Saturday, April 26, 2008

Save the Honeybees with Organic Farming

"The decline of the honeybee attracted worldwide attention in 2007. Investigations carried out by the Institute of Science in Society implicated a synergistic interaction between the recent widespread use of new pesticides (including Bt toxin from GM crops) and fungal infections [1, 2] (Parasitic Fungus and Honeybee Decline , Parasitic Fungi and Pesticides Act Synergistically to Kill Honeybees?, SiS 35). Sub-lethal levels of neonicotinoid pesticides act synergistically with parasitic fungi in killing insects pests. Fungal spores, widely used as biocontrol agents are applied in sprays and baits, and when delivered in suspension with sub-lethal levels of pesticides are much more effective in killing insects. Equally, Bt biopesticides enhance the killing power of parasitic fungi synergistically. That information was transmitted through a written question to the European Parliament [3].

Last year’s decline was serious enough and described as “beepocalypse now” by a news report [4]. According to the US Department of Agriculture one mouthful in three of the foods we eat directly or indirectly depend on pollination by honeybees [5]. Most fruit and many vegetables would disappear from our diet along with an immediate shortage of meat due to the loss of forage. This winters’ bee loss was 34 percent, up from the 25 percent the previous year [6]."

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