Are GMOs to Blame for Decline in Florida Honeybees? | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Ethical Eating

Are GMOs to Blame for Decline in Florida Honeybees?

A lot of people have an intense fear of bees. Whether you were stung as a child or just traumatized from young Macaulay Culkin's death in My Girl, the buzzing little insect has picked up a bad rep.

And yet, the prolific pollinators are integral to our food supply. Without bees, most of the plants we eat would have no way to reproduce.

And unfortunately, their populations have suffered a massive decline, which many believe can be linked to the use of GMO crops and neonicotinoid pesticides that are applied to their seeds.

Clean Plate Charlie spoke to Dr. Leo Gosser, Ph.D., who is president of the Broward Beekeepers Association, to find out more.

See Also:
- Food Mystery: The Vanishing of the Bees
- Oregon Saying No to Frankenfish: Florida Senate GMO Bill Not on Agrilculture Committee Agenda

In 2006, commercial beekeepers across the U.S. began seeing a major decline in the population of their honeybee hives. Shortly thereafter, beekeepers in Europe began to see the same trend.

While some colony loss is nothing new to the world of apiculture, there had never been losses to such a substantial extent. During the 1990s, losses stabilized around 17 to 20 percent but skyrocketed to between 30 and 90 percent in 2006. At that point, the mysterious syndrome was dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Gosser, a former chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, has been around bees most of his life -- his father kept bees when he was a child. He's concerned with the quality of the EPA's and the FDA's tests on GMO seeds and commercial pesticides.

"Companies like Monsanto are known for inserting pesticides into the seeds," he said. "It becomes a part of the plant itself; I think this is a major contributing factor to the die-offs."

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Sara Ventiera

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