RoundUp is a commonly used weed killer. Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have now suggested a link between it and bee death. What is this stuff and what is happening?
Most of us are familiar with RoundUp – there are cute ads showing wilting dandelions after exposure to this weed killer while children run happily through the lawn. Homeowners use it for stray grass in the sidewalk and other issues here and there. But that is nothing compared to the widespread use in Agriculture which is why this is so scary.
RoundUp is a brand name of the chemical herbicide known as Glyphosate that entered the market in 1974. It is now used extensively. Like the most used herbicide ever. It is estimated that around 300 million pounds of RoundUp is applied to U.S. Farmland each year. Did you catch that? Three Million Pounds a Year!
Meanwhile, there is an alarming trend in the world of honey bees. They are dying. Dying out by the millions. It is so bad and so concerning that it has its own name – Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. Honey bee hives drop in population by about 44% every year. If you started 10 years ago with 1,000,000 bees, if you are in the business anymore at all, you would have fewer than 1000 today.
To the uninitiated, the significance of honey bees cannot be overstated. Honey bees are the very important link in the food chain as they pollinate our food. If we don’t have honey bees, life will cease to exist as we know it.
Much research has been done to figure out why bees are dying and the manufacturers of Glyphosate are adamant that none of their research shows any link between their product and the health of honey bees. (Keep up that 300 million pounds applied each year!)
But lo and behold – brave scientists at University of Texas at Austin have shown that when honey bees pollinate (and therefore ingest) a crop that has an association with RoundUp, it attacks their guts. Then they die.
Ironically, scientific data can be skewed to argue anything. The manufacturers of Glyphosate state it is harmless. However, mounting data is accumulating (backed by court cases) showing great harm is caused by this not-found-in-Nature-synthetic-killer.
While the big chemical companies have very deep pockets to defend their actions, it is up to the buying public to get educated on where their food comes from, how it is grown, and what exactly is used in the food production process. If ANY product can affect ANY species by losing up to 90% of the population within a single decade, just think about the long-term consequences for humans…
We need our honey bees!