May 22, 2013

“LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE BIRDS & THE BEES” and the monarch butterfly too?

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:43 pm

Birds with babies in tree nestBee pollinating flower

So sorry to disappoint you if you thought this blog was going to discuss human sexuality.

Something is going on within the animal kingdom and it is happening rapidly. Birds are showing up dead on shores or falling dead from the skies, the honey bees are dropping like flies or disappearing to who knows where, and the migrating monarch butterfly to Mexico has declined by 59 % !

THE  BIRDS (Not an Alfred Hitchcock movie)

Scientists and bird migration experts are taking notice and paying special attention this last decade. Massive amounts of birds have been falling out of the sky and found dead in the U. S. in places like Arkansas and Louisiana. Around the world dead birds showed up in Sweden, Chile, Canada, South Korea and Italy and that was only in the year 2011.

In 2012, more than 500 penguins washed ashore on Brazil beaches. Migrating north from places like Argentina, some wildlife biologists believe these penguins are starving due to humans overfishing and ocean acidity due to global warming.

Just as recently as January, 2013, a report came out regarding a common water bird species declining rapidly and showing up dead on northern Michigan’s shorelines. Scientists suspect invasive species of mussels clearing the water allowing for more Algae to grow. Algae builds and then dies resulting in the depletion of oxygen. At this point, type E-botulism develops and fish such as gobies eat the toxin. Fish eating waterfowl eat the toxic fish and become infected with botulism. The toxic botulism affects the bird’s nervous system and muscles soon leaving these birds unable to fly and they ultimately drown.

Analyzing over 20 years of data and in a peer-reviewed study published in PLOS ONE, researchers concluded that pesticide use, not habitat loss, was the most important factor of major declines in the population of U. S. grassland birds.

Results of several studies say the timing migration patterns of birds around the world have changed since the world has gotten warmer. Birds are migrating earlier facing adverse conditions and limited food and water resources. Environmentally related factors like sunlight and temperature determine the timing of when a bird will start to migrate.  Hummingbirds are a perfect example. If hummingbirds are prompted to migrate earlier than usual this year, they could be in trouble. The climates they have to migrate through might affect them negatively.

In a published journal study of 48 million bird observations, see this 2012 Science Daily article to learn more.

 

bees on honeycellsBeekeeper with dying bees

THE  BEES  (“Ain’t Mis BEEhavin’ “on their own)

Coincidentally, the bursting growth of neonicotinoids since 2005 has coincided with the rising deaths in honey bees, also known as COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER. Beekeepers are beginning to enter panic mode since as much as 50% of the hives have been wiped out. Without bees, there goes most of our fruit and vegetable crops. Call me selfish but I like to eat apples, honey, blueberries, almonds etc; At least 1/3 of the world’s crops rely on the pollination from honey bees.

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.” – Albert Einstein

What the heck are neonicotinoids?

A nicotine based pesticide used in GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops.

  • A class of neuro-active insecticides related to nicotine and can pose a danger to both humans and insects.
  • They affect the central nervous system in insects while affecting both central and peripheral nervous systems in mammals. Low exposure causes nervous stimulation and high levels block receptors causing paralysis and ultimately death.
  • These pesticides are directly placed in the soil of the plant. The plant becomes poisoned with toxins present in the roots, leaves, stems and pollen.

GMO crops – a health issue

Last week, the European Commission has proposed a 2 year ban on certain pesticides believed to contribute to honey bee deaths. Needless to say,  pesticide companies deny a link to the bee deaths.

When GMOs were first introduced in 1996, one big selling point was that these new crops would reduce the number of pesticides. For a while, it appeared to have worked. Studies in 2006, 2007 and 2008 cited decreases in pesticides. Then U. S. farmers started to complain about having to use more and more pesticides to try to eliminate the newly created   “SUPERWEEDS” - (herbicide resistant weeds) and the hard-to-kill insects. It turns out that GE crops led to an increase, not decrease, of pesticide use from 1996 through 2011; a whopping 404 million pounds more pesticides! Recently,  farmers have been feeling a need to return to using high risk older herbicides on corn, soy and cotton crops to try to eliminate the superweeds. Farmers also are forced to use the GMO seeds since Monsanto owns most of all patented GMO seeds under the brand name Roundup  Ready.

A study published last year at Purdue University in Indiana found evidence that neonicotinoid coated corn seeds generated dust that traveled beyond the fields where the seeds were planted. The researchers found toxins in the soil as well as the pollen collected by the bees for food. These neonics were present on dead bees collected for study.

September, 2012, Charles Benbrook published this peer-reviewed paper and proved a steady increase of pesticides and how weeds were developing a resistance to Roundup  Ready.

MONSANTO MUST BE FEELING THE PRESSURE

Just this week, Monsanto announced they will host a “BEE SUMMIT” in June. Along with Monsanto, other agri-chemical companies such as Syngenta and Bayer claim it is an invasive mite that is killing the bees and not their pesticides. This should be very interesting.  These companies say they want to find out the truth of what is killing the bees. OK, but that remains to be seen. If these companies plan on doing their own studies……Well, I wouldn’t call these independent studies, would you?

GMO  LABELING – your right to know

YOU have the right to know whether a product is from a GMO source. I want to be able to choose between a GMO product and a non-GMO product. Organic products are labeled, nutritional content on products is labeled, therefore GMO products should be labeled as well. People have the right to be informed about what they are about to place in their bodies as food.

The GMO seeds used in developing nations under the guise of “feeding starving nations” is very controversial. Although these “frankenplants” might appear to feed the hungry in the short term, it will most likely back fire in the long run. Big agri-business practices will be very difficult for farmers to sustain in countries like Africa and elsewhere. Their soils are already poor of nutrients due to the lack of sustainable farming practices. GMO seeds, and the horrible pesticides that feed them, will worsen the situation. Instead, the farmers in these developing countries should be educated on sustaining healthy farms to grow healthy crops. Run off pesticides into the water supply further endangers the ecology resulting in added pollution and more diseases.

 

WANT TO HELP THE HONEY BEES MAKE A COME BACK?

  • Try not to use pesticides around your house. I don’t use any pesticides and pick my own weeds the old fashioned way. Besides, it’s good exercise. Definitely, don’t use pesticides mid-day when honey bees are out looking for nectar. Also, do not use pesticides on flowering plants that attract bees.
  • Attract bees in flower gardens by planting red clover, aster, black-eyed Susan, caltrop, currant, huckleberry, Joe-pye weed, lupine, elder,  goldenrod, cotoneaster, foxglove, giant hyssop, globe thistle, sunflowers and zinnias. I’m sure there are plenty more choices to plant.
  • Attract bees in herb gardens by planting basil, English lavender, marjoram, rosemary, sage and oregano.

monarch-butterfly_2

THE  MONARCH  BUTTERFLY  (“Butterflies Are NOT Free” ) to migrate

In 1976, one billion monarchs gathered to the mountain top forests in central Mexico. Reaching 59% in decline, this is the 3rd straight year less butterflies are completing the journey from Canada and the United States to Mexico. The loss of native plants and milkweed are affecting the butterflies. American farmland has replaced milkweed plants, which monarch larvae feed on, with GE corn and soy laced with herbicides. Almost 150 million acres of monarch butterfly feeding grounds have disappeared. Recent droughts in the mid west, Texas and the southwest are making it more difficult for the monarch butterflies to complete their journey.

WANT  TO HELP  THE  MONARCH  BUTTERFLY  MAKE  A  COME  BACK?

  • First  – DO NOT kill caterpillars, they turn into butterflies.
  • Plant milkweed and nectar producing plants.
  • On a patio you can plant milkweed, passion vine and parsley.
  • Create a mud puddle to provide male butterflies with the minerals necessary for reproduction. Just sink a pan into the ground filled with equal parts of sand and composted manure. If you can keep it moist, it will become a hangout for butterflies.
  • Place scraps and chunks of rotting apples, pears, oranges and peaches into a mesh bag and hang from a tree to attract butterflies.

Visit the website Monarch Watch for some more great information on butterfly conservation and projects to help save this beautiful butterfly.

Whether it’s the dying birds and penguins, the colony collapse disorder of honeybees or the decline of the monarch butterfly, one thing is very clear. Practices such as these: Using more super pesticides, stripping the land of it’s natural plants like milkweed and polluting the atmosphere and oceans/rivers all have one thing in common. They are all human induced. The challenge is for us to minimize the negative impact we are creating. Are we up for the challenge?

 

 

 

 

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