Consider a jar of honey on your breakfast table, ready to spread on your toast.
Bees make honey from nectar. Nectar is sugary plant sap. The bees take the nectar back to the hive and concentrate it into honey. So honey is concentrated sugary plant sap.
Draw a circle 3 miles in radius around the hive. Inside that circle is an area of nearly 30 square miles. That’s the area over which the bees from each hive fly to collect nectar to make honey. It’s a large area. All the flowers within it are potential sources of nectar. All the goodness that is in those flowers, the end product of a hugely complex ecosystem, is in the jar of honey on your breakfast table.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it’s not just the goodness that gets into the jar. Things that your neighbour sprays on his flowers can get into the jar too. From the spray bottle to the plant, to the nectar, to the honey, to your breakfast table. Anything a farmer puts on his fields can also get into the jar. By the same route. That includes pesticides. So any pesticides on fields within 30 square miles around the hive are also potentially in the jar.
That’s the jar that is sitting on your breakfast table containing honey that you are putting on your toast. Honey that you thought contained nothing but concentrated sweet goodness. And maybe that is exactly what it does contain. But is that all it contains? Has anybody ever measured what else it might contain? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way: they haven’t!
So the next time you read that most crops are routinely treated with pesticides, ask yourself where those pesticides might end up. It could be closer to home than you thought.