The world’s kind of a mess right now, isn’t it? Fighting rages on between Israel and Hamas, there’s still violence in Ukraine, Syria is still burning, Islamic extremists are taking over Iraq, Libya is a mess and the ebola virus is threatening to become the next black plague. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did.
Now comes word that the North American honeybee is disappearing. I can’t figure out which crisis is worst. But when you start to take away my morning honey for my toast, I draw the line.
Literally millions of beehives have disappeared over the last decade and scientists are scrambling to figure out why. Is it global warming? Is it increased solar activity? Al Qaeda? The economy? Globalization? The Joker? Penguin? Cat Woman?
It turns out that it’s probably something a lot more sinister. Pesticides. Yes, pesticides produced by those evil, giant chemical companies, which all ought to be banned and the companies producing them put out of business. Except most of them probably occupy a large portion of most of our beloved 401k retirement plans, so maybe we’d better think of something else. Predictably the big chemical firms claim the problem lies elsewhere. They’re hoping it does, since it would it would tend to impact their stock price (and our beloved 401k retirement plan). They claim that tiny, microscopic mites are to blame. If so, that would be convenient, since the average everyday person can’t see one of these anyway. It’s always more convenient to blame a problem on something you can’t see, right?
So might it actually be these mighty tiny mites?
Before you think this is none of your beeswax, think again as you enjoy your watermelon and munch on your almonds. Farmers and others in the agriculture industry rely heavily on them to pollinate crops and have had to turn to artificial methods since the bees stopped pulling their weight.
So then what’s to be done?
It turns out there’s a lot being done already. Only most of it is arguing over who is to blame. However, a group of leading researchers has managed to come up with a name for the problem. They claim that the bees are experiencing colony collapse disorder or CCD and is due to a certain type of insecticide. This syndrome includes wildly unpredictable bee behavior such as bees leaving their hives in the winter and never returning and spontaneously breaking out into a rendition of “Melancholy Baby” when out gathering nectar.
Last, the suspected culprit form of pesticides is called neonicotinoid. I’m not sure it’s written exactly correctly, because due to all the hives dying off there’s a shortage of spelling bees.
Congratulations to Aug. 8 winner Charlie Bertels. He correctly guessed that “9 = J. on the S.C.” or 9 = Justices on the Supreme Court.
Here is next week’s puzzle: “1 = Q. in a B.”
As usual, at least one of the words is included somewhere in the column. If you think you know the answer, call the AdVantage News answer line at (888) 532-4441 or click here to submit your answer online before noon on Tuesday.
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We apologize for the error in last week’s puzzle!