Monsanto’s gobble’s up bee research company

Monsanto buys leading bee research firm after being implicated in bee colony collapse:

Monsanto buys leading bee research firm after being implicated in bee colony collapse

Monsanto buys leading bee research firm after being implicated in bee colony collapse

Amid all the controversy over genetically-modified (GM) crops and their pesticides and herbicides decimating bee populations all around the world, biotechnology behemoth Monsanto has decided to buy out one of the major international firms devoted to studying and protecting bees. According to a company announcement, Beeologics handed over the reins to Monsanto back on September 28, 2011, which means the gene-manipulating giant will now be able to control the flow of information and products coming from Beeologics for colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Since 2007, Beeologics has been studying CCD, as well as Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), for the purpose of coming up with intervention-based ways to mitigate these conditions. And based on the way the company describes both CCD and IAPV on its website, Beeologics has largely taken the approach that intervention, rather than prevention, is the key to solving the global bee crisis.

Now that Beeologics is owned and controlled by Monsanto, the company is sure to completely avoid dealing with the true causes of CCD and IAPV as they pertain to Monsanto’s crop technologies — GMOs and their chemical counterparts. So going into the future, it seems expected that Beeologics will come up with “scientific breakthroughs” that deny any link between CCD and GMO technologies, and instead blame mystery pathogens and other factors that require more chemicals to eliminate.

According to Anthony Gucciardi at Activist Post, Beeologics has also long had a cozy relationship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is convenient for Monsanto. The USDA, in fact, considers Beeologics to be one of the foremost bee research organizations in the world, as does the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the mainstream media and “leading entomologists” worldwide, according to the company.

Monsanto to use Beeologics’ ‘biological tools’ to develop more GMOs, crop chemicals

Beeologics’ acquisition announcement explains that Monsanto plans to incorporate all the biological research that Beeologics has conducted over the years into its own programs for developing more GMO systems. Monsanto has also seized control of a key product that is currently in the Beeologics development pipeline that supposedly “help[s] protect bee health.”

“Monsanto will use the base technology from Beeologics as a part of its continuing discovery and development pipeline,” says the announcement. “Biological products will continue to play an increasingly important role in supporting the sustainability of many agricultural systems.”

To translate, it appears as though Monsanto plans to use even more chemical inputs to supposedly solve the bee collapse problem, even though it is these very inputs that are largely the cause of the bee collapse problem. Several recent studies, after all, have definitively linked crop pesticides and herbicides, as well as high fructose corn syrup, to CCD.

The future looks bleak for bees, in other words, as Monsanto appears poised to slowly gobble up all the competing companies and organizations that threaten its own GMO products, while pretending to care about the dwindling bee populations. And unless drastic action is taken to stop Monsanto in its continued quest to dominate global agriculture, the food supply as we know it will soon be a thing of the past.

Bee’s colony collapse likely due to Pesticides

Bee colony collapse not due to inbreeding:

Bee colony collapse not due to inbreeding

Bee colony collapse not due to inbreeding

The mysterious and widespread collapse of bee colonies in many parts of the world is not due to a lack of genetic diversity, a new study has found. The study by Brock Harpur, of York University in Canada, and colleagues, is reported in a recent issue of Molecular Ecology. “The relationship between genetic diversity and honey bee declines is tenuous given that managed bees have more genetic diversity than their progenitors and many viable domesticated animals,” write the researchers. In recent years, bee colonies in Europe and North America have been suffering a widespread collapse. Just as the process of domestication with other animals often brings about a decline in genetic diversity, some scientists believe this has occurred in managed bees and is the cause of colony collapse. “The honey bee, Apis mellifera, has been managed by humans for centuries for both honey and wax production and crop pollination,” write Harpur and colleagues. “Human management and selective breeding are believed to have caused reductions in genetic diversity in honeybee populations, thereby contributing to the global declines threatening this ecologically and economically important insect.” But in their genetic study, Harpur and colleagues found evidence against this. “We found that managed honey bees actually have higher levels of genetic diversity compared with their progenitors in East and West Europe,” they write. Professor Ben Oldroyd of the University of Sydney welcomes the latest study on the genetic diversity of managed bees. “[Harpur and colleagues] were using a new genetic marker … So they got a really good handle on it,” says Oldroyd, who studies the behavioral, evolutionary and population genetics of bees. Oldroyd has also found a similar genetic diversity of managed bees in Australia, which to date does not have colony collapse disorder. He says diversity in managed bees can be explained by the fact that beekeepers’ regularly import new queen bees from many parts of the world, and then these queens mate with feral bees. This is quite different from what happens in the domestication of many other animals. “In cattle there’s this big thing about staying within the breed but beekeepers don’t do that. Bees are a mongrel lot, like humans,” says Oldroyd. In the past he has been a skeptic of whether the collapse of colonies is a new development in the history of bees. “There’s been occurrences throughout history, going back as far as the 10th century where there’s been massive die offs of bees,” he says. “There was a big die off in 1910 in England when just about every colony died.” But, Oldroyd says his view is shifting as time goes on, given the world-wide scale of colony collapse, and number of colonies involved. He says there are many other theories for the problem ranging from the effect of mobile phone towers (popular in India) to the stress of bees from overwork in industrial-scale beekeeping. “The typical pattern in the United States is the bees are overwintered in Florida, driven to California for almond pollination and then they’re driven up to the north west to New York for pollinating apples and then maybe they’ll even get a honey crop in Canada,” says Oldroyd. “They work them hard. Particularly the queens get a hard time because they have got to be laying one to two thousand eggs a day for most of the year instead of for a few months.” But, he says the most likely cause of colony collapse disorder is pesticides, including, neonicotinoids that disorient bees so they can’t get back to their nest. “If there was any one thing that was supposed to be the cause of colony collapse I suppose that’s the most likely one,” says Oldroyd. “I think the evidence is mounting on that.”

Honey Bee Collapse not due to pesticides alone

 

Pesticides not yet proven guilty of causing honeybee declines:

 Pesticides not yet proven guilty of causing honeybee declines


Pesticides not yet proven guilty of causing honeybee declines

The impact of crop pesticides on honeybee colonies is unlikely to cause colony collapse, according to a paper in the journal Science today (20 September 2012). More research is now needed to predict the impact of widely-used agricultural insecticides, called neonicotinoids, on honeybee populations. UK scientists from the University of Exeter and Food and Environment Agency highlight flaws in previous research (published in Science, April 2012) that predicted that neonicotinoids could cause honeybee colony collapse. Neonicotinoids are among the most widely-used agricultural insecticides and honeybees ingest residues of the pesticides as they gather nectar and pollen from treated plants. The previous research has been cited by scientists, environmentalists and policy-makers as evidence of the future impact of these pesticides on honeybees. It is likely that the research was instrumental in the French government’s recent decision to ban the use of thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid that is the active ingredient of Cruiser OSR, a pesticide produced by the Swiss company Syngenta. However, the new paper argues that the calculations made in the research were flawed because they failed to reflect the rate at which honeybee colonies recover from losing individuals. The previous research, led by French scientist Mikaël Henry, showed that the death rate of bees increased when they drank nectar laced with a neonicotinoid pesticide, thiamethoxam. It calculated that this would cause their colony to collapse. The research published today explains how the calculation may have used an inappropriately low birth rate. Lead author Dr James Cresswell of the University of Exeter said: “We know that neonicotinoids affect honeybees, but there is no evidence that they could cause colony collapse. When we repeated the previous calculation with a realistic birth rate, the risk of colony collapse under pesticide exposure disappeared. “I am definitely not saying that pesticides are harmless to honeybees, but I think everyone wants to make decisions based on sound evidence – and our research shows that the effects of thiamethoxam are not as severe as first thought. “We do not yet have definitive evidence of the impact of these insecticides on honeybees and we should not be making any decisions on changes to policy on their use. It is vital that more research is conducted so that we can understand the real impact of neonicotinoids on honeybees, so governments can put together a proper plan to protect them from any dangers that the chemicals pose.”

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