If we consider why that uneasy feeling is in our gut, then look at what we’ve been eating and you’ll likely find corn and wheat are in what was recently consumed.
Even soda pop has corn in it! You know… corn syrup, as a sweetener. Plus there might be some other chemical sweeteners, likely produced by the largest biotechnology company in the world – Monsanto.
Herbicides and Insecticides in Food
In 1996 the USDA approved Monsanto’s first genetically engineered seed for use. Biotechnology firms had figured out they can infuse the food we eat with genetic strings that kill insects and prevent invasive weeds. So the genetic substance of the food eaten has been modified, hence we have Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), sometimes known as Genetically Engineered (GE).
If you haven’t been paying attention to your food lately, biotechnology giants such as Monsanto thank you for that. Because behind your back, they’ve succeeded in replacing 93% of US corn with their patented insecticide-producing “frankencorn”.
The industry name for this is “Bt corn” and the insecticide is actually produced inside the plant, so it is impossible to wash it off. This is accomplished by inserting genes from the bacteria Bacillus Thuringiensis into the corn.
Up until now, scientists and multinational corporations such as Monsanto and DuPont have spent billions in lobbying, campaign donations and “testing” in an attempt to convince world governments that GMOs are safe. In the case of Bt corn, they stated the insecticide produced within the corn posed no danger to human health because it was broken down in the digestive system.
The effect for the insects is their stomachs explode when they ingest the plants. The entire plant is an insecticide.
How Much Genetically Engineered is Planted?
Here are some charts from the USDA tracking GE crops since the introduction in 1996.
Adoption of all biotech corn accounted for 93 percent of corn acreage in 2014.
Its not just corn! As you can see from this chart other US crops are affected. If you can imagine this is what is happening around the world – the entire world’s food supply is affected.
What is Michigan Producing?
These charts were created from the data available for Michigan on Corn and Soybean crops.
Varroa mite parasites are endangering host pollinators. Get to know more about “ZomBees”.
Varroa mites are external honeybee parasites that attack both the adults and the brood, with a distinct preference for drone brood. They suck the blood from both the adults and the developing brood, weakening and shortening the life span of the ones on which they feed. Emerging brood may be deformed with missing legs or wings. Untreated infestations of varroa mites that are allowed to increase will kill honeybee colonies. Losses due to these parasitic mites are often confused with causes such as winter mortality and queenlessness if the colonies are not examined for mites. — University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture
Apistan® is probably the best and simplest defence against the varroa mite. Since the 1980s it has been the benchmark treatment and is now registered for use in more than 40 countries. — Vita-Europe product page for Apistan®
Currently, the only registered treatment for small hive beetle in Canada is through the use of CheckMite+®. Although this treatment may reduce the numbers of small hive beetles in a honey bee colony, it may not completely eliminate the infestation. CheckMite+® is relatively toxic to bees and humans; appropriate care is required in application — Bayer product page for CheckMite+®
Sadly our honeybee hosts for these killer parasites could be called “ZomBees”.
EVENT THEME ANNOUNCEMENT:
March Against Monsanto Detroit is considering working on a ZomBee Apocalypse theme for October events, which we would like to call a Swarm for Sweetest Day – Facebook event link.
Monsanto Stepping in to “Save the Bees”
Of course biotech giant Monsanto has defined a role since it is reeling from backlash for neonicotoid pesticides weakening honeybee health. It has been busy with BioDirect and Beelogic.
BioDirect technology uses molecules found in nature that we expect to develop for use in topically applied crop protection and other products. BioDirect technology may enable specific and effective products with a wide range of applications – including weed, insect and virus control. — Monsanto product page for BioDirect
In 2011 Monsanto, the maker of herbicides and genetically engineered seeds, bought an Israeli company called Beeologics, which had developed an RNA interference technology that can be fed to bees through sugar water. The idea is that when a nurse bee spits this sugar water into each cell of a honeycomb where a queen bee has laid an egg, the resulting larvae will consume the RNA interference treatment. With the right sequence in the interfering RNA, the treatment will be harmless to the larvae, but when a mite feeds on it, the pest will ingest its own self-destruct signal.
The RNA interference technology would not be carried from generation to generation. “It’s a transient effect; it’s not a genetically modified organism,” says Bowman.
Monsanto says it has identified a few self-destruct triggers to explore by looking at genes that are fundamental to the biology of the mite. “Something in reproduction or egg laying or even just basic housekeeping genes can be a good target provided they have enough difference from the honeybee sequence,” says Greg Heck, a researcher at Monsanto.