The bees’ funeral

bees funeral

Requiem for the bees

Dead bees are back on the evening news. Last night our national news broadcaster, the CBC, had relatively extensive coverage of a honey bee funeral in Toronto. These Canadian heroes, encountering death in the line of duty, were celebrated with a fitting send-off to wherever bees go when they shuffle off their mortal coils. In a headline that reads “Anti-GMO protesters rally against Monsanto – Beekeepers fill coffin full of thousands of dead bees” the CBC tells us how the third March Against Monsanto featured a “Requiem for the Bees.” Ontario beekeepers collected several million dead honey bees and dumped their bodies into a casket of sorts. The March Against Monsanto trekked through the streets of Toronto hoisting the bees’ coffin. It was intended as a statement against neonicotinoids, which most of the participants blame for the bee deaths.

But wait a minute. If the bee deaths are caused by neonicotinoids, why is the protest directed against Monsanto? Here is a little known piece of trivial, a fun fact that People Who Hate Monsanto almost invariably ignore: Monsanto does NOT make neonics. I know it is quite trendy to despise Monsanto and to accuse the huge multinational for all manner of environmental ills. Perhaps justifiably. But it makes the protest look pretty silly when the wrong monster is blamed. Bayer (the Aspirin company) manufactures neonicotinoids. If you are going to fight evil, at least know your opposing team’s dark-side forces. This is important. It is too easy for the dark side to dismiss people who care about the environment if ignorance and rage take the place of an educated and informed response. Attack the guilty parties, do it thoughtfully, with proof and fact. Know which company manufactures neonicotinoids and know how the poison is killing bees. It makes for a much stronger protest.

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
This entry was posted in Culture, or lack thereof, Pesticides, Save the Bees, Strange, Odd Stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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