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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire #224 - Biodiversity: honeybees, a challenge for humanity (fr)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 14 Mar 2013 09:21:42 +0200

For humanity, the protection of biodiversity is not just a fight for the respect of nature. The survival of human societies is at stake. The example of the bees is a good example! ---- " hives deserted. Outside, not corpses. Inside, a queen healthy, viable larvae and a handful of young adults weakened. But no trace of other workers. This is the colony collapse syndrome "[ 1 ]. In 2007, the rate of abandoned hives reached 70% or 80% in the most affected regions. Gradually, this extends to the rest of the world. Domestic or wild, bees pollinate more than 80% of the plant environment, and fertilizing flowers, fruits, vegetables. The disappearance of pollinating insects is an ecological disaster. ---- Worldwide, bee mortality reached record from the end of 2006 to the end of winter 2007: loss of 60% of the colonies in the USA and 90% in some states of the East and South, 40% of hives are emptied in Quebec, 25% in Germany, ditto Taiwan, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece and many other European countries.

For the first time, an estimate of potential financial losses associated with the disappearance of bees is made nearly 15 billion dollars just in the United States.

Bee mortality records
The wild browsers - THERE ARE 20,000 species in the world - also suffer from this degraded environment. Anglo-Dutch study [ 2 ] shows the parallel decline of populations of wild pollinators and pollen plants in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, without specifying whether they are plants or insects that disappear first.

In France, in 1993, beekeepers are seeing a significant decline in honey production. They point to the use of Gaucho, highly toxic to bees, found low-dose into the flower pollen. After the Gaucho, the Regent is challenged, then in 2007 and 2008, the Cruiser for which the French Agency for Food Safety (AFSSA), however, makes a favorable opinion merely advisory " to remove hives more three kilometers from cultures treated seed "[ 3 ]. " Honeybees (Apis mellifera), their consumption of nectar and pollen, can be poisoned by a single exposure (acute) or repeated (chronic) to these insecticides. Molecules can induce the death of bees or cause sublethal effects on physiology, cognitive abilities and behavior, which in turn can cause loss of bees or affect the development of the colony "[ 4 ].

Some GM crops that produce their own insecticide have also been implicated. A 2004 study at the University of Jena shows the effect of plants producing Bt toxin on bees. Bees are affected by parasites, toxins probably weakening the immunity of bee [ 5 ]. Other causes are advanced, parasites such as mites - powerful vectors of pathogenic viruses - introduced from Asia and "accidentally" in Europe in the 1960s and then in America, a fungus Nosema cerenae, recent in Europe, this for more than ten years in the United States found in the body of dead bees, other insect predators, such as the Asian hornet, etc..

International trade promotes the rapid movement of invasive species against which local populations of bees have no defense! Finally, intensive monoculture, depletion of wild flowers and legume crops (clover, alfalfa), maintenance intensive roadsides, widely applied create an unfavorable environment for pollinators. This multiplicity of factors is the basis of the catastrophe to come: Pesticides can promote infection caused by a fungus or create a weakening defenses against parasites, the artificial environment depletes food sources for bees. Finally, the decline has its causes in human activities and their impact on the landscape, resources and ecological balance.

What needs to change
Already, the United States imported massive amounts of bees from Australia to ensure fertilization of orchards, import posing new problems of bacterial dissemination. China, in Sichuan province, farmers are forced to fertilize pear flowers by hand. In Europe, a European working group on the prevention of bee deaths has been established, coordinated by the center-Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux in Bern (Switzerland); pesticides are prohibited when their effects have become "established" , quickly replaced no other pesticides whose effects are to come, researchers are also trying to select bee colonies insensitive to attack mites. But current attempts to reverse the decline of pollinators are insufficient!

The decline of bees highlights the changes imposed by the living world expansion of capitalism across the globe: the loss of biodiversity is a major threat to our survival. For capitalism, whose sole purpose is to increase profits, nature is a commodity. Yet our only possible future, respectful of the living world and its balance will always be incompatible with the "free market" capitalism. As capitalism dominates the apparent solutions to the ecological crisis will only cautery on a wooden leg. It is urgent to get out: drastic reduction of international trade, relocation of production, production based on need and not on offer, abolition of private ownership of the means of production!

Jacques Dubart (AL Agen)

[ 1 ] The mystery of the disappearance of bees, documentary broadcast on Arte Mark Daniels August 28, 2012.

[ 2 ] "Parallel Declines in Pollinators and Insect-Pollinated Plants in Britain and the Netherlands," Science, 21 July 2006.

[ 3 ] Opinion of the AFSSA November 21, 2007.

[ 4 ] Study Laboratory Populations, Genetics and Evolution - Apidologie.

[ 5 ] Der Spiegel, 19 March 2007.
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