Free the Bees from Forced Slavery!


It feels like I’ve written this blog before, but a quick search tells me I haven’t. Either way, a recent story brought this topic to my attention again…

On May 21, 2014, a tractor-trailer full of beehives crashed on the highway in Delaware, “accidentally” freeing millions of bees. No one was seriously injured, other than by a few bee stings. The tone of the CBS Philly news report is somewhat quaint and surprised. No one seems to question the rationale behind transporting 16 to 20 MILLION honeybees from Florida to Maine, in a truck, to pollinate crops.

In the Disney version of this story, you have to think that the bees planned some sort of prison breakout. They got together, buzzed about it, and all decided to lean at the same time to knock the truck over so they could find their freedom in nature, where they belong.

It’s kind of funny and cute, but then again, it isn’t. I mean, what kind of world do we live in that we need to truck bees up and down and over the whole country? And then we wonder why their colonies are collapsing! What have we done?

We know the answer to why the colonies are collapsing: insecticides. Which is the EXACT SAME REASON bees are nowhere to be found in the orchards and farm fields where they are desperately needed as pollinators in the first place…because bees are INSECTS. And as the name implies, insecticides kill insects. (By the way, many insecticides are neurotoxins, which means they are also toxic to people and pets, especially small children.)

Does that make it OK to capture bees and use them for toxic forced labor doing something that they would happily do willingly and for free if they weren’t POISONED TO DEATH?! That is, I believe, a rhetorical question.

Sometimes people, as much as I love them, can be so insensitive and unthinking. As long as their fruits and vegetables are cheap and readily available, they really don’t give a rat’s butt about the bees. Besides, bees sting, dagnabbit! And the scientists and business people who revert to the “let’s be realistic” argument are just as insensitive and unthinking to believe they’re justifying an insect genocide and then forced slavery of the surviving insects.

Here is a quote from Satish Kumar, the editor of a British magazine called Resurgence & Ecologist, which I used to read regularly. He is a true leader of the peace and environmental movement:

Look at what realists have done for us. They have led us to war and climate change, poverty on an unimaginable scale, and wholesale ecological destruction. Half of humanity goes to bed hungry because of all the realistic leaders in the world. I tell people who call me “unrealistic” to show me what their realism has done. Realism is an outdated, overplayed, and wholly exaggerated concept.

Yes, I think the bees quite like Mr. Kumar.

The irony is that the real reason all these destructive practices take place is that someone, somewhere, is making money off them, and people will do strange things for money. They do so even though there is one small problem with money—it can’t buy happiness, health, or survival of the species. Or survival of the bees.

Only each and every one of us making the right choices (demand organic!) can free the bees from forced slavery. And in freeing the bees, we are ensuring a healthy future for us all.


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6 Responses to Free the Bees from Forced Slavery!

  1. Alice Green May 28, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    Agreed!! Greed and power will help destroy all of our species on this earth, and then what will those greedy and powerful people do? Well, of course, the only thing left to destroy will be our own species, us, humans! We need all the bees, birds, plants, animals, seeds, trees, water, etc. to keep all of us alive. And those with stockpiles of guns and bullets will not last long either without a healthy earth without all of the bees and us as well. It isn’t by accident that we all need to take care of our earth and it’s inhabitants together, to care for all the earth is the only way any of us can survive…..and thrive!

  2. Kevin Frederick June 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    Maria, While I share your sentiment toward insecticides, I hold a different view regarding honey bee keeping. I agree that insecticides have played a large role in reducing the bee population, as well as other species in the pollinator family. In addition to chemical use – virus, mites and poor nutrition has been contributed to the reduction of honey bees; these factors have been the primary argument for Colony Collapse Disorder – whereby the bees desert their hives and die.

    With that said, in order to reduce the stress (workload) on the bee population it is important to look at a comprehensive approach utilizing vegetables that do not need pollinators or teach people how to pollinate by hand (easy for small gardens) as well as helping the other non-bee pollinator populations thrive, for example eliminating bug zappers which really only zap moths and crane-flys, the former being a great nighttime pollinator and the latter an unknown mosquito control insect. For some fruits and vegetables there is just simply no way around it, they need bees. For those situations the bee keeper’s bee hive is really the only alternative.

    The amount of fruit/vegetables currently being farmed cannot be completely pollinated with ‘free range’ bees. Honey bee keeping is a practice that has dated back thousands of years. The relationship between honey bee keeping and pollinating farms can also be viewed as a win – win situation. The bees want to pollinate, they need flowers to gather pollen, their by product will be honey, a nutritional substitute to any sweetener. And, after further thought, perhaps the power of eliminating insecticides lies in the hands of the bee keepers. If they would demand that the farm operator implements organic practices and eliminate insecticides, ‘negotiate’ if you will on behalf of their ‘workers’ for better ‘conditions’ then maybe the farms, who will be at the mercy of the bee keepers, will implement better practices. Even the bees deserve a healthy work-life balance.

  3. Gina June 4, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    God Bless the bees!

  4. Charles Sifers June 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    It’s hard to believe the drivel I’m reading here. Maybe you folks should actually learn something about the bee keeping industry.

    Bees are a vital part of our agricultural infrastructure and have been for nearly a century.

    First, here’s a shocker for you. Honey bees are not native to the Americas. They were brought to America to pollinate crops and have been happily doing so for more than 200 years.

    While there are apiaries in most states, it is expensive to keep them over the winter, so many are wintered in Florida and warmer states to help preserve the hives.

    They are then transported to where they are required to do the work.

    I’m all for you folks having your gardens and promoting self sufficiency. I’ve been gardening organically since before Jerome Rodale stroked out on the Dick Cavett show, and I’m all for promoting the practice, but I can’t imagine he or Robert would be at all happy with you promoting lies and propaganda.

    It seems to me that they were all about spreading truth and information.

    I think you need to take a step back and reconsider where you are going and what you do in their name.

  5. Michael Yares June 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    Maria, it looks like you brought out a couple of realists with your posting. There seems to be so many apologists for the industrial agriculture model that it’s a wonder change can be fostered at all.

    Of course, everyone is an expert, just ask them.

    A great place to learn about how to make honey bees more adapted is by following Dee Lusby at they point out there and on their chat group, organic beekeeping on yahoo, that the industrialization of the honey bee fostered many traits that made them more susceptible to disease and infestation.

    Keep on pushing the Eco message.

    Michael Yares

  6. Sam Paglioni June 5, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    Hence the need for genetically improved varieties in our food chain. GIFs are nothing more than selective breeding of plant characteristics. Save the bees with GIFs as part of the organic solution.

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