Thursday, July 19, 2007

Honeybees and Global Warming II

Awhile back I discussed colony collapse disorder, a problem afflicting honeybee colonies all over the world. I didn't talk about it for its own sake, but as a beautiful example of the modern synergy between hysterical media and a government ever-eager to expand its authority. Much of the media commentary on the disorder, in which bee colonies simply disappeared without explanation, talked ominously of threats to the food supply, which naturally called for a Really Big Government Program. The remark below from The New York Times (with the breathless headline "Bees Vanish; Scientists Race for Reasons") is among the more sedate:

Meanwhile, samples were sent to an Agriculture Department laboratory in North Carolina this month to screen for 117 chemicals. Particular suspicion falls on a pesticide that France banned out of concern that it may have been decimating bee colonies. Concern has also mounted among public officials.

''There are so many of our crops that require pollinators,'' said Representative Dennis Cardoza, a California Democrat whose district includes that state's central agricultural valley, and who presided last month at a Congressional hearing on the bee issue. ''We need an urgent call to arms to try to ascertain what is really going on here with the bees, and bring as much science as we possibly can to bear on the problem.''

This is the way of things nowadays. Someone identifies a problem, various constituencies in society with external interests magnify it into a crisis, and then the officially credentialed Beltway media runs to ask someone what the government is going to do about it. That the problem might be exaggerated, or that the government may be unnecessary to solve and may even worsen it never crosses anyone's mind.

And the bees? It turns out, if these Spanish scientists are right, that it's not global warming, or pesticides, or any of that. It's a known parasite that costs about two euros per hive per year to fix. Thank heavens someone discovered this before the federal Department of Beekeeping was up and running.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honeybee extinction, the 2007 end of the world candidate, following in the tracks of such previous candidates as: Bird Flu, SAARS, West Nile Virus, Killer Bees, Global Cooling.

12:43 PM  

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