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Monsanto: Of Bees and Honey

About six years ago, some Bavarian beekeepers had to destroy their entire harvest of the year. Between 2005 and 2008 the Free State of Bavaria had grown genetically modified corn from Monsanto at test areas less than three kilometres away. Even though the beekeepers immediately moved their bees to a safer place as soon as they heard about it, genetically modified DNS was later found in the honey. In Germany, this honey must not even be given away for free because due to this contamination it is no longer approved as food. The affected beekeepers brought Free State of Bavaria to trial and the case even ended up at the European Court of Justice which eventually ruled in favour of the applicants.

Bees are searching for nectar within a radius of three and sometimes even up to eight kilometres. So if only two percent of the growing corn plants were genetically modified, there wouldn’t be any space left where the bees would not encounter this pollen.12

In Europe there is still a lot of opposition to Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed producer. The developments reveal that the use of GMOs and chemical pesticides and extremely industrial agriculture won’t work in the long run. Quite recently there was alarming news about the growing number of dead bees. In the USA the death rate partly even rose above 30%, probably due to an increased use of pesticides3 as well as the stress that the animals experience during their journey throughout the whole country, starting in California in February with the almond blossoms and ending with the pumpkin blossoms at the east coast, before spending the winter in Florida.4

The trigger is probably the industrial agriculture in general, but nobody can really tell for sure. If the bees would die out some times soon, this would lead to dramatic changes in food supply for humanity. Almost 88% of all flowering plants are dependent on animals – mainly bees.5

Albert Einstein once said: “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination … no more men!”6

Monsanto now tries to tackle bee mortality by breeding traits of the plants that are supposed to combat the Varroa Destructor that is killing the bees. 7

But once again this is only treating the symptoms, by no means the root of the problem.

  1. Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten: Monsanto zerstört Honig: Imker müssen Jahres-Ernte vernichten  []
  2. Legal  Tribune: Kein Schutz für Imker vor Monsanto []
  3. Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten: Mysteriöses Bienen-Sterben in Kalifornien []
  4. Globale Allmende: Wanderimkerei in den USA – Bestäubungsdienstleistung []
  5. Greenpeace: Bienensterben – Was wäre, wenn? []
  6. Global Climate Change: Einstein on bees []
  7. Monsanto. Der böseste Konzern der Welt? []