Agriculture and Honey Bees Essays

Submitted By Shanator
Words: 1062
Pages: 5

“Beemageddon” The collapse of Honey Bee Colonies
Introduction: (Slide 1)
Attention Material: (Slide 2)
Think of all the food you love to eat. What if all of those foods were to disappear? This may seem like an impossibility but it is quickly becoming our reality. The disappearance of honey bees means the loss of hundreds for foods that we enjoy on a daily bases. “Beemageddon”, as some are calling it, could cause the collapse of the 200 billion dollar agriculture industry, since more than 100 US crops rely on honey bees to pollinate them,” (USDA Office of Communications , 2013
For centuries mankind has used farming to help nourish its populations. Humanity has relied on the Earth to provide, time and time again. But new farming practices threaten to destroy this way of life. In recent years, the environment has been greatly affected by the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), pesticides and the creation of plant monocultures. These negative effects have taken a disastrous toll on honey bee populations and impaired the natural pollination process. Since 2006 an estimated 10 million beehives have been lost. J. Nesbit for the Boston Globe reported that in one winter the honey bee population declined by 31.1%. Luckily it is not all bad news, Organic farming practices are the best way to preserve our environment, and honey bee populations.
(Slide 3) With the development of GMO’s there has been an influx in food production, but at what cost. GM plants have detrimental effects on the environment. GM plants strips the soil of nutrients and render the land unusable after a few growing seasons. It can take up to ten years before the land can be used for farming again. GM plants out-cross with other plants in there environment. This means that genetic material from a GM plants cross pollinates with the genetic material from conventionally cultivated plant making hybrid plants. The World Health Organization has reported instances where traces of a GM corn, that was only approved for use as livestock feed, was found in corn products intended for human consumption in U.S. markets. Out- crossing can also lead to an unintentional monoculture. Where all of the plants are genetically the same. These monocultures completely change ecosystems and are highly susceptible to disease leading to the use of more herbicides and pesticides.
The use of agricultural chemicals also have a large effect on the environment. Crops that are genetically modified to be herbicide-resistant tend to greatly increase the herbicide use in an effort to kill weeds. Farmers, that know their plants are herbicide resistant, are more likely to use toxic chemicals more liberally. Many genetically modified crops are engineered to produce their own pesticides. Some may even be classified as pesticides by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is a new corn strain that makes the stomach of insects explode when eaten. It is said that by the time the corn reaches U.S. markets this stomach exploding effect with be rendered inactive. But who would want to take that chance. Fungicides have been found to play a major role in the decline in honey bee populations. After exposure, the honey bee’s immune system is compromised and they are more likely to succumb to the Nosema ceranae parasite and die from complications attributed to the parasite. Scientists from the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a study that linked pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, to the mass die-offs of honey bees. Scientists have been looking for the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) for a long time. Some beekeepers reporting losses of 90 to 100 percent of their bee populations. One bad winter could trigger and agricultural disaster.
Researchers from the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture found that pollen samples in fields ranging from Delaware to Maine contained as many as 21 different…