” Click and then select: “Last 52 weeks.”

Observe. After the images load and the animation plays smoothly, you will see a short period of about a week between Dec 11 and 19 when the Gulf Stream actually stops flowing toward Europe and flows back down without completing its normal circuit. Right after that, it seemed like all hell broke loose weather-wise on the planet. All you have to do is scroll back through the SOTT Living Planet database to get a good idea of just how wacky things were: actual news items collected from all over the world in real time.

All of that was disconcerting enough, but I’ve never heard anyone declare authoritatively that birds migrate because it starts getting cold. Fact is, birds often migrate even before it is cold because there is some mysterious signal that tells them it is time to migrate. Perhaps it is the length of the days, perhaps the amount of sunlight has some EM or other frequency effects that tell the bird it’s time to go; whatever. I just don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that the birds forgot to migrate because it was too warm and they decided to just hang out and see how long the warm weather was going to last. In fact, I’ve heard stories from “old timers” that you can tell what kind of winter it is going to be by the density of the fur on the wooly bear caterpillar or by how many acorns squirrels stash away. I can’t vouch for such claims, but I have read that science really doesn’t understand what drives the seasonal habits of creatures; it is a mystery. The point being that there are mysterious signals that creatures receive from the environment that drive their hardwired instinctive patterns and somehow I don’t think that they watch thermometers. And, if that is the case, then it means that those signals are being crossed or confused. If that is happening to more than just bees, is it natural or unnatural? Does it have anything to do with the ocean thermohaline currents?

Moving on to the subject of bees in particular, the first story we put in the database on this subject was back in February, on the 6th: Mystery killer silencing honeybees – If the die-off continues, it would be disastrous for U.S. crop yields. It was written in a rather alarming tone:

Something is killing the nation’s honeybees.

Dave Hackenberg of central Pennsylvania had 3,000 hives and figures he has lost all but about 800 of them.

In labs at Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and elsewhere in the nation, researchers have been stunned by the number of calls about the mysterious losses.

“Every day, you hear of another operator,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, acting state apiarist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. “It’s just causing so much death so quickly that it’s startling.”

At stake is the work the honeybees do, pollinating more than $15 billion worth of U.S. crops, including Pennsylvania’s apple harvest, the fourth-largest in the nation, worth $45 million, and New Jersey’s cranberries and blueberries.

While a few crops, such as corn and wheat, are pollinated by the wind, most need bees. Without these insects, crop yields would fall dramatically. Agronomists estimate Americans owe one in three bites of food to bees. […]

One of the first to notice the latest die-off was Hackenberg, who lives in Lewisburg, north of Harrisburg in Union County.

He and his son truck about 3,000 hives up and down the East Coast every year as part of a large but little-known cross-continental migratory bee industry.

Hackenberg’s bees pollinate oranges in Florida, apples, cherries and pumpkins in Pennsylvania, and blueberries in Maine. Come summer, they are buzzing along the Canadian border, making honey.

This season, Hackenberg hauled his hives to Florida by Oct. 10, just as he has done for 40 years. By November, some hives were empty; others had just sickly remains.

He made some calls and found out a beekeeper in Georgia had seen the same thing.

Since then, with concern mounting, experts have been investigating. A few months ago, they were referring to the die-off as “fall dwindle disease.” Now, they have ratcheted up to “colony collapse disorder.”

Last weekend, apiarist van Engelsdorp and other researchers headed to central California, where hundreds of acres of almond trees – the source of 80 percent of the world’s almond harvest – are about to blossom.

Last fall, workers transported managed hives – about 450 per tractor-trailer – to California from colder areas such as the Great Lakes and the Dakotas. Now, hives are coming from Texas, Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania. In all, about half the country’s managed hives are needed for the mass pollination.

As workers open the hives to check them, “the picture’s not so good,” said Jeffrey S. Pettis, a leader in bee research at a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Beltsville, Md.

Pettis said bees often had some winter loss, but this level of death was unprecedented. […]

Neither entomologists nor growers can say what will happen when the 2007 growing season for most of the country’s crops starts. “We’re coming up onto the season where people are really going to be worried,” Frazier said.

The next item came on the 12th: Mystery illness killing U.S. honeybees.

A mystery ailment labeled Colony Collapse Disorder is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies across America.

The illness — reported in at least 22 states — is threatening the livelihood of beekeepers, honey production and possibly crops that need bees for pollination. […]

The country’s bee population had already been shocked in recent years by a tiny, parasitic bug called the varroa mite, which has destroyed more than half of some beekeepers’ hives and devastated most wild honeybee populations.

Beekeepers are wondering if bee deaths over the last couple of years that had been blamed on mites or poor management might actually have resulted from the mystery ailment.

“Now people think that they may have had this three or four years,” said Dennis vanEnglesdorp, acting state apiarist for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. […]

Hackenberg, 58, was first to report Colony Collapse Disorder to bee researchers at Penn State University. He notified them in November when he was down to about 1,000 colonies – after having started the fall with 2,900. […]

Among the clues being investigated by researchers:

— Although the bodies of dead bees often are littered around a hive, sometimes carried out of the hive by worker bees, no bee remains are typically found around colonies struck by the mystery ailment. Scientists assume these bees have flown away from the hive before dying.

— From the outside, a stricken colony may appear normal, with bees leaving and entering. But when beekeepers look inside the hive box, they find few mature bees taking care of the younger, developing bees.

— Normally, a weakened bee colony would be immediately overrun by bees from other colonies or by pests going after the hive’s honey. That’s not the case with the stricken colonies, which might not be touched for at least two weeks, said Diana Cox-Foster, a Penn State entomology professor investigating the problem.

“That is a real abnormality,” Hackenberg said.

Geeze! That is actually kinda creepy if you think about it! An abandoned hive that no other bees will go near? Is that like “haunted houses” on the bee scale? Or how about the mutilated cattle that so many have claimed to be the work of ETs, pointing out that scavengers will not touch the carcasses?

Notice also the remark in the above item “Beekeepers are wondering if bee deaths over the last couple of years that had been blamed on mites or poor management might actually have resulted from the mystery ailment. Now people think that they may have had this three or four years.”

Three or four years takes us back to 2002, 2003. Now, we can’t go blaming everything on Bush and the Ziocons, but I just find it really interesting that all kinds of weird planetary dysfunctions have been generated or noted since the inception of the Bush Reich. Perhaps it is a partly a consequence of the collective anger and frustration of humanity that has no other way to manifest? After all, didn’t the Princeton Global Consciousness Project register a significant spike PRIOR to 9/11? And the same prior to the Indonesian Tsunami? (See PEAR for details of this type of work.)

The next item was on 28 Feb. – Famine is Coming to the U.S.: Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Crops and Keepers in Peril. Notice that the tone of this article is rather similar to controlled hysteria.

David Bradshaw has endured countless stings during his life as a beekeeper, but he got the shock of his career when he opened his boxes last month and found half of his 100 million bees missing.

In 24 states throughout the country, beekeepers have gone through similar shocks as their bees have been disappearing inexplicably at an alarming rate, threatening not only their livelihoods but also the production of numerous crops, including California almonds, one of the nation’s most profitable.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Mr. Bradshaw, 50, said from an almond orchard here beginning to bloom. “Box after box after box are just empty. There’s nobody home.” […]

As researchers scramble to find answers to the syndrome they have decided to call “colony collapse disorder,” growers are becoming openly nervous about the capability of the commercial bee industry to meet the growing demand for bees to pollinate dozens of crops, from almonds to avocados to kiwis. […]

A Cornell University study has estimated that honeybees annually pollinate more than $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the United States, mostly fruits, vegetables and nuts. “Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food,” said Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation.

The bee losses are ranging from 30 to 60 percent on the West Coast, with some beekeepers on the East Coast and in Texas reporting losses of more than 70 percent… […]

Once the domain of hobbyists with a handful of backyard hives, beekeeping has become increasingly commercial and consolidated. Over the last two decades, the number of beehives, now estimated by the Agriculture Department to be 2.4 million, has dropped by a quarter and the number of beekeepers by half.

Pressure has been building on the bee industry. The costs to maintain hives, also known as colonies, are rising along with the strain on bees of being bred to pollinate rather than just make honey. And beekeepers are losing out to suburban sprawl in their quest for spots where bees can forage for nectar to stay healthy and strong during the pollination season.

“There are less beekeepers, less bees, yet more crops to pollinate,” Mr. Browning said. […]

Investigators are exploring a range of theories, including viruses, a fungus and poor bee nutrition.

They are also studying a group of pesticides that were banned in some European countries to see if they are somehow affecting bees’ innate ability to find their way back home. […]

Growers have tried before to do without bees. In past decades, they have used everything from giant blowers to helicopters to mortar shells to try to spread pollen across the plants. […]

Beekeepers have endured two major mite infestations since the 1980s, which felled many hobbyist beekeepers, and three cases of unexplained disappearing disorders as far back as 1894. But those episodes were confined to small areas, Mr. van Engelsdorp said.

The comment SOTT wrote on the above article was:

While we cannot yet say what might be behind this strange phenomenon, there are two suspects in view: EM waves in the atmosphere – either natural or artificial – or some other kind of disruptive frequency such as cell-phone towers.

It would be an event of the utmost irony if our civilization’s mad rush to have the latest gadgets brought the whole kit and kaboodle to its knees via starvation.

At this point, I ordered (from the local Uni library) some academic papers researching the effects of EM waves on Bees to look for clues. Nothing I read was the smoking gun, but the overall impression I had was that all kinds of waves and frequencies that are being propagated by modern technology are not only bad for bees, they are bad for humans. It was also clear that some waves can be produced naturally, as I speculated above. For example, it is well known that water flowing underground can generate an electrical current and an EM field. Tectonic stresses are also implicated in EM anomalies on the planet. So, it could very well be that all of these things, taken together, point to a generalized disruption in the Earth’s EM field, or signals of some processes going on deep in our planet of which we are ignorant and unaware.

I also went searching back through our archives to see what other clues I could find. There was this interesting item that came up back in December 06: Wild Bees Reject Genetically Engineered Crop. This was a research paper which said:

The ecological impacts of agriculture are of concern, especially with genetically modified and other intensive, modern cropping systems, yet little is known about effects on wild bee populations and subsequent implications for pollination. Pollination deficit (the difference between potential and actual pollination) and bee abundance were measured in organic, conventional, and herbicide-resistant, genetically modified (GM) canola fields (Brassica napus and B. rapa) in northern Alberta, Canada, in the summer of 2002. […]

There was no pollination deficit in organic fields, a moderate pollination deficit in conventional fields, and the greatest pollination deficit in GM fields. Bee abundance was greatest in organic fields, followed by conventional fields, and lowest in GM fields.

Again, it strikes me as tremendously ironic if the drive to control the planet and its population by greedy psychopaths leads to no planet and no people to control! But, if you are a victim of that rapacious mind-set, it’s not so ironic; it’s tragic. Just keep in mind, they are a minority. The rest of humanity could put a stop to this instantly if they wanted to.

Next item was: The Silence of the Bees on March 19 which profiled a bee keeper and his life and the industry. It didn’t have much to say about the sudden deaths of the bees except in the context of previous problems, but there are a couple of significant remarks that bear remembering: .

by Hannah Nordhaus

By the time John Miller realized just how many of his bees were dying, the almonds were in bloom and there was nothing to be done. It was February 2005, and the hives should have been singing with activity, plump brown honeybees working doggedly to carry pollen from blossom to blossom. Instead they were wandering in drunken circles at the base of the hive doors, wingless, desiccated, sluggish, blasé. Miller is accustomed to death on a large scale. “The insect kingdom enjoys little cell repair,” he will often remind you. Even when things are going well, a hive can lose 1,000 bees a day. But the extent of his losses that winter defied even his insect-borne realism. In a matter of weeks, Miller lost almost half of his 13,000 hives – around 300 million bees. […]

Without the bees’ pollination services, California’s almond trees – the state’s top export crop – would produce 40 pounds of almonds per acre; with the bees, they can generate 2,400 pounds. Honeybees provide the same service for more than 100 other crops, from lettuce to cranberries to oranges to canola, up and down the West Coast. […]

Not just the west coast, but the east coast and the rest of the world as well. Did you catch that number: from 2,400 pounds per acre to 40 pounds per acre.

The next item was from 22 March: Are GM Crops Killing Bees? It’s from the German mag, Der Spiegel, and apparently somebody was trying to put together the fact that bees avoid the GM crops reported above with the fact that they were disappearing all over the place.

By Gunther Latsch Der Spiegel Translated from German by Christopher Sultan.

A mysterious decimation of bee populations has German beekeepers worried, while a similar phenomenon in the United States is gradually assuming catastrophic proportions. The consequences for agriculture and the economy could be enormous.

Walter Haefeker is a man who is used to painting grim scenarios. He sits on the board of directors of the German Beekeepers Association (DBIB) and is vice president of the European Professional Beekeepers Association. And because griping is part of a lobbyist’s trade, it is practically his professional duty to warn that “the very existence of beekeeping is at stake.”

The problem, says Haefeker, has a number of causes, one being the varroa mite, introduced from Asia, and another is the widespread practice in agriculture of spraying wildflowers with herbicides and practicing monoculture. Another possible cause, according to Haefeker, is the controversial and growing use of genetic engineering in agriculture.

As far back as 2005, Haefeker ended an article he contributed to the journal Der Kritischer Agrarbericht (Critical Agricultural Report) with an Albert Einstein quote: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

Mysterious events in recent months have suddenly made Einstein’s apocalyptic vision seem all the more topical. For unknown reasons, bee populations throughout Germany are disappearing – something that is so far only harming beekeepers. But the situation is different in the United States, where bees are dying in such dramatic numbers that the economic consequences could soon be dire. No one knows what is causing the bees to perish, but some experts believe that the large-scale use of genetically modified plants in the US could be a factor.

Felix Kriechbaum, an official with a regional beekeepers’ association in Bavaria, recently reported a decline of almost 12 percent in local bee populations. When “bee populations disappear without a trace,” says Kriechbaum, it is difficult to investigate the causes, because “most bees don’t die in the beehive.” There are many diseases that can cause bees to lose their sense of orientation so they can no longer find their way back to their hives.

Manfred Hederer, the president of the German Beekeepers Association, almost simultaneously reported a 25 percent drop in bee populations throughout Germany. In isolated cases, says Hederer, declines of up to 80 percent have been reported. He speculates that “a particular toxin, some agent with which we are not familiar,” is killing the bees.

Politicians, until now, have shown little concern for such warnings or the woes of beekeepers. Although apiarists have been given a chance to make their case – for example in the run-up to the German cabinet’s approval of a genetic engineering policy document by Minister of Agriculture Horst Seehofer in February – their complaints are still largely ignored.

Even when beekeepers actually go to court, as they recently did in a joint effort with the German chapter of the organic farming organization Demeter International and other groups to oppose the use of genetically modified corn plants, they can only dream of the sort of media attention environmental organizations like Greenpeace attract with their protests at test sites.

But that could soon change. Since last November, the US has seen a decline in bee populations so dramatic that it eclipses all previous incidences of mass mortality. Beekeepers on the east coast of the United States complain that they have lost more than 70 percent of their stock since late last year, while the west coast has seen a decline of up to 60 percent.

In an article in its business section in late February, the New York Times calculated the damage US agriculture would suffer if bees died out. Experts at Cornell University in upstate New York have estimated the value bees generate – by pollinating fruit and vegetable plants, almond trees and animal feed like clover – at more than $14 billion.

Scientists call the mysterious phenomenon “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD), and it is fast turning into a national catastrophe of sorts. A number of universities and government agencies have formed a “CCD Working Group” to search for the causes of the calamity, but have so far come up empty-handed. But, like Dennis van Engelsdorp, an apiarist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, they are already referring to the problem as a potential “AIDS for the bee industry.”

One thing is certain: Millions of bees have simply vanished. In most cases, all that’s left in the hives are the doomed offspring. But dead bees are nowhere to be found – neither in nor anywhere close to the hives. Diana Cox-Foster, a member of the CCD Working Group, told The Independent that researchers were “extremely alarmed,” adding that the crisis “has the potential to devastate the US beekeeping industry.”

It is particularly worrisome, she said, that the bees’ death is accompanied by a set of symptoms “which does not seem to match anything in the literature.”

In many cases, scientists have found evidence of almost all known bee viruses in the few surviving bees found in the hives after most have disappeared. Some had five or six infections at the same time and were infested with fungi – a sign, experts say, that the insects’ immune system may have collapsed.

The scientists are also surprised that bees and other insects usually leave the abandoned hives untouched. Nearby bee populations or parasites would normally raid the honey and pollen stores of colonies that have died for other reasons, such as excessive winter cold. “This suggests that there is something toxic in the colony itself which is repelling them,” says Cox-Foster.

Walter Haefeker, the German beekeeping official, speculates that “besides a number of other factors,” the fact that genetically modified, insect-resistant plants are now used in 40 percent of cornfields in the United States could be playing a role. The figure is much lower in Germany – only 0.06 percent – and most of that occurs in the eastern states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg. Haefeker recently sent a researcher at the CCD Working Group some data from a bee study that he has long felt shows a possible connection between genetic engineering and diseases in bees.

The study in question is a small research project conducted at the University of Jena from 2001 to 2004. The researchers examined the effects of pollen from a genetically modified maize variant called “Bt corn” on bees. A gene from a soil bacterium had been inserted into the corn that enabled the plant to produce an agent that is toxic to insect pests. The study concluded that there was no evidence of a “toxic effect of Bt corn on healthy honeybee populations.” But when, by sheer chance, the bees used in the experiments were infested with a parasite, something eerie happened. According to the Jena study, a “significantly stronger decline in the number of bees” occurred among the insects that had been fed a highly concentrated Bt poison feed.

According to Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, a professor at the University of Halle in eastern Germany and the director of the study, the bacterial toxin in the genetically modified corn may have “altered the surface of the bee’s intestines, sufficiently weakening the bees to allow the parasites to gain entry – or perhaps it was the other way around. We don’t know.”

Of course, the concentration of the toxin was ten times higher in the experiments than in normal Bt corn pollen. In addition, the bee feed was administered over a relatively lengthy six-week period.

Kaatz would have preferred to continue studying the phenomenon but lacked the necessary funding. “Those who have the money are not interested in this sort of research,” says the professor, “and those who are interested don’t have the money.”

Hmmm… if GM corn pollen can have that effect on bees, wonder what the GM corn is doing to those humans and animals that eat it?

Moving along, as the reports about the problem in the U.S. began to propagate, similar reports began coming in from other countries, mainly UK and Germany, on 1st April: Flowers and fruit crops facing disaster as disease kills off bees.

Devastating diseases are killing off vast numbers of bees across the country, threatening major ecological and economic problems. Honeybee colonies have been wiped out this winter at twice the usual rate or worse in some areas.

Honeybee colonies in Britain have been wiped out this winter Honeybees account for 80pc of all pollination

The losses are the result of either Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a disease that has already decimated bee populations in the US and parts of Europe, or a new, resistant form of Varroa destructor, a parasite that attacks bees.

Experts fear that, because honeybees are responsible for 80 per cent of all pollination as they collect nectar for the hive, there could be severe ecological problems with flowers, fruit and crops failing to grow.

The pollination carried out by bees is worth £200 million to Britain’s farmers each year. However, the total contribution by bees to the economy, including profits made from the sales of food, is up to £1 billion.

In London, about 4,000 hives – two-thirds of the bee colonies in the capital – are estimated to have died this winter.

The normal winter mortality rate is about 15 per cent. John Chapple, the chairman of the London Beekeepers’ Association, who has lost the populations in 30 of his 40 hives, said:”It’s frightening. The mortality rate is the highest in living memory and no one seems to know what’s behind it.”

In 23 of Mr Chapple’s hives, no trace was left of the bees – a characteristic commonly associated with CCD. Officers from the National Bee Unit at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Sand Hutton, near York, are investigating the cause of the population slump.

They fear that, with many beekeepers yet to check their hives after the insects’ winter quiescence – a form of hibernation – the extent of the problem may deepen. So far, almost 30 per cent of hives inspected by the unit have been lost, twice the normal winter loss rate.

In Worcestershire and Hereford, of the 20 hives checked, only one had survived. In West Sussex, more than 80 per cent of the colonies had been lost. In Cambridgeshire, the figure was more than 50 per cent.

A spokesman for Defra said: “It is too early in the year to reach any conclusions. Some individual beekeepers have experienced large losses, others none. Any beekeeper who has concerns should make contact with the local bee inspector.” […]

In 23 of Mr Chapple’s hives, no trace was left of the bees – a characteristic commonly associated with CCD. Officers from the National Bee Unit at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Sand Hutton, near York, are investigating the cause of the population slump.

They fear that, with many beekeepers yet to check their hives after the insects’ winter quiescence – a form of hibernation – the extent of the problem may deepen. So far, almost 30 per cent of hives inspected by the unit have been lost, twice the normal winter loss rate.

In Worcestershire and Hereford, of the 20 hives checked, only one had survived. In West Sussex, more than 80 per cent of the colonies had been lost. In Cambridgeshire, the figure was more than 50 per cent.

A spokesman for Defra said:”It is too early in the year to reach any conclusions. Some individual beekeepers have experienced large losses, others none. Any beekeeper who has concerns should make contact with the local bee inspector.” […]

Bee-keepers in Poland, Greece, Croatia, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal have also reported heavy losses. Meanwhile, scientists at universities in Southampton and Stirling who are concerned about declining numbers of wild bumblebees – which also aid pollination – are to use dogs to search for colonies in Scotland and Hertfordshire this year.

Don’t ya just love that guy who said: “It is too early in the year to reach any conclusions. Some individual beekeepers have experienced large losses, others none. Any beekeeper who has concerns should make contact with the local bee inspector.”

Oh, yeah, right! That’s like some guy on the Titanic saying “Don’t worry folks, it was just a little bump…”

Interestingly, at this point, Cuban leader Fidel Castro checked in on the subject: Where Have All the Bees Gone? And Other Reflections on the Internationalization of Genocide. Yeah, I know “pinko dictator.” Believe me, I was brought up in Florida next door to Cuban exiles, so thinking of Fidel Castro as an evil, anti-democratic, monster was as natural a part of the landscape as the oranges that grew all around me. Nevertheless, that was then, this is now. We have to grow up and understand how our fake democratic leaders have been lying to us for a very long time with the complicity of the Zionist controlled media. The piece is about ethanol – a fuel that is based on agriculture – and it’s pretty easy to see the connection: ethanol needs agriculture, agriculture needs bees; no bees, agriculture collapses, so no ethanol. Even though he is using the subject to get in a few hits at the West (justifiably, I think), every word Fidel Castro has written in this article deserves your attention. Even though he mentions the Bee problem only toward the end, I think you will agree, considering the material already presented, that he has a much better grasp of the scope of the issue than the leaders of the so-called “Free World,” the much vaunted Western Civilization that we are all beginning to see is really a Great Beast that may devour us all:

April 4: The Camp David meeting has just come to an end. All of us followed the press conference offered by the presidents of the United States and Brazil attentively, as we did the news surrounding the meeting and the opinions voiced in this connection.

Faced with demands related to customs duties and subsidies which protect and support US ethanol production, Bush did not make the slightest concession to his Brazilian guest at Camp David.

President Lula attributed to this the rise in corn prices, which, according to his own statements, had gone up more than 85 percent.

Before these statements were made, the Washington Post had published an article by the Brazilian leader which expounded on the idea of transforming food into fuel.

It is not my intention to hurt Brazil or to meddle in the internal affairs of this great country. It was in effect in Rio de Janeiro, host of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, exactly 15 years ago, where I delivered a 7-minute speech vehemently denouncing the environmental dangers that menaced our species’ survival. Bush Sr., then President of the United States, was present at that meeting and applauded my words out of courtesy; all other presidents there applauded, too.

No one at Camp David answered the fundamental question. Where are the more than 500 million tons of corn and other cereals which the United States, Europe and wealthy nations require to produce the gallons of ethanol that big companies in the United States and other countries demand in exchange for their voluminous investments going to be produced and who is going to supply them? Where are the soy, sunflower and rape seeds, whose essential oils these same, wealthy nations are to turn into fuel, going to be produced and who will produce them?

Some countries are food producers which export their surpluses. The balance of exporters and consumers had already become precarious before this and food prices had skyrocketed. In the interests of brevity, I shall limit myself to pointing out the following:

According to recent data, the five chief producers of corn, barley, sorghum, rye, millet and oats which Bush wants to transform into the raw material of ethanol production, supply the world market with 679 million tons of these products. Similarly, the five chief consumers, some of which also produce these grains, currently require 604 million annual tons of these products. The available surplus is less than 80 million tons of grain.

This colossal squandering of cereals destined to fuel production – and these estimates do not include data on oily seeds – shall serve to save rich countries less than 15 percent of the total annual consumption of their voracious automobiles.

At Camp David, Bush declared his intention of applying this formula around the world. This spells nothing other than the internationalization of genocide.

In his statements, published by the Washington Post on the eve of the Camp David meeting, the Brazilian president affirmed that less than one percent of Brazil’s arable land was used to grow cane destined to ethanol production. This is nearly three times the land surface Cuba used when it produced nearly 10 million tons of sugar a year, before the crisis that befell the Soviet Union and the advent of climate changes.

Our country has been producing and exporting sugar for a longer time. First, on the basis of the work of slaves, whose numbers swelled to over 300 thousand in the first years of the 19th century and who turned the Spanish colony into the world’s number one exporter. Nearly one hundred years later, at the beginning of the 20th century, when Cuba was a pseudo-republic which had been denied full independence by US interventionism, it was immigrants from the West Indies and illiterate Cubans alone who bore the burden of growing and harvesting sugarcane on the island. The scourge of our people was the off-season, inherent to the cyclical nature of the harvest. Sugarcane plantations were the property of US companies or powerful Cuban-born landowners. Cuba, thus, has more experience than anyone as regards the social impact of this crop.

This past Sunday, April 1, CNN televised the opinions of Brazilian experts who affirm that many lands destined to sugarcane have been purchased by wealthy Americans and Europeans.

As part of my reflections on the subject, published on March 29, I expounded on the impact climate change has had on Cuba and on other basic characteristics of our country’s climate which contribute to this.

On our poor and anything but consumerist island, one would be unable to find enough workers to endure the rigors of the harvest and to care for the sugarcane plantations in the ever more intense heat, rains or droughts. When hurricanes lash the island, not even the best machines can harvest the bent-over and twisted canes. For centuries, the practice of burning sugarcane was unknown and no soil was compacted under the weight of complex machines and enormous trucks. Nitrogen, potassium and phosphate fertilizers, today extremely expensive, did not yet even exist, and the dry and wet months succeeded each other regularly. In modern agriculture, no high yields are possible without crop rotation methods.

On Sunday, April 1, the French Press Agency (AFP) published disquieting reports on the subject of climate change, which experts gathered by the United Nations already consider an inevitable phenomenon that will spell serious repercussions for the world in the coming decades.

According to a UN report to be approved next week in Brussels, climate change will have a significant impact on the American continent, generating more violent storms and heat waves and causing droughts, the extinction of some species and even hunger in Latin America.

The AFP report indicates that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forewarned that at the end of this century, every hemisphere will endure water-related problems and, if governments take no measures in this connection, rising temperatures could increase the risks of mortality, contamination, natural catastrophes and infectious diseases.

In Latin America, global warming is already melting glaciers in the Andes and threatening the Amazon forest, whose perimeter may slowly be turned into a savannah, the cable goes on to report.

Because a great part of its population lives near the coast, the United States is also vulnerable to extreme natural phenomena, as hurricane Katrina demonstrated in 2005.

According to AFP, this is the second of three IPCC reports which began to be published last February, following an initial scientific forecast which established the certainty of climate change.

This second 1400-page report which analyzes climate change in different sectors and regions, of which AFP has obtained a copy, considers that, even if radical measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that pollute the atmosphere are taken, the rise in temperatures around the planet in the coming decades is already unavoidable, concludes the French Press Agency.

As was to be expected, at the Camp David meeting, Dan Fisk, National Security advisor for the region, declared that “in the discussion on regional issues, [I expect] Cuba to come up if there’s anyone that knows how to create starvation, it’s Fidel Castro. He also knows how not to do ethanol”.

As I find myself obliged to respond to this gentleman, it is my duty to remind him that Cuba’s infant mortality rate is lower than the United States’. All citizens — this is beyond question — enjoy free medical services. Everyone has access to education and no one is denied employment, in spite of nearly half a century of economic blockade and the attempts of US governments to starve and economically asphyxiate the people of Cuba.

China would never devote a single ton of cereals or leguminous plants to the production of ethanol, and it is an economically prosperous nation which is breaking growth records, where all citizens earn the income they need to purchase essential consumer items, despite the fact that 48 percent of its population, which exceeds 1.3 billion, works in agriculture. On the contrary, it has set out to reduce energy consumption considerably by shutting down thousands of factories which consume unacceptable amounts of electricity and hydrocarbons. It imports many of the food products mentioned above from far- off corners of the world, transporting these over thousands of miles.

Scores of countries do not produce hydrocarbons and are unable to produce corn and other grains or oily seeds, for they do not even have enough water to meet their most basic needs.

At a meeting on ethanol production held in Buenos Aires by the Argentine Oil Industry Chamber and Cereals Exporters Association, Loek Boonekamp, the Dutch head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s commercial and marketing division, told the press that governments are very much enthused about this process but that they should objectively consider whether ethanol ought to be given such resolute support.

According to Boonekamp, the United States is the only country where ethanol can be profitable and, without subsidies, no other country can make it viable.

According to the report, Boonekamp insists that ethanol is not manna from Heaven and that we should not blindly commit to developing this process.

Today, developed countries are pushing to have fossil fuels mixed with biofuels at around five percent and this is already affecting agricultural prices. If this figure went up to 10 percent, 30 percent of the United States’ cultivated surface and 50 percent of Europe’s would be required. That is the reason Boonekamp asks himself whether the process is sustainable, as an increase in the demand for crops destined to ethanol production would generate higher and less stable prices.

Protectionist measures are today at 54 cents per gallon and real subsidies reach far higher figures.

Applying the simple arithmetic we learned in high school, we could show how, by simply replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones, as I explained in my previous reflections, millions and millions of dollars in investment and energy could be saved, without the need to use a single acre of farming land.

In the meantime, we are receiving news from Washington, through the AP, reporting that the mysterious disappearance of millions of bees throughout the United States has edged beekeepers to the brink of a nervous breakdown and is even cause for concern in Congress, which will discuss this Thursday the critical situation facing this insect, essential to the agricultural sector. According to the report, the first disquieting signs of this enigma became evident shortly after Christmas in the state of Florida, when beekeepers discovered that their bees had vanished without a trace. Since then, the syndrome which experts have christened as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has reduced the country’s swarms by 25 percent.

Daniel Weaver, president of the US Beekeepers Association, stated that more than half a million colonies, each with a population of nearly 50 thousand bees, had been lost. He added that the syndrome has struck 30 of the country’s 50 states. What is curious about the phenomenon is that, in many cases, the mortal remains of the bees are not found.

According to a study conducted by Cornell University, these industrious insects pollinate crops valued at anywhere from 12 to 14 billion dollars.

Scientists are entertaining all kinds of hypotheses, including the theory that a pesticide may have caused the bees’ neurological damage and altered their sense of orientation. Others lay the blame on the drought and even mobile phone waves, but, what’s certain is that no one knows exactly what has unleashed this syndrome.

The worst may be yet to come: a new war aimed at securing gas and oil supplies that can take humanity to the brink of total annihilation.

Invoking intelligence sources, Russian newspapers have reported that a war on Iran has been in the works for over three years now, since the day the government of the United States resolved to occupy Iraq completely, unleashing a seemingly endless and despicable civil war.

All the while, the government of the United States devotes hundreds of billions to the development of highly sophisticated technologies, as those which employ micro-electronic systems or new nuclear weapons which can strike their targets an hour following the order to attack.

The United States brazenly turns a deaf ear to world public opinion, which is against all kinds of nuclear weapons.

Razing all of Iran’s factories to the ground is a relatively easy task, from the technical point of view, for a powerful country like the United States. The difficult task may come later, if a new war were to be unleashed against another Muslim faith which deserves our utmost respect, as do all other religions of the Near, Middle or Far East, predating or postdating Christianity.

The arrest of English soldiers at Iran’s territorial waters recalls the nearly identical act of provocation of the so-called “Brothers to the Rescue” who, ignoring President Clinton’s orders advanced over our country’s territorial waters. Cuba’s absolutely legitimate and defensive action gave the United States a pretext to promulgate the well-known Helms-Burton Act, which encroaches upon the sovereignty of other nations besides Cuba. The powerful media have consigned that episode to oblivion. No few people attribute the price of oil, at nearly 70 dollars a gallon as of Monday, to fears of a possible invasion of Iran.

Where shall poor Third World countries find the basic resources needed to survive?

I am not exaggerating or using overblown language. I am confining myself to the facts.

As can be seen, the polyhedron has many dark faces.

Notice that Fidel mentions that the bee problem is “even cause for concern in Congress, which will discuss this Thursday the critical situation facing this insect, essential to the agricultural sector.”

I searched the SOTT database and figured we must have missed that one. I then went on google to see what was up with Congress taking on the bee issue and nobody really knowing about it. That’s not to say that the news wasn’t published, it is just that it didn’t get a lot of coverage; it was there, only in local papers, not the big disinfo rags. After a bit of searching, I found that the issue was apparently brought up on March 29th.Valley Beekeepers Take Concerns to Congress. So, let’s back up to what was going on a few days before Fidel decided to accuse the U.S. of planning international genocide.

03/30/2007 – A Valley beekeeper who’s seen a huge number of his bees die off this year took his concerns to congress on Thursday.

A house committee led by Merced Congressman Dennis Cardoza held hearings on the mysterious deaths of bee colonies across the country in recent years.

Los Banos beekeeper Gene Brandi was among those who testified. He and other beekeepers want the federal government to fund more research on these deaths.

Bees are critical to Valley agriculture because they pollinate fruit and nut trees.

That’s it, total story. Another local item: Farm leader urges more bee research

By: Bill Curtis Friday, March 30th, 2007

Diseases and pests have whittled away at the bee population, which pollinates billions of dollars’ worth of crops. California Farm Bureau vice president Paul Wenger told a House Agriculture Subcommittee that more research is needed to restore beehives to full health.

Again, that was it.

The following day, there was this – also a local news item that did not get national coverage: Ethanol demand good for corn crop. No, the headline doesn’t say anything about bees, but that is mainly what the story is about. Curious, eh? Anyway, shades of Fidel’s speculations!

Saturday, March 31, 2007 By Rosemary Parker kalamazoogazette.com

On Thursday, scientists and beekeepers pleaded with Congress for money to help find out what’s killing the nation’s honeybees, pollinators of Michigan’s $359 million fruit industry.

On Friday, farmers learned that the acreage planted to corn this year, nationwide, will go up a whopping 15 percent — 300,000 acres in Michigan alone.

Farmers gamble every year on the vagaries of weather, insects and market demands.

But this year all of those variables, and now dying bees, are heaped atop a demand for corn for ethanol production that still has everyone reeling.

The supply-and-demand see-saw is not only unsettling for producers — it could end with consumers paying more for everything from hamburger patties (made from corn-fed beef) to the pickles on top (if cucumber yields fall).

The United States Department of Agriculture’s release Friday of the annual planting intentions survey showed a leap in corn planting even stronger than most experts predicted, said Jim Hilker, professor of agriculture economics at Michigan State University.

Here’s how it has complicated the picture since last fall, when corn prices, the amount farmers are paid, nearly doubled during harvest, and then stayed high:

The price of nitrogen fertilizer, essential to growing corn, has skyrocketed, said Mike Staton, MSU Extension agriculture educator in Van Buren County.

The price of anhydrous ammonia, the preferred fertilizer in Michigan’s sandy soils, has climbed from $565 a ton last April to $630 a ton Friday, said Dale Hiatt, manager of Crop Production Services in Mendon. ”The price goes up daily,” Hiatt said.

In 1995, only 15 percent of this country’s fertilizer was imported. Last year 60 percent of the nitrogen fertilizer required by corn was manufactured in countries like Russia and China.

”Everyone’s concerned about energy independence,” Staton said, ”and we should be thinking about fertilizer independence.”

Supply and demand has farmland prices soaring too, with leased cropland rates in southwestern Michigan up as much as 25 percent since just last winter, Staton said.

Corn’s the big news, but Michigan also leads the nation in production of blueberries, cherries and cucumbers for pickles.

Growers of those crops are facing their own year of change.

The bees that pollinate their crops are dead and dying, and scientists still aren’t sure why — or whether there will be enough bees to do the job a month from now when Michigan’s fruit crops start blossoming.

Many Michigan crops are almost entirely dependent on pollination by bees. And that means growers rely on commercial beekeepers, who move hives by truck from one field to another, because infestations of parasitic mites and beetles in the 1990s have almost wiped out wild bees. Those migratory commercial bee colonies in 24 states, including Michigan, have been the hardest hit by a mysterious new affliction termed ”colony collapse disorder” that has resulted in losses of up to 100 percent of the bees in stricken hives.

Because they don’t know what causes the problem, they have no way to treat it, nor can beekeepers be sure that the hives they have built up in Florida over the winter will still be alive when they are needed next month to pollinate Michigan fields and orchards.

”I haven’t got the foggiest idea,” said Terry Klein, vice president of the Michigan beekeeper’s association.

They do know that they’ll get scant help from the colonies of bees that were left here to overwinter, about half of the state’s total, Klein estimated.

Beekeepers are reporting about 80 percent of the bees did not make it through the winter — killed not by colony collapse disorder but by starvation.

Michigan’s mild early winter prompted bees to continue flight activity into December, explained Michigan’s state apiarist, Mike Hansen.

Bees ate honey to fuel that activity, stored in parts of the hive that were easiest to reach.

Then, when extremely cold weather hit in February, the bees weren’t able to generate enough heat to reach honey stored in other parts of the hive. They died of starvation in a hives still laden with honey.

Where does that leave Michigan’s fruit and vegetable farmers?

”They’re trusting the beekeeper; they don’t have a choice,” Klein said. But even the beekeepers won’t know until they get here whether there will be sufficient bees to pollinate here.

”Until they face the music,” Klein said, ”they don’t know what the dance is going to be.”

It’s sounding grimmer all the time, isn’t it?

Over the next couple of days, another local type item came up: Vanishing Honeybee Problem Hits Rockford

By Ryan Cummings 13 News It’s a strange phenomenon hitting the east and west coast. Billions of honey bees vanishing for no apparent reason. They’re leaving hives in Illinois too. Some, right here in Rockford. It’s so bizarre, Congress is looking into it. And farmers who rely on the insect are still confused. Pat Curran owns Curran’s Orchard. He says, “None of this makes sense. This has never happened before. If you had honey in there, you would typically have bees unless the mites got to them.” It’s a weird feeling for Curran, Who lost a whole hive this past winter.

“Normally when you open up a hive like that, where the bees can not defend their food supply and the other bees will attack and steal it and you’re not seeing that. It’s almost like ‘we don’t wanna go in there.'” The reason? No one knows. Some think it’s the environment. Others point to parasites. “You got terachiomites, you got beroahmites, you’ve got the hive beetle, you’ve got all these problems that bees are fighting right now and this thing comes along and we’re all scratching our heads saying ‘We don’t know what’s going on.'” Another theory: pesticides. Curran says, “I spray about 1/10th of what I’m supposed to put on out here and I haven’t changed my chemicals, you know, so I would say ‘I don’t think that’s it.'”

It’s known as colony collapse disorder or CCD. Farmers are testifying in Washington because most crops are pollinated by honeybees. Curran, who also runs an orchard, says it could make some prices go up. “I mean you can always get apples from China, and Brazil and Argentina or someplace like that, but it’s your local supply here in the United States that could suffer. We don’t know yet, ya know? Well you just say ‘Well, could it or couldn’t it?’ And maybe it will.” That remains to be seen. As for future planning. “You don’t, there’s nothing you can do at this stage of the game. You sit there and say ‘Come on baby, just live for me OK? Get out and do your thing and pollinate.'” The House Committee on Agriculture says it will monitor the situation until researchers find out what’s wrong.

And: Spring Mystery: Where Are All the Bees?

Apr. 2, 2007 – It is a mystery causing heated debate in the world of beekeeping: What’s wrong with the bees? Why are they suddenly and without warning leaving their colonies – and disappearing almost overnight – by the millions in the United States, Canada and Europe?

Nationwide, there are 2.4 million bee colonies that are used in agriculture to pollinate everything from almonds to fruits to flowering plants. Beekeepers estimate that 600,000, about 25 percent [? !] of the colonies, have been affected by the mysterious disappearance.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 27 states from New York to California are now affected by the bee mystery.

On Capitol Hill this week, Congress heard from beekeepers, scientists and government officials.

Beekeepers complained that the basic science of what is happening to the bees isn’t being done. Officials with the Department of Agriculture testified that they have collected samples of bees but they don’t have the money to process them.

David Ellingson, a commercial beekeeper from Minnesota, called this year “catastrophic” and said money is needed immediately to research the mystery. […]

California almond growers may have the most to worry about. Pollination of California’s vast almond groves is the main event of beekeeping nationwide. It takes about one million colonies of bees to pollinate the almond trees; in total that’s about 30 billion bees – many of them trucked in from across the country.

Paul Wenger of the California Farm Bureau testified that “bees are the unsung heroes of our state’s important almond industry that has an annual farm value of more than $2.5 billion.”

Wenger added that more than honey and almonds are at stake.

In California, bees pollinate “melons, cherries, avocados, Bartlett pears, bushberries, kiwi, many apple varieties, cucumbers, plums, prunes, pumpkin, squash, ornamental plants, and dozens of vegetable and flower seeds,” said Wegner. […]

That said, beekeepers warn that diminishing bee colonies will affect the price of honey and eventually the price of produce.

Of course things could always get worse.

Albert Einstein, quoted in Germany’s Der Spiegel, once said, “if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

At this point, Congress had been notified that there was a problem, and in the meantime, Fidel Castro had begun “spreading evil commie lies” about the U.S. (sarcasm, people!) that were racing around the world, and a few more items came up: Mysterious disappearance of US bees creating a buzz

April 07, 2007 AFP: Bee numbers on parts of the east coast and in Texas have fallen by more than 70 percent, while California has seen colonies drop by 30 to 60 percent.

According to estimates from the US Department of Agriculture, bees are vanishing across a total of 22 states, and for the time being no one really knows why. “Approximately 40 percent of my 2,000 colonies are currently dead and this is the greatest winter colony mortality I have ever experienced in my 30 years of beekeeping,” apiarist Gene Brandi, from the California State Beekeepers Association, told Congress recently. […] There are some 2.4 million professional hives in the country, according to the Agriculture Department, 25 percent fewer than at the start of the 1980s. And the number of beekeepers has halved. The situation is so bad, that beekeepers are now calling for some kind of government intervention, warning the flight of the bees could be catastrophic for crop growers. Domestic bees are essential for pollinating some 90 varieties of vegetables and fruits, such as apples, avocados, and blueberries and cherries. […]

“CCD is associated with unique symptoms, not seen in normal collapses associated with varroa mites and honey bee viruses or in colony deaths due to winter kill,” entomologist Diana Cox-Foster told the Congress committee. In cases of colony collapse disorder, flourishing hives are suddenly depopulated leaving few, if any, surviving bees behind. The queen bee, which is the only one in the hive allowed to reproduce, is found with just a handful of young worker bees and a reserve of food. Curiously though no dead bees are found either inside or outside the hive. The fact that other bees or parasites seem to shun the emptied hives raises suspicions that some kind of toxin or chemical is keeping the insects away, Cox-Foster said. Those bees found in such devastated colonies also all seem to be infected with multiple micro-organisms, many of which are known to be behind stress-related illness in bees.

Scientists working to unravel the mysteries behind CCD believe a new pathogen may be the cause, or a new kind of chemical product which could be weakening the insects’ immune systems. The finger of suspicion is being pointed at agriculture pesticides such as the widely-used neonicotinoides, which are already known to be poisonous to bees. France saw a huge fall in its bee population in the 1990s, blamed on the insecticide Gaucho which has now been banned in the country.

They are all looking for some kind of chemical or disease to blame it on and point to the fact that the bees that are left behind are infected with all kinds of micro-organisms. Note that the Queen is found with a reserve of food and a few sick attendants, all of whom we assume are infected as described. But what about the reserve of food? That suggests that there is a consciousness about the thing and I begin to wonder if something hardwired into creatures is not being activated similar to the way their hardwiring is activated to migrate? I have heard many stories about creatures fleeing the scene of a future disaster. This was seemingly confirmed after the Indonesian after-Christmas Tsunami. I can’t help but wonder if the bees are sensing something very significant in the areas where they are disappearing and they are leaving purposively, abandoning the weak and sick, but doing so humanely (why do we use “humane” to describe kindness when humans are the unkindest creatures of all?), leaving food to last probably as long as they are expected to live.

Concerning what repels other creatures from the abandoned hive, it could be a toxin, but then again, it could be a signal generated by the remaining bees themselves.

And: Did the bees all buzz off? Colonies across country mysteriously vanishing

By Kathy Hanks The Hutchinson News

HILLSBORO – Brent Barkman is trying to solve a mystery.

Why did half of his 6,000 colonies of honeybees disappeared?

“It was strange,” Barkman said. “It’s like they flew off and couldn’t find their way back.”

The owner of Barkman Honey Co. began noticing the problem last fall.

Even Congress has been investigating the mystery, which has been identified as colony collapse disorder, characterized by the sudden die-off of honeybee colonies. […]

Honey producer Brent Barkman suggests concerned citizens contact representatives in Washington.

Residents can let legislators know they are concerned about the threat to the honeybee, and they don’t want to lose federal funding, which is necessary for researching the disorder.

Science Daily was apparently allowed by the Bush Reich to get on the bandwagon on April 13th with the following item designed to make it look like a general problem of humanity, not the problem of greedy corporations: Losing Bees, Butterflies And Other Pollinators

Humans are reducing numbers of pollinators like bees and butterflies by destroying habitats, spraying pesticides and emitting pollution. Now, a University of Kansas researcher and a world-famous crop artist are behind a nationwide campaign to publicize the peril faced by species that transfer pollen between flowers.

“This is serious,” said Orley “Chip” Taylor, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at KU. “We’re losing six thousand acres of habitat a day to development, 365 days a year. One out of every three bites you eat is traceable to pollinators’ activity. But if you start losing pollinators, you start losing plants.”

Taylor works with the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC). That group has successfully worked with the United States Department of Agriculture and U.S. Senate to designate June 24 through June 30, 2007, as “National Pollinator Week.” The NAPPC also has convinced the United States Postal Service to issue a block of four “Pollination” stamps this summer depicting a Morrison’s bumble bee, a calliope hummingbird, a lesser long-nosed bat and a Southern dogface butterfly.

Oh, geeze! Be still my heart! We are on the verge of a disaster of Biblical proportions and they have decided to create “National Pollinator Week” and issue a stamp? There are some days when I think that a huge segment of the population fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down.

To call more attention to pollinators at risk, Taylor has enlisted help from noted Kansas-based artist Stan Herd. Herd executes masterful large-scale earthworks around the world, including rock mosaics, natural-material sculptures and crop art.

And now, they are going to create ART??!!! God help us! The Lunatics have taken over the asylum!

“I sent Stan Herd an e-mail and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a project here I’d like to have you think about’,” said Taylor. “Stan immediately said ‘yes.’ He’s very much aware of ecological issues and he wants to become involved.”

Herd will take an image from one “Pollinator” stamp – the Southern dogface butterfly – and create a vast facsimile at Pendleton’s Country Market, a family farm between Kansas City and Lawrence. The image will be best viewed aerially from a nearby silo or an aircraft. Herd’s immense stamp reproduction is to incorporate plants that conservationists urge for use in backyard butterfly gardens.

“I wanted to add my artistic statement to the equation,” said Herd. “I’m a fan of the flora and fauna and know that with migratory critters like butterflies there are increasing problems because of loss of habitat. My work is about my ideals. It also catches young people’s attention and we’ll bring school kids out to get involved in this piece.”

Taylor and NAPPC are grateful for the awareness Herd’s work could bring to the drop in pollinator populations.

“We can use this larger image to attract the attention of the public to this cause,” said Laurie Adams, who manages NAPPC. “Beautiful green lawns are wonderful but we need to do more with our cities, farms and the habitats that we control to provide for wildlife. Creating pollinator gardens or Monarch butterfly waystations through Monarch Watch are easy to do. And they are important.”

Like we have time for that nonsense? And who do they think they are really kidding?

Oh, yeah, right. Lost my head. They are fooling the U.S. population into thinking that something is actually being done. Go back to sleep folks, nothing to see here!

The next item is quite interesting since it takes us back to the comments posted by SOTT to the Feb. 28th article: Are mobile phones wiping out our bees? Scientists claim radiation from handsets are to blame for mysterious ‘colony collapse’ of bees

15 April: It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world’s harvests fail.

They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world – the abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon – which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe – was beginning to hit Britain as well.

The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees’ navigation systems, preventing the famously home loving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive’s inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.

The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.

CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London’s biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.

Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales and north-west England, but the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insisted: “There is absolutely no evidence of CCD in the UK.”

This must be the Titanic guy.

The implications of the spread are alarming. Most of the world’s crops depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappeared, “man would have only four years of life left”. No one knows why it is happening. Theories involving mites, pesticides, global warming and GM crops have been proposed, but all have drawbacks.

German research has long shown that bees’ behaviour changes near power lines.

Now a limited study at Landau University has found that bees refuse to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby. Dr Jochen Kuhn, who carried it out, said this could provide a “hint” to a possible cause.

Dr George Carlo, who headed a massive study by the US government and mobile phone industry of hazards from mobiles in the Nineties, said: “I am convinced the possibility is real.”

The case against handsets

Evidence of dangers to people from mobile phones is increasing. But proof is still lacking, largely because many of the biggest perils, such as cancer, take decades to show up.

Most research on cancer has so far proved inconclusive. But an official Finnish study found that people who used the phones for more than 10 years were 40 per cent more likely to get a brain tumour on the same side as they held the handset.

Equally alarming, blue-chip Swedish research revealed that radiation from mobile phones killed off brain cells, suggesting that today’s teenagers could go senile in the prime of their lives. Studies in India and the US have raised the possibility that men who use mobile phones heavily have reduced sperm counts. And, more prosaically, doctors have identified the condition of “text thumb”, a form of RSI from constant texting.

Professor Sir William Stewart, who has headed two official inquiries, warned that children under eight should not use mobiles and made a series of safety recommendations, largely ignored by ministers.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not surprised that health recommendations for the safety of children are largely ignored by our leaders. When have they ever done anything that was really intended to help us? Even the anti-smoking nonsense is cooked up pseudo-research designed to do three things: 1) cover up the diseases caused by industrial pollution and government experiments on human beings; 2) accustom the populace to fascist controls of their private behaviors and generate animosity between people; 3) make more money for the tobacco industry.

Anyway, at this point, after this major UK publication covered the matter, suddenly “Matt Drudge” discovered it. And then… Vanishing honeybees mystify scientists – Congressional Hearing scheduled

22 April WASHINGTON – Go to work, come home. Go to work, come home. Go to work — and vanish without a trace.

Billions of bees have done just that, leaving the crop fields they are supposed to pollinate, and scientists are mystified about why.

The phenomenon was first noticed late last year in the United States, where honeybees are used to pollinate $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and other crops annually. Disappearing bees also have been reported in Europe and Brazil.

Commercial beekeepers would set their bees near a crop field as usual and come back in two or three weeks to find the hives bereft of foraging worker bees, with only the queen and the immature insects remaining. Whatever worker bees survived were often too weak to perform their tasks.

If the bees were dying of pesticide poisoning or freezing, their bodies would be expected to lie around the hive. And if they were absconding because of some threat — which they have been known to do — they wouldn’t leave without the queen.

Since about one-third of the U.S. diet depends on pollination and most of that is performed by honeybees, this constitutes a serious problem, according to Jeff Pettis of the U.S. Agricultural Research Service. […]

Pettis and other experts are gathering outside Washington for a two-day workshop starting on Monday to pool their knowledge and come up with a plan of action to combat what they call colony collapse disorder.

“What we’re describing as colony collapse disorder is the rapid loss of adult worker bees from the colony over a very short period of time, at a time in the season when we wouldn’t expect a rapid die-off of workers: late fall and early spring,” Pettis said.

SMALL WORKERS IN A SUPERSIZE SOCIETY

The problem has prompted a congressional hearing, a report by the National Research Council and a National Pollinator Week set for June 24-30 in Washington, but so far no clear idea of what is causing it.

“The main hypotheses are based on the interpretation that the disappearances represent disruptions in orientation behavior and navigation,” said May Berenbaum, an insect ecologist at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

There have been other fluctuations in the number of honeybees, going back to the 1880s, where there were “mysterious disappearances without bodies just as we’re seeing now, but never at this magnitude,” Berenbaum said in a telephone interview.

In some cases, beekeepers are losing 50 percent of their bees to the disorder, with some suffering even higher losses. One beekeeper alone lost 40,000 bees, Pettis said. Nationally, some 27 states have reported the disorder, with billions of bees simply gone. […]

Honeybees are not the only pollinators whose numbers are dropping. Other animals that do this essential job — non-honeybees, wasps, flies, beetles, birds and bats — have decreasing populations as well.But honeybees are the big actors in commercial pollination efforts. …no technology has been invented that equals, much less surpasses, insect pollinators.”

Notice that the article above reiterates the idea that the main hypotheses relate to “disruption in orientation behavior and navigation,” i.e. some kind of “wave” explanation. That brings us to another curious item: Wi-Fi: Children at risk from ‘electronic smog’:

22 April: Britain’s top health protection watchdog is pressing for a formal investigation into the hazards of using wireless communication networks in schools amid mounting concern that they may be damaging children’s health, ‘The Independent on Sunday’ can reveal.

Sir William Stewart, the chairman of the Health Protection Agency, wants pupils to be monitored for ill effects from the networks – known as Wi-Fi – which emit radiation and are being installed in classrooms across the nation.

Sir William – who is a former chief scientific adviser to the Government, and has chaired two official inquiries into the hazards of mobile phones – is adding his weight to growing pressure for a similar examination of Wi-Fi, which some scientists fear could cause cancer and premature senility.

Wi-Fi – described by the Department of Education and Skills as a “magical” system that means computers do not have to be connected to telephone lines – is rapidly being taken up in schools, with estimates that more than half of primary schools – and four-fifths of secondary schools – have installed it.

But several European provincial governments have already taken action to ban, or limit, its use in the classroom, and Stowe School has partially removed it after a teacher became ill.

This week the Professional Association of Teachers, which represents 35,000 staff across the country, will write to Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Education, to demand an official inquiry. Virtually no studies have been carried out into Wi-Fi’s effects on pupils, but it gives off radiation similar to emissions from mobile phones and phone masts.

Recent research has linked radiation from mobiles to cancer and to brain damage. And many studies have found disturbing symptoms in people near masts.

Professor Olle Johansson, of Sweden’s prestigious Karolinska Institute, who is deeply concerned about the spread of Wi-Fi, saysthere are “thousands” of articles in scientific literature demonstrating “adverse health effects”. He adds: “Do we not know enough already to say, ‘Stop!’?”

For the past 16 months, the provincial government of Salzburg in Austria has been advising schools not to install Wi-Fi, and is considering a ban. Dr Gerd Oberfeld, its head of environmental health and medicine, calls the technology “dangerous”.

Sir William – who takes a stronger position on the issue than his agency – was not available for comment yesterday, but two members of an expert group that he chairs on the hazards of radiation spoke of his concern.

Mike Bell, chairman of the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Trust, says that he has been “very supportive of having Wi-Fi examined and doing something about it”. And Alasdair Philips, director of Powerwatch, an information service, said that he was pressing for monitoring of the health of pupils exposed to Wi-Fi.

Labour MP Ian Gibson, who was interviewed with Sir William for a forthcoming television programme, last week said that he backed proposals for an inquiry.

Wow! People are getting cancer, children’s brain cells are being killed and millions of them face a future of premature senility, and they are going to propose an inquiry? Meanwhile, the bees are disappearing by the billions, and that, taken together with Climate change and water shortages, means the planet is facing a famine of Biblical proportions like NEXT YEAR EVEN!

People, we do not have time to wait on these psychopaths to take action! Something has to be done for the human race NOW. After all, if we leave it up to our non-democratically elected leaders, how are they going to handle it? I can give you an example: Looming US water crisis ‘big, big, big’

22 April 07: A prominent environmentalist is sounding the alarm about a closed-door trilateral meeting to discuss, among other things, large-scale water transfers to combat future shortages in the United States and Mexico despite Canada’s standing objection to such a plan.

Next week, government officials and academics from the three countries will gather in Calgary for the two-day North American Future 2025 Project where they’ll brainstorm ideas on how the continent should implement policies to deal with various challenges – including security, energy and labour.

But it’s the agenda on water that has activists concerned, given that the discussions will be held behind closed doors without public scrutiny, said Maude Barlow, national chairwoman of the Council of Canadians.

”We want this out in the light of day. We tried contacting them and they said this meeting is private,” Barlow said. ”How could it be private if it is setting up the political and policy framework for the future of North America?”

An outline of the proceedings states that climate change is expected to greatly exacerbate water shortages in the United States and Mexico while Canada, which has the world’s largest supply of fresh water in the Great Lakes and elsewhere, is not expected to suffer to the same extent.

It goes on to state that ”creative” solutions – such as water transfers and artificial diversions of fresh water – may be needed to address the ”profound changes” that are bound to occur south of the border.

The idea that other countries aren’t getting the message about Canada’s refusal to allow transfers of its fresh water is scary considering the gravity of the looming crisis, Barlow said.

”The Americans are really getting thirsty. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says there are 36 states that are in peril now, that are in water stress,” she said.

”There’s crisis in the U.S. and the issue of water has moved right up to the top of the national security political ladder – it’s big, big, big.”

Federal Environment Minister John Baird, in a statement reacting to the council’s concerns, said Canada strictly prohibits transfers of water and that policy isn’t going to change.

”The Government of Canada has no intention of entering into negotiations, behind closed doors or otherwise, regarding the issue of bulk water exports,” Baird said.

Armand Peschard-Sverdrup of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the American think-tank that organized next week’s meeting, said that no government decisions are expected to come out of the talks and it’s simply a way to discuss different ideas.

”We’re not just looking at bulk water transfers, we’re looking at the whole gambit of issues and policy options,” Peschard-Sverdrup said.

”We are a think-tank and what we do is we look at a whole range of issues, no matter how sensitive they may be, or no matter whether they are politically viable or not.”

A spokesman for Baird said he had no plans to attend the meeting.

Well, it makes me feel real secure knowing that a U.S. think tank is talking about these problems. After all, it was a U.S. think tank that decided on the whole “Global War on Terror” that is presently diverting all U.S. resources to kill more and more people while its own population faces starvation. Oh, sorry, forgot. Yeah, that’s what it’s all about. The U.S. is really planning on taking care of its citizens by stealing everybody else’s resources! And they don’t care if the kids are turned into pre-senile lumps: make better slaves, doncha know! After all, the brain damaged ask so few questions and with just a few drugs, they can be kept quiet while they harvest the corn and sugar cane.

Yeah, it looks pretty bleak.

One the one hand, we have the fact that we are facing a global systems collapse that could very well drag us all into the black hole of another dark age, and on the other hand, we have all the people who are used to being “taken care of” and “having their comforts” including their televisions, video games, computers and cell phones and don’t want to give them up.

The world’s agriculture relies on commercial bee pollination, that’s a hard fact. The next hard fact is that more than half of all west coast U.S. bees are gonzerooni. They are presumed to be dead, but we don’t even know that for sure. On the East coast of the U.S. it is even worse. We notice that the above quoted stories give different figures, but we can figure out that it’s about 75% loss. Meanwhile, the problem exists elsewhere, stalking the UK and Europe. Of course, in Britain, all suggestions that there is a crisis are denied.

The problem snuck up on the U.S. in such a way that they didn’t have time to get their denial texts written. (Things have a way of doing that in an open universe.) When the High Country News quoted above mentioned the fact that the California almond crop could drop from 2,400 pounds per acre to 40, (600%), people understood how serious the problem was. I hope you are beginning to understand why Einstein said that if the bees go, so goes humankind. He gave it four years, I think we have already used up some of that time and there isn’t much left.

So, what do we do now?

Can you imagine a campaign against electronic technology similar to the one that has been launched against smoking?

No? Why not? Oh, yeah, forgot again. There’s no money to be made in it.

And that’s what it all comes down to: money. How much is a human life worth?

Apparently not much. Or at least, some lives are valued more than others.

Are you going to petition your local government to take down all the cell phone towers? Are you going to be the first to throw your blackberry on the fire? What good do you think it will do?

Now, really?

I’ve spent half a day researching these articles and getting them in presentable format to let you know just what it is you – and everyone you love – are facing. Among those problems are the very serious ones that the leaders and experts we have been conditioned to look to for guidance simply either don’t understand, or don’t care.

I think it is both. They are psychopaths. Psychopaths are simply incapable of conceiving of future consequences. That’s why they can’t really learn anything abstract. That’s why governments under psychopathic rule always fall to rack and ruin in a very short time. The old image of Nero fiddling while Rome burned is an apt metaphor for psychopaths in power.

Those in power keep their focus on making more and more money, gaining more and more power, and they do not even realize that conditions have already reached the point where, very soon, there is not going to be any place to spend the money and no one over whom to exercise that power. Psychopaths are like germs that do not realize that they, too, will die with the death of the body they have infected.

Most human beings around the planet have been conditioned to think that the proper response to reading or hearing what I am telling you now is to “ask the experts,” or to have confidence that the political process will work. Create a “Pollinator’s Week” and issue a stamp; propose a congressional hearing; assign a think tank to work on it in secret.

Don’t you think we are past that now?

Have you really gotten it that what we really need to do is to take the incredible step of stopping doing what has caused all this mess to begin with: relying on psychopaths. It is not only the bees that have lost their direction, confused by false signals. The fate of the bees is the fate of humanity. Can we save them? If we cannot, there is no saving of ourselves.

Let me offer you a few “talking points” from The Politics of Obedience: Discourse of Voluntary Servitude by Éttiene de la Boétie..

We are all born free and naturally free.

People born into slavery regard it as a natural condition.

In general, people are shaped more by their environment than by their natural capacities – if they allow it.

Habit and custom are powerful forces that keep people enslaved.

Grown-up adults should adopt reason as their guide and never become slaves of anybody.

There are always some people who cannot be tamed, subjected, or enslaved. Even if freedom were to be entirely extinguished, these people would re-invent it.

Lovers of freedom tend to be ineffective because they are not known to one another.

People who lose their freedom also lose their valor (strength of mind, bravery).

Among free people there is competition to do good for humanity.

People can be enslaved through either force or deception.

When people lose their freedom through deceit, it is because they mislead themselves.

People seem to be most gullible towards those who deliberately set out to fool them. It is as if people have a need to be deceived.

Tyrants stupefy their victims with “pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes.”

Tyrants parade like “workers of magic.”

The victims bring about their own subjection – they “win their enslavement.”

Tyrants attain their positions through: (a) Force; (b) Birth; or (c) Election.

The only power tyrants have is the power relinquished to them by their victims.

The tyrant is often a weak little man. He has no special qualities that set him apart from anyone else – yet the gullible idolize him.

Tyrants create a power structure, consisting of a multi-layered hierarchy, staffed by a conspiracy of accomplices. Accomplices receive their positions as a favor from the tyrant.

Tyrants can only give back part of what they first took from their victims.

The worst dregs of society gather around the tyrant – they are people of weak character who trade servility for unearned wealth.

Accomplices can profit greatly from their positions in the hierarchy.

Once you resolve to serve no more, you are free.

If without violence the tyrant is simply not obeyed, he becomes “naked and undone and as nothing.”

If people withdraw their support, the tyrant topples over from his own corrupted weight.

And now the question that the bees are asking humanity in so symbolic a way: “To BE or not to be?

You don’t have a lot of time to make up your mind.

Originally Published 2007_04_23

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