Community Editorial Panel with John G. McKay
A recent well-written and researched article in the Rural Delivery magazine exemplified the acute danger inherent in the relentless search by the industrial chemical corporations for replacement poisons to take the place of those legally removed from the market because of the universal hazard they presented to beneficial insects as well as the so-called pests.
In these times of vast stores of knowledge available to serious scholars and deadheads alike, it is difficult to know how many in the ranks of the mediocre browsers realize how important to their survival the pollinating insects are, how many read and believe the lies on the package labels that say only the bad bugs are affected, while the good ones can absorb the poisons and literally thrive on them. The directions for use are purposely vague and open to misinterpretation, which places the onus on the customer to prove that he followed the directions properly, an insistence nearly impossible to prove.
One of the greatest expenses incurred by the chemical companies is in the retention of a crowd of top echelon corporate lawyers and lobbyists ready to bamboozle anyone who challenges the company claims. Like the tobacco lobby, they infest the corridors of government and issue reams of “proof” that their products are safe for people and have no effect on the environment. They insist that powerful chemical poisons designed to kill are selective among their target insects, and that they do not persist in the water or soil after their work is done.
Yet, unbelievably, government protection agencies continue searching for the source of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that is devastating at an alarming rate the essential colonies of pollinating bee species, wild and domesticated, including honeybees worldwide.
Independent investigations of collapsed hives have revealed that 75% of the dead bee samples contained the newest chemical poison on the block, Neonicotinoids, which is the main ingredient in some 55 legal herbicide products. Although not specifically aimed at insect pests, it is being inadvertently collected by the bees and other pollinating flies and carried back to the nests and hives where, in the case of the honeybees, it is being transferred to the honey and subsequently to the other bees that did not actually come in contact with it in the field. Its effect on the bees causes confusion and disorientation in that they can’t find their hive. There is no way of knowing how many die because they cannot find the shelter of their home hive.
Of course the chemical companies draw no conclusions from this evidence, again bumming off responsibility by suggesting that used in the proper concentration the poison only kills weeds, which places the onus back on the user. Never mind that bees don’t wait for the prescribed time period for the poison effect to wear off before browsing sprayed fields—and of course it won’t hurt humans who eat the harvested fruit. Yeah, right! All the mad scientists of this world are not in the movies.
John G. McKay is a member of the Amherst News Community Editorial Panel.