Monday, April 18, 2016

News Updates on Bee populations, China's Industrial effects, Climate Change's effects and Bee Vectoring Technolgy

First, the not so encouraging News out of  China and it's less than ethical practices in pursuit of  Industrial Agriculture
Photojournalist Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

He Meixia, a 25-year-old farmer, pollinates each blossom on a
pear tree by hand in the Sichuan province, China
Traditionally, pollinating fruit trees was a job that was best done by all kinds of  bees. But there aren’t many bees in China these days, which forces farmers to find other solutions. In Hanyuan County, often called the pear capital of the world, human workers go tree to tree, hand-pollinating the white blossoms with brushes. But of course this begs the question, why ? What Happened ? The main reason the People's Republic of china are using humans to pollinate fruit trees, is because they have no large populations of pollinators to speak of. Back in the historical past of the 1950's the prevailing Science of the time determined sparrows were eating too much grain which would make the people go hungry. As always, the usual industrial scientific answer was to kill off and eliminate all of the sparrows. Sparrows were the enemy, not human ignorance of ecological mechanisms. Without the sparrows, huge locusts swarms destroyed their the grain crops. So they in turn decided to use the same stupid scientific rationalization and invent more synthetic chemicals to kill all the bad insects with pesticides. Now they basically have no good insect predatores and pollinators. While the major news has been the decline of honeybees which is troubling, the real concern bringing back a healthy balanced insect population. Here are some interesting educational links below of what happened to China from the 1950s to the present agricultural crisis. 
Some interesting historical reference links:
Decline of bees forces China's apple farmers to pollinate by hand
Will We Still Have Fruit if Bees Die Off?
After Bee Die-Off, Chinese Apple Farmers Resort to Hand Pollination
The Bee Photographer - Hand Pollination in China Images
The Red Chinese Cultural Revolution science-based legacy for the elimination of worthless Sparrows and the domino effect we have today in Nature
And if you think such scientific ignorance & arrogance is limited to China and a  thing of the past, think again:
Fabricating Unscientific Fables for Corporate Business Interests 

"Chinese peasants were encouraged to shoot sparrows out
 of the sky during the Four Pests Campaign"

Youtube: The Great Sparrow campaign documentary
The Great Leap Forward, 1958-61
When China Wiped Out the Common Sparrow And Slit Its Own Throat (1958)
Four Pests Campaign
 Fast Forward to Modern Times & Sparrows are in sharp decline all over the globe
USA Today: Researchers stumped over decline of sparrow population
Where have the sparrows gone? - The Hindu

Yeah, you're not the only one. We can't believe the pervasive apathy either Mr Sparrow!
Climate Changes brought on by rising CO2 levels reduce protein in crucial pollen source for bees

Photo by Ivar Leidus
Interesting research about goldenrod pollen containing much less protein because of increasing CO2 levels. Bees are taking hits at every turn, they just can't seem to get a break. As usual, I found the article while interesting and informative, but I walk away with far more questions which have to do with the peripheral view of things. While Goldenrod the plant is studied, what about other plants ? What effect does less protein content have with plant reporduction for future generations of various plant species ? Where does epigenetic or genomic imprinting fit into all of this ? Will the genes of these newer seeds produced under the new  abnormal conditions make them weaker than previous plants ? As a result will these, though wild, be more suseptible to insect and pathogen attacks ? Okay, sure, I'm full of "Yeah buts ???"
Quotes from the Purdue University article 
"Researchers found that the overall protein concentration of goldenrod pollen fell about one-third from the onset of the Industrial Revolution to the beginning of the 21st century."
"Previous studies have shown that increases in carbon dioxide can lower the nutritional value of plants such as wheat and rice -- staple crops for much of the global human population -- but this study is the first to examine the effects of rising CO2 on the diet of bees. "
"Native bee species and honeybees rely on flowering plants for energy and nutrition. While nectar is the primary energy source for bee colonies, pollen is the sole source of protein for bees. Pollen is essential for the development of bee larvae and helps maintain bees' immunity to pathogens and parasites."
(Source - Purdue University) 
Of course all along some have assured us that trees, shubs and most other plants will benefit by the higher levels of CO2s. The reasoning of course was that plants breathe CO2s while exhaling oxygen. The reverse opposite of us and other animals. And what about the effects on us if plants nutrition goes down ? That's okay, the biotechs say they will fix all the seeds. Funny, not one of them has clue one about how to reverse climate change, but they know how to counter it. They also refuse to admit they are a huge part of the bigger problem which brought us climate change.
""The impact of carbon emissions on the nutritional value of our food supply is something people need to be aware of. This issue isn't just relevant to honeybees and people -- it will probably affect thousands or even millions of other plant-eating species around the world. We don't yet know how they'll deal with it."
Not exactly new findings. Here is a study from the Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science in 2014 
Using bees to help deliver biological control agents to eliminate crop diseases could potentially sicken or kill couriers or nontarget insects and plants
And you people wondered where Hollywood got all their Sci-Fi World ideas!


One strategy for keeping farm crops healthy involves treating them with biological control agents such as bacteria, viruses or fungi that incapacitate pests or diseases. Some producers have begun using bees to help deliver control agents to crops by having them walk through powder containing the agents before heading out on their flower-foraging flights. The extent to which the approach could sicken or kill couriers or nontarget insects and plants is currently largely unknown. But here is some interesting news which may provide an organic approach, but no one knows for sure. I would like to hope that this could work. It evenhas potential for the Organic Farming practices industry. Unfortunately in the shadows lurks the usual industrial suspects spying out this technology which is being touted for its ability to work with Mother Nature and more than likely end up as just another tool of some giant agro-industrial complex. On an interesting side note, I do recognize many of the biological controls listed, some being mycorrhizal. Especial Trichoderma on Strawberries could help if the chemicals could be eliminated. Strawberries are one of the most synthetically sprayed crops.
Update April 26, 2016
Brilliant new beehive harnesses solar energy to exterminate the colony’s worst enemy

Bee Vectoring Technology (BVT)
Springer Link: Entomovectoring in plant protection
Youtube: BVT Explained
BICOPOLL: Managing bees for delivering biological control agents and improved pollination in berry and fruit cultivation
For a fun read on flowers pollinators and other insects, try this blog like by Chateau Moorhen - Millymollymandy

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