The Humble Honey Bee: Cornerstone of American Agriculture

The Environmental Protection Agency is on the back foot as it defends decisions that have endangered the humble honeybee.  Classified documents were released to the public which announced that the EPA knew they were risking the continued existence of the bee, valuing lethal insecticide results over future of American agriculture.

The issue of contention is a synthetically made chemical called Clothianidin.  This chemical was never properly tested by the EPA with regards to how it may effects insects like bees.  Studies focused exclusively on how quickly it could kill insects such as grasshoppers, flies, and ants.  It was very effective at killing these insects.  Information concerning how it affected, and killed bees, was omitted from the study and severely played down.

The world’s economy depends on a handful of key services, products, and animals; bees are one of these.  Nearly all pollination of plants are done by bees, pollinating is the only way that the vast majority of plants can produce.  If plants, such as key crops like corn or rice, do not reproduce and  crops die.  Bees keep the American Midwest an economic world center because they allow massive fields of crops to flourish.

Now bees are dying in droves during an onslaught of what scientists call Colony Collapse Disorder.  This disorder boils down to the scientists speculating that some crop chemicals and some forms of radiation are killing bees, but that is pretty much is.  If the bees die out then so to do the crops.  Without bountiful crops we are going to be forced to face mass food riots; crop prices will rise because there are fewer crops.  Some more unstable regions of the world are already suffering from this food like the ones plaguing Tunisia that helped spark a revolution that resulted in the president fleeing the country.

EPA analysts look at this situation with cold and uncaring hearts and short term tunnel vision.  What they see is an unfortunate secondary consequence of Clothianidin, which is an insecticide that in their opinion is critical to the current healthiness of the American crops.  Few of the other worlds farmers use this chemical; Germany banned the chemical in 2008 because it quickly became evident that it killed the crop bringing bees.

Farmers and bee keepers look at this as a growing epidemic and one of the great problems of the agriculture industry that desperately needs to be dealt with.  While the explicit costs few and favorable the implicit costs of this massacre are beyond comprehension.  How does one value decimation of the world’s crops, the potential for mass civil war, and extinction of a class of species?

The EPA approved this drug, yet it was the “enemy” of the American of the people, Wikileaks, who published the classified EPA documents that clearly outlined that Clothianidin will kill the bees.  Many people have criticized the shadowy organization for its revealing of affairs such as this.  There are so reasons to support Wikileaks; the first and primary is the continuation of food on your plate.  It is concerning that so many people have forgotten this fact; it is even more concerning that so few people knew in the first place.