SEEKING SOLUTIONS: Reversing Massive Bee Colony Losses Starts With City Activism

The Unity Garden in Ypsilanti, Mich., which is part of a growing network of church-based and community-based gardens, is an example of improving nutrition, human fellowship, food security and bee preservation all at once. Photo: Awakening News

By M. Samuel Anderson

BEAUMONT, Texas—While the Awakening News considers groundwater preservation as one of its core issues, preserving the bee population is another crucial goal for human well-being and survival. Groundwater-protection and bee-preservation represent tangible environmental issues that are every bit as urgent as “climate change,” if not more urgent.

What’s especially interesting is that preserving bee colonies could begin with something as basic as giving a special designation to a city. Beaumont, Texas, nestled in the eastern part of the Lone Star State near Louisiana, has been slated to become Bee City USA, which serves as a focal point to institute practices to at least start rescuing a rapidly dwindling bee population.

Tammy Muldrow, who’s a local beekeeper, stressed the importance of education in the city’s conservation efforts, because some area residents are not aware that they’re killing bees and other pollinators.

“The first problem we have that’s leading to bee deaths is all of the pesticides and chemicals that people are using,” she told the Beaumont Enterprise, while adding that many people don’t understand how indiscriminate these chemicals can be, since they kill “the good and the bad bugs.”

Sevin Dust, a commonly used pesticide, is one of the culprits, she said, while noting that when bees land on any part of a plant—not just the flower—they take the pesticide back to their hive. There, the bee is cleaned and the pollen, which now includes Sevin Dust, is put into the “pantry” to feed the rest of the bees.

“You haven’t killed one bee or two bees, you’ve killed an entire hive,” she said.

Under this designation, as the Enterprise noted, Beaumont must create a committee, pay an annual $500 fee, celebrate National Pollinator Week, install a bee-city street sign, plant pollinator-friendly plants and document activities that support pollinators. The committee will figure out which policies will enable pollinators to thrive.

Thus, Beaumont is part of a nationwide movement to educate residents. Bee City USA Committee chair Elizabeth Waddill said this designation is especially appropriate for Beaumont because of its location along two migratory flyways that bring bird species which feed on seeds, nuts and fruits from native plants—many of which are made possible by bees and other pollinators.

Another creative means of raising awareness to try and stop CCD came when General Mills recently removed the “Buzz the Bee” mascot from Honey Nut Cheerios cereal boxes. To compliment that symbolic move, the company advertised a give-away of free packets of wildflower seeds that bees like to visit and proceeded to give away a staggering 1.5 billion seeds, although the company failed to realize the consequences of sending the same seed mix to different environmental regions. (Those who want to plant bee-friendly flowers without upsetting the environment can consult the website growtherainbow.com).

Moreover, Ypsilanti, Mich., gardener Bob Van Bemmelen, in 2017 and 2018, showcased his budding “Unity Garden Initiative” in cooperation with a local church to not only gather families together to work in the garden and bring vastly improved nutrition to the table, but also to call attention to the importance of bees as part of his education program about constructing raised-bed gardens throughout the community, as he explained during a garden tour.

The idea is to establish a network of such gardens to bolster human fellowship, food security and healthfulness, and in the process improve habitat for bees.

All of the above, and much more, is sorely needed because a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has “plagued beekeepers’ bumblebee colonies,” according to the Canada-based Centre for Research on Globalisation.

The Centre noted that “bee populations began dropping in 2006.” Moreover, the Center for Biological Diversity says that habitat loss from pesticide use has pushed more than 700 bee species toward extinction. Furthermore, the increasingly intense and widespread electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) created by today’s modern communications and surveillance grid are another suspected cause of CCD.

In Bees, Birds and Mankind: Effects of Wireless Communication Technologies, German scientist Ulrich Warnke, one of seven members of an advisory board for this study, noted that bees and birds, according to his findings, are being destroyed by “electro-smog,” while adding: “Bees and other insects, just as birds, use the Earth’s magnetic field and high frequency electromagnetic energy such as light. They accomplish orientation and navigation by means of free radicals as well as a simultaneously reacting magnetite conglomerate.”