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Where have all the bugs gone asks Work at Home Grandma.

Updated on September 14, 2014

Nature's Beauty

Theory or Fact

My granddaughter decided to plant a garden this summer, and I must say it was the best decision she ever made. Work at home Grandma is enjoying fresh cucumbers and tomatoes on her salad every day, and I have an ample number of green beans blanched and frozen for dinners this winter.

Someone asked me the other day if I’d been noticing any bugs eating away at the plants or an abundance of small animals or birds digging in the garden. I was pleased to report that the garden was untouched. I recall when my son was ten (about 35 years ago) planting green beans and losing most of them to the bugs, squirrels, and rabbits.

One night last week I flipped on the porch light for my Shih Tzu and poked my head out the door to call him. He was being unusually slow so I forgot about the light and went about my business for about five minutes. Upon returning to check for the dog I was stunned to note that there was not one bug flying around the screen door light. In fact, when I stopped to think about it, there hadn’t been many bugs flying around all summer.

I searched through my mind’s databank trying to recall the past few summers and thinking then how few bees were around. This year, in fact, I saw two yellow-jackets and two hornets and that’s for the entire summer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a joy not to have insects flying around my doorway and I’m allergic to bees so I definitely don’t miss them; however, they are part of our ecology and they have a purpose in the food chain. For the first time, I realized that something is terribly wrong.

So I began to investigate and after reading a plethora of articles, I came up with three different scenarios responsible for the phenomena. Although my three favorites are listed below I never close the door to anything, so please if you have an opinion, answer, or anything that makes a bit of sense, post your comments below. I’ll summarize what I discovered and let you make the choice.

Honey Bee

The first sign of trouble – dead bees

Since 2006 bees have died an average of 25 - 30% each year. The winter of 2013-2014 saw a death rate of 25%. The acceptable mortality is about 18.9%. Three quarters of the world’s flowering plants rely on pollinators to reproduce so technically the bees are responsible for one out of every three bites you take. Cold sobering when you think about it.

There are various theories as to what is killing the bees. The first is the statement that the harsh winters we have been experiencing have caused the mortality rate of the bee population to decline, but how many stories have we all read about the horrendous blizzards of the early 1900’s and bees still survived.

The second theory and probably the most believable is the use of chemicals or bug sprays. There is a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids that have gained widespread use in the past decade and have been linked to a mysterious die-off of bees called Colony Collapse Disorder.

When pollen taken from hives on the east coast, including cranberry and watermelon crops, was fed to healthy bees, there was a marked decline in their ability to resist the parasite that causes Colony Collapse Disorder. That pollen contained nine different pesticides and fungicides and one even contained as much as 21 different chemicals. Bees eating this pollen are three times more susceptible to the parasite virus. The virus (a variant of the tobacco ringspot virus) is picked up by bees while foraging and spreads as the bee’s saliva and nectar mixes with pollen to make what is called “bee bread" for larvae to eat. It is also thought that mites feeding on the bees might also contribute to transmitting the virus. It is an interesting notation that this same virus is at the root of the human diseases of AIDS, influenza, some strains of hepatitis and about 80 immune disorders.

This discovery means that fungicides, thought harmless to bees, are actually a significant part of Colony Collapse Disorder. This means farmers need a whole new set of regulations about how to use fungicides. While neonicotinoids have been linked to mass bee deaths, it stands to reason that one or more of a group of various pesticides are also responsible for bee deaths. Honeybees are a critical part of the food chain as fruits and vegetables comprise at least, if not more, than 25% of our diet. The value to our economy is about $15 billion per year.

Some bee keepers are pursuing banning these chemicals from use by contacting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Considering all the findings, we need to ask ourselves the question about the pesticides and how they are filtering into our food supply. They are obviously killing off the bees and insects. It only follows that they are also contributing to other health aliments.

In 2012, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimated up to 6.7 million bats died due to the new pathogen. The pesticides are toxic to non-targeting and beneficial insects as well as harmful ones. As the insects have declined so has the food for the bats decreased thus compromising their survival. Bats are free forms of pollination and organic insect control.

Contrails

What are contrails?

All of us have looked into the sky and noticed the white smoke that streams from a plane overhead. This white vapor is called a contrail and occurs because the combustion in jet engines produces a substantial amount of water vapor and when the vapor escapes into the cold upper atmosphere it condenses into little water droplets that rapidly freeze, thus producing an ice cloud. The change from hot to cold is what causes the white vapor, just like you can see your breath on a cold day.

Contrails can be produced by both jet aircraft and high-flying propeller driven planes and were first observed as early as 1920. The size of contrails and length of penetration depends on the humidity in the air. If you see a lot of cirrus clouds or thin clouds then the upper atmosphere is not yet at full saturation. If the saturation occurs, then the addition of moisture produces clouds or contrails.

Many people speculate that the vapor produced by the planes contains some sort of chemicals harmful to the environment and human health. The theory is that this is due to enhanced military or geo-engineering activity.

In any case, the contrails do cause a slight warming in the atmosphere because they have an effect on the radiation stability of the planet. On one hand they replicate solar radiation and thus cool; on the other hand, they attract and re-emit infrared radiation.

Just talking about radiation brings about a discussion of another and more plausible theory.

Cell Phone

Do we have too many cell phones on the planet?

As most of us are aware, 99% of families in the United States have a cell phone. In actuality, cell phone subscriptions outnumber the total of U.S. citizens. In our larger cities alone there are hundreds of cell towers all of which broadcast electromagnetic waves throughout the environment.

This microwave radiation, as it is often referred to, is thought to be a major factor in the mortality of insects, small mammals, and birds. If you live in a large city, you have probably seen the tremendous decline of insects especially this past summer.

Electromagnetic waves damage cell tissue of every living thing on this planet. Bees become lost and disoriented. Studies as far back as 2008 have found that bees are repelled by cell phone signals. Since insects are so small, they are being affected now. But what of humans? Will we escape this? Probably not.

Since 2006, studies have been done to determine how much radiation is harmful to humans and what are the long-term effects. The increase in cell phone usage since the Smart Phone has more than doubled. Many people use their cell as their main phone, no longer paying the costs of a “land line”. As the technology is constantly improving, the incidence of dropped or static calls is very limited. Only if you are calling someone in an outlying area or driving through the mountains or countryside will you have a problem making a connection. I live very close to a large metropolitan medical center and in years past my Verizon phone would not make a good connection, but my friend’s AT&T phone worked quite well. Now that has changed. I can now use my phone on calls to India and they are as clear as bell.

We must ask ourselves what is the constant use of the cell phone doing to health and the ecology of our planet. Some studies produced evidence of the radiation amounts being harmless while other studies found an increase in cancer, suppression of the immune system and even increased incidence of miscarriages that were attributed to electromagnetic frequencies.

Thirty years ago, cell phones were only used in a limited capacity as there was no digital cellular network as we have today. Phones began their widespread use in the 1990’s, and with the invention of the Smart Phone after the turn of the century, our cell phone became our constant companion. From the Pong Case to new technology the manufacturers and distributors of cell phones will assure you there is no danger involved. The question is: how do we know the long -term effects when the phones have only been used extensively for about 15 years. Today 55% of cell phone users are under age 30. What will happen to an eight year old child when they are 60 because they have used a cell phone their entire life? It’s been about 30 years since the advance of the cell phone and for 30 years the bee population has steadily declined. The proof is in the pudding.

Our Beautiful Planet

What can we do?

We should all be jumping up and down screaming for someone to stop the madness, yet lobbyists keep right on blocking legislation that could put in further safeguards to inhibit the effect of the radiation from cell phones. Lobbyists keep companies like Monsanto in business to produce chemicals that are killing not only the bugs and bees, but eventually will creep their way into our food chain. When will our immune systems be overcome and diseases from these chemicals run rampant?

Remember when cell phones first emerged and we were told we could “overcharge” them or had to wait until they were completely dead before charging so as to not hurt our battery. This myth is debunked with the new technology. Hopefully new technology will find a way to offer all of us the protection we need from the radiation; perhaps chemicals will be outlawed as harmful to the eco system and humans.

Until then, we could consider limiting our cell phone usage to speaker or headphones to avoid the radiation impetus close to our bodies. Studies say there is no danger, but look at the bees. We can buy and eat only organic fruits and vegetables. Better yet, grow your own garden. Eat only free range meat or meat without chemicals added.

Even wheat today is being processed using chemicals that never before existed in our food chain. Read the book entitled, Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. It will open your eyes. Why do you think so many people cannot lose weight or are affected by Celiac’s disease? Why are they making so many foods gluten free?

Read as much as you can about the ecology and how the chemicals and radiation being used in every area of our lives is killing the bugs, the bees, the birds and eventually You.

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    • profile image

      sheilamyers 2 years ago

      I've noticed there are fewer bugs of all types this year. For the most part, I think this is because of the mild and wet summer we've had in my area. I'll have to wait until next summer to see if it's the same or if the insects are back in large numbers. I've read about the decline in the bee population and believe that's mostly caused by the various sprays used on crops and other plants. I do agree something needs to be done to change that. You're information about cell phones is thought-provoking. I never gave much thought to the fact there could be enough radiation going around to affect insects. Thanks. I'll have to do some research on that part of the topic.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Good coverage on this topic. I hope people listen to this message while there is still hope.

    • Sandra Eastman profile image
      Author

      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      Sheila

      This is the first year I've noticed such a decline in the bugs. We had a lot of rain this year but that usually makes them worse. The ones I'm still seeing are those underground such as any orl earwigs. The bees get less and less every year. Thanks for your comments

      Teaches12345: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree. Wish those in control would listen up.

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