Bees and Weeds


Today I went down to the Albuquerque Bosque (which in Spanish means “forest”). It is a strip along the river, with one of the largest contiguous cottonwood forests in the U.S.

There I walked along the acequias—–an amazingly intricate web of waterways in the valley, connected to the Rio Grande.  It was created hundreds of years ago by Spanish settlers who wanted to irrigate their fields all along the river.

Today, it was a scorched earth. All the plants along the ditches were mowed down  or likely sprayed.  They were yellowed and dead. There was literally no plant life along the acequia banks. I was sickened.  My bees live near the river and I was counting on the Autumnal offerings of chamisa, asters, goldenrod, goatsheads and other plants to give my bees the last boost of pollen and nectar before winter sets in.I have been praying for weeks that they begin to flower, since I have been feeding my bees heavily to tide them over.  Sugar water is no substitute for the rich enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and minerals that the bees find in all plant pollens and nectars.  Their collective immune system becomes compromised, just like humans, when they are only fed a steady diet of white sugar.

Most people call the wild plants along the ditches and river, “weeds”.  When I called the City of Albuquerque, they said they regularly get calls from people who need for them “right now” to come take out those unsightly weeds near their homes.  So the City Environmental Department complies by bringing their herbicides to spray down the weeds. Or they bring in their heavy equipment to obliterate the weeds, as seen today near the river.

This is the dark side of beekeeping.  Bees and humans are all feeling the effects of RoundUp spray and RoundUp Ready seeds—-seeds that the chemical is actually injected into the seed itself, creating a systemic effect of toxicity.  Dr. Stefanie Seneff, a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, has been researching glyphosate, a key ingredient in RoundUp for over 40 years. In recently published articles, she has shown that glyphosate binds to mercury and aluminum in the environment and conveys it to humans.  Her scientific findings as to how Glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, works in conjunctions with these heavy metals is conclusive. These findings point to causation of many of the neurological diseases that are increasing in this country like Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson, Autism, Schizophrenia, and others. (

Dr. Seneff has been studying autism and the environmental causes since 1975. She predicts by 2032 at least 50 percent of the population of children will be autistic due to glyphosate related exposure to their nervous systems.

And our nervous systems are not the only part of our bodies paying the price.  These days it seems that every other person you know is gluten intolerant.  According to Seneff, it’s not the gluten, it’s the glyphosate that has been sprayed on grain crops before, during and after for over half a century—–now systemically injected or coated on the seed.  All of our corn, oats, barley, wheat, and soybeans are industrially farmed these days with massive amounts of chemicals, causing generations of health problems due to inflammation and irritation of the digestive system. Glyphosate is pervasive in our food system—over 75% of the food on our grocery shelves are filled with them (

Seneff’s work is groundbreaking not only because of the longevity of her research, but because she has been able to show the synergistic effects of glyphosate on the whole biological systems where they are sprayed.  In the globally used herbicide, RoundUp, she focuses upon more than just the organic chemistry breakdown.  She demonstrates the effects on the whole biotic community over time. It is not as benign as we think.  She calls RoundUp, “the elephant in the room”.

Over half a century ago, Rachel Carson, a wildlife and sea biologist exposed the effects of DDT in her epic, groundbreaking book, Silent Spring.  At that time DDT was used as ubiquitously as glyphosate  It had become lodged in every system—from waterways to food, to air to mother’s breast milk. Song birds were disappearing. Today, glyphosate in RoundUp, which chemists, sellers and city officials alike will tell you is perfectly harmless—– don’t worry, it breaks down rapidly into a substance as simple as table salt—– is also found in our soils and water, our food systems and bodies. Perhaps it breaks down in the environment eventually, but not before it binds to heavy metals and carries them to us and every living thing.  We are awash in neurotoxins from a chemical shield that is sprayed around us.  Only now are we beginning to know the long term effects, thanks to Dr. Seneff.

Most GMO or companies in the chemical industry will offer their own research on the effects of GMO’s.  After 3 months, their particular window of time, they find that GMO products are “safe” for animals and consumers.  Seneff said that in her research, it takes more than 3 months for long term effects to show up such as cancers and disruptions to major systems, including endocrine and digestive.  It is the same issue that Carson faced—-the jury is out on the long term effects in the environment, humans and animals.  Since Seneff has been looking at RoundUp and glyphosate related effects for over 40 years, she has a long baseline from which to speak. (,_herbicides_&_gmo%E2%80%99s_are_shaping_our_future)=

Sorry to be the bearer of unhappy news, friends of bees and living things.  I urge you to ban RoundUp and every insecticide or pesticide in your backyard and use natural means.  Spread the word. Vinegar spray with dishsoap and water, or chili powder are among the ways to dissuade those pests (  There are also biological enemies for every pest out there e.g. ladybugs, praying mantis’, lacewings.

And those weedy weeds?  Leave them until after they flower and then use some elbow grease or hire a teenager to pull them out, if you must be rid of them.  Plant some habitat that bees will love. They will be grateful, especially as forage becomes slim pickings in the Fall season.

No more scorched earth. Please.

3 thoughts on “Bees and Weeds

  1. Here’s a recipe I saw somewhere and wrote down although I have not personally tried it yet:
    1 gallon white vinegar
    2 c. Epsom salt
    1/4 c. Dawn dishwashing soap (blue original)
    Mix and spray in the morning after dew has evaporated. Go back after dinner and weeds are all gone.


  2. Pingback: BEE CITY USA | thinklikeabee

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