Honey is good for you, and it's a nice natural substitute for sweeteners like table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. But it's good for bees as well--and vitally important to their well-being, as it turns out. Honey contributes a detoxifying effect that can protect bees from pesticides.
For American agriculture, bees are valuable not for their honey, but for their pollination services--without them, you wouldn't have almonds, blueberries, tomatoes and a long list of other crucial crops. For this reason, bees are often hired out by the hive to pollinate farmers' fields. That means they are exposed to a wide range of pesticides meant to ward off other insects. But honeybees throughout North America have been dying by the millions for a decade now, often simply disappearing from their hives never to return. The phenomenon now known as colony collapse disorder has many possible culprits, from pathogens to pesticides.
Researchers are making headway in mapping the genes that help bees overcome these obstacles, including which genes help them safely break down pesticides. Now researchers have identified several compounds that help turn on those genes. They're present in honey, something commercial bees don't get to keep--their food supply is taken for human use, and bees are feed sweet substitutes like corn syrup.
Wenfu Mao and colleagues found three compounds in honey that increase the expression of a gene that helps bees metabolize pesticides. The most important chemical is something called p-coumaric acid, which is found in pollen cells. By eating honey, which contains pollen, the bees are exposed to a compound that basically boosts their ability to break down dangerous chemicals. So honey substitutes like high-fructose corn syrup may compromise their health.
Scientists knew pollen ingestion helps bee health, but they haven't been sure why. This study pinpoints one crucial reason.
"After comprehensive testing and development, p-coumaric acid may ﬁnd use as an additive to honey substitutes to allow beekeepers to maintain colonies during food shortages," the authors write, "without compromising the ability of their bees to defend themselves against the pesticides and pathogens that currently bedevil beekeeping in the United States."
The paper is in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
I'm gonna make a wild guess here.
I put all the blame on Monsanto.
Hey I've got and idea. I've been seeing articles about micro robots the size of flies, great invention.
How about manufacturing them by the zillions and use them to protect plantations instead of using pesticides. Micro robots versus the bugs!
Heck you could even use them for pollination!
"...If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live...”
~ Albert Einstein
In searching the above quote, I came across many comments of it being 'unproven quote' of Albert Einstein.
But even if he never really said it,
BEES ARE FREAKING IMPORTANT!
Same here, kormiko. Here's my take on why NorthAm bee colonies are dying off: in a word "Monsanto" and genetically-altered organisms(GMO). With flowering plants now contaminated with pollen from plants w/ re-engineered DNA like rapeseed & corn & soy, its become a case of malnutrition at the lowest level of the food chain. Destroy that food chain, and North America is going to face potential famine within a generation. European activists are saying NO to GMO and Monsantos so-called trial plantations.
Wow, I think I need to go hug a tree. Corn, soybeans and all other Midwestern crops with GMO'S counterparts are self pollinating-hives are not introduced. The majority of fruit and nut crops flower in February and March. I think most of the Midwest was still under snow at that time, so even incidental cross pollination is impossible. Not too many peach or almond growers in Iowa. I think Kormiko had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek with the Monsanto comment.
What I find amazing is the fact that people believe that they can take away the food bees have created for themselves and put in place of it weak substitute, and think that it wouldn't harm the bees in any way.
Speaking of Monsanto. How many of you went to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA during the 60's/70's and visited the Monsanto World Of Tomorrow exhibit? Now, how many of you thought your future was bright and hopeful?
We're feeding bees high fructose corn syrup? Who are the geniuses who know this already but can't "figure out" what's wrong with bees these days?
Does anyone even eat honey? I don't know anyone who really uses it except for Winnie the Pooh.
In reality bees are rebelling because beekeepers are keeping 95% of their productive efforts. Would you be busy as a bee if someone taxed your at the 95% level? The answer is no. It's not that they are dying off, they are simply foraging less, just enough to sustain themselves. No sense in working all the daylight hours only to keep the beekeeper in luxury.
I think Ayn Rand wrote a book covering this.
What this article does not say... is that while honey may be good for the bees and their immunity... the "corn syrup" they are forced to eat en route to their next pollination gig... is laced with Monsanto and Bayer's Systemic Neurotoxins.
So not only are they fed a diet of "junk food"... but its tainted as well.
Wonder why they misse that important fat to the story.
Corn syrup? Seriously?
Do bees really eat that much honey that people need to replace it with sugar?
Sugar is not food geniuses? Once the bees have malnutrition ANYTHING could kill them easily.
how bout we get one hive that only has gmo flowers.and another with normal ones and compare the results
We are so screwed. Our government office in charge being run by the person responsible for this assures that this is not going to go well for U.S..
As to the honey not being left to feed the hives; there are many grades of honey, and some of these grades are harder for a beekeeper to sell than others. Seems to me that some middle ground can and will be found by some beekeepers. But it won't last. History tells us that this 'colony collapse' is new. Didn't happen 100 years ago. The practice of taking honey was being used, but colonies didn't collapse. So while I think that some will find a middle ground that will begin to show promise, it won't last because this is not the crux of the problem.
We will be given direction from the USDA(Monsanto) that takes us in ANY DIRECTION but that which points to their guesswork genetics that have continuously been presented to us as beneficial, not harmful. And nevermind all those incomplete data sets that we just assumed should be filled in like THIS-based on earlier assumptions about THAT. And nevermind about almost killing the world's wheat, and corn, and asian rice. We just won't talk about any of those issues, because it might show that these GM crops actually have no real place on our world. That nature might not be able to adapt to these crops in time for evolution to allow bees to process the crud they are being forced to collect all day into honey.
As it stands now, we've known of this escalating catastrophe for at least two years. As of today, we've still introduced no 'fix', so the clock is still counting down to a world with very few bees.
While the USDA, brought to you by Monsanto, keeps screwing around and muddying the waters politically and with the courts; I'd like to remind everyone of one simple fact. 99% extinction rate for planet Earth life forms when faced with radical change in a short time span.