Bees In Our Bonnets

The (mis)adventures of raising honey bees in Minnesota

What you see, and what you don’t, can hurt you

with one comment

Here’s how you and I see a lawn:

Green-grass lawn

Here is how your bees see the same stretch of land:

Barren desert

Bees require two nutrients: nectar for carbohydrates, and pollen for protein. These are gathered from flowers (and a very few other sources). There is neither in a lawn full of grass.

Here’s how you see a field of growing corn:

Field of corn

Guess what a bee sees.

Barren desert

Yep. No pollen, no nectar. (This is also true for all grain fields–oats, wheat, rice, etc.)

Soybeans are the number-one protein-centric crop in America:

Field of soybeans

Since there’s not one tiny bit of pollen or nectar in this picture, you can probably figure out what this looks like to a bee. (Hint: see “barren desert” above.)

Now, figure that more than 90% of all American farmland is planted with soybeans or corn. Keep in mind also that all American farmland (excluding that tiny percentage that is “organic”) is soaked in

  • herbicides such as Roundup, whose glyphosate effects is being genetically introduced into food crops
  • insecticides such as DDT, whose reintroduction has been suggested
  • fungicides such as hexachlorobenzene, which causes porphyria and cancer
  • disinfectants such as methyl iodide, which is a potent carcinogen

Is it any wonder that honey bee populations are disappearing?


Written by beesinourbonnet

12 June 2010 at 16:08

Posted in Pollen and nectar

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. Many crops have had a resistance to glyphosate bred into them. This does not produce a glyphosate effect in crops. If the crop is sprayed with glyphosate, then there is a short residual effect, about the same effect on flesh as soap.
    Bt is not mentioned here. The Bt gene is spliced into crops to help them produce their own insecticide. When the crop is consumed the insect dies.
    If you look at ranch land (grass) you would not see much for bees either. The prairies that were here when the europeans arrived didn’t have much for bees to do. Most pollination was done by other insects or the wind. The same is true for old growth forests. Only in areas where man has concentrated bee pollinated flowers would you find a need for bees in great numbers.
    Farm land makes up such a small part of the world, and food crops that people want to eat just don’t always need bees. I’d suggest that we all start planting our gardens for bees and butterflies. Then avoid spraying them.


    12 June 2010 at 21:33

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