Monday, April 16, 2007

Bees: Famine of the Last Days?

By no stretch am I what anyone would call an alarmist. I don't buy into the media-hyped crisis du jour, be it global warming, government cover ups or the racial divide. For the most part, I believe that the biggest problems we face as a society are small, simple and mostly ignored by the mainstream media. Problems the decay of the family and its underlying causes--immorality, dishonesty and a disregard for decency.

But there's one issue that actually has me worried, which also has received very little media play: Colony Collapse Syndrome.

To sum it up, the bees are disappearing. And not gradually.

This phenomenon is less than a year old. In the space of those months, more than half of the U.S. bee population has vanished. And it has spread to Europe.

What makes this worrisome is that bees, of course, pollinate much of our food supply. This quote, attributed to Albert Einstein (but not confirmed) states it succinctly:

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
Some scary details.

One thing is certain: Millions of bees have simply vanished. In most cases, all that's left in the hives are the doomed offspring. But dead bees are nowhere to be found - neither in nor anywhere close to the hives. Diana Cox-Foster, a member of the CCD Working Group, told The Independent that researchers were "extremely alarmed," adding that the crisis "has the potential to devastate the US beekeeping industry."

It is particularly worrisome, she said, that the bees' death is accompanied by a set of symptoms "which does not seem to match anything in the literature."

In many cases, scientists have found evidence of almost all known bee viruses in the few surviving bees found in the hives after most have disappeared. Some had five or six infections at the same time and were infested with fungi - a sign, experts say, that the insects' immune system may have collapsed.
If God were to give us a famine, this seems like the perfect way to do it--by simply removing a crucial element in the food production chain.

Why do I believe this alarming bit of news? Because it's not surrounded by hype. It not emotional. It's not political. The disappearance of the bees is indisputable fact that can't be spun to mesh with an ideology.

That's the scariest part of this, and what leads me to believe we're headed into trouble.

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