Wednesday, May 1, 2013

To Bee Or Not To Bee



Zombie bees may be in our future.  Real glazed eyed zombies that drone around, bump into walls and fly towards bright lights have been noticed in mass and may be one of the theories that explain the recent unexplainable and worldwide bee hive decimation.  There is a small fly, no not small fry but it is small and parasitic, the Apocephalus borealis attacks the honey bee drone and lays its eggs in the abdomen of the bee causing the bee to act zombie like, losing its ability to navigate and in essence gets lost, never returning back to the hive.  As more bees get infected the hive loses its ability to sustain itself and the hive dies leaving the queen without its subjects.

However Hollywood the above scenario might sound and how ever interesting Zombie like bees might be the number of flies it would take to decimate the bee population would require swarms of a plague like proportion and I haven’t seen any recent biblical events lately. A more plausible cause of the bee demise is a problematic troika of global proportions, not unlike a biblical catastrophe but one not from God almighty but from the puny hand of ignorant man.

For many the three causes are pesticides, genetically modified crops and mobile phone radiation.  Any one of these could spell disaster to a symbiotic creature like the honey bee but all three together and I’m wondering how I’m still upright and breathing.  Bees rely on their ability to forage for pollen and with the world turning to genetically engineered seeds and plants you can only imagine the effects of that pollen has on the humble bumble.  Added to these genetic onslaughts is the constant use of pesticides.  

We have an ant problem at our house, in fact I think our home is built on a massive aunt whoops (that would suggest I killed my aunt) ant hive and no matter how much I spray those little buggers keep coming back.  In fact I think their getting bigger an smarter, I thought I saw them trying to carry our dog into the closet, he got away but the story here is no matter how much I spray they keep coming there has to be a better solution than poison.  

I like to keep things balanced and logical and with pesticides we’ve literally been able to feed the world but there is also a tipping point and a balance to our technological motivation and how it will eventually effect our lives, the bee may be telling us something.

The third theory is the pervasive use of cellular technology.  Bees navigate through optic flow and memory that is later transferred though precise dancing to other bees in other words the bees remember how far they went and in what direction so precisely other bees can find the exact spot miles away.  This type of navigation is not directly affected by cell towers or cell phones but the piping process is. 

Pipers are excited bees which scramble through the swarm cluster, pausing every second or so to emit a pipe. Each pipe consists of a sound pulse which lasts 0.82 +/- 0.43 s and rises in fundamental frequency from 100-200 Hz to 200-250 Hz.  Piping is the precursor to swarming and is the initial signal to leave the hive en mass, like when a hive gets too big and needs to split.

The problem with pp (premature piping, there is no bee Viagra) is that the hive leaves the queen and fails to return killing the hive.  Incidents of PP have been studies extensively and the correlation between microwave signals and cell tower transmissions is disturbing.

With over 30% of hive loss in the US alone each year the risk to Humans is real.  Without the bee pollination of our fruits and vegetables will come to a screeching end.  The little bee that could may not be able to in the future if we don’t find a solution to the real problem of hive decimation.

Everything is still theoretical and uncertain but what is certain is the loss of entire hives worldwide.  I’ve never been an alarmist and remember being told in my youth that by the time I was 30 the jungles of the amazon would be gone, American forests would be used up, global cooling would cause another ice age and send us all back into the stone age.  We have had 80 years of false prognostications but with the bee, that lonely, hardworking bee, the evidence is clear and precise and not really open to interpretation, they are dying.

With all the technology and all the know-how we claim to possess is it too much to ask that we start thinking about the consequences of those advances.  I don’t want to stop using my cell phone, I like my cell phone, most of the time but the pesticides, the genetically engineer food (see my article on “there’s more to food than we think 12/31/12) it makes you wonder what else we’re doing to our planet and ultimately ourselves.  The earth will survive but will we and will the Bee?