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Buzzed Off – What happened to the bees?

News Icon 06/03/2014

California – Where the industrial production of a single crop is taken to new extremes.

Britain’s bees are in a poor state say researchers at Reading University. According to reports, there are now less than a quarter of the bees needed for proper pollination of our crops. This is serious stuff.

However, things are not nearly as bad as the situation I witnessed in California, the land of milk and honey.  Standing amongst vast monocultures of perfectly regimented almond trees and other crops, what was noticeable was the eerie silence. Not the chirp of a bird or the buzz of a bee. They had gone, driven out by the chemical assault on the landscape, keeping nature at bay with pesticides sprayed from land and air.

Now, California’s massive patchwork of crops are pollinated by bees trucked in by hundreds of articulated lorries; hives containing 40 billion bees manually distributed amongst the crops for a few weeks before being gathered back in and trucked back out.

During my time in California following the trail of the mega-dairies peppering the landscape like vicious scars, I took time out to listen to one of the local beekeepers trying to restore nature’s balance in this forbidding environment…

This is the latest instalment in my worldwide quest to uncover the true cost of cheap meat.

Watch it here.

You can read more in Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat’, written with former Sunday Times journalist, Isabel Oakeshott, and available now in the UK from all good bookshops.



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