Friday, June 12, 2009

What is Happening to the Bees?

First, a little preview:

Some of you may have already been aware of the concerns about disappearing bees. The television news magazine, 60 Minutes, did a story on this problem some months ago, without significant mention of the possible connection to pesticides. Yet, on my quest to turn up all that might fall under this umbrella, I once again, found a link.

First, allow me to backpeddle. Recently Frontline Flea Spot Treatment, among others made for dogs and cats, came under fire as a possible carcinogen. I had reported this previously in posts at my "baby" blog, All Things Dog Blog. Its primary ingredient, Fipronil, is used by pest control companies in sprays made for use around our homes, both inside and out. After a discussion with my pest control representative, I did some web research and decided it was time to bail on Fipronil. That was a year ago, and my foray into natural pest control methods continues.

While, most of the year I use cedar oil and food-grade Diatomaceous Earth on my dogs for flea prevention and treatment, occasionally I have to resort to a "bad boy," when there is a particularly bad breakout of the feisty boarders. I had used Advantage for this occasion, in the past. No more.

I've treated the whole yard with DE, washed the dogs' bedding in hot water, and treated nearby carpet areas with DE, as well. It seems to have done the trick. All my friends are complaining about their flea troubles, and my pups are snoozing peacefully at my feet, while I write.

Today, when I looked up the active ingredient in Advantage, I found unfortunate information that it is a suspect in the collapse of bee colonies.

It is tough in a short post, to help you understand how important the bees are to us. They do the toughest part of our farming. They pollinate our food. It's sort of like plant sex, being managed by the bees. Without pollination, there would be no fruits, vegetables, or even flowers. France and Germany have taken the lead, by banning products using Imidacloprid.

In addition to flea and pest control uses, Imidacloprid has many other pest-related jobs. It is used to treat seeds, which then produce a more pest-resistant plant, which are then pollinated by bees, who come in contact with the substance in the plant's nectar. Thus, the cycle continues as the poison is carried back to the nest by the bees.

Want to learn more? Read my previous posts on natural pest control at Taking Your Dog Green, and Flea Season is Here: What's a Pup to Do? You might also like to read some at Wikipedia, which is a layman's version of some of these complicated issues. Check out Colony Collapse Disorder and Imidacloprid.

Got questions? I'll field them if I can. Use the comment link just below this post:


Anonymous said...

I think it was Einstein who said that the world would end after the bees started disappearing. Don't forget the omens of 2012.

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