Tag Archives | Bees

Robotic Bees to Pollinate Monsanto Crops

Maybe.  Russ McSpadden writes at Earth First! Newswire:

Pollinators participate in the sexual-reproduction of plants. When you eat an almond, beet, watermelon or sip on coffee, you’re partaking of an ancient relationship between pollinators and flowers. But since the 1990s, worldwide bee health has been in decline and most evidence points to toxic pesticides created by Shell and Bayer and the loss of genetic biodiversity due to the proliferation of GMO monocrops created in laboratories by biotech companies like Monsanto.

But never worry, those real life pollinators—the birds and the bees, as they say—may soon be irrelevant to the food needs of civilization. Harvard roboticists are developing a solution to the crisis: swarms of tiny robot bees made of titanium and plastic that can pollinate those vast dystopian fields of GMO cash crops.

The Harvard Microrobotics Lab has been working on its Micro Air Vehicles Project since early 2009. Borrowing from the biomechanics and social organization of bees, the team of researchers is undergoing the creation of tiny winged robots to fly from flower to flower, immune to the toxins dripping from petals, to spread pollen.

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Mass Death Of Bees Accelerated Greatly In 2012

Perhaps genetically engineering poison into our food supply was a short-sighted idea, hints the New York Times:

A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor.

The European Union has proposed to ban the use of neonicotinoids on crops frequented by bees. Some researchers have concluded that neonicotinoids caused extensive die-offs in Germany and France.

The Agriculture Department says a quarter of the American diet, from apples to cherries to watermelons to onions, depends on pollination by honeybees.

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Bee Colony Collapse Rapidly Accelerates – Pesticides Blamed

The alarm has been sounded by great documentary films like The Vanishing of the Bees, but governments around the world are still failing to protect our bees and therefore our food supply from the ravages of agrochemicals. Today’s New York Times claims that as many as half of the United States’ beehives have collapsed:

A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor.

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The Fox (Monsanto) Buys the Chicken Coop (Beeologics)

Merovingian BeeA couple of years ago disinformation‘s sister video label True Mind released the colony collapse disorder documentary Vanishing of the Bees. It was fairly obvious that the biggest (if not only) cause of the mysterious disappearing colonies of bees was widespread pesticide use in monoculture farming. Everyone’s favorite corporate criminal Monsanto is now causing conspiracy theorists to go into overdrive with their acquistition of a company specializing in bee medicine. Richard Schiffman sounds the alarm at Huffington Post:

Why would one of the largest purveyors of pesticides, genetically engineered seeds and agrochemicals want to buy a company which has been seeking solutions to the escalating threats to the world bee population?

Monsanto spokeswomen Kelly Powers says it is to give the fledgling company a helping hand. Beeologics has developed a product called Remembee, an anti-viral agent which its boosters claim will help stem the tide of Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious plague which has led to the disappearance of the bees in up to a third of the commercial colonies located in the U.S.

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Pesticide Cocktail Killing Bees

Via Nature.com:
...in a study published in Nature, researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London, in Egham, UK, show that low-level exposure to a combination of two pesticides is more harmful to bumblebee colonies than either pesticide on its own. The results suggest that current methods for regulating pesticides are inadequate because they consider only lethal doses of single pesticides. As ecologist Nigel Raine explains in the video, low doses of pesticides have subtle effects on individual bees and can seriously harm colonies. He hopes that his work will feed into consultations on pesticide regulations that are happening now in Europe.
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Healing Hive And Humans

maryam bee hiveIn the world we live in, our paradigm for health and healing is dominated by allopathic medicine with an emphasis on surgery, tests and doling out prescription drugs. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry and while it provides many important and life-saving solutions, it leaves out a holistic approach to health and almost completely discounts a nutrition and food-based approach to health.

Thankfully, that is changing, albeit slowly! Not only do we have access to cutting-edge nutritional science; we are remembering the importance of listening to our bodies. Food is truly thy medicine and more and more of us are tapping into thousands of years of ancient nutritional wisdom.

But with all the information online and on the shelves, how do we really know what is good for us and what isn’t??

I’ve seen countless folks walking around the aisles of Whole Foods Market not knowing what to buy. For instance, not too long ago, I bumped into a Hispanic man with red swollen eyes who had been exposed to Asbestos on the job.… Read the rest

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The Origami Micro-Robot Bee

The bee population may be collapsing, which potentially means a big blow to our food supply and civilization itself. But, at least we have an idea of the replacement that will emerge from the rubble -- the beautiful, tiny, easily mass-produced robo-bee that will flutter through the future:
The Harvard Monolithic Bee is a millimeter-scale flapping wing robotic insect produced using Printed Circuit MEMS (PC-MEMS) techniques. v
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What Is Monsanto Doing To Our Bees?

Bees love Maryam

Bees love Maryam

There was quite a stir among beekeepers and anti-GMO activists last fall when chemical and seed giant Monsanto purchased Beeologics, a small company best known for its “groundbreaking research” applying RNAi technology to honeybees, a process that blocks gene expression. This was Monsanto’s first acquisition of a pest control biotech company.

Since its inception in 2007, Beeologics has been developing Remebee®, an anti-viral treatment for use in honeybees affected with Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), a bee-specific virus which originated from Australia and was found and named in Israel in 2002.

President and CEO Eyal Ben-Chanoch explained in 2008 that Beeologics was assembling scientists, beekeepers and business people “to create the missing corporate support” in an industry that traditionally has only been supported by a few hardware manufacturers. Sure, there were hives, tools, bee suits and the like being offered, but very little had been invested in technology and medicine for the bees — until Beeologics came along, that is.… Read the rest

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The Emotional Life Of Bees

Bees_Collecting_PollenNow if only the mysterious Vanishing Bees could tell us what stresses are making them disappear in droves… Jason Castro reports on provocative experiments suggesting that the insects have something like an emotional life, for Scientific American:

If you’ve never watched bees carefully, you’re missing out. Looking up close as they gently curl and uncoil their tapered mouths toward food, you sense that they’re not just eating, but enjoying. Watch a bit more, and the hesitant flicks and sags of their antennae seem to convey some kind of emotion. Maybe annoyance? Or something like agitation?

Whether bees really experience any of these things is an open scientific question. It’s also an important one with implications for how we should treat not just bees, but the great majority of animals. Recently, studies by Geraldine Wright and her colleagues at Newcastle University in the UK have rekindled debate over these issues by showing that honeybees may experience something akin to moods.

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Chinese Man Breaks World Record For Wearing Most Bees

beesuitThe kicker – Mr. Wei achieved the feat just two days after Chinese beekeeper Shen Zonghong broke the previous world record by having 36kg of bees on his body. What is going on over there?! Via the Daily Mail, the paper of record for entomological matters:

This man broke the world record for the heaviest bee suit after being loaded up with 83.5kg of the flying insects. Zhang Wei, from Zizhou County, in western China, wore a special frame covered in foliage to hold the mass of bees.

Wearing a pair of gggles and holding a tube in his mouth for breathing, Mr Wei was seated as around two dozen crates full of bees were released next to him.

The man – who was wearing a jacket and trousers but did not have his hands or face protected – did not seem to mind as thousands of the insects buzzed around him and almost completely engulfed his frame.

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