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Kill the poison, save the Bees!

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Something is killing honey bees, and even as billions are dropping dead across the world, researchers are scrambling to find answers and save one of the most important crop pollinators on Earth.

What is called "colony collapse disorder" hit bee keepers all over the world including half of the US last spring. Now it has spread to all but a handful of states.

Hives can go from healthy and active to dead and gone.

"In the Australian story, researchers have dissected bees that have died, and they have found that their immune systems have "totally gone to pieces".

As the global collapse of honeybee populations threatens the sustainability of the world food supply, some European organizations are at least trying to do something about it. Today, Britain's largest agriculture co-op announced it would ban eight pesticides thought to be causing colony collapse disorder. (One of them is called imidacloprid.)

In Germany's Baden-W—Ćrttemberg state, 500 million bees died in Spring 2008, due to the insecticidal seed treatment agent clothianidin. Another example is the case of a Swabian beekeeper, who destroyed his whole honey harvest because it contained pollen of the GM corn MON810, after an administrative court declared the honey as 'non marketable'.

So far, there are few answers, but there is a long list of possibilities, which include pesticides and genetically modified crops, also known as GMOs or GMs.

However, I have been learning that not much is known about the accumulating impact of pesticides on insects, animals and even people when you consider, in this modern world how many combinations of pesticides are used. One pesticide by itself might not destroy honey bees, but what happens when farmers spray herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and rodenticides on land that also has genetically modified crops with pesticides built-in?
The United States grows nearly two-thirds of all genetically engineered crops. Last year about 130 million acres were planted with GMs. Much of the soy, corn, cotton and canola have had a gene inserted into their DNA to produce pesticides systemically throughout the plants created and patented by Monsanto. Monsanto also produces genetically modified crops designed not to die when herbicides are sprayed on them. In a perfect biotech world, only the weeds would be killed. But Mother Nature has a way of outwitting human designs. So, now the weeds are becoming resistant to the herbicide sprays and frustrated farmers are putting on more and more poisons.

What this genetically engineered trait does is allow a farmer to spray the herbicide right on the crop, which would have killed the crop, would kill the soybeans, prior to introduction of this gene. The gene comes from a type of bacteria that is found in the soil and it makes the plant immune to the herbicide.

The consequence of this is that glyphosate and Roundup, which is sold by Monsanto - the same company that also sells the seed of the type of soybeans that are immune or resistant to the herbicide - that herbicide has become the most widely used herbicide in the world. The consequence of that is you have one particular herbicide used on a tremendous amount of acreage in the U. S. and elsewhere, especially Argentina and Brazil.

As any biologist would expect, when you have such tremendous pressure on weeds to try to survive this herbicide, some of the weeds that are resistant are selected for and all their competition is killed off. The resistant weeds then proliferate and can no longer be controlled by glyphosate. Then you have a situation where the use of this herbicide has gone up, and on probably millions of acres, other herbicides are having to be used as well as glyphosate in order to control the resistant weeds.

So, what we've been seeing in the past few years is that the overall level of herbicide use is increasing, and it will almost inevitably continue to increase. In this case, it's causing the rise of these resistant weeds and the increased use of herbicides and potentially, may be harming amphibians to boot.

The active ingredient in Round-up is the isopropylamine salt of glyphosate. Glyphosate's mode of action is to inhibit an enzyme involved in the synthesis of the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan and phenylalanine. It is absorbed through foliage and translocated (moves through plant sap) to growing points. Weeds and grass will generally re-emerge within one to two months after usage. Because of this mode of action, it is only effective on actively growing plants. Round-up is not effective as a "pre-emergence herbicide." Monsanto also produces seeds which grow into plants genetically engineered to be tolerant to glyphosate which are known as Round-up Ready crops. The genes contained in these seeds are patented. Such crops allow farmers to use glyphosate as a post-emergence pesticide against both broadleaf and cereal weeds. Soybeans were the first Round-up Ready crop, which was produced at Monsanto's Agracetus Campus located in Middleton, Wisconsin. Current Round-up Ready crops include corn, sorghum, cotton, soybeans, canola and alfalfa.

So here we have it: GMO's Round-up and other pesticides are killing our Bee's, without them the whole world will face starvation!

It is the big pharmaceutical companies that need to be stopped. In the end, they will not only be killing bees, they will be killing us.

Its time we do something!
Kill the poison, save the Bees!