Wanted: Honeybees

by clandon on February 3, 2014 - 10:06pm

The New York Times

Bee Deaths May Stem From Virus, Study Says

          There has been an alarming increase in the number of honeybee deaths over the past 8 years. In commercial colonies, it is estimated that around a third of the honeybees are being wiped out every year. Only recently has research led to a plausible and more definite answer as to why such occurrences may be happening. In The New York Times article, “Bee Deaths May Stem From Virus, Study Says”, it discusses a potential virus that could be the result of the mass die-off. The virus is a mutating virus that seems to have transferred from tobacco plants to soy plants to bees. Therefore, it is said to be a type of tobacco ringspot virus. The virus is picked up by the bees through pollen and it spreads easily when the bees mix this pollen with nectar and saliva to feed to their larvae. Beekeepers believed all these deaths were due to numerous factors such as pesticides, parasites and viruses which combined destroyed colonies. They labeled the phenomenon colony collapse disorder. However, through this research a more specific and accurate answer has been discovered. Bees play a crucial part in the production of crops and therefore to American’s diets. The tobacco ringspot virus is the first occurrence of a virus transferring itself from pollen to bee. The virus is made up of the RNA virus which causes AIDS in humans. It mutates faster allowing it to find ways around the defensive wall in the host (the bee) as well as being able to jump from bee to bee much quicker. The bees nervous system is attacked which ultimately results in this mass wipe out of bee colonies which through research has seen to peak in the winter.

          This article can be examined closer by looking at it according to the coherence and correspondence theories. The coherence theory states that a belief is true when it coheres with other beliefs. The correspondence theory states that a belief is true when this belief corresponds to an objective reality. Therefore, this article is believed to be true according to the coherence theory of truth as it coheres to a larger set of beliefs that viruses and parasites are killing off bees. In the article it states that researchers assumed the deaths were due to viruses and parasites and this article ties into that belief by stating that a virus actually is killing the bees according to new research done, this virus being the tobacco ringspot virus. Additionally, the article also fits in with the correspondence theory of truth as it corresponds to reality. The independent and objective reality is that viruses do attack and can kill the host which it has invaded. We have evidence that viruses do exist and are fatal because humans have died from viruses they have contracted such as AIDS and influenza which is also caused by the RNA virus. Therefore, this article does correspond to reality and so fits into the correspondence theory of truth.

          A vital aspect to take away from this article is the underlying significance of honeybees. It may seem that the death of bees is negligible in comparison to the many world issues we face today, however, it is important to take note of bees role in society. Honeybees pollinate a majority of our crops which include vegetables, fruits and nuts. Without honeybees, many plants, some of which eventually find their way to our dinner plates, could be wiped out with them. A large variety of plants, especially flowers, rely on honeybees to pollinate so that the plant will reproduce and bear the fruit or vegetable we eat. Bees play a natural and significant part in the processing of food. With the rise of GMO’s and pesticide use they seem to have become the only truly natural part in the processing of the food we eat. Does it seem logical that we are killing off what can sustain our diets naturally? Instead of increasing our usage of pesticides, should we not be trying to find a way to protect and ensure the survival of honeybees?

Work Cited

Wines, Michael. "Bee Deaths May Stem From Virus, Study Says." The New York Times. The NEw York Times Company, 21 Jan. 2014. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. 


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