BY William Olkowski, PhD.


Can We Survive Ourselves?


I am a biologist who specialized in the study of insects, more specifically how to control insects using other insects.  Such people are called entomologists, more specifically Biological Control Specialist.  Those who study and work with “pest insects” are usually called economic entomologists.  I am one of a small minority within this group, called a pest management specialist.

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NEWS UPDATE 5.29.13-30

NEWS UPDATE  5.29.13-30



The Truth About Grassfed Beef

Japan suspends wheat imports from Pacific Northwest after modified wheat discovered in Oregon

New Effective Ways to Fight MRSA – Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.



Cicada cam gives users frightening glimpse of ‘swarmageddon’









* MAGNITUDE      5.3

* ORIGIN TIME    0638 AKDT MAY 29 2013

0738  PDT MAY 29 2013

1438  UTC MAY 29 2013


* DEPTH          6 MILES




The Truth About Grassfed Beef

Published December 19, 2012 | By John Robbins


If you read on, you’ll see why I’ve concluded that grassfed is indeed better.  But then, almost anything would be.  Putting beef cattle in feedlots and feeding them grain may actually be one of the dumbest ideas in the history of western civilization.

Cattle (like sheep, deer and other grazing animals) are endowed with the ability to convert grasses, which we humans cannot digest, into flesh that we are able to digest. They can do this because unlike humans, who possess only one stomach, they are ruminants, which is to say that they possess a rumen, a 45 or so gallon fermentation tank in which resident bacteria convert cellulose into protein and fats.

It’s not widely known, but E. coli 0157:H7 has only recently appeared on the scene.  It was first identified in the 1980s, but now this pathogen can be found in the intestines of almost all feedlot cattle in the U.S.  Even less widely recognized is that the practice of feeding corn and other grains to cattle has created the perfect conditions for forms of E. Coli and other microbes to come into being that can, and do, kill us.

Grassfed or organic?

It’s important to remember that organic is not the same as grassfed. Natural food stores often sell organic beef and dairy products that are hormone- and antibiotic- free.  These products come from animals who were fed organically grown grain, but who typically still spent most of their lives (or in the case of dairy cows perhaps their whole lives) in feedlots.  The sad reality is that almost all the organic beef and organic dairy products sold in the U.S. today comes from feedlots.




Japan suspends wheat imports from Pacific Northwest after modified wheat discovered in Oregon


By Associated PressUpdated: Thursday, M  3:19 PM

WASHINGTON — Japan has suspended some imports of U.S. wheat after genetically engineered wheat was found on an Oregon farm.

The Agriculture Department announced the discovery of the modified wheat on Wednesday. No genetically engineered wheat has been approved for U.S. farming.

Many countries around the world will not accept imports of genetically modified foods, and the United States exports about half of its wheat crop.



New Effective Ways to Fight MRSA – Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus.


MRSA study: simple steps slash deadly infections in sickest hospital patients

Bloodstream infections cut by more than 40 percent in study of more than 74,000 patients

new study on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals shows that using germ-killing soap and ointment on all intensive-care unit (ICU) patients can reduce bloodstream infections by up to 44 percent and significantly reduce the presence of methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus (MRSA).  Patients who have MRSA present on their bodies are at increased risk of developing a MRSA infection and can spread the germ to other patients. 

Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of three MRSA prevention practices: routine care, providing germ-killing soap and ointment only to patients with MRSA , and providing germ-killing soap and ointment to all ICU patients.   The study found:

  • ·         Routine care did not significantly reduce MRSA or bloodstream infections.
  • ·         Providing germ-killing soap and ointment only to patients with MRSA reduced bloodstream infections by any germ by 23 percent.
  • ·         Providing germ-killing soap and ointment to all ICU patients reduced MRSA by 37 percent and bloodstream infections by any germ by 44 percent.

The study, REDUCE MRSA trial, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine



The tea party has company. For the past several years, the Internal Revenue Service has been systematically targeting medical marijuana establishments, relying on an obscure statute that gives the taxing agency unintended power. The IRS has been functioning as an arm of justice, employing the U.S. tax code as a weapon in the federal government’s ongoing war against legal cannabis.

The majority of Americans favor legalization of marijuana, while 18 states and the District of Columbia have already legalized medical marijuana. But pot businesses in those states are vulnerable to the federal government’s strategic application of IRS Code Section 280E, a law enacted in 1982 after a drug dealer claimed his yacht and weapons purchases as legitimate business expenses — and long before medical marijuana was first legalized in California in 1996.



Cicada cam gives users frightening glimpse of ‘swarmageddon’


Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News May 29, 2013The Sideshow

  • ·          
  • ·          
  • ·          

The cicada cam (

The great cicada invasion of 2013 has begun in earnest on the East Coast, with hundreds of thousands of the noisy, sex-crazed insects popping up from Georgia to Connecticut. is looking to capitalize on the peculiar craze with a cicada cam, providing live, streaming video of the Brood II cicadas covering a replica of the U.S. Capitol.



The rebel against the controlled world





The psychiatric State operates hand-in-glove with sociology, in the sense that it promotes some 300 officially certified mental disorders that are the same in all people.  Psychiatry is a collectivism of the mind.

I’ve established, in many articles, that psychiatric diagnosis is a complete fraud. There are no physical tests of any kind for any so-called disorder.


The 20th century saw the rise of systems-thinkers, who applied their ideas to society
as a whole.  They gained power because global elites were pushing forward a systems-program of their own: planetary management.

The Globalist program was (and is) all about central planning and distribution of goods and services, under the cynical rubric of “greatest good for the greatest number.”  This is collectivism, plain and simple.  It camouflages a leading prow of brute force, Soviet style, with more subtle forms of brutality.


Like any fairy tale, myth, legend, story, collectivism began as the idea in the
mind of one person.  Somewhere in the mists of the past, that person dreamed it
up.  It was his notion.  It was his perverse “work of art.”

He sold it to his friends as a way they could control the mass, the populace, the audience.  He said, “Do you see how this works?  We can subscribe to the most wonderful sentiments, we can appear to be servants of the Good, we can hide behind all that while we destroy freedom.  It’s a winner.”

Collectivism isn’t a mass outpouring of share and care.  It’s coming down from the top of the ladder.

The rebel understands these things.  He knows someone, somewhere, cooked up the whole idea and promoted it, like flatware or recliner chairs or rhinestones.





Set aside the fact that our Queen is the Defender of the Christian Faith. Ignore the 26 Church of England bishops who sit in the House of Lords. 

Pay no attention to the 2011 Census that told us 33.2million people in England and Wales describe themselves as Christians.

For if you want a more telling insight into religion in the United Kingdom today, just look at these photographs. The story they tell is more revealing than any survey.

The photo on the left shows St Mary’s Church in Cable Street while the photo on the right shows worshippers gathered for Friday midday prayers outside a nearby mosque in Spitalfields, both in East London

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Russia Warns Obama: Monsanto and Neonicotinoids.


Russia Warns Obama: Monsanto

Posted: May 28th, 2013 ˑ Filled under: Top News ˑ  31 Comments

The shocking minutes relating to President Putin’s meeting this past week with US Secretary of State John Kerry reveal the Russian leaders “extreme outrage” over the Obama regimes continued protection of global seed and plant bio-genetic giants Syngenta and Monsanto in the face of a growing “bee apocalypse” that the Kremlin warns “will most certainly” lead to world war.

According to these minutes, released in the Kremlin today by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (MNRE), Putin was so incensed over the Obama regimes refusal to discuss this grave matter that he refused for three hours to even meet with Kerry, who had traveled to Moscow on a scheduled diplomatic mission, but then relented so as to not cause an even greater rift between these two nations.

At the center of this dispute between Russia and the US, this MNRE report says, is the “undisputed evidence” that a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine, known as neonicotinoids, are destroying our planets bee population, and which if left unchecked could destroy our world’s ability to grow enough food to feed its population.

So grave has this situation become, the MNRE reports, the full European Commission (EC) this past week instituted a two-year precautionary ban (set to begin on 1 December 2013) on these“bee killing” pesticides following the lead of Switzerland, France, Italy, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine, all of whom had previously banned these most dangerous of genetically altered organisms from being used on the continent.

Two of the most feared neonicotinoids being banned are Actara and Cruiser made by the Swiss global bio-tech seed and pesticide giant Syngenta AG which employs over 26,000 people in over 90 countries and ranks third in total global sales in the commercial agricultural seeds market.

Important to note, this report says, is that Syngenta, along with bio-tech giants Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and DuPont, now control nearly 100% of the global market for genetically modified pesticides, plants and seeds.

Also to note about Syngenta, this report continues, is that in 2012 it was criminally charged in Germany for concealing the fact that its genetically modified corn killed cattle, and settled a class-action lawsuit in the US for $105 million after it was discovered they had contaminated the drinking supply of some 52 million Americans in more than 2,000 water districts with its “gender-bending” herbicide Atrazine.

To how staggeringly frightful this situation is, the MNRE says, can be seen in the report issued this past March by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) wherein they warned our whole planet is in danger, and as we can, in part, read:

“As part of a study on impacts from the world’s most widely used class of insecticides, nicotine-like chemicals called neonicotinoids, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has called for a ban on their use as seed treatments and for the suspension of all applications pending an independent review of the products’ effects on birds, terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife.


“It is clear that these chemicals have the potential to affect entire food chains. The environmental persistence of the neonicotinoids, their propensity for runoff and for groundwater infiltration, and their cumulative and largely irreversible mode of action in invertebrates raise significant environmental concerns,” said Cynthia Palmer, co-author of the report and Pesticides Program Manager for ABC, one of the nation’s leading bird conservation organizations.

ABC commissioned world renowned environmental toxicologist Dr. Pierre Mineau to conduct the research. The 100-page report, “The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds,” reviews 200 studies on neonicotinoids including industry research obtained through the US Freedom of Information Act. The report evaluates the toxicological risk to birds and aquatic systems and includes extensive comparisons with the older pesticides that the neonicotinoids have replaced. The assessment concludes that the neonicotinoids are lethal to birds and to the aquatic systems on which they depend.

“A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird,” Palmer said. “Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid — called imidacloprid — can fatally poison a bird. And as little as 1/10th of a neonicotinoid-coated corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction.”

The new report concludes that neonicotinoid contamination levels in both surface- and ground water in the United States and around the world are already beyond the threshold found to kill many aquatic invertebrates.”


Quickly following this damning report, the MRNE says, a large group of group of American beekeepers and environmentalists sued the Obama regime over the continued use of these neonicotinoids stating: “We are taking the EPA to court for its failure to protect bees from pesticides. Despite our best efforts to warn the agency about the problems posed by neonicotinoids, the EPA continued to ignore the clear warning signs of an agricultural system in trouble.”

And to how bad the world’s agricultural system has really become due to these genetically modified plants, pesticides and seeds, this report continues, can be seen by the EC’s proposal this past week, following their ban on neonicotinoids, in which they plan to criminalize nearly all seeds and plants not registered with the European Union, and as we can, in part, read:

“Europe is rushing towards the good ol days circa 1939, 40… A new law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to “grow, reproduce or trade” any vegetable seeds that have not been “tested, approved and accepted” by a new EU bureaucracy named the “EU Plant Variety Agency.”

It’s called the Plant Reproductive Material Law, and it attempts to put the government in charge of virtually all plants and seeds. Home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds would be considered criminals under this law.”


This MRNE report points out that even though this EC action may appear draconian, it is nevertheless necessary in order to purge the continent from continued contamination of these genetically bred “seed monstrosities.”

Most perplexing in all of this, the MRNE says, and which led to Putin’s anger at the US, has been the Obama regimes efforts to protect pesticide-producer profits over the catastrophic damaging being done to the environment, and as the Guardian News Service detailed in their 2 May article titled “US rejects EU claim of insecticide as prime reason for bee colony collapse” and which, in part, says:

“The European Union voted this week for a two-year ban on a class of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids, that has been associated with the bees’ collapse. The US government report, in contrast, found multiple causes for the collapse of the honeybees.”

To the “truer” reason for the Obama regimes protection of these bio-tech giants destroying our world, the MRNE says, can be viewed in the report titled “How did Barack Obama become Monsanto’s man in Washington?” and which, in part, says:

“After his victory in the 2008 election, Obama filled key posts with Monsanto people, in federal agencies that wield tremendous force in food issues, the USDA and the FDA: At the USDA, as the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Roger Beachy, former director of the Monsanto Danforth Center. As deputy commissioner of the FDA, the new food-safety-issues czar, the infamous Michael Taylor, former vice-president for public policy for Monsanto. Taylor had been instrumental in getting approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.”

Even worse, after Russia suspended the import and use of an Monsanto genetically modified cornfollowing a study suggesting a link to breast cancer and organ damage this past September, theRussia Today News Service reported on the Obama regimes response:

“The US House of Representatives quietly passed a last-minute addition to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill for 2013 last week – including a provision protecting genetically modified seeds from litigation in the face of health risks.

The rider, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, has been derided by opponents of biotech lobbying as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” as it would strip federal courts of the authority to immediately halt the planting and sale of genetically modified (GMO) seed crop regardless of any consumer health concerns.

The provision, also decried as a “biotech rider,” should have gone through the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees for review. Instead, no hearings were held, and the piece was evidently unknown to most Democrats (who hold the majority in the Senate) prior to its approval as part of HR 993, the short-term funding bill that was approved to avoid a federal government shutdown.”

On 26 March, Obama quietly signed this “Monsanto Protection Act” into law thus ensuring the American people have no recourse against this bio-tech giant as they fall ill by the tens of millions, and many millions will surely end up dying in what this MRNE report calls the greatest agricultural apocalypse in human history as over 90% of feral (wild) bee population in the US has already died out, and up to 80% of domestic bees have died out too.



Monsanto’s Dirty Dozen plus one. 5.28.13

Monsanto’s Dirty Dozen: The 12 Most Awful Products Made By Monsanto



When you take a moment to reflect on the history of product development at Monsanto, what do you find? Here are twelve products that Monsanto has brought to market. See if you can spot the pattern…

#1 – Saccharin

Did you know Monsanto got started because of an artificial sweetener? John Francisco Queeny founded Monsanto Chemical Works in St. Louis, Missouri with the goal of producing saccharin[1] for Coca-Cola. In stark contrast to its sweet beginnings, studies performed during the early 1970s[2],* including a study by the National Cancer Institute in 1980[3], showed that saccharin caused cancer in test rats[4] and mice.

After mounting pressure from consumers, the Calorie Control Council[5], and manufacturers of artificial sweeteners and diet sodas, along with additional studies[6] (several conducted by the sugar and sweetener industry) that reported flaws in the 1970s studies, saccharin was delisted from the NIH’s Carcinogen List. A variety of letters from scientists advised against delisting[7]; the official document includes the following wording[8] to this day: “although it is impossible to absolutely conclude that it poses no threat to human health, sodium saccharin is not reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen under conditions of general usage as an artificial sweetener.” (*Read the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s History of Saccharin[9] here.)

#2 – PCBs

During the early 1920s, Monsanto began expanding their chemical production into polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to produce coolant fluids for electrical transformers, capacitors, and electric motors. Fifty years later, toxicity tests[10] began reporting serious health effects[11] from PCBs in laboratory rats exposed to the chemical.

After another decade of studies, the truth could no longer be contained: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report[12] citing PCBs as the cause of cancer in animals, with additional evidence that they can cause cancer in humans. Additional peer-reviewed health studies showed a causal link between exposure to PCBs and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a frequently fatal form of cancer.

In 1979, the United States Congress recognized PCBs as a significant environmental toxin and persistent organic pollutant, and banned its production in the U.S.  By then Monsanto already had manufacturing plants abroad, so they weren’t entirely stopped until the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants banned PCBs globally in 2001.

And that’s when Monsanto’s duplicity was uncovered: internal company memos[13] from 1956 surfaced, proving that Monsanto had known about dangers of PCBs from early on.

In 2003, Monsanto paid out over $600 million to residents of Anniston, Alabama, who experienced severe health problems including liver disease, neurological disorders and cancer[14] after being exposed to PCBs — more than double the payoff that was awarded in the case against Pacific Gas & Electric made famous by the movie “Erin Brockovich.”

And yet the damage persists: nearly 30 years after PCBs have been banned from the U.S., they are still showing up in the blood of pregnant women, as reported in a 2011 study[15] by the University of California San Francisco.

#3 – Polystyrene

In 1941, Monsanto began focusing on plastics and synthetic polystyrene, which is still widely used in food packaging and ranked 5th in the EPA’s 1980s listing of chemicals[16] whose production generates the most total hazardous waste.

#4 – Atom bomb and nuclear weapons

Shortly after acquiring Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories, Monsanto turned this division into their Central Research Department[17]. Between 1943 to 1945, this department coordinated key production efforts of the Manhattan Project[18]—including plutonium purification and production and, as part of the Manhattan Project’s Dayton Project[19], techniques to refine chemicals used as triggers for atomic weapons (an era of U.S. history that sadly included the deadliest industrial accident[20]).

#5 – DDT

In 1944, Monsanto became one of the first manufacturers of the insecticide DDT to combat malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Despite decades of Monsanto propaganda insisting that DDT was safe, the true effects of DDT’s toxicity were at last confirmed through outside research and in 1972, DDT was banned throughout the U.S.

#6 – Dioxin

In 1945, Monsanto began promoting the use of chemical pesticides in agriculture with the manufacture of the herbicide 2,4,5-T (one of the precursors to Agent Orange), containing dioxin. Dioxins are a group of chemically-related compounds that since become known as one of the “Dirty Dozen[21]” — persistent environmental pollutants that accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals. In the decades since it was first developed, Monsanto has been accused of covering up or failing to report dioxin contamination in a wide range of its products.

#7 – Agent Orange

During the early 1960s, Monsanto was one of the two primary manufacturers of Agent Orange, an herbicide / defoliant used for chemical warfare during the Vietnam War. Except Monsanto’s formula had dioxin levels many times higher than the Agent Orange produced by Dow Chemicals, the other manufacturer (which is why Monsanto was the key defendant in the lawsuit brought by Vietnam War veterans in the United States).

(Pictured at left, Anh and Trang Nhan, with their father, when they first arrived at the Hoi An Orphanage; below are the same brothers shortly before Trang’s death. Source: Kianh Foundation Newsletter, Dec. 2011[22])

As a result of the use of Agent Orange, Vietnam estimates that over 400,000 people were killed or maimed, 500,000 children were born with birth defects, and up to 1 million people were disabled or suffered from health problems—not to mention the far-reaching impact it had on the health of over 3 million American troops and their offspring.

Internal Monsanto memos show that Monsanto knew of the problems of dioxin contamination of Agent Orange when it sold it to the U.S. government for use in Vietnam. Despite the widespread health impact, Monsanto and Dow were allowed to appeal for and receive financial protection from the U.S. government against veterans seeking compensation for their exposure to Agent Orange.

In 2012, a long 50 years after Agent Orange was deployed, the clean-up effort has finally begun[23]. Yet the legacy of Agent Orange, and successive generations of body deformities[24], will remain in orphanages[25] throughout VietNam for decades to come.

(Think that can’t happen here? Two crops were recently genetically engineered[26] to withstand a weedkiller made with one of the major components of Agent Orange, 2,4-D[27], in order to combat “super weeds” that evolved due to the excessive use of RoundUp.)

8 – Petroleum-Based Fertilizer

In 1955, Monsanto began manufacturing petroleum-based fertilizer after purchasing a major oil refinery. Petroleum-based fertilizers can kill beneficial soil micro-organisms[28], sterilizing the soil and creating a dependence, like an addiction, to the synthetic replacements. Not the best addiction to have, considering the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil…

#9 – RoundUp

During the early 1970s, Monsanto founded their Agricultural Chemicals division with a focus on herbicides, and one herbicide in particular: RoundUp (glyphosate). Because of its ability to eradicate weeds literally overnight, RoundUp was quickly adopted by farmers. Its use increased even more when Monsanto introduced “RoundUp Ready” (glyphosate-resistant) crops, enabling farmers to saturate the entire field with weedkiller without killing the crops.

While glyphosate has been approved by regulatory bodies worldwide and is widely used, concerns about its effects on humans and the environment persist. RoundUp has been found in samples of groundwater[29], as well as soil[30], and even in streams and air[31] throughout the Midwest U.S., and increasingly in food. It has been linked to butterfly[32] mortality, and the proliferation of superweeds[33]. Studies in rats have shown consistently negative health impacts ranging from tumors, altered organ function, and infertility, to cancer and premature death. Reference the above “GMO Risks[34]” page which includes countless references to support these statements.

#10 – Aspartame (NutraSweet / Equal)

An accidental discovery during research on gastrointestinal hormones resulted in a uniquely sweet chemical: aspartame. During the clinical trials conducted on 7 infant monkeys as part of aspartame’s application for FDA approval, 1 monkey died and 5 other monkeys had grand mal seizures—yet somehow aspartame was still approved by the FDA in 1974. In 1985, Monsanto acquired the company responsible for aspartame’s manufacture (G.D. Searle) and began marketing the product as NutraSweet. Twenty years later, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report listing 94 health issues[35] caused by aspartame.

#11 – Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)

This genetically modified hormone was developed by Monsanto to be injected into dairy cows to produce more milk. Cows subjected to rBGH suffer excruciating pain due to swollen udders and mastitis[36], and the pus[37] from the resulting infection enters the milk supply[38] requiring the use of additional antibiotics. rBGH milk has been linked to breast cancer[39], colon cancer[40], and prostate cancer[41] in humans.

#12 – Genetically Modified Crops / GMOs

In the early 1990s, Monsanto began gene-splicing corn, cotton, soy, and canola with DNA from a foreign source to achieve one of two traits: an internally-generated pesticide, or an internal resistance to Monsanto’s weedkiller RoundUp. Despite decades of promises that genetically engineered crops would feed the world with more nutrients, drought resistance, or yield, the majority of Monsanto’s profits[42] are from seeds that are engineered to tolerate Monsanto’s RoundUp—an ever-rising, dual income stream as weeds continue to evolve resistance to RoundUp[43].

Most sobering however, is that the world is once again buying into Monsanto’s “safe” claims.

Just like the early days of PCBs, DDT, Agent Orange, Monsanto has successfully fooled the general public and regulatory agencies into believing that RoundUp, and the genetically modified crops that help sell RoundUp, are “safe.”

Except Monsanto has learned a thing or two in the past 100+ years of defending its dirty products: these days, when a new study proving the negative health or environmental impacts of GMOs emerges, Monsanto attacks the study and its scientist(s) by flooding the media with counter claims from “independent” organizations, scientists, industry associations, blogs, sponsored social media, and articles by “private” public relations firms—frequently founded, funded and maintained by Monsanto.

Unfortunately, few of us take the time to trace the members, founders, and relationships of these seemingly valid sources back to their little Monsanto secret.

Fooling the FDA[44] required a slightly different approach: click on the below chart compiled by Millions Against Monsanto[45] to see how many former Monsanto VPs and legal counsel are now holding positions with the FDA. And don’t forget Clarence Thomas, former Monsanto attorney who is now a Supreme Court Justice, ruling in favor of Monsanto in every case brought before him.




A Baker’s Dozen: #13 – Terminator Seeds

In the late 1990s, Monsanto developed the technology to produce sterile grains unable to germinate. These “Terminator Seeds[46]” would force farmers to buy new seeds from Monsanto year after year, rather than save and reuse the seeds from their harvest as they’ve been doing throughout centuries. Fortunately this technology never came to market. Instead, Monsanto chose to require farmers to sign a contract agreeing that they will not save or sell seeds from year to year, which forces them to buy new seeds and preempts the need for a “terminator gene.” Lucky for us… since the terminator seeds were capable of cross-pollination and could have contaminated local non-sterile crops.

What’s the Result of our Monsanto Legacy?

Between 75% to 80% of the processed food[47] you consume every day has GMOs inside, and residues of Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide outside. But it’s not just processed food—fresh fruit and vegetables are next: genetically engineered sweet corn[48] is already being sold at your local grocer, with apples and a host of other “natural” produce currently in field trials.

How is it that Monsanto is allowed to manipulate our food after such a dark product history? How is it they are allowed to cause such detrimental impact to our environment and our health?

According to the Organic Consumers Association[49], “There is a direct correlation between our genetically engineered food supply and the $2 trillion the U.S. spends annually on medical care, namely an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases.

Instead of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and grass-fed animal products, U.S. factory farms and food processors produce a glut of genetically engineered junk foods that generate heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer—backed by farm subsidies[50]—while organic farmers receive no such subsidies.

Monsanto’s history reflects a consistent pattern of toxic chemicals, lawsuits, and manipulated science. Is this the kind of company we want controlling our world’s food supply?

P.S. Monsanto’s not alone. Other companies in the “Big Six” include Pioneer Hi-Bred International[51] (a subsidiary of DuPont), Syngenta AG[52], Dow Agrosciences[53] (a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, BASF[54] (which is primarily a chemical company that is rapidly expanding their biotechnology division, and Bayer Cropscience[55] (a subsidiary of Bayer).


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TAGS: Agent Orange, Asparatame, Atom Bomb, Bovine Growth Hormones, Dayton Project, DDT, Dioxin, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Genetically Modified Crops, Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, Manhattan Project, Monsanto, Nuclear Weapons, PCBs, Petroleum-Based Fertilizer, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Polystyrene, Roundup, Roundup-Ready, Saccharin, Terminator Seeds, Vietnam


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Posted May 28, 2013 at 2:14 PM


Lead Free Garden Hose

Buy a Lead-free hose: One easy way to cut down on the amount of lead in your immediate environment is to get a lead-free garden hose. Not only will it drastically reduce the amount of lead being deposited in your yard, it will also virtually eliminate direct exposure when watering by hand or tending to the garden. A lead-free garden hose is also safe for children to get a much-needed drink or play in the sprinklers, and pets will also be spared of potential lead poisoning from water bowls filled from the hose. The hoses are often white with a thin blue stripe, and are commonly sold in marine and recreational vehicle (RV) stores. An RV lead-free garden hose can also come in a beige color with blue stripe, to match the beige paint of many RVs. Although sold for RV and marine use, these hoses serve as great lead-free garden hoses.

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Biog Note for 2013 Ecofarm Conference


Wise Words from Someone who was there.

The following summary was prepared for introductory remarks at the 2013 Ecofarm Conference held annually at the State of CA’s Asilomar Conference Center.  There is a tape of the interview conducted by Amigo Bob Cantisano.

Bill Olkowski is an ecological innovator and pioneer in biological control and integrated pest management (IPM). He helped found the first 3 recycling centers in the U.S., the Berkeley Ecology Center (under Ray Ball), ran a first of its kind Creek Clean Up Project (Cordonices Creek, Berkeley, CA) , and with his wife and partner Helga (1931-2012), the Integral Urban House (considered one of the best houses of the 21st, century by Architecture Magazine), the nonprofit Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC), which was a membership organization independently producing two  Internationally distributed journals, one for professionals, and the other for the general public.  In addition, along with their passion for small scale food raising at their own home, they designed and ran 2 public teaching gardens and a small organic teaching farm.

Four years of work on processing tomatoes (ketchup, salsa) in the Sacramento Valley culminated in a pilot program, called Reference Field Monitoring which showed how to reduce pesticide use by developing an appropriate sampling system for the late season crop.  This was implemented in this difficult and highly sprayed industrial crop on 12 advanced farms, totally well over 5,000 acres:

For over 6 years they team taught food raising using a teaching garden on University land, in downtown Berkeley, with a curriculum they designed, along with Plant Pathologist Bob Robby, and two soil scientists Vlamos and Williams.  They worked after leaving UC, Berkeley, Division of Biological Control with the John Muir Institute (JMI), under Max and Julie Linn who stewarded them into their own Center for Applied Ecology (CIAS).  They left UC, but continued their work with city governments demonstrating least toxic pest control programs for city trees with JMI.  Later, after setting up their own non-profit called the BioIntegral Resource Center (“BIRC”), they published The IPM Practitioner (10 issues/yr and Common Sense Pest Control Quarterly (4x/yr with a small cadre of helpers for over 20 years before turning it over to its present managing editor, Bill Quarles, who has continued the publications.

The couple authored many publications including the seminal 740 page reference /text “Common Sense Pest Control, teaching thousands of people how to manage pests without poisons.  They and colleagues coauthored 4 books, some book chapters, numerous magazine articles (Horticulture and Fine Gardening, and others), manuals and hundreds of articles, book reviews, and fliers for the public on Least Toxic Pest Control.  Their classic work, Common Sense Pest Control, is a 740 page compendium written for the general public concerned with managing various residential and urban pests, e.g., cockroaches, termites, garden pests of all sorts, especially aphids, and others.  They were joined in these efforts by their close friend, colleague and fellow author, landscape architect Sheila Daar, who was also the Director of the Institute from which they founded and worked.

The couple also innovated in creating a number of non-profit organizations including Antioch College West in San Francisco, an organic farm based school in the Sacramento Valley, and designed and operated the farm and 4 urban gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area at different times.

They were advocating over 40 years ago for urban gardens as a partial solution to the lack of pesticide free foods and went further to design and operate an organic farm school for disadvantaged young women.  The farm specialized in exploring how animals could be integrated into a 60 ac farm in the foothills of the Sacramento Valley for food, fiber, and weed control. This farm was based on fertilizers made from their own aerobic composting systems created with their farm wastes from a small 800 chicken operation, producing about 100 dozen eggs per week and over 40 boxes of produce sold as part of a CSA, Community Supported Agricultural system.  They were also were advocates of  small scale “farmets” (coining a term) as part of boundary green belts around and within Urban areas.

His wife, Helga (4.27.12) and he were regular speakers at the Ecofarm conference right from its start years ago.  Helga and Bill team, sometimes called BillGa taught for most of their 42 years together.  They formed a scientific writing, and teaching team lecturing across the US, with visits to Canada, China, and Europe (Italy and Berlin).  They also ran and personally searched for natural enemies in different parts of the US for importation to California.  They stopped active work on least toxic pest control in 1998 to help care for their principle supporters, Helga’s parents, Tosia and Dave Martin who died in 1996 and 1998, respectfully.

Afterward, they travelled and lived for 8 years in an RV going from the North coast, Mendocino Area, to the Southwest Desert Parks: Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Mojave preserve, Tucson Mt Park and others.  They travelled in a giant circle, with Bill painting, and Helga identifying plants and animals.


Bill Olkowski, “Doc” to his closest  friends, pioneered in designing and piloting biologically based pest control programs for many different types of public agencies, 6  local cities in the San Francisco bay Area, to the state government on contracts with State Department of Water Resources (CA DWR extending their hands-on management system for weeds, and rodents (ground squirrels)), and on Processing Tomatoes, funded by the State Department of Pesticide Regulation (CA-DPR), and a consortium of funding agencies and foundations headed by the Mott Foundation.  He worked in pioneering IPM programs for school districts, residential homes, private and public gardens, The San Francisco zoo, levees run by the State Department of Water (DWR), state and many federal parks, and a private pest control company.  Many of the hundreds of pest control program designs are documented in the classic book on the urban area: Common Sense Pest Control. For others and details see the web site: (also contains copies of paintings produced over 40 years).

The IPM program designed with DWR after 4 years of support, at about $70K/year, demonstrated how to manage ground squirrel populations using smoke bombs at strategic times of the year, reduced burning of levees, plantings of alternative vegetation, use of aerial photographs for squirrel density detection (using holes as indicators of activity).  Using this type of aerial derived data allows for virtual continuous monitoring of squirrel numbers and densities and ways to monitor for long term studies, say over a 15 year period.

The program elements we demonstrated for altering the road treatment system, which previously was treated every year, was reduced by over 87%. This alone could greatly reduce the amount of herbicide on the 30,000 of miles of the Water Project overall.


Update on Pesticides in Human Body

Update on Pesticides in Human Body

Excerpts selected by W.O., 1.2.12

Note: the data from umbilicord samples means that many people who are having babies are feeding the little things a soup of poisons, never tested in combination.  Imagine having the blood flow to a fetus contaminated by 232 chemicals!!! Gads.

And flame retardants are among the terrible list.  And when have you seen a piece of furniture or a denim jacket burst into flames?  Such a crazy civilization.

bisphenol A.comes out of plastic bottles, so switch over to glass.


Since 2000 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has conducted biomonitoring tests of more than 200 people, including tests of

20 samples of umbilicord blood (

These studies have driven the debate about the hundreds of chemicals to which Americans are exposed, even in the womb.  In our most recent cord blood biomonitoring, which took samples from 10 newborns from ethnic and racial minorities, we found up to 232 toxic chemicals, including flame retardants and bisphenol A. (


As EWG documented in our Secret Chemicals report, the public had no access to more than

17,000 of the chemicals in the toxics inventory.  Companies had claimed CBI protections (confidential business information) for more than two-thirds of the 20,400 chemicals that came onto the market between 1976 and 2009.

Due to CBI protections, a large number of the chemicals were in consumer products, including 10 specifically designed for children’s products and manufactured in high volumes.

Flame retardants are a major issue. They are ubiquitous and present significant health risks, including cancer and neurological and reproductive system damage. As certain flame retardants are barred or phased out, we are concerned about the secrecy surrounding the chemicals introduced as replacements. The issue of safe substitutes is not unique to flame retardants.  We are learning that some BPA alternatives may not be safe.

Over the last decade EWG has done extensive research on flame retardants:

Mother’s Milk:  EWG’s 2003 study of chemical fire retardants in the breast milk of American

women was the first of its kind. It found that the average level of bromine-based fire retardants in the milk of 20 first-time mothers was 75 times the average measured in recent European studies.

Milk from two study participants contained the highest levels of fire retardants ever reported in

the U.S. Milk from several other new mothers in the study scored among the highest levels of

fire retardants detected in the U.S. up to that point.

FireRetardants%in%Toddlers%and%Their%Mothers :

EWG’s blood tests of toddlers and

preschoolers found 11 different flame retardants in a group of children — typically 3 times as much as their mothers.


Pollution in Minority Newborns: This 2009 study was a comprehensive analysis of pollutants detected in the cord blood of 10 newborns from racial and ethnic minorities. Flame retardants were found in 10 out of 10 samples. Bisphenol A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to cancer and impaired development of the reproductive system and other organs, was found in 9 of 10 samples.


A Generalized Integrated Pest Management Program for Aphids in Public Rose Gardens.

A Generalized Integrated Pest Management Program for Aphids in Public Rose Gardens.

By William Olkowski Phd.



Some Biological Facts to Start With

Figure A.  The Rose Aphid Life Cycle (make one up with the wingless females indicated from the overwintering egg).

What No Mating?  So Sad.

Asexual Reproduction Speeds Up Reproduction

A Secret Entomological World

Natural Controls on Rose Aphids

Designing Your Own IPM Program

Rose Aphids are Not that Important for Plant Health

The IPM Algorithm

Honeydew, the Manna from Heaven

Insects Present

Plant Damage Present

Monitoring, the Most Important IPM Component

Figure x: the Natural Enemy Lag Problem

My First Rose Garden IPM Experience

Ants Can Interfere with Natural Controls

Carnivores Effective?

Pictures of Orius, larvae or life cycle of lacewings and ladybeetles see CSPC

The Most Important Organism on the Earth are Not Humans

Figure Z. Pic of mummy

Control Feasible?

The Treatment Sieve

Table 1.  Strategies and Tactics Useful inPestControl.  See CSPC.

Biological Control (BC) Feasible?

Classical BC

Plant Replacement

Tell Conclusions to the Manager and Clientele



A Generalized Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) for the Rose Aphid

in Public Rose Gardens


By William Olkowski, PhD.


IPM can stand for Intelligent Pest Management or as it is more commonly known, Integrated Pest Management.  It takes little brain power to buy a powerful insecticide and kill animals.  Plus, insecticide use is fast and convenient if one disregards the need for spray-safety equipment, and the contamination of the environment.  Intelligence is required if one wants to avoid the toxic products which have now contaminated the soils, air, water and food chains of the planet, as well as most human bodies.  But insecticides can be useful if placed properly within a least toxic program.  This article describes how to design a least toxic IPM program for the rose aphid in public rose gardens.  As such it can be taken as an example for the development of similar programs for other pests of roses and for other pests in urban settings.

IPM is an Intelligent Approach to Pest Control

Intelligence is not a product but a sign of a good thinking process at work.  With thought, experimentation and work, a least toxic pest management program can be developed for all pests.  An attitude and knowledge is required, however.  The attitude part of the process is based on the desire to learn and be gentle with the natural world that this aphid species represents.  Knowledge of life cycles, natural controls and the proper interpretation of observations make the job a bit more complicated than reaching for the poison, but much more satisfying.  Living with the natural world is the idea, not domination of it.  We are part of the natural world and it was not created for us alone.  That goes against a whole body of history, but it is rational.  Maybe IPM could be called RPM, Rational Pest Management.

Some Biological Facts with Which to Start

In different parts of the country the near universally distributed rose aphid, Macrosiphum rosae, lays eggs on the overwintering canes which give rise to wingless young in the spring, and after a short time these grow into wingless or still later in the fall, winged adults.  Before the so called modern era which brought us the DDT’s of the world, this fact was used by intelligent managers to cut the canes down just before the winter.  This reduced the spring aphid populations.  The practice, however, is only temporary, of course, as aphids are evolutionary smart little critters with some critical tricks for survival.  See Figure A for a complete generational life cycle for this particular aphid.

Figure A.  The Rose Aphid Life Cycle (make one up with the wingless females indicated from the overwintering egg).

Rose aphid adults then continue laying wingless young without the need to mate.  In characteristic fashion entomologists have special terms for these life stages.  Young are called nymphs, which has always engendered in me a vision very different from these wingless sap suckers.  Adults and eggs have no special terms, yet.  But winged aphids have the adjective alate attached to designate wing forms.  So with most aphids we have alternating morphologies, winged and wingless.  Things in the natural world are not simple.

What No Mating?

These first generation animals have an unusual life cycle even for most insects.  The wingless young develop into wingless adults during the hot summer months.  These give birth to more living aphids without the need to mate.  Then winged male and female adults appear in the fall, but these mate and the females lay an overwintering egg.  So most of their life they reproduce asexually which means they are genetically identical to their mothers.  Thus all populations are made up of mixes of clones.  This feature occurs here and there in the animal kingdom, some lizards do not mate, for example.  And some critters are hermaphrodites, a characteristic claimed for mythical beings in some belief systems.

Nature experimented with different types of reproduction a long time before we humans arrived.  I wish we humans knew what these dumb little animals learned during their evolution.  Hopes could drive knowledge acquisition, maybe.

Asexual Reproduction Speeds Up Reproduction

In cases where no eggs are laid, adults fly into the rose garden from other areas and start to lay living young.  The ability to reproduce without the need to mate speeds up population growth and accounts for very high numbers early in the season.  Then the cloning process continues through the summer months until the fall.  When you see a single winged adult you are really looking at 3 generations.  These winged “alate” adults have babies inside which also have babies inside them, all ready to go out the door, so to speak.  This characteristic is called telescoping generations.

The newly born young can develop rather quickly into fully mature adults at optimum temperatures.  Aphids in general can reproduce at lower temperatures than many other insects and consequently get a head start in the cool early spring mornings.

Thus, most of the year the aphids are reproducing asexually and can do so rapidly that one can be surprised by excessively high early populations.  In places where eggs occur they are the result of mated females who lay eggs in the fall.  At these times, in response to changes in sunlight, sexually mature wingled females and males develop, mate and the females deposit overwintering eggs.  Such eggs are thought to be the reason why so many exotic aphids have invaded from foreign lands as they can sneak in with plant materials when the plants are imported, for example.

We are the main invaders toNorth Americaas any living American Indians must know.   And we brought our plants with us.  But back then, nobody was looking for these tough little overwintering eggs.  Even today new aphids invade.  The rose aphid may have arisen inEurasiaas that is where roses are thought to have been domesticated. (Need refs, see wiki first).

This egg fact has two consequences for the pest manager: 1) overwintering eggs can be a target for control efforts with cane removal and oil applications in the fall; 2) as most overpopulated pest species are exotic, they can be controlled by reintroducing the biological controls present in their native areas.

A Secret Entomological World

The process of importing the original natural enemies from the native area of the pest is called classical biological control (BC). It is probably the most hidden secret in pest control.  Many entomologists are only now discovering this secret and most entomologist can’t yet use this process, particularly the classical tactic.  This is understandable as to participate in such biological control projects requires special quarantine laboratories and accurate identification.  Other BC tactics, however are generally useful (see further below) and are sold through commercial companies.

Unfortunately, few scientists work on such natural enemies.  In a curious twist of fate, most of the natural enemies, particularly of aphids, are among the most common creatures on earth.  They remain unexplored mostly, while we continue using vast sums of money and resources looking for life on other planets, and how to kill things.  Most of the life on this planet is still unlisted and if listed the list is too short and most of the species are biologically unknown.  But this listing process is now being explored with NSF funds and is part of a process called Encyclopedia of Life ( stimulated by the great E.O. Wilson, so well known for his work with ants and the field of sociobiology (See Ants, Sociobiology, and Superorganism).  His latest book explores the development and evolution of social species by comparison between social insects and primates, particularly humans (The Social Conquest of Earth).

Natural Controls on Rose Aphids

Natural controls regulate population sizes.  Natural controls on rose aphids arise from the environment, the plants themselves and from natural enemies.  These controls can be used by the intelligent garden manager.  Plant resistance is evident from an examination of population sizes on different plant varieties.  Old rose varieties (frequently those with open yellow flowers) are less susceptible to aphids and plant pathogens.  But rose garden managers need to do their own observations on the varieties under their care to select those for emphasis in their displays.  The more susceptible varieties need to be discouraged where possible, but for those special varieties you can’t cull, they can be placed in less conspicuous places where their pest problems are not so visible.

Seeing large numbers of aphids on stems, rose buds and leaves so soon after your first look in the spring can lead to an immediate concern for the rose bush and pesticides are rushed into the battle.  In most cases, this is not the least toxic way to manage the problem.  There are better ways but within a more inclusive IPM mental framework as termed above.

Keep commercial pesticides to a minimum if they are needed at all.  That’s the least toxic way.  Too many pest control people think IPM means mixing pesticides, in the same tank, in combinations or sequentially on the plant.  That’s not the right stuff.  Insecticide resistance is widespread and leads to the pesticide treadmill my old teacher, Robert van den Bosch, describes so aptly in “The Pesticide Conspiracy”.

Designing Your Own IPM Program

Every rose garden is different and every situation is different so I think it is better to teach people to design their own IPM programs.  My logic is based on the Fishing Paradigm.  I call it this because the idea is held in the commonly repeated reframe about teaching how to fish is better than giving someone a fish. So, with the right stuff, each manager can design a program for their own ecosystems because a process for designing such programs is more generalizable to more situations since every place, every ecosystem, certainly every garden, is different.  Learning how to fish can feed a person for a lifetime, but a gift fish is only good for one or two meals at best.

A recipe based approach fails in the long term and leads to pesticide resistance, but an IPM approach can be redesigned at every turn with learning from previous experiences.  The IPM learning process is not complicated but requires a reorientation from the simple see-bug –kill-bug idea which the commercially purchased insecticide sellers teach.

More money can be made by servicing the problem than solving it.  One of the worst practices taught by these sellers is the use of combination products like fertilizers and various “cides”, be they herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides.  Combination products lead to waste and resistance as they are commonly used when one of the combination is not needed.  Such mixed products are common, unfortunately.

Rose Aphids are Not that Important for Plant Health

Aphids on roses are not big killers, they are nuisances.  The IPM garden manager is not greatly disturbed by aphids on roses because simple non toxic and least toxic solutions are available.  Water washes can be used right away and this can buy time for further analysis and observation.  One must learn how much water pressure to use however and must chose the right nozzle and its adjustment to wash off the aphids but not damage the plants.

With water washes there is time to learn how best to manage the problem if it persist as intolerable.  The rose aphid is more an aesthetic consideration than a plant health issue.  Public rose gardens are usually considered as exemplars where no bugs are tolerated as they reflect on the manager.  Changing this sort of thinking is not easy and is a major barrier to a more ecologically sane approach.  But frequently the job description and performance expectations need adjustment.  These are a human construct, and when changed, can provide new incentives for capable managers to make the necessary changes in the pest program management.  If the boss wants immaculate roses there is no room to use IPM.  When we were implementing pilot IPM programs we went around this problem by going to the top of the bureaucracy in question and instituted an IPM policy.  Usually there was no previous policy and decision-making was left to field personnel.

This can be a disaster or even a benefit depending upon the bureaucracy.  Public pressure can influence these upper levels, while field personnel are insulated from such pressures, for the most part.  But field personnel do think about their health and exposure to toxic materials which require safety equipment and procedures can be disincentives and, as such, make their jobs vastly more complicated.

The IPM Algorithm

The algorithm in Figure x (from Shade Tree chapter in CSPC) encapsulates a whole systems view of what IPM can be.  I and my associates tested this system for over 30 years in a wide variety of ecosystems, including at first in the City of Berkeley California, on Shade Trees, Parks and the City Rose Garden.  There are a series of features for this algorithm which make it particularly fitting for urban pest systems.  These features are 1) the type of triggers for monitoring, 2) the involvement of ants and 3) the idea of plant replacement.  These features differ considerably from those advocated for agricultural IPM, the main research focus for most economic entomologists.  I suspect, however, that aesthetic considerations also operate in agricultural settings.

The monitoring component for this algorithm is triggered by three questions which are all aesthetic concerns: honeydew present, insects, and plant damage visible.

Honeydew, the Manna from Heaven

Honey dew is an essential feature of aphid colonies and this sweet pertinacious excretory product is food for beneficial insects including many aphid natural enemies.  By watching for this shiny sticky substance on leaves one can detect early small aphid colonies.  Without honeydew falling on leaves in the forest biological controls cannot function properly.  Lacewings, ladybeetles, and many parasitoids need protein to lay eggs, for example.  Honeydew supplies protein for building tissues and sugars for supplying fuel for metabolism.  Now this fact creates a quandary.

Aphid presence means honeydew and honeydew brings natural enemies.  Having both is the ideal, but not too much of either honeydew nor aphids.  Tolerance of some bugs is vital, however.  Just when does tolerance meet intolerance is a management decision.  That’s the key question, dear Hamlet.

Insects Present

Insect presence alone cannot be harmful.  Seeing an insect or even a colony of bugs anywhere is not necessarily a bad thing.  It’s us who make this judgment.  What comes first to my mind in making such a judgment is a Chinese classical painting of a grasshopper sitting on a leaf with a few holes in the leaf and a bamboo stalk.  It’s a beautiful vision.  Grasshoppers are part of the natural world.  One grasshopper is not a calamity.  Vast numbers of them could be, however.  The pestiferous nature is decided by whether we have so many that life becomes impossible.  Even loss of an entire rose bush does not challenge the free world, however.  Like Woody Allen’s heroine says in Whatever Works: “Relax, there’s nothing faster than the speed of light.”

Plant Damage Present

Plant damage alone is only a possible indicator of a pest problem.  Alone, at a low level plant damage is not a threat, particularly if natural enemies are already eating on the colony.  A little plant damage is actually stimulatory to the plant.

Insect presence, like honeydew and plant damage are only triggers for more attention, so once detected further monitoring is needed.

Monitoring, the Most Important IPM Component

Monitoring and the answers derived determine whether the particular pest is or will become intolerable.  This is the key to most pest control situations.  I am at a party and someone comes up knowing I am a pest control specialist, asks: “What can I do about my African violets?”  I ask “What appears to be the problem?”  She/he says there are these white specs on the leaves.  Maybe I probe a little further but finally get to the key question: “How bad is it?”

In many cases they say: “It’s not so bad but I am worried”.  So my answer in many more words is: “Call me when you can’t take it any longer”.

So by peeling away a great many minor problems, much less pesticide can be used, sometimes 100% less.  It’s amazing to think that many, many people are spraying unnecessarily.  Fear of insects maybe in part the blame, and this is engendered by unscrupulous business people but also by knowledgeable people who go for the quick fix.  This 100% reduction can be achieved is given the knowledge that natural enemies always lag behind the pest population.  With a little more tolerance they will do all the work necessary to control the problem, but one must be able to recognize these species and judge how much impact can be expected from their feeding.

When some aphids survive a water washing, for example, many predators will eat the remaining aphid colony and move over to other pest problems and prevent outbreaks there.  Many pesticide applications can be prevented with a little insect tolerance and careful monitoring.  Plus, this is a window into the natural world, something we all need in our education, maybe in our lives, judging by how common pets are for living the good life.  Insects as pets are part of many cultures, crickets, for example are pets inChina(see Box Q).

Box Q. Crickets as pets

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A pet cricket and his container made of agourd. Watercolor by Qi Baishi (1864–1957).

Keeping crickets as pets emerged in China in early antiquity. Initially, crickets were kept for their “songs” (stridulation). In the early 12th century the Chinese people began holdingcricket fights.[note 1] Throughout the Imperial era the Chinese also kept pet cicadas andgrasshoppers, but crickets were the favorites in the Forbidden City and with the commoners alike. The art of selecting and breeding the finest fighting crickets was perfected during the Qing dynasty and remained a monopoly of the imperial court until the beginning of the 19th century.


Figure x: the Natural Enemy Lag Problem.

The natural enemy lag problem is a most important aspect of garden pest control, but it is frequently never considered.  If one only treats the most severe pest problems, already showing or those anticipated to will show intolerable plant damage the percentage reduction in unnecessary pesticide use can go up to over 90%, and even higher.  That is why spot treatment, even with conventional pest control tools, can be a major way to reduce pesticide use.

My First Rose Garden IPM Experience

On my first visit to the Berkeley Rose garden many years ago the smell from the routine insecticide and fungicide applications over the whole collection of plants was overwhelming and most disturbing.  I don’t make a habit of smelling pesticides as that means I am getting a lung dose of some unknown poison.  Roses were considered in that particular garden as sort of sacred beings, untouchable, static, virtually icons, that is, even before icons became internet features.

This icon idea about horticultural creations is a bad idea.  Nature is not static and to make a collection of plants like a fixed photograph is unnatural, most ignorant of how natural things work, stupid even.  This attitude arises from the idea of dominating nature, our task as humans, much like the White Mans Burden of 18th centuryEngland.  The upper class gardens, particularly public display gardens, for example, say in Versailles in France are not the best we can do.  To mimic this ideal is foolish for it leads to having to support the unsupportable with the pesticide crutch.

I did not tell the rose garden manager all this at first but it was rattling around my mind.  I needed this guy as an ally so I suggested some useful practical things, first spot treatment with water, second pulling some highly susceptible plants out, moving some others to poorly visible places where they could sustain more damage without hampering the visibility of the rose blossoms.  And I said to him: “those pesticides can damage one’s health, some people can tolerate exposures better than others but we don’t know why”.  I am sure he heard that part.  Older people worry more about health than youngsters.  The manager was not a youngster, so I tried this gambit.

Ants Can Interfere with Natural Controls

The ant association with honeydew producers can be a most difficult complication which is overlooked by many garden managers.  That’s because ants can be sneaky.  Here inCaliforniathe Argentine ant (AA) has spread north along the coast and riparian corridors into theCentral Valley.  It likes living under warm and protected side walks from where they forage into the nearby shade trees so conveniently planted by city forestry departments.  In my early surveys inBerkeleyevery tree species inBerkeleyhad trails of this ant going up the trunks, and that’s over 100 species.

This ant species is an invader to North America, having spread from its initial port of entry, New Orleansin 1871, arriving from South Americain coffee shipments.  It’s present in most Southern states from the West coast to the eastern Atlantic states.  I first viewed this ant as a pest and made a pilgrimage to visit and present my thesis work at the Tall Timbers Research Station in Floridaback in 1970s.  The pilgrimage was to simultaneously meet the great entomologist, “Willy” Whitcomb, then an entomological rebel.   Anybody who can remain a rebel in Academia is worth respect.  My old teacher, Robert van den Bosch called him Willy and I am continuing the tradition out of respect.  Willy’s specialty was spiders and ants, particularly fire ants (see index.html).

My first conference lecture was about the algorithm described herein and it was received without criticism, and a polite applause as is customary. I got some comments and questions privately, always a good indicator.  Later, Willy assured me that there was a natural enemy for the Argentine ant: “Ants are ant’s worst enemies.” This was his cryptic remark to my quiz.  With some further discussions I learned about an army ant that he saw tunneling under the soil surface to native Argentine ant colonies in South American jungles.  This army ant killed by bursting out and swarming over the AA colony chewing up any resistance and carrying away the carcasses to feed their colony.

This underground army would kill and carry off the whole AA colony rather quickly.  Great, I visualized a classical biological control project which would involve a personal 30 year effort.  Such a project would require an impossibly big budget, a big quarantined warehouse holding colonies of the Argentine ant as a food supply for an army ant colony.  Then the army ant would require assurances that it would be specific to the argentine ant, another unrealistic assumption.  These sort of things are part of the necessary testing for a quarantine process to bring any natural enemy to theUS.  This concept would require an enormous effort, almost impossible, so I staggered back to think.

Later after further cogitation I realized the AA was a beneficial species as it turned great volumes of soil providing aeration, and preyed on numerous pests (and beneficials alike), including subterranean termites and native fire ants.  So it was a mixed bag, a good and a bad bug.  They come that way at times.  So it pays to learn something in depth and not classify everything as a pest because someone else calls it a pest.  Plus there may be other more logical and less risky natural enemies to consider.  Thus consequently I worked on exclusion methods so people could keep the ant out of the jelly jar but keep them patrolling the house perimeter to eat termites, for example.

Carnivores Effective?

This question is critical in evaluating existing natural enemies found during monitoring.  But if you can’t identify these organisms you may not realize they are being helpful.  A classic case occurs with ladybeetle larvae which most people can’t identify so they only see the large aphid colony and treat it when the larval predator may be enough to suppress the aphid population below tolerance levels.  The same goes for larval lacewings and the small Hemipteran predator in the genus Orius.  These are generalist predators widely distributed across theU.S. with homologous species throughout the planetary terrestrial ecosystems.

Pictures of Orius, larvae or life cycle of lacewings and ladybeetles see CSPC

Orius Life Cycle

Enlarged Adult Orius (line drawings), photographs of nymphs and adult.



The Most Important Organism on the Earth are Not Humans

But the real prize goes for “crypticity” goes to the parasitoids.  These are tiny “miniwasps” in the hymenopteran family Aphidiidae which look like winged ants to the lay person.  These mostly selective species lay eggs in aphids with the ovipositor at the end of the abdomen.

Figure xx.  An Ovipositing Miniwasp Attacking an Aphid Colony.

The egg laying behavior looks like a fencer dashing about thrusting a sword into the aphids.  It’s fast and rather furious and can be most effective if the host and the parasitoid are well matched.  I distinguish parasitoids from parasites even though specialists call these miniwasps by both terms.  The proper term is “parasitoid”.  To make matters worst there are similar species which attack the primary parasitoids which are called hyperparasitoids.  See Figure z.

Figure z.  A Primary Parasitology Emerged from this Dead Aphid.

(Primaries have even round emergence holes, secondaries have irregular edges on their emergence holes.

A parasitoid is really a highly specialized predator, but does not work like a ladybeetle, for example.  Common predators, like the domestic cat, kill and eat a wide range of organism, mice, birds, lizards, insects, bats, snakes and others.  Parasitoids are like parasites living inside the pest, but kill the host which many parasites only weaken over a life time.  Their restricted host ranges make them very different from most predators which consume their prey in one meal, usually (see Figure x.)


Figure x. Life Stages of an Aphid Parasitoid.

From UC,Daviswebsite.


The parasitoid egg hatches inside the aphid and kills the aphid by eating the insides out, then forms the remaining aphid skin into a shell like aphid with color changes ranging from black and tan.  It looks like a swollen aphid and is frequently found off the leaf, which makes it even harder to evaluate the effects of predation.  Aphid dissections are needed but even these are subject to error as the eggs are difficult to see.

To really determine if this sort of natural enemy group will be enough to reduce a developing aphid population requires experience and some detailed examination, frequently calculating percentages, e.g.,2 lady beetle larvae/30 aphids/leaf, and 5 mummies/25 aphids/leaf.  With this sort of measurement and a few monitoring visits one can guess at what levels of natural enemies can be effective.  Looking one time and spraying is rarely a good idea.

A good rule of thumb is to count the number of ladybeetle egg masses while also counting the aphids.  This is simple because adult ladybeetles need the protein from the aphids to make their eggs.  And the adult ladybeetle needs to eat many aphids to generate an egg mass, so their presence and their eggs means many aphids have already died.  And then one can expect both adults and the hatched larvae to continue eating aphids with the combination being even more effective.  When the adults are no longer seen they have eaten all they can, water washing will not kill the larvae, nor the adults but many aphids will die from broken bodies.  Larvae and adult predators washed from plants are not killed and those aphids washed to the ground will be eaten by ants and other ground predators.

The next level up in human induced mortality is the use of soap solutions, or alternately alcohol or even ammonia solutions.  The context for moving up in “Cide intensity” deserves further discussion.  Higher intensity sprays will kill more aphids than water washing and even soap solutions but also natural enemies present in and around the colony.  More conventional insecticides have greater residual lives and will kill for longer periods.  This may be convenient but leads to resistance, and further outbreaks of aphids.  Before long one joins the pesticide treadmill, something “cide sellers” love.  You then become hooked like an addict to methamphetamines.

Control Feasible?

So let’s assume for argument that the carnivores are not effective because the leaves are lost from the roses, or the numbers of aphids on the buds prevent normal flowering.

A selective mortality agent like water washing is best for most situations, particularly as a first response.  This tactic can leave enough prey to sustain the predator community which in the long run can keep the aphids under control.  That’s the goal.

But something important should be added here for emphasis.  If, for example, it takes 3 water washings to manage this aphid over a season, compared to the use of a single toxic insecticide like an organophosphate, carbamate, pyrethroid or the newer systemics, I would rather use the water.  Water does not hurt anything else and is even vital for plant growth.  How many water washings it will take to manage the situation then remains the unknown assessment.  Each manager then needs to make a decision about what to do next.

The Treatment Sieve

I like to line up my potential treatment strategies and tactics in the form of a series of mental sieves.  Table 1 lists the strategies and tactics from a rather broad range of possibilities which can be assembled into this mental sieve system.  This compilation is regularly re-conceptualize to keep a mental listing as large as possible.  For example, I just started evaluating the use of vinegar solutions for killing weeds in pavement cracks.  This looks like a great, cheap, weed control tool analogous to water washing aphids.  Hot water may also be useful.

Conceptualize this sorting device as a stacked series of sieves each with a decreasing sized mesh screen, each representing a treatment.  The top sieve has a large mesh and each subsequent screen below the other has a mesh of decreasing sizes.  Think about pouring the pest problem into the top sieve and if that treatment doesn’t solve the problem completely the problem drops down to the next screen.  Ideally this series of treatment sieves can solve all pest problems.



Table 1.  A Summary of the Strategies and Tactics Useful in UrbanRoseGardens.

Strategy                           Tactic

Chemical Control             Soap solution

Pyrethrin Insecticide

Biological Control            Importation of Natural Enemies (NE)

Augmentation of Existing NEs

Innoculation of Lab Reared Native NE

Conservation of NEs

Physical Control              Habitat Destruction: Cut                                                                  Overwintering Canes

Pruning or hand picking

Water washing



This sieve idea mimics the way mortality agents work on a pest problem.  (SeeHagen’s survivorship curve with its natural enemy notations.)  Consider as a first example in the first sieve water washing, the next sieve could be soap solutions.  Commercial soap products are better than homemade solutions for they have a standard dose while home solutions must be rigorously formulated, chemistry students could easily do it, however.  Homemade solutions, unless carefully prepared can vary and make observations confused.  The next sieve could be alcohol solutions, next ammonia solutions (homemade), and last pyrethrin insecticide applications (commercial products).

The more toxic soaps, alcohol, ammonia and pyrethrin solutions will kill all natural enemies by contact, with the last being the most toxic.  I recommend the pyrethrin solution as a last resort because it is highly effective but has a short residual life, maybe a few hours or one day, so it will not continue to kill everything that comes in contact with the plant surfaces.  Ultraviolet light degrades this insecticide rapidly.


Figure y.  Generalizable Survivorshop Curve Illustrating how and where various Mortality Agents Operate. (fromHagen, source unknown, in fact the drawing is temporitly lost and I may have to create a new one).

Biological Control (BC) Feasible?

I placed this strategy last because it is the most powerful means for pest control if it is the classical form.  But it is the most complex.  The classical form means importation of natural enemies from native areas from which the pest originated.  Other types of BC, are augmentation efforts to inoculate or inundate natural occurring enemies.  A whole range of these generalist predators and parasites are available from insectaries who raise them for purchase (see, for example.

Classical BC: Importation of Natural Enemies.

This tactic is the most powerful pest control method because it can lead to permanent pest control.  Hundreds of examples proving this practice have been documented since the first major success which saved the citrus industry in California around the turn of the 20 century.  The scale ladybeetle predator, Crytolaemus montrouzeri, was introduced from Australia to California stopped the scale from killing citrus trees, and that’s why we still have oranges for sale in North America.  And it is also why California leads the nation in doing this sort of work.

Crytolaemus montrouzeri, the Mealybug Destroyer that saved the California Citrus Industry from the invaded Cottony Cushion Scale.


The classical approach however, needs very specific support systems, particularly people trained in this special science.  It is however, still an art as the science remains poorly developed, practiced by few entomologists mostly under the tight control of the federal government and underfunded compared to the threats posed by introduced pests.  Such specialists travel the world, make international agreements with colleagues in many countries and collect organisms for passage to quantine labs managed by University or USDA workers, under permits and tight controls to eliminate hyperparasites and other foreign treats.  In addition, such collections must be precisely identified by taxonomists who are familiar with these organisms backed up by adequate museum specimens.

Figure Z.  Trioxys curvicaudus attacking the Linden Aphid, Euceraphis tiliae, introduced successfully inBerkeley,CA.

My knowledge comes from successful projects against a series of shade tree aphids in the San Francisco Bay Area.  These occurred on Linden, Elm and Tulip Tree aphids, each aphid specific to those tree species, and each involving highly specific parasitoids (see Table 2), imported from Europe and the East coast of North America.  This work was done under the supervision of my old boss, a colorful advocate and anti-pesticide pundit of worldwide importance, Robert van den Bosch.  Van, as he was called would travel the world each year and send back species he knew were going to be effective.  So his decades of experience was what I relied on for our projects.


Table 2.  Successfully Established Shade Tree Parasitoids in theSan FranciscoBayArea.

Parasitoid                        Aphid                               Tree


Trioxys curvicaudus                Eucallipterus tiliae          Tilia spp.

Aphidius hortorum          Tinocallis platani             Ulmus spp.

Aphidius liriodendron      Illinoia (Macrosiphum)      Liriodendron



He used the unique identification aphid specialist, Hille Ris Lambers, a Dutch scientist funded by that government.  Peter Stary, a Czeck, and MacKauer, a Canadian, both identified the parasitoids, the former for the parasitoids in the family Aphidiidae which only were known from aphids, and the later for Aphelinidae, which are narrow range scale and aphid parasitoids already well known as important natural enemies from many successful colonization’s in North America and elsewhere.  The 2-3,000 specimens derived from my aphid/parasitoid studies were recently deposited at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco,CA.

I believe the loss of van, Lambers, by human life cycle limits and by now MacKauer, along with the other members of the Division of Biologcial Control, Ken Hagen, Huffaker, and Messenger, all deceased, and now the actual laboratories they used at the Gill Tract, in Albany, CA means those days and the successful projects they conducted will not be replaced.   Maybe the dissolution of their laboratories and the lack of substitute scientists means the pesticide forces have won another victory in their projects to contaminate the earth.

It was always an uphill battle for funds, recognition and repulsion of numerous attacks from the pro-pesticide forces, so obvious even earlier against Rachel Carson, that the idea of biological control survived the pesticide era.  Now Biological control appears greatly diminished when the planet needs this approach even more than in those days when we were active.

The rose pest managers, especially those who become IPM specialists will no doubt learn how important the classical approach is needed.  This is because to manage an invaded pest requires considerable work.  Successful classical BC projects do not require further efforts.  It’s what a lay person would call magic, but the specialist knows it takes special knowledge and repeated work.

Table 3.  List of Known Natural Enemies of the Rose Aphid.

Back in the 1970s I was interested in taking what we learned with our few successes with parasitoid reestablishment and organize a nation wide effort to set up IPM programs, particularly classical BC for the Shade Tree Pests of theUS.  To do this one needs to know the full range of species which are known to attack the known herbivores which attack the shade trees.  With funding from the EPA we compiled over a six year period a searchable database of 5,000 species.  This was based on over 900 catalogues, papers, and indexes.  Three to four people labored for about 6 years to compile this source.

The data from this source provides the list in Table 3 for the rose aphid.  This was a demonstration project stimulated by our project officer at EPA at that time, Darwin Wright.  A summary of the structure of this database is presented in Diagram x, below.

Diagram X.  The Structure of The Database of the Natural Enemies of The Shade Tree Pests of theUS.

Table 3.  A listing of the Natural Enemies of the Rose Aphid, Macrosiphum rosae from Olkowski et al. 1976?.  Database printouts available on

Carnivore One (means a primary carnivore), abbreviated CARN1.

Parasitoids, abbreviated PARA1

Aphelinus asychis

Aphelinus gossypii

Aphelinus howardii

Aphelinus sp.

Aphidius alius

Aphidius chilensis

Aphidius confuses

Aphidius ervi

Aphidius nigripes

Aphidius rosae

Charips luteicornis

Chrysolampus thenae

Ephedrus californicus

Ephedrus incompletus

Ephedrus lacertosus

Ephedurs plagiator

Ephedrus sp.

Euaphidius cingulatus

Lysiphlebus sp.

Lysiphlebus testaceipes

Praon aguti

Praon occidentale

Praon rosaecolum

Praon simulans

Praon unicus

Praon volucre


Pribremia aphidophaga

Adalia biopunctata

Adalia decempunctata

Adalia revelieri

Adonia variegate

Allograpta exotica

Allothrombium fuliginosus

Anthocoris pilosus

Aphidoletes aphidimyza

Aphidoletes aphidovora

Austromicromus tasmaniae

Calvia decimguttata

Calvia guatuordecimguttata


Chrysopa abbreviate

Chrysopa carnea

Chrysopa perla

Chrysopa septempunctata

Cocconella ancoralis

Coccinella conglobata

Coccinella quadripunctata

Coccinella quatuordecimpustulata
Coccinella repanda

Coccinella septempunctata

Coelophora inaequalis

Cycloneda sanguinea

Eriopis connexa

Eumicromus angulatus

Hippodamia convergens

Hyperaspis festiva

Isobremia keifferi

Leis conformis

Melangyna viridicesps

Mesograpta watsoni

Nabis pseudoferus

Pemphredon lethifer

Pemphredon lugubris



Propylaea sp.

Psenulus pallipes

Scaeva melanostoma

Scaeva pyrastri

Scymnus subvillosus

Scymnus (Stethorus) sp.

Semiadalia undecimnotata

Simosyrphus grandicornis

Sphaerophoria javan

Spaerophoria ruppelli

Sphaerophoria scripta

Syrphus balteaus

Syrphus corollae

Syrphus latifasciatus

Syrphus nitens

Syrphus ribesii

Syrphus serarius

Syrphus citripennis

Thea vigintiduopunctata


Evaluation of Potential Importation Species

I tackle this subject last, because it is by default, or sometimes deliberately the last tactic when nothing works to prevent intolerable damage.  It is certainly the most complex.  This tactic is something to explore when the water washes fail and even those methods along the gradient to insecticides fail, and the plant still suffers intolerable damage and maybe dies from pest attack.  Some of the exotic plants should die, because the damage done by them and their pests to our native ecosystems will persist forever.  That approach is used against weeds, for example.  Alternately, while water washes and other insecticides may provide temporary relief the possibility of importing certain natural enemies can be evaluated while holding the aphid at bay, so to speak.

But invaded pests like Cryphonectria parasitica, the causal fungal pathogen of Chestnut Blight (see Box ZZ below), which killed off our most beautiful native chestnut trees and now other examples of invaded pathogens, tell such stories.  Although there are possible solutions for these type projects they remain relatively unexplored, certainly as potential classic BC cases, even thought natural enemies are known from native areas.  For plant pathogens viruses and other fungi are known to attack many bacterial and fungal pathogens of plants, but this area remains poorly explored as are those for many other animals, including many crustaceans, fishes, mollusks, and birds for example.

Chestnut blight

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Chestnut blight fungus

Cankers caused by the fungal infection cause the bark to split.

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
Subphylum: Pezizomycotina
Class: Sordariomycetes
Order: Diaporthales
Family: Cryphonectriaceae
Genus: Cryphonectria
Species: C. parasitica

Binomial name

Cryphonectria parasitica

The pathogenic fungus Cryphonectria parasitica (formerly Endothia parasitica) is a member of the ascomycota (sac fungus) category, and is the main cause of chestnut blight, a devastating disease of the American chestnut tree that caused a mass extinction in the early 1900s of this once plentiful tree from its historic range in the eastern United States.

============== end Box


One way to simplify the evaluation process is to first exclude predators, because they may if established interfere with the natural enemies of other stable ecosystems.  This is a general assumption borne from cases where vertebrates were introduced like the mongoose, who were deliberately introduced to many islands in the Pacific.  The mongoose was introduced to control rats which were brought to the islands by traders and military personnel ignorant of the consequences.

The consequences included destruction of many native, rare and special highly specific species which had evolved to survive on these isolated places directly by rat predation, but also by the rat destroying many native predators, like snakes, and other wildlife, like native birds.  Importing predators is a secondary possibility in some cases but in this case it is not necessary as there are parasitoid possibilities which promise more specificity.

The list of natural enemies of the rose aphid above once predators are excluded needs to viewed further in two ways: 1) Possible Native Importations: this involves potential targets for importation from areas wherever they occur in the US.   This is because it is possible that a natural enemy inside the US could be useful in another area of the US where it does not now occur.  This is what we did with the tulip tree aphid importation project mentioned in Table 3.  We found specific miniwasps on the east coast and introduced it to the San Francisco Bay Area with good results.

But the best targets are foreign areas where the aphid is under better control than here in theUSwhere the aphid is exotic.  This fits most pest problems faced by agriculture and horticulture.

So the other option needs to be considered in reviewing the literature: 2) Classical Importation.  This type project is more complicated because it involves searches in foreign countries where the cultures are different as are the languages and travel considerations may become paramount.  Shipments to the US must be brought to an airfield for transport to a quarantine lab in the US, which at that time were only four, two in CA, another in New York, another was in Hawaii.  There might have been others but those were the only ones I knew about then.  The lab in northern California was in the laboratories at the Gill Tract in Albany,CA, the city next to Berkeley near my laboratory.

Assuming one has the right permits the real job of finding the potential species for importation is tricky because one must search at a time in the season when the natural enemy occurs in sufficient numbers to be worth the labor of collecting and preparing the specimens and then getting to the airport quickly.  That scenario is best for matching the seasonal patterns between the foreign area and the importation area.  Then the potential colonization areas need to be protected against insecticide applications.  This is also tricky as unsprayed colonization areas are needed.

If the pest was being regularly treated with insecticides for decades as was our experience with our shade tree pests listed above the pest population will soar well beyond the toleration zone.  We may have been successful largely because we controlled the pest management programs in the cities we worked in.  See our website for further detailed reports (www.WHO1615, under Science, then under IPM, then selectBerkeley,Palo Alto andSan Jose).  There are over 50 annual reports for the 6 cities we worked with before Proposition 13 cut off funds to the cities which resulted in drastic cutting of shade tree programs, and incidentally but fortunately the pesticide treatment programs.

Quarantine Labs are Not Common

The quarantine laboratory takes out any hyperparasites attacking the primary parasites.  Ideally the new species should be passed through one generation of the target pest.  This requires a colony which either is being raised in the laboratory behind closed doors and isolated from the environment to prevent accidental escapes, or raised outside the lab in another lab with regular passage of living material into the laboratory.  By raising the new species on its target pest one gets a first test to see if the new natural enemy will attack the pest.

Our early experiences with the silver maple aphid parasitoid, which is also a widespread pest of shade trees in the Central Valley of California showed that the parasitoid did attack the aphid but did not develop further and no adult emergence occurred.  This meant that the match between the pest aphid and the new potential natural enemy was off someway.  It could be due to misidentifications of the aphid, or the natural enemy.  And then there is an incompatibility due to unknown factors generally called ecotype mismatch.

This assessment refers to a sort of ecological effect which has selected the natural enemy from an aphid variety very different from that which is occurring in the pest area.  This was the end of the efforts we made to import against this pest inCalifornia.  Someone else could pick this project up at some future time now that new genetic methods can assure precise identifications.  The ecotype question then could also be surmounted as ecological fit can be assured.

Next in the evaluation process is host specificity.  This requires research and should first be approached by examination of the literature.  The ideal is a host specific parasitoid as these will ride the pest population down and not switch to another aphid as is the case with the polyphagous predators.  Parasitoids come in three flavors: mono-, oligo- and polyphagous.  The term polyphagous applied to a parasitoid is slightly different from the same term applied to a predator.  Lacewings, for example, will feed on mites, Lepidoptera eggs, caterpillars of many species, aphids, mealy bugs and almost anything that moves, and they may even bite people.

A polyphagous parasitoid like Aphidius nigripes attacks many aphid species.  Aphidius rosae looks like a good prospect as Stary (1970, p. 200) lists it as only attacking two species, the rose aphid, and Macrosiphum funestrum.  Since both hosts are in the same genus this parasitoid may be a good candidate.   Monophagous parasitoids are rare but have the greatest potential for complete biological control.  Trioxys curvicaudus cited above is a good example.  There are many species of oligophagous parasitoids and these may be good candidates but may require more than one species to be most effective.

Tell Conclusions to the Manager and Clientele

I mention this tactic as a final thought as part of the algorithm because it is the responsibility of the scientist, especially the specialist who can get lost in his/her own world to remember to keep the surrounding personnel acquainted with the status of any project, be it research, or applied biological control because many people are usually involved in these programs and their activities must be coordinated.  We have been surprised at times by people who assume they know what is happening and want to help out by controlling a pest problem when no such control was needed nor warranted.  Prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.


Our seemingly endless efforts to educate the public and plant managers in many areas of North America and elsewhere through our publications, must be repeated by the minority of entomologists interested in bringing about a less toxic world.  The public does not know of these options, nor their complexity and wants fast, simple solutions.  Alas, there are no such things in managing parts of the natural world.  Further, by demanding spotless plants and by continuing to buy toxic materials the status quo continues and that has been unsuccessful.


Beales, P. 1992.  Roses, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia and Grower’s Handbook of Species Roses, Old Roses and Modern Roses, Shrub Roses and Climbers.  Henry Holt and Company, NY.472 pp.

Minks, A.K. and P. Harrewijn.  1988.  Aphids, Their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control, Volume B.  Elsevier,Amsterdam.  364 pp.

Palmer, M.  1952.  Aphids of the Rocky Mountain Region.  Thomas Say Foundation, Volume 5.  452 pp.

Essig, E. O. 1929.  Insects ofWestern North America.  MacMillan Co., N.Y., 1035 pp.

Hill, D.S. and J.D. Hill.  1994.  Timber Press,Portland,OR. 635 pp.

Stary. P. 1970. Biology of Aphid Parasites (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae, with Respect to Integrated Control. Dr. W. Junk, N.V., TheHague.  643 pp.

Olkowski et al

Olkowski, W., L. Laub, A. Fedanzo, and ?

Zuparko, R.  1982.

Olkowski, W. Unpublished (see website for articles).

Quezada, J.R. and P. DeBach.  1973.  Bioecological and Population Studies of the Cottony-cushion Scale, Icerya purchase Mask., and Its Natural Enemies, Rodolia cardinalis Mul. And Cryptochaetum iceryae Will., inSouthern California.  Hilgardia 41 (10): 631-688.


Help Out BIRC, Our Former Non-Profit, Rodenticides Kill Raptors

Raptors and Rodenticides

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The Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC) is a nonprofit, scientific and educational organization offering more than 30 years of insight, experience and leadership in the development and communication of least-toxic, sustainable, and environmentally sound Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods. BIRC assists homeowners, farmers, cities, park and water districts, schools and pest control professionals in pesticide use reduction.

Our internationally respected journals, the IPM Practitioner and the Common Sense Pest Control Quarterly, provide critical information for pesticide and public policy debates, and offer least-toxic and non-toxic solutions for pest problems. Honey Bee death and decline, the impact of systemic pesticides and genetically engineered crops, Tick control and Lyme disease and least-toxic solutions for the ubiquitous Argentine Ant are just a few of the topics covered in our award winning publications.

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Why This Campaign?

Raptors in the U.S.,Canada, France, Great Britain and elsewhere are dying from eating rodents poisoned with 2nd Generation Anticoagulants such as brodifacoum and bromadiolone. The relationship between rodenticides and raptor deaths and proposed solutions to the problem is the focus of the next issue of the Common Sense Pest Control Quarterly. The careful and timely research and analysis that are the hallmarks of every Quarterly article will help inform decision makers trying to halt the proliferation of these deadly toxins into our environment. And it’s not just about restricting anti-coagulants, it’s showing how humane rodent control can be achieved through sound site management. An excerpt from the article-in-progress is printed below.

Article Excerpt:

Much of the information about raptor deaths is coming from government surveillance programs. For instance, anticoagulant rodenticides were found in the livers of 48% of 265 raptors collected in New York. Of those exposed, anticoagulants were related to their deaths in about 22% of the cases (Stone et al. 2003. Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 70:34-40). Also, 37% of 351 owls in Great Britain and 70% of 164 owls in Canada had detectable concentrations of anticoagulant rodenticides in their livers (Ratner et al. 2011. Environ. Toxicol. and Chem. 30(5):1213-1222). Concentrations in at least 21% of the Canadian owls were large enough to be life threatening (Albert et al. 2010. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 58:451-459).

Raptors are dying from direct poisoning effects, but also sublethal exposures are making them more susceptible to disease and accidents (Lemus et al. 2011.Science Total Environ. 409:4729-4734).

Wildcare, a wildlife rehabilitation center in Marin County, CA, is seeing poisoning in 58% of the bird and mammal patients. In Massachusetts, of 161 raptors admitted to a wildlife clinic, 86% had brodifacoum anticoagulant residues in their livers (Murray. 2011. J. of Zoo Wildlife Med. 42(1):88-97).

California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife has seen 284 cases of second generation anticoagulant poisoning, including 37 raptors and 50 endangered San Joaquin kit foxes since 1993.

Cases from surveillance programs are likely the tip of the iceberg, as many bird poisonings go unnoticed as the corpses decay quickly in out of the way locations.

While the IPM Practitioner,with its focus on structural pest control and agriculture, is well supported by advertisers providing IPM products and services, the Common Sense Pest Control Quarterly, with an emphasis on reduced risk pest management and pesticide policy of interest to the general public, attracts relatively few advertisers.

For the past few years, lack of adequate support for the Quarterly has resulted in publication delays and combined issues. Though many of our publications are available online, BIRC is committed to offering a small number of print issues to serve the needs of some libraries, to bridge the technology gap that still exists in our country as well as abroad, and to provide copies for community outreach events.

The cost of each edition, including research, writing, editing, layout, printing and distribution is approximately $5,000. We are hoping that you discovered our crowdfunding website because of your interest in protecting threatened and endangered raptors from secondary poisonings. Can you help support this important work?

What We Can Give to You

We offer gratitude and incentives at every level of giving. Regardless of whether you can assist us with a contribution, we invite everyone to visit our website at Eventually, everyone faces a pest problem and BIRC can provide you with an effective solution that helps protect your health and the health of the environment.

Each level of giving includes the incentives offered before, plus one new benefit. Every contribution is deeply appreciated.

American Kestrel $1-$9 acknowledgement in our new publication, Raptors and Rodenticides

Peregrine Falcon $10-$29 a complimentary copy of Raptors and Rodenticides

Red-Tailed Hawk $30-$49 a complimentary Associate Membership with BIRC, receiving the Common Sense Pest Control Quarterly

Great Horned Owl $50-$99 a complimentary dual membership with BIRC, receiving theCommon Sense Pest Control Quarterly and the IPM Practitioner

Golden Eagle $100 or more, acknowledgement on our website

California Condor $1000 or more BIRC’s Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief, Dr. William Quarles, will give a 40 minute presentation on raptors and rodenticides with a question and answer period to your organization or community group, in person in the nine bay area counties, via Skype in locales beyond.

Thank You so much for your help. We hope to hear from you soon!

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JUST THINK by Robert Service


Just think! some night the stars will gleam
Upon a cold, grey stone,
And trace a name with silver beam,
And lo! ’twill be your own.

That night is speeding on to greet
Your epitaphic rhyme.
Your life is but a little beat
Within the heart of Time.

A little gain, a little pain,
A laugh, lest you may moan;
A little blame, a little fame,
A star-gleam on a stone.



Comment on Just Think, by W.O. 5.4.12

Apparently I am doing one of the things other people have done for bereavement – write about it.  Except now I also share it with you.  That is if you are interested in the subject.  I put the poem up front to entertain you, sort of like they do now in between a streaming bit for Jon Stewart’s program replays.  I love Jon Stewart because I get more political information that is easy to receive his way than from the newspapers, and even the web, which I think is the greatest thing since mother’s milk.  But I get the same irritation I felt in the last years of viewing TV with interruptions for bad products that I don’t want, nor will ever need.  We gave that up maybe 40 years ago.  That was a requirement if I was to live with Helga.  It was easy to give up as we always had our gardens, chickens, and lots to do.  She never watched TV, but I saw my first TV in 1948 and was captured.  That’s a tangent, maybe I should invent a symbol to warn and provide so as to not interrupt the main story.  That’s something to think about, but nobody would know unless I told them and that would be mostly too much.  I get gobs of ideas when stoned, but must weed them before presenting them publically.  Later we used DVD’s while traveling, mainly because they had no advertizing breaks to disrupt the story being presented.

But I think Just Think is a great poem because it’s short, easy to memorize and carries a good thought to remind you of your mortality without a religious connection.  I think the Catholics, or maybe it was a cultural thing about Polish people, or maybe my mother was the problem – it seems – she was always thinking about death.  Maybe growing up during WWII did it.  Religion has been one of my bug-a-boos for many years.  But just now I realized one of the great services religions offer comes at the death of someone close.  It provides a sort of band aid to cover the cut from the loss, talking away your responsibility for your own emotions, unfortunately.  After all, when the well ups come they are involuntary, tiny little surprises which take away your speech.  I warn my friends that this may happen as I am mostly concerned about embarrassing them.

Just Think is by Robert Service who I was introduced to me by my first major professor back inDelaware, Paul Catts.  He knew the poem The Shooting of Dan McGrue, that may be spelled wrong.  I enjoyed his recitation so much that I learned that poem and could repeat without review over many years.  It’s a long one.  But now I need a copy, can’t find one, but I did find that all his poetry is on the web.  Incredible!  I will look it up later.  When I first arrived at UC,Berkeley, I went to the library to acquaint myself with what was there.  That was my first blow-out experience at graduate school.  The library was fantastic, big but closed to undergrads for wandering.  That’s unfortunate, but fortunately for me I was a graduate and was allowed to wander in the stacks. and they had maybe 15 of his books.  He had a great life and everywhere he went he wrote poems and even a few novels which I may look into now that I can access them on the web.  In my book searches to clean out the house I ran into a single volume of his poetry but nothing I was familiar with.  It was a volume I put next to the bed to read someday.  It seems that day has arrived and I don’t like the few I examined.  But that one above was another favorite.  I could see that star beam and knew there might be a stone for me, but the idea was get busy and live and keep on living because it’s over too quickly.  Helga proves that.

But Robert Service had a flair for rhyming that the “real” academic and big time poets, whoever they may were, dismissed him as trite, a rhymer, or worse.  So Service never got big kudos, but just became wealthy from his best selling books.  That’s too bad for him, no Nobel prizes.  It’s those rhyming words at the end of his lines that are the fun, but who does not like The Shooting of Dan McGrue?  There s another by him that comes to mind that is similar.  Both have a lightness, and tell a tale about theYukondays with its craze for gold.  This other poem is called the Cremation of Sam MeGee which goes like this at the start: (good to have a spooky sound background as atmosphere at the start):

Strange things are done neath the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.

The Arctic trails have their secret tales that will make your blood run cold,

But the strangest I ever did see was the night on the marge ofLakeLeBarge

I cremated Sam MeGee.

The story goes on to tell what happened to Sam and how he was cremated.  Its fun and a tall tale, surely like the entertainment available in bars and saloons before TV.  People used to recite stories and poems, sing and tell tall tales.  It was fun and Robert Service sure captured that life back in theYukondays.  We used to sing similar songs in a saloon in Wilmington that had a barman who would frequently burst into songs like When Irish Eyes Are smiling Its like a Mornin Spring, the Whole World Smiles with You.  That was before Helga, my lonely days on the East Coast.

Poetry went thru a phase freed from the need to rhyme word at each line end and if you study his stuff you can see that he contrived some of the lines to rhyme at the end, sort of like a punch line, but some of the words are “reachers”.  I am making that word up for want of a better one.  A “reacher” is a word either made up, used by the common folk he wrote about, or something old that is no longer used, but he found it because he was looking for a word to match the last word in the last line.  It’s part of designing a certain type of poem.  Now one seeks to rhyme by a cadence while telling a story.  The ending rhyme words are no longer in style.  It must be why some writers are so popular, they have a special cadence.  Hemingway is like that.

Reacher words to reach but don’t really fit except for the rhyme.  But it could be a word for me to look up sometimes, too as my vocabulary was greatly diminished, or maybe enhanced by science words and styles of writing.  I never before took the time to ramble like this before, so that’s a good thing.  Reading his rhymes is like playing with a real scrabble player.  These people have special dictionaries full of wild small words so they could do better at the game.  That’s a part of the society we live in that I like.  I am working on some sort of old age program to avoid becoming an old grouch. Fukushimais destroying this plan, but I will slug on anyway with one eye to the worlds problems.

I was always this way – carrying a bit of the world around.  Like the famous god  Sisyphus rolling his stone up the hill only to have it roll back when he gets to the top, and then he starts over.   There was more to my madness however, as I had an idea that for career development one positions him/herself between a human problem area and the rest of the world.  In this sort of space jobs are available and if there are none yet known one can always invent a position.  That was not a spurious thought but one I dwelled on during my search for a career – that’s a big story for some other time.  That’s what Helga and I did with our careers: made up an Institute, we called it The BioIntegral Resource Center, its still going under other management.  Its still a non-profit helping to reduce pesticide us.  See our website:



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Sisyphus (disambiguation).

Persephone supervising Sisyphus in the UnderworldAttica black-figureamphora (vase), ca. 530 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen museum (Inv. 1494)

In Greek mythology Sisyphus ( /sɪsɪˈfʌs/;[1] Greek: Σίσυφος, Sísyphos) was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever.

The word “sisyphean” means “endless and unavailing, as labor or a task”.[2]


Enough about the poetry, but it creates some new personal foci for the healing process.  That’s a good word as I have been damaged by a loss.  Vic Baranco, according to Helga, called such experiences Loss of Stable Data.  You have a routine developed and then it is smashed.  The speed of the smash and loss is directly proportional to its impact.  Fortunately, Helga waited to die until I  really knew she was going.  And I could help her pass as all the nice people who came to help me say.

I mentioned Vic in my last note in regard to the sexual/sensuality class Helga and I met in and later taught.  Vic was called in frequently as a crisis interventionist when certain psychiatrists’ in the SF Bay Area had a special problem case.  He was called in by parents of Helga’s former husband, Bill Cassidy, when he went nuts, started breaking things, setting fires, etc.  Helga and Bill were partners in a puppet theater called The Berkeley Puppeteers.  There’s a story there too but it can wait.

Helga came out toCaliforniawith another guy she married after graduating fromBarnardCollegeinNew York Cityto continue studying Chinese at UC, Berkeley.  Many stories there too.  But she had a baby with this guy who turned out to have serious mental problems as did her boy as he grew older.  He left her a few weeks after the birth and was never seen until 10 years after we met.  She was over him by then and didn’t feel anything.  He actually gave us a wedding party and we and his new wife went on our honeymoon toMexicotogether.  If we were going to drive toMexicoothers could drive as I did our driving.  She could not drive very well, got too nervous and made silly mistakes.  I couldn’t take her driving.  He was nice as long as he took his meds.  His wife we are still friends with.  Her daughter with him is in many ways just like Helga’s boy.  Genetics is powerful in setting up some maladies.

We lived with her son from that marriage for 22 years and finally I threw him out.  I did it because he was a most angry and critical person who never said anything good about anybody and all the problems in his life were caused by others, and he loved to sue people.  He certainly was mentally capable, being a sort of genius, but most difficult to live with.  He got a chemical engineering degree fromCAL(=UC, Berkeley), which is an accomplishment.  They had a special program for dyslexic people, giving them more time for tests.  Lots of dyslexics are unusual, creates some great things, but we did not want him in our life.  It saddened Helga every time we had contact with him.  Somehow I thought she blamed herself for something.  She sure loved him when he was little.  Little boys and girls are made for loving, even baby animals are all lovely, even baby alligators.

I class him as a sociopath but He would not seek help and despised anyone suggesting he needed help.  He was without real violence, although he threatened to kill me one time which was a fright.  But the real killers don’t talk about it, they just do it.  And mental disease is hard to diagnose, after all there is no external damage visible.


Ok now I can look over the silly sories of religions with their fantastic claims, after all they provide solace.  So that could be why we still maintain them – for they served us in the past.   Such social institutions, although they may carry good information across generations as the theory goes, still can serve a useful function.  And that is my best rationalization for religion.  Perhaps the death of Helga is mellowing me because I can see unconsciousness can work on consciousness without a rational direction.  In fact, it could be a good thing to mellow myself, that’s me talking to me.  But I don’t encumber myself with religion now that I have shucked off the beliefs that held me when young.  Did they ever hold me?

Well that’s the ramble for today.  I intend to continue, hope it remains interesting.

World Population Update

The Population Institute





Fact Sheets

The subject of population touches upon a wide variety of human interests from reproductive rights to economic development to a sustainable world.  For a quick overview, see Why Population Matters.

Family Planning and Reproductive Health

Population and Failing States

Failing nations, almost without exception, have high population growth rates. Foreign Policy and the Fund for Peace publish an annual ranking of failed states. All of the top ten countries in the 2009 Failed States Index have total fertility rates (the average number of children born by a woman over her lifetime) substantially higher than the global average (2.6). Six of them had TFRs of 5.0 or higher. High fertility rates are often associated with high maternal and infant mortality rates. Early teenage pregnancy and unhealthy birth spacing, in particular, are associated with poor health outcomes for mothers and infants. High population growth rates may make it more difficult for failing states to provide adequate schooling, nutrition, immunization, and other essential services. Population pressures can also lead to environmental degradation, food insecurity, and even conflict.

Sustainable World Initiative 

MRSA and GMOs: is There a Connection?

MRSA and GMOs: is There a Connection?

by William Olkowski, PhD


This is a note presenting a hypothesis for further testing and confirmation: that MRSA and GMO’s are linked.

Staphylococcus. aureus is a commensal bacteria found in most people, but with some it gains entry to the blood stream and causes first flu-like symptoms and later full blown fresh eating disease of horrible consequences.  When antibiotics fail to eliminate it the infection it  is called MRSA.  MRSA is short for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus  Aureus (see Wikipedia for history and background).  Although MRSA was first widely connected to hospitals later it was also found in the community.  Which came first is unknown.  See my book review on MRSA on my blog (

For background information in addition to Wikepedia, check the online textbook of bacteriology at:   Each year, some 500,000 patients in American hospitals contract a staphylococcal infection (1).

I think SA  gains entry to the blood stream regularly through the skin, mucus membranes of the nose and throat, and the alimentary tract but in most people, who are healthier,  it is eliminated by their  immune system.  The standard treatment is a short coarse of antibiotics (ABs) but this does not help many people who have long term infections. Others are treated with ABs and eliminate the infection.  When MRSA was found in the US a few years back, in Europe where all people admitted to hospitals are tested the problem was not as severe..  This occurred because the insurance companies in the US did not want to pay for these simple nose swab and culturing tests.  Consequently the problem became prominent and deadly for many people, surely unnecessary.  Hurrah for the almighty buck and our for-profit health care system.

So there might be some basis for the snake oil treatments of all sorts when faced with an incurable MRSA case.  I don’t know and am not pushing any treatments one way or the other.  I am interested in how the bacteria gains entry to the blood stream.  I learned some valuable lessons when caring for my wife Helga who experienced a stroke which eventually killed her.  Stroke victims are universally susceptible to infections.  With her as my patient I learned  that there is something called Leaky Gut. I learned this by reading and by sending saliva samples for antibody analysis.  Lab results come back showing  she was carrying a wide range of anti bodies to most foods.  I did not believe the results at first, but by rotating diet components and repeated saliva samples and other diet changes we got it under better control – meaning fewer and fewer reactive antibodies where previously there was a reaction.  The number of foods she was allergic to went down slowly, but became greatly reduced.

Enter Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

Now comes my latest AHA experience.  Since her death I have become very active in passing Proposition 37 here in CA.  My interest was peaked by Jeffrey Smith’s book: Genetic Roulette.  It’s a great book (see book review on blog) summarizing a huge range of studies implicating GMO altered crops in many maladies.  Now I used Bt for many years and know how it kills certain groups of insects: by disruption of the gut walls which allow a bacterial spore to sporulate, and the combination of the proteinaceous toxin and the sporulating microbe kills the bug.  The protein toxin opens the gut so the spore can gain entry to the blood system.  Used an a traditional spray on insecticide it is a superior product because it is highly selective, not killing natural enemies as most other insecticides and  showed no reactions in human feeding tests.  I treated it as virtually harmless solution.  And it was most helpful in reducing unecessary pesticides.

Now that Bt corn has been secretly introduced into the world’s diet by Monsanto et al, blessed by a dysfunctional and compromised regulatory system (gift from Reagan-Bush), we have been eating Bt toxins for many years.  That is if we were eating the altered foods.  And since we don’t know if we are eating them because they are not labeled it is likely to affect most people.

Monsanto is  the same corporation who gave us agent orange, DDT, the herbicide 2,4-D and now the universal contaminant herbicide glyphosate.  All were declared safe and if not banned contaminate all our bodies, air, water, soils and wildlife.  DDT, for example, banned in 1972 still shows up in large samples of human tissues in the US, particularly in umbilicord samples.  Such umbilicord samples mean the embryo, so sacred to our Republican friends, are subject to its carcinogenetic, teratorgenic, mutagenic and hormone disruptors at very low dosages when the new human is just a single cell or just a bunch of cells.  Its better to be borne crippled than to die in utero, right?  Any takers?

Even a few meals of Bt corn, soybeans, sugar (fr. beets), canola oil, and a few other less common foods, can transfer the Bt genes to human gut flora.  Then the gut flora produces Bt toxins on a continuous basis.  This is not the same thing as spraying a Bt insecticide, no way.


Now comes the flash: Leaky gut in humans may be caused by GMO foods.  If not the principle causes they  can certainly make a bad situation worse.  And that can account for the invasion of a normal commensal,  S. aureus, into the blood stream by gut disruption, the very same method the microbe uses against pest insects.  Most people are healthy enough to regularly round up these critters, but the oldies and compromised don’t have this sort of protection any more.

And the kicker is that we don’t need Bt corn, nor any other GMO foods.  These crops are not higher producers but lead to resistance as pollens carried by the wind distribute them across huge sections of the Biosphere.

Now what do you think of that?  Scares me no end.  We already have many epidemics of flu, other viruses like West Nile Virus,  food borne illness caused by mirobial contamination, neurological problems, the key one of which is electing Reagan, Bush and now Romney is on the way.  I am sad for our country.  And note that 50 other countries have labeling laws and once labeled the foods are not selected and consequently are not grown.  Our agricultural policy goes along with our military policy, and our belief’s in a mythical god who will protect us and save us from ourselves.  I wish it were true.  No wonder much of the world hates us.  Can you connect the dots?

Reference cited:

1)  Bowersox, J.  1999.  “Experimental Staph Vaccine Broadly Protective in Animal Studies”. NIH. Archived from the original on 5 May 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2007. (from wikipedia).




THE GMO HEALTH DEBATE: War of the Blogs by William Olkowski, PhD. 10.1.12

This so called GMO health debate is shaping up to be another David and Goliath Story, with the prize – all life. We have on the Right, Big Ole Goliath paid for by the well heeled Monsanto Group (Monsanto and Nine Others, Including DuPont). They have already started the cascade of lies, twisted reasoning, ad hominum attacks, reinterpretation and critiques of poorly funded studies, Jeffrey Smith warns us about in the book Genetic Roulette. But now I see an actual gas-type attack starting and the fog is coming our way. I call this a reasoning fog, the most deadly weapon in their arsenal. The poorly funded Academics are now certainly hard to see. And then there are people like me, volunteers, who can think critically and are able to connect the dots. They don’t know I am here.

David and Goliath Are Made Up of People There’s similarity in structure between the protagonists but the Giant has bad feet, the ground is quaking. But the beast will fight back fiercely. It’s now and it’s for all life, including us humans, a most vulnerable species, VS the thousands or so employees (of the Monsantoes and their untold numbers of stock holders).

Here is a Weak Blast from the PRO CROWD?

The blast comes from discovery magazine, no author is specified in the reference my Google Search Engine creates which delivers my GMO mail each day. Normally this survey tool documents a ground swell of great proportions for Yes on 37 the California proposition to label genetically modified foods. Plus, my recent sampling of an old rocker crowd of 5,000 here at the Santa Barbara bowl (Led Zeplin was playing) of 5,000 at least 1,000 gave me the thumb up sign, mostly women. The seats were selling for over $80 bucks on average. Some were going for $125, so a guard tells me.

Here is the citation, check it out yourself.

News 13 new results for Genetically Modified Organisms Under Controlled: Why the New GMO Panic Is More Sensational Than Sense Discover Magazine (blog). Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have always been a controversial topic. On the one hand are the many benefits: the higher crop yields from pesticide- and insect-resistant crops, and the nutritional modifications that can make such a difference in … See all stories on this topic.

Read the above announcement and then read the review with a critical eye, at least with the same level of scrutiny the author displays in her critique. She is saying yes there is a problem but your proof needs further work and better descriptions. No argument there. The conclusion stands, however, until another study confirms or challenges the conclusion with evidence. That’s real science at work. Evidence needs confirmation. At least the study shows a potential exposure route and really bad physiological effects. And there are many other studies showing potential harm in animal tests. These are not mentioned by this author neither is Jeffrey Smith’s book, Genetic Roulette. And the announcement implies great yield improvements are happening, something debatable, for sure.

She does not take the conclusions of the study that GMO foods are causing tumors, but weakens the conclusion by saying its a small study of 200 rats, even though it ran for two years. Aparently its the longest known feeding study (from France). Note that our science establishment did not do the longest study so far.


It’s us good guys, outnumbered and outgunned against the giant with all the money, over $30 million so far poured into the No on 37 campaign. The fear that labelling, already done in 50 other countries will reduce purchase and use of such foods is the source of this money. We have a pittance in comparison. But remember the Giant has only one EYE, did you notice it? He sees movement like we do, but he has a haze around his head. The haze is created by money, and he must see through this haze to move around.

These Monsantoes are very smart, experienced, well paid mix of business types, and even scientists who have swallowed the business hook. The hook is this twisted sharp tool called money, one of the main roots of all evil. These Monsantoes, if they think, think that money is how you keep score in life. They think the profit motive is untouchable, and its the only reason one has for living.

We have Right and Truth on our side, however, and ultimately these helpers will win the battle. We have brains that are connected to our ethics, certainly our politics. As for behavior, I think GMOs are criminal and the whole lot of 10 Genetic Modifying Companies should be bought by the all the governments where the Monsantoes have property; bought at cost, and run as an interim non-profit, and phased out. We don’t need GMOs and never have. We all ate before GMOs and will do so again. The existence of organic farmers, who demand a higher price for their products should be proof enough that good food is great and possible. But this requires people who could think clearly.

If corporations are people lets use the death penalty, after all when the dust settles and I am right many people have and will suffer needless painful deaths from the poison these poison peddlers are peddling. Close the businesses is the equivalent of the personal death penalty, no need to actually hang, or inject the CEOs, etc.

And we will not demand an apology for contaminating us and the biosphere with corrupted genetic material. No, just get out of the business, retire everybody, let an international UN committee run the 10 corporation as a public corporation and wind down the stock of contaminated seeds. Go out of business, go away.

I wish it were that easy. And I hope I am wrong, but right now there is a stink so bad it dwarfs even Fukushima, certainly one of the biggest stinkers of all times. How many stinkers do we need to change things? Apparently we need too many.


There is also concern for contaminating the biosphere, including our gut fauna. A contaminated gut fauna will convert other normal gut bacteria to producing Bt poisons, proteinacious poisons, on a continuous basis. Round Up Ready corn has the herbicide in the corn. This happens when the herbicide is sprayed over the plants since the plants are resistance to herbicide damage. Don’t worry we will breed a human tolerant strain like the microbes do, by selection. Selection here means no reproduction process is safe from exposure to these microbial poisons and “cides”. And we also have the herbicide glyphosate offering synergistic effects in combination with Bt genes in the same corn plant. This adds fuel on a hot fire already. Let’s throw the fire back at that eye.


Cheaper than a bought-politician. Cardiologists start at least at $100 grand per year with benefits, a little above an entry policeman. My bet is that’s the salary level of a bench scientist in these companies. But I could be wrong. This group buys scientists by the bucket full, why they can even buy movies, certainly a science writer or two.


On this front however, surely the first effective blow was delivered by Jeffrey Smith in his book and movie, Genetic Roulette. Before that it was the Seeds of Deception. This Roulette movie could by itself take down the giant. He tells of test animals dying with disrupted guts, infections, tumors, a panoply of altered molecules producing organ changes and certainly not dying the best way, quick and fast, but slow and painfully.

The microbial poisons in Bt corn, for example, kill slowly acting like chronic poisons, like the blood thinner poison and medicine called Warfarin. This analogy is strong. To use warfarin against a rat, for example, the animals must be baited first to establish a habituary gustatory exposure route. Then after a day or two, the poison is introduced. Warfarin works very slowly, a few days after an effective dose is built up. With repeated ingestion the animal bleeds to death and dies from dehydration. During this time they wander and search frantically for water. After a “baiting” session or two dried carcasses, not picked up by the poisoner, can be found as the dying animals crawl deeper into their runways, die and dry up.


The biological issues Genetic Roulette alone raises, point to the need for a make over in FDA, EPA and USDA regulatory systems. Certainly a human health disaster OF MASSIVE PROPORTIONS is a potential outcome. It may dwarf Chernobyl reactor mortality cases, set at ONE MILLION. But genetic pollution is worse than even nuclear pollution. Genetic pollution is forever, while nuclear pollution is just a few hundred thousand years, for example. That makes genetic pollution potentially greater than nuclear pollution.


I take it that Gaia is doing some furniture moving. She could be working on chopping off a chunk of humanity. However, beneficial in any case this will certainly lead to another financial fiasco with its old shell game: The rich getting richer, the poor, poorer. That’s two positive feedback mechanisms going in opposite directions. But the medical industry loves disease, after all, they cannot make money when someone just ups and dies. They must suffer so at least can get pain medications.

If I had any stock in these companies I would sell it now, for they are going to loose. Even with surely some multiple of the pennies in our war chest they will loose. “You can’t fool all the people all the time.” But we have the TRUTH. With the Truth as David we will damage the giant. Even the $30 million that the Monsantoes are using to fight the Yes on 37 campaign is chicken feed with these companies PROFITTING billions, every year. More is needed to cure ourselves.


Are women smarter? I wonder how many women work for the Monsantoes? Employees for Monsantoes probably number in the high 3 orders of magnitude, but I bet a maximum of only 5 % are women. And they have the lower incomes of course. That figure will tell a lot. The upper income levels in these companies are probably all males. Competition and battle is what males do, females are responsible for the next generation. So ladies, wake up your guys. Your kids are being damaged by GMO foods and have been so for almost 15 yrs, now. We are now discovering we are all contaminated with a microbial toxin, it’s the new generation’s DDT coming around again.


What is at stake in this battle is not just WHO WINS THE battle, but all life for all future time. The GMO stuff is another set of world wide contaminants yes, but this poison in a new kid on the block. This one makes poison, like a small scale factory, you just have to get it out there into human guts. These inserted gene collections are molecule makers. These excrete proteins that are altering the genetics of the biosphere, BIGTIME.

Toxicants, like those produced by Bt destroy other molecules and tissues, certainly as they penetrate cell walls in insects, test animals and most probably any human who eats GMO contaminated foods. But it’s a slow acting poisoning process hard to detect. The food chains of the world are already contaminated by numerous pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, metals, and medicines. So are all the waterways, great areas of fertile soils, and air masses, ALL have their doses, like ours. Nobody is adding it all up. Nobody keeps tract of all the poisons. If they do, it should be public information, forget the patent laws.

We are not same people who fought Goliaths before, like Nazi Germany. We are distracted and poisoned to some degree, sometimes I think actually neurologically impaired. That’s how I account for the closeness of the political poll results. A lot of people even look neurologically impaired and can’t reason logically. I think neurological damage and political belief are connected but I am willing to learn differently. Please tell me that there is some brain power left in enough people to swing a moratorium. That’s what is needed now, stop all creation and production of GMO foods. We don’t know what we are doing with this technology.

This would not be the first time a halt was made in technological development. We have the stupid stop or brakes put on researching stem cells which was a big mistake. Before that the Supersonic Transport was stopped which was good. Now we must stop genetic food tampering.


Eat Organic Pay more now so you don’t pay later to the Medical Industry.

By processed foods I mean anything with corn, soybeans, sugar, canola oil, cotonseed, sugar beets, Hawaiian Papaya (most) and a small amount of Zucchini and Yellow Squash, for starters. GM alfalfa is fed to livestock and that includes hamburgers, milk and milk products.. Eat organic foods because they are subject to third party verification.

HYPOTHESIZING that people are being exposed to nerve poisons is not just a speculation, many pesticides are derived from poison gases used in WWII. Organochlorines and organophosphates are all nerve poisons, and now many have been found to be hormone mimics. Nerve poisons are among the worst poisons as they kill nerve cells. So one should examine nerve diseases for rate changes, or frequency changes correlated in time to about 15 years ago when the first genetically engineered (GE) crops were approved (First Bush to G.W. Bush, etc). I will begin a search but can someone help me here?

Further, I would check the rosters of all the advisory committees at EPA, FDA, and USDA appointments for former employees of these companies. Those are the generals for the Other side, the Monsantoes. Lets get them out. Establish citizen advisors and pay them for their time and representation. Select from the Sierra Club, for example. Why not, we select from Monsantoes now, why not plain old citizens?


I am rooting for David who is supported by volunteers like me. But Goliath is much bigger being supported by the Monsanto Group. The David and Goliath analogy is applicable here because a classic RESOURCE mismatch of epic proportions has started. This is certainly true if you count up the millions being poured into the impending misinformation campaign courtesy of the Monsantoe Group. Remember now, there are many scientists, certainly agronomists, horticulturalists, entomologists, physiologists, medical researchers, statisticians, and microbiologists working for the Monsantoes of the world. Some will lose their jobs if Yes on 37 passes and it cascades across the US. The strategy of the intricate defense can create a mental fog, in which the evidence gets obscured, all by design. Then our lawyers in Washington will all have a field day, talking to each other until millions more are threatened. Lawyers are not scientists, nor are all scientists biologists. Lawyers don’t examine biological data so just follow the authority they like. This is a risky way to make decisions affecting the whole Biosphere. 15-20 years of virtually constant human exposures to microbial proteinacious toxins and herbicides via the alimentary tract are turning up health problems in the simplest association, which is correlation. Even I can see the patterns after a few minutes of movie exposure watching Genetic Roulette. Percentages can be compared also. Even percentage comparison as indicators might show patterns for further examination.

And there are excellent theoretical indicators that physiological damage is very likely upon toxic exposure of living cells to Bt toxins, certainly those in the human gut. After all, Bt was discovered by insect pathologists and later showed great selectivity. There were different strains more effective in a pest control sense with different species, i.e., larval flies, Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. The toxin kills by disrupting the cell wall in the insect stomach, or at least somewhere along the alimentary tract. A tissue study can be done rapidly and monitored on a daily basis with chromatograph sampling and X-Ray diffraction (or whatever is now state of the art) studies to determine molecular structure. Toxicity evaluations based on low dose exposures with ability to detect genetic damage are vitally needed.

Consider a molecule able to tear through the alimentary tract in a wide range of insects. Consider the number of cells which would be needed to be killed to allow sporulation in the hemolymph of other insect species, mice and rats. An Ames Test would be low cost and can be used to evaluate if this toxic can destroy the same type of cells, i.e., to at least damage or kill the same number of cells damaged in an insect, in their guts. Now, proteinacious toxins able to kill insects, including hundreds of species are not innocuous. Just because feeding studies done with commercial Bt products show good safety margins, does not mean they are innocuous. The Bt spore and crystal protein toxin level required for ingestion by immature insects should be acknowledged as a poor indicator of safety when millions of people are eating the toxins.

Pregnant women and those just pregnant must be alerted to the potential teratogentic hazard. Proteinacious toxins can be expected to elicit immune responses. Opening gut tissues allows incompletely digested materials into the blood stream where they elicit an immune response, leading to inflammation, already associated with numerous aging diseases, like arthritis, heart disease, and even cancers. A real epidemiological study would have to compile all diseases associated with an immune response, so all microbial infections, especially West Nile Virus is a target, being so much in the news recently. Since 36,000 die each year from influenza, even an examination of changes in influenza cases might be useful. To this formidable list must be added allergies, attention deficit disorder, depression, mental diseases, liver and kidney diseases. These should also be evaluated individually and in combinations using multiple correlation analysis. Let’s use our big computers for such studies rather than collecting all the emails of the US into some huge building. Imagine now they will have robots reading our mail, including this message. I wonder what a machine would make of our stupidity.

Positive indicators in epidemiology indicate the need for emergency study of causes. So we must demand further study, but also demand a moratorium on new genetic food products while the issue gets examined. All sales of GMO products should cease.


Our government regulators are contaminated by former employees of the very companies they are tasked to regulate, and so is our government, right up to the not so Surpreme Court. From this sort of government impartiality we are told such genetically modified products are safe. Is it true that, THESE GMO PRODUCTS were approved with no evaluations, just assumptions? Nobody has told me other wise. It would be interesting to have a justice probe to understand the financial relationships of these companies to our elected officials and our civil servants, also.


Independent research costs money and whatever publically supported scientists are able to assemble by way evidence has already alerted us to a pending acknowledged health epidemic OF TRAGIC PROPORTIONS. Early results are important as they point in dark directions for millions of people who have been eating these poisoned foods.

Some FACTs for Review.

Millions of People Have been Eating a Tiny Bit of Pertinacious Poison for about 15 years since the first GMO product was approved. This poison is produced by some kind of mix of genetic material forced in the genomes of crop plants which are eaten directly, or as a processed food. Corn and soybeans are fed to cows, so beef, milk and milk products are worth examinations. Other genetic alterations are occurring on various animals (mosquitoes, pigs, some other domestic animals) as well. This should be stopped on logical grounds alone. These poisons will effect all future generations once released, because they do not stay in the plant, they move with the wind in pollens. I bet no one cleared the pollens of GMO crops for air contamination. I would hate to breathe on any GMO farm.

The potential is there for tragedy, so I would like to be shown evidence to prove me wrong. Prove to me that Bt toxin is safe for realistic exposure levels for the life of test mice, and rats, for starters. More study would be helpful. Who will fund this? Not the biggest research institutions in the world, certainly not the pharmaceutical industry. Public sources like CDC, NIH, USDA, EPA, FDA will fund such studies? Can we believe them now? I would also like tests done on fungi, bacteria, viruses, worms, in vitro. This could be a tiered test system, moving up to more complex forms of life once and if damage levels are detected in the lower forms. We are already ready for upper level testing. But why go on?

A moratorium now may be most critical. Since adequate testing was not done before registration, let’ s stop sales, and test. Such studies should not be held up to the best studies money can buy at this moment. Risks based on lower than the 95% level can be correct and aid preventative strategies as they can lead to prevention of further genetic contamination. Such strategies are not subject to the 95% rule when the stakes are so high. Even a 70% level in such a regulatory context should be enough to stop further registrations, certainly further sales. Stopping the production of more genetic modified seeds until evidence shows they are safe is rational.

Our Toxic Substances Control Act needs a drastic overhaul.


Of course we all know where all the money is, it’s in the military and in the chemical industry, Monsanto and their ilk. We must get over money as the way to keep score. How about a Nobel Prize for Compassion and Pain relief? How exactly was those first GMO products released? Who was paid off? Lets retire them to Lompoc Prison. =========== end



By William Olkowski, PhD. 9.14.12

Part of this report was aired on 91.9 FM, KCFM, on the University of Santa Barbara, CA, on 9.6.12. This update was created on 9.14.12.

It’s a simple formula: The more fear the less knowledge, and the corollary is also true: More Knowledge Less Fear.  This relationship occurs again and again across many issues.  Today we have a great example in the  West Nile Virus disaster and today our main story is this formula and how it applies to understanding how best to manage West Nile Virus.

First Some Facts:

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, different species in different areas

West Nile Virus was first found in theUSin 1999, and has since spread across the US.

The virus reservoir is birds, possibly horses and probably other wild species.

The origin is believed to be Africa.

WNV, was introduced to US, in 1999, probably in an infected bird.

Most cases are mild and undetected.

Old sick people mostly die from this disease; everybody else has probably been exposed and has at worse mild flue like symptoms if they exhibit at all.

In all cases of reported disease occurrence one must account for improved monitoring and reporting before assuming rising case numbers indicate an epidemic.  The word epidemic should be reserved for epidemics.


Like all invading organisms the first reactions are severe because the natural systems which would normally stop or reduce the invader are compromised or the invader is preadapted for exploitation in the new ecosystem.


From CDC website:

Since 1999, more than 30,000 people in theUnited Stateshave been reported as getting sick withWest Nilevirus. Infected mosquitoes spreadWest Nilevirus (WNV) that can cause serious, life altering disease.

201 2 West Nile Virus Update: as of August 21, 2012.

Thus far in 2012, 47 states have reportedWest Nilevirus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 1118 cases ofWest Nilevirus disease in people, including 41 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 629 (56%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 489 (44%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

The 1118 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in theUnited Statesin 1999. Approximately 75 percent of the cases have been reported from 5 states (Texas,Mississippi,Louisiana,South Dakota, andOklahoma) and almost half of all cases have been reported fromTexas.

  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children’s wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren’t being used.
  • wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.


When a new invader is identified is when the first level of FEAR originates.  The FEAR is well founded as people who are stricken and die do so in a terrible manner.  But as ecosystem and health responses developed to the invading virus, things get better.  These natural factors do not usually fix the problems from the invader but lessen its impacts.  Time is needed for adequate responses to develop. This view is confirmed by a long series of invading organisms.  Some further background on mosquito control:

Throughout theUSalmost every county has a mosquito abatement district.  These are called MADs, a curious acronym to be sure, but it’s not mad to have these public agencies.  They were developed when the country was heavily beset with malaria, which was eliminated back in the 1940s and 1950s.  This is, by the way, an example of publically supported pest control which has paid massive dividends by first eliminating malaria and subsequently helped control various other pests like biting flies, rats and mice, and in some places snakes and other wildlife.  Do not fall prey to those who want to reduce government spending wholesale as this sort of simplistic thinking will certainly chop indiscriminantly MAD budgets.  With lower budgets for MADs the real effect will be loss of trained personnel resulting in more wholesale spraying.  Wholesale aerial applications will kill many things besides mosquitoes.  And such spraying will kill many species that eat mosquitoes.

Recently, the news was full of a large scale aerial spraying for WNV inTexasaround theDallasarea.  Something like 20 or so deaths occurred with a few hundred cases when aerial spraying was started on over 50,000 acres.

Now, as any good MAD manager knows aerial spraying is a last ditch approach to managing mosquitoes.  In the old days when I was a kid we used to have regular DDT fogging during mosquito season.  Us kids used to run through the fog, we thought it was fun.  I am glad today when people are alarmed about aerial spraying as it is probably ineffective, but ignorant political types want to do something to help out and this tactic is easy as there are always people who want to spray.

Today, being much wiser, MAD managers know that the first line of defense is what is called source reduction.  This means having inspectors respond to public calls about excessive mosquito numbers, they go out and find mosquito breeding sources and treat those before adults emerge to begin biting people.  Female mosquitoes bite for the protein rich blood source we and other animals provide.  Female mosquitoes do the biting so they can produce eggs as the protein is vital.  The males feed on flowers.

I joke that the males in characteristic fashion get all the perks.  They don’t have to brave a host who may swat them and do all the hard work to propagate the next generation.

End joke.  Its hard to imply a joke via just the written word so that is why I have made this ending.

So I wondered why aerial spraying was chosen and suspected something was amiss.

Recent reports fromHoustonindicate that the city has now made the effort to install a very competent IPM type program, emphasizing house inspections, trapping and virus sampling of mosquitoes, and spot treatments, along with ground treatment of known infested areas.  The question of just what is happening about the large scale aerial spraying has not been seen in the news since then.


Large scale spraying kills all sorts of living things, to say nothing about effects on humans.  So any large scale pesticide applications must include public assessments to obtain permissions.  It’s our right to know, especially if we are to be subject to a mass spraying episode.  Whether it is worthwhile to treat such a large area, and if this is the best way to approach this situation are two questions which need answers before going further should be provided to the public.

So what can be done now.  First we need to get SMART, and that is not the name of an old spy TV comedy but an educational and communication challenge.  Knowledge pushes against FEAR.  Mo

Knowledge and Fear are Inversely Associated

Knowledge means less FEAR, and less FEAR means rational thought can gain an entry to decision making.

To control mosquitoes means reduce their numbers before they become pestiferous.  Spraying late is what we call REVENGE TREATMENTS.  It is not desirable and impossible to eliminate all mosquitoes as they are key elements in many, many food chains.  Fisherman know that fish eat mosquito larvae – also called wigglers. Fish would starve without mosquitoes as food.  Frogs, birds, toads, bats, dragon flies, all sorts of things feed on mosquitoes.  Indiscriminate killing mosquitoes, as with large scale aerial attacks, kills these beneficial organisms and guess what, this makes things worse.  Education about the biology of the natural world must come first in managing mosquito problems.

Next is teaching people to avoid mosquito bites.  This can be done by inspecting homes to find water sources, close holes in window screens, fix screened doors to exclude the little biters, and use repellents when going out at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes like to bite.  This requires detailed attention, certainly possible, but more difficult than ordering a massive aerial spraying program.

When I was a mosquito inspector around WilmingtonDelaware, after graduating college back in the 1960s we were always finding mosquito breeding sources on people’s property.  We were responding to complaints, which usually took the form of “It’s the creek, pond, or some other nearby water body that is the problem”.  But a careful walk around the house and property would find, old tires, kids toys, and other containers, bad drainage areas harboring small bodies of water after rains, clogged gutters, unfilled tree holes, etc., right on the property.

Cemeteries were one of our favorite places to search for flower urns as people put flowers on graves with a few cups of water to keep the flowers fresh longer.  It was tedious work and we usually did an hour or so and quit after finding a few.  One such container can produce thousands of mosquito larvae and the adults can fly, sometimes a mile or so, even longer distances.  An old abandoned outhouse was a great source, millions and millions, like stars in the universe, can populate the local universe for months until discovered.

So there’s a rational way to go about mosquito control and then there’s the wayTexaswas going, but now appears to have changed direction.  My Fear, until further knowledge surfaces, is that many other cities and states will react just like the pesticide companies want.  Shoot first and ask questions later.  But now with thisTexasexample, the way to fight WNV intelligently seems to be developing.  This is good news.  Good news seldom sells papers.

I am watching the Texas struggle and will continue reporting on it.

Some New Thoughts on the WNV Situation

Since writing the above I have continued to log onto WN news via Google searches.  Now I am developing another idea which still needs further work, requiring interviews with people on the ground, so to speak.  I have my experiences and attitudes and opinions and just how these hold up against realities needs further checking.  With that reservation here is my new thought.

West Nile Virus is now endemic in the US.  That means there is a smoldering but tiny fire going that occasionally flares up.  The reports of a few people dying here and there over theUS, means the public health system is working just right.  We are getting reports of infections, mortalities and cases.  Great.  The trouble may be with the media and how this phenomena is  being reported to a widely ignorant fearful audience.  Why do I say this?

Consider the fact that each year an average of 36,000 people die of common flu.  In comparison, that mortality rate is hundreds of times higher than WNV.  Yet, WNV is new and everybody pays attention to new things, especially if you can die from contracting the disease.  We all know that mosquitoes carry the virus.  We then assume the main problem is mosquitoes and therefore go about killing them with as much as money, time, and intelligence we can  muster.

An alternative view is that since WNV kills mostly old, infirm and compromised individuals it may be that these old sick people just get an WNV infection and it pushes them over easily. Or they had it as a mild infection but something else pushes them into fatal disease.

Meanwhile excessive spraying makes the real situation worse as it damages whatever forces exist to reduce mosquito populations.  Just why and who is dying needs to be understood.  Read the best source about WNV, which is on Wikepaedia.  Its better than the write up on the CDC website.  It has the history and from that information it is clear that WNV infections are normally mild, widespread and mostly benign, certainly tolerable, like a mild case of the flu.  This view is contrary to fanning the flames, adding fuel to a smoldering fire, as the media is wont.

With such a view what can be added to a treatment program?  Yes, mosquitoes must be managed, but not in a helter skelter manner spraying thousands of acres because two people die who are near death anyway.  It’s a waste all around and can make things worse.  Prventative work is needed by trained people who understand the biology of mosquitoes.  Publically supported systems need augmenting and oversight.  Forget cutting governent programs, better to redesign them to function better.  We need government, but maybe less foreign military action.

Next I want to interject a systems view which is usually difficult for most to understand.  If old compromised people are mostly the victims, just how they acquire the infections needs to be understood.  Are they alone and people rush to their help after things have already gotten hopeless? What could be done to prevent the conditions which predispose such people to the virus, in addition to mosquito control?  Why are their immune systems compromised? Is it HIV, other virus systems, hypertension, etc.  These other causal factors need focus and treatment.  Old trees die from multiple accumulations of conditions and pathogens.  The pathogen is easier to understand.

And then part of this analysis is what can be done to improve their immune systems?  Here traditional medicine fails as their focus is primarily on use of drugs, which in the largest view are similar to pesticides as they are mostly molecules which interfere with various biochemical processes.  Consider the suffix added to most drugs: “anti”.  For example, antihypertensives, anti-depressants, anti-coagulants, etc.  It seems we know gobs about how to stop and slow things down, but not how to improve immune systems.  Certainly anything which interferes with our immune response should be suspect.

Now comes a fact which could illuminate some dark places.  GMO crops are reported to affect the immune system.  This is not so far fetched as it may seem.  There are reports of massive increases in allergies when GMO soybeans were introduced into the UK.  If true, and I believe Jeffrey Smith (Genetic Roulette, 2007) then we have something we can alter.  We don’t need anything in our diets with such a threat, especially as it is unnecessary.  We can produce all the food we need without GMO crops, notwithstanding the lie campaign developing from the GMO companies with their massive bank accounts.

In any case all the toxicants humans in the US are exposed to in their foods, and their daily environments need to be examined.  Remember you can’t see toxicants with the naked eye, you have to see it with your mind.  In contract, nuclear disasters are visible, and so is climate change, toxicants are the most difficult to understand.


Book Review: Body Toxic

Book Review: Body Toxic, How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens our Health and Well Being.

by Nena Baker. 2008. Nort Point Press, N.Y.277 pp.

Reviewed by William Olkowski, PHD.

Two areas of this book are of critical import for human and environmental health: 1) regulation policy and 2) body contamination updates for those of us unfamiliar with existing toxicological research.

Part 1: Our Toxic Substances CONTROL (TSCA) Act Does not Control Anything

The biggest issue raised by this book is the need to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA- pronounced ”Tos-ka”).  This has been known for many years but with the government run by business lobbyists who think regulations are always excessive no change will come soon unless more people get concerned and change the law.  This Act is just what the chemical industry wanted – what a laugh – there is little control in the toxic substances control act.  This is another case where we the people have lost control of our democracy.

This act has many aspects which demand change, most of which have been discussed for years.  For example in reports by the government watchdog agency GAO, the EPA itself, the National Academy of Sciences and the Office of Technology Assessment, none of which are rabid left wing liberals nor dreaded environmentalists, by the way.

Dose Response Testing and Other Mistakes

TSCA is based on only data submitted by the chemical producer, itself alone undermines the veracity of the Act.  From that data, dose response tests are extrapolated downward to estimate the lowest tolerable contamination level – the so called no effect level.  This assumes a linear response to the dose. This assumption, built into our regulatory systems, in effect says that there is a low dose below which no effects will occur.  This is a big false assumption, it turns out.  A better approach is “better safe than sorry” (see below).

The No Effect Level is an assumption that misses many low level effects.  Recent information using DNA detection systems shows that there is no dose without effect.  For example, with the worldwide contaminant herbicide atrazine, the no effect level for drinking water is set by the EPA at 3 ppb (3 parts per billion).  No tests actually specify this level, however, just the extrapolation.  But there is research to indicate that atrazine affects genes below this level. Since everyone in the US has this herbicide in their bodies it means that this is affecting everybody’s gene expression to some unknown degree.  And it has been so for decades.  Besides, long term effects are not tested per se.

The state of affairs in the US is that existing chemicals are considered safe until found guilty even if they are found in breast milk, in every human body, food chains around the world and even while toxicological evidence accumulates indicating dire health impacts.  If found below the tolerance level the assumption is that there is no threat to health.  Some toxicants, for example, exhibit non-linear responses. This sort of response was unknown and unexplored back in 1976.

More importantly all the 62,000 chemicals in existence when the 1976 TSCA act was passed were grandfathered in – given a blanket approval.  No hazard information nor health evaluation tests were required FOR THESE 62,000 CHEMICALS!!!  They were just approved.  This law was another legacy from the criminal-above-the-law Richard Nixon and his gang of GOP-CIA rejects and retreads.  Today more than 80,000 chemicals are registered with EPA.  These old 62,000 chemicals without hazard data now constitute 99% (by volume) of the chemicals used today. Unbelievable?!!!  Poisons are tolerable, right?  Note that combinations of poisons are not tested, but combinations of pesticide is the common situation in humans and the environment.

Redesign The US: Start with TSCA

Further, the EPA charged with administering this act cannot restrict a chemical unless the benefits of so doing are not more costly to business and society than the costs of pulling the chemical.  This means that if the chemical producer says it will cost too much, say $10 million to pull the chemical, and the savings are less, then nothing is done.  This occurs even when less toxic alternatives are available.  While the cancer estimates or other health impact costs are lower than the costs of pulling, there is no change.  Placing too low a cost estimate on tolerable cancer rates is what it turns out to be the critical factor.  How much should your cancer cost to treat?  Everything you have, right?

Since TSCA passed only really excessive bad actors have been pulled: PCBs, asbestos, dioxin, arguably the most toxic substance produced by humans, hexavalent chromium which should never have been registered in the first place and the ozone eating CFCs (chlorofluorcarbon refrigerants).  Finding out that the world is contaminated with a particular chemical and then acting is not logical as a regulatory process.  Regulation should prevent problems.  This means we need a new Toxic Substances Prevention and Control Act (TSPC). Toss TSCA, follow the example of Europe.

There’s worse.  Registrants are required to provide results of hazardous testing when they apply for registration.  No other tests are run by government during this time to validate or challenge these results.  That’s like the farmer asking the fox to prove he will not eat the chicken he has in his mouth.

For example, TSCA requires that chemical manufacturers report any problems with their products.  Great, the fox is going to tell the farmer that he is about to eat the chicken.  Does this sound like regulation or stimulation to lie?   When years later somebody discovers a big problem, like DDT and PCBs, it takes years of hearings to get rid of the stuff, and these are still in our bodies even though they are banned.  What is the industry response? “Wow, we didn’t know it was a carcinogen”.  And then the reported the chemical identity remains a confidential business secret.  The public be dammed.

Better Safe Than Sorry – A Superior Alternative in Effect in Europe

In contrast to our OBSOLETE TOSCA, the European Union has instituted a program called REACH, which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemical Substances.  This far ranging and progressive change augers for innovations that will put the European Chemical Industry far ahead of its backward US competitors.  What the BOTTOM LINE primitives in the community who only call for lifting regulations don’t know, is that innovation is what is needed if we are ever going to come out of this toxic policy fog while also maintaining economic viability.  Few people know or understand these problems and it takes too much time and effort to educate oneself so, its business as usual.  One by one various toxicants rise up as health threats and a big fight between EPA, the chemical company responsible, and the public ensues, largely through the work of many non-profit environmental groups, and finally begrudging congressional action.  The projects takes years- to decades even career times so one has to persist for the years it takes to finally get some change.  Corporations are potentially immortal not like us who suffer death and disease, and they live forever and have the money for the lawyers.

If everybody in a community has to abide by the same regulations                               the playing field is leveled and innovations can be stimulated.  For examples of least toxic type products see the annual issue of the IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Practitioner, a publication we founded decades ago.  Each year over 200 companies are quizzed for their least toxic products according to the different pests they work against.  And least toxic innovations are what is needed to keep the pest control industry functioning into the future.

But maybe the chemical industry should just die.  After all, who needs most of their stuff, the PCB’s, the DDTs, the Teflon coated pots, plastic bags, the smelly stuff on popcorn bags that migrates into your body and stays there forever, the house dust that we breathe and eat that never decomposes, and the rest?  There is no doubt that chemical pesticides are overused whether you look in agriculture, urban, or medical categories. Certainly implementing real Integrated Pest Management programs rigorously could help reduce unnecessary use of the existing materials, but that has not been adequately embraced by voluntary efforts. The more they sell the more money they make.

In this case making the law specifying that any registrant for a chemical must show that it is harmless before registration can be granted would eliminate the kinds of problems that TSCA misses.  And this new European Law includes all the already existing chemicals.  This is in contrast to our 30 plus year old TSCA that tolerates a great number of possible threats to health for decades.

When the act was passed DDT was the biggest problem.  If DDT did not help win WWII by reducing mortality and morbidity from infections diseases maybe it would have not been so difficult to get it banned.  Even though DDT was found as a world wide contaminant in 1949 and banned in 1972, it and its metabolites still contaminate world food chains including virtually universal human body contamination.  And notice the decades between when it first was known as a worldwide contaminant and when it was banned.  It took decades and long hours of hearings to get it acknowledged as a BIG problem.  Approaching regulation one chemical at a time after it threatens our health is not effective regulation.

Did You Know That:

The chemical industry is the largest user of fossil fuels.  It uses 7% of US petroleum products and 12% ofUSnatural gas?

In 2004 the US Chemical Industry produced more than 138 billion pounds of seven bulk chemicals: ethylene, propylene, butylenes, benzene, toluene, xylenes and methane.  These are the starting chemicals for thousands of products.  That’s a lot of plastics.  And there was good life before plastics.

Today everyone on the planet including newborns carries persistent organic pollutants in their bodies.  Some samples indicate up to 200 substances.  One sample from a series of umbilical tissues indicates over 100 chemicals are found in the bodies of newborns.  Can you connect the dots?

The UN has a program to ban some of the so-called “dirty dozen”, mostly organochlorines, including DDT, PCBs, aldrin, chlordane, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, and hexachlorobenzene, dioxins, and furans.  If you want to make something toxic and long lasting just use chlorine somehow in its fabrication – that’s a chemists advice to me years ago.

A chemical plant blew up in India in 1984 which produced the raw material for various “cides”, called methyl isocyanate, releasing poison into the air, killing 3,000 people and seriously injuring 500,000 people.  We, in the US have 13,300 chemical plants scattered here and there.

Cancer is now the number 1 cause of death in the US.  Leading cancers include breast and prostate.

Pesticides are seldom found alone, but occur in combinations, none of which have been tested for effects.

Part 2: Examples of Serious Toxic Substances of Current Concern

This second aspect of importance in this paperback covers specific toxicants including:

1)  Atrazine: This herbicide affects sex development in frogs and amphibians by castration and feminization via aromatase induction, producing hermaphodism among other effects.  Atrazine is a worldwide contaminant which should have been banned decades ago.  60% of theUSpopulation is exposed daily via lawns and food, and its many metabolites were not considered when assessing exposure levels.  We don’t need lawns, for starters.  Atrazine was banned by Europeans in 2005.  76 million pounds are used each year in the US, mostly on corn, sorghum, and many other crops, plus lawns and golf courses.  Golf is the most toxic recreational activity, it turns out.

2)  Phthalates (“thal-ates): This is a family of plasticizers linked to reproductive and developmental toxicity.  The 27 countries ofEuropebanned dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) from personal care products in 2004.  Our FDA, responsible for the safety of cosmetic products (over 22,500 products) has taken no action on the big three phthalates, including the widely used diethyl phthalate (DEP) in addition to DBP and DEHP.  The beauty industry includes toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, hair color, moisturizer, perfume, lipstick, nail polish, and eye and face makeup – products used up to 20-25 times per day by average adults.  And baby care products are particularly bad with young people showing high levels of the 6 or so major phthalates in their bodies. Californialead the effort to remove these poisons from toys and other playthings.  Evidence has accumulated to show how these substances disrupt normal sex development, particularly in males, and both sexes in utero, at levels 100 times lower than the so called safe level set by EPA.  Senator Feinstein lead the charge at the federal level with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.  Now we need new laws that encompass all toxic substances.  Phthalates will still be with us for many more years as they break down slowly.

3)  Lead in candy and lipsticks: A battle royal is on-going as watchdog agencies pressure the FDA to do something besides clap for industry self management.  The massive 60 $billion Beauty Industry has responded with voluntary programs and the usual resistance.  One would think that such an industry would welcome a clean bill of health via a good regulatory system.  No, its business as usual: we are making money and piss on the consumer.

4)  Polybrominated diethyl ethers (PBDEs): This is another familiar problem caused by fire retardants widely incorporated in TVs and other electronic devices including computers, mattresses, upholstered furniture, insulation, car trim, carpet pads and drapes.  They leak out and contaminate the air so are inhaled via house dust in our homes among other places.  Cloths dryer lint is a major source.  Levels are rising rapidly and build up in fatty tissues.  Infants get the worse via breast milk but also from ingestion of house dust.  House cats, which show high proportions of feline hyperthyroidism, are our canaries.  This disease is associated most strongly with indoor cats, showing 20 times the levels found in humans.  Cats and humans are the only mammals that have a high incidence of hyperthyroid disease.  Toxicity data on human PBDE exposures does not exist but animal studies show developmental effects including brain, thyroid, and liver at levels found in humans.  A gradual loss of 1-3% in IQ is correlated with geometrical increases in body burdens.  This could be why our political systems are so dysfunctional-besides being managed by industrial ethics and their money via political campaigns for ignorant politicians.  U.S. tissue samples for PBDEs are 10 times higher than those found inEurope.  These substances are similar to the banned PCBs showing neurological damage in animal experiments.  If risk equals exposure times toxicity, even a mild toxicant can have catastrophic effects if it, like PBDEs, are virtually found in everyone.  Besides viable alternatives are available.  So it’s a matter of being safe rather than sorry.

5) Bisphenol-A:  This is the starting substance for polycarbonate plastic used for reusable food and beverage containers and a epoxy resin that lines most food cans.  It is also found in baby bottles, bicycle helmets, eyeglass lenses, water cooler jugs, and bullet-resistant barriers, reusable food storage containers, bottle caps, water supply lines, electrical equipment, and adhesives.  This chemical mimics the female hormone estrogen, leaches from these resins into foods.  Nearly all of us have this poison in our bodies at levels within the range predicted to be biologically active.  Animal studies show associated body burden levels with increases in breast and prostate cancers, increases in urogenital abnormalities in male babies, declines in semen quality in adult men, early onset of puberty in girls, metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes and obesity and ADHD. Canada banned it in 2008.  This chemical also shows an inverted dose response curve making the usual method of setting lowest no effect levels inadequate.  Animal studies show effects at 200 times lower than the regulatory no effect level.  Boiling water placed in polycarbonate containers leaches at 50 times greater rates than room temperature liquids.  Latest studies indicate the Bisphenol-A may cause similar effects to the banned DES which caused such terrible birth and developmental effects passed to children and grandchildren before being banned.  These effects include endometriosis and uterine fibroids which are the leading causes of the 600,000 hysterectomies preformed in the US each year, and other effects including mental retardation, miscarriage, and congenital defects.  It has also been shown at low does to affect epigenetic programming altering expression of more than 200 genes involved with how the brain gets wired, how cells multiple and how metabolism is regulated.  Switch back to glass.

6)  Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs, PFOAs): One of the biggest uses of these long lived materials is in making nonstick Teflon coated cookware.  These substances are also found in paper products including one of the most toxic – popcorn bags used in microwave popping.  That’s only the tip of the iceberg.  Read about how the major producer of teflon, DuPont, reacts to the information that these substances migrate into foods from coated pots and pans and treated papers.  They paid the fines and settled many class action suits to protect their $1 billion in sales (out of $27 billion).  Poor DuPont.

Final comments:  When I read such a book I conclude that we need to redesign our civilization, including the need to change our regulatory systems, and protect our political systems from business bias and corporate influences.  Neither will be easy.  Does money constitute the primary status symbol, or are there other ways to address social status?  Can businesses also serve their communities rather than just milk them for money?  Does this challenge our way of life?  Yes it does.  But does business as usual produce the highest good for most people?  I don’t think so.  Could that be a criteria to judge our products and behaviors?  How about reducing pain and suffering?  That’s a goal I am sure the religious right and us lefties could agree on.  Now I have great reservations about our country and its path in the world.  These chemical tragedies are only one of the symptoms of a declining civilization which I am sorry to see go this way.  Of course these tragedies are being exposed by watchdog groups and many people, but not enough, publically supported scientists.  Science, properly conducted, without political bias, is our best guide.  Forget prayer to illusory persons, including relying on corporate person-hoods that can’t be placed in jails.  That’s a good place to start, getting the hogs out of the water, first, as Jim Hightower says.  They wont come voluntarily, they need to be pushed out.  Voting for proposition 37 (labelling genetically modified food) in the 2012 election in CA could be a good start.

Some sources of further information and political action

Pesticide Action Network (PAN):

Environmental Working Group (EWG)


Tags: TSCA, Toxic Substances Control Act, atrazine, DDT, PCBs, Chemical Regulation, European Union, REACH, EPA, FDA, Perfluorinated Chemicals, PFCs,  PFOAs, Biphenol-A, dirty dozen, CFCs, chlorofluorcarbons, refrigerant


GMOs and Seed Saving

GMOs and Seed Saving

By William Olkowski, PhD, 8.29.12.

The take over of the seed industry documented below has only occurred recently and is primarily aimed at pushing Genetically Modified Seeds.  This is done by denying all seed sources available to farmers and thereby only selling the GMO seeds.  The farmers who don’t participate are sued when the pollens are blown onto their crops which then become contaminated.  These contaminated crops are then subject to patent law infringement and the farmer is sued.  This is a deliberate attempt to manipulate by threat so farmers will buy the GMO seeds.  Certainly this is an unethical practice, but if you have only money in mind ethics will always be dammed.

What is most puzzling about this whole situation is that farmers are not suing for having their crops contaminated.  I know that farmers can’t afford the costs of suing, even if they thought they could win against such big corporations.  And I suspect there are no laws comparable to the patent laws, which involve property rights.  Property rights must be superior to pollution rights, especially in an era of deregulation.

In any case the world food supply is threatened by these seed monopolies and the GMO crop take over strategies.

What To Do Now?

First, don’t buy any seeds or products sold by these companies (see list below), and hopeCaliforniapasses the label GMO proposition 37.  If CA labels the rest of the US may follow.  But note that only Canada and the US have not passed a labeling law.  50 other countries have done so.  I take it as another example of how the US has slipped backward.

Next, start to grow your own foods, starting with vegetables.  I have been professing this for over 40 years and now all is becoming clearer and thousands of people are now starting to grow their own.  By growing your own vegetables you get pesticide free food, at little cost, and can begin to save your own seeds.

The following extract from The City People’s Book of Raising Food (by H. and W. Olkowski, out of print but to be released again by Viva Publishers, Berkeley, CA in the spring) is instructive about saving seeds.

“We have had particular luck with saving our own seeds from peas, beans, carrots, onions (they will flower the second season), lettuce, coriander, New Zealand spinach, chard, cooking celery, parsley, upland cress, and tomato.  With most of the above you can either collect the seed from the dried flower head, or, as in the case of chard, keep the entire branchlet of seed pods stored for the winter.  With tomatoes you’ll need to mash away the pulp from the seeds.  Then dry them thoroughly, spread out on a paper towel or screen, before you store them away.”

All seed, whether bought or saved from your own garden, should be kept in a cool, dry place.  This is essential as you want seeds that will germinate with vigor the following season. Be attentive to selecting seeds from an individual plant that is vigorous, or earliest and most productive.  Mark it with a ribbon or marker, so as not to harvest it by mistake.

We have also been successful in letting many different plants go to seed in the garden and harvest seedlings to eat directly or weed them out where you want to plant something else.  I call it chaos gardening and have developed a philosophical essay to support the concept (to see this essay tune into the entomological, my blog, search under Chaos Gardening.

The urban agriculturalist is in a good place to lead the development of a new set of land races in competition to the seed companies of the world.  Good luck and good night.



Originally seeds were overwhelmingly in the hands of farmers and public-sector plant breeders.

Corp take-over

Gene Giants have used intellectual property laws to commodify seed supply – a strategy that aims to control plant germplasm and maximize profits by eliminating Farmers’ Rights.

Seed Market

In 2007 the global proprietary seed market was valued at US $22B which constituted 82% of the worldwide commercial seed market (According to Context Network).

The proprietary seed market is even bigger.  This includes brand-name seed that is subject to exclusive monopoly, i.e. intellectual property.  In 2007 total commercial seed market was valued at $26B (does not include farmer-saved seed).

The World’s Top 10 Seed Companies

2007 seed sales (US$ millions) – % of global proprietary seed market (Source: ETC Group).
1.Monsanto (US) –                     $4.9B – 23%
2.DuPont (US) –                        $3.3B – 15%
3.Syngenta (Switzerland) –       $2B      – 9%
4.Groupe Limagrain (France) – $1.2B  –  6%
5.Land O’ Lakes (US) –             $917m – 4%
6.KWS AG (Germany) –            $702m – 3%
7.Bayer Crop Science (Ge) –     $524m – 2%
8.Sakata (Japan) –                     $396m – <2%
9.DLF-Trifolium (Denmark) –     $391m – <2%
10.Takii (Japan) –                       $347m – <2%
Top 10 Total –                          $14.785B – 67% (2/3 )of global Proprietary Seed Market

Adding up, Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta account for 47% of the worldwide proprietary seed market.

Monsanto’s biotech seeds and traits (including those licensed to other companies) accounted for 87% of the total world supply of  d genetically engineered seeds in 2007 (ETC Group).

Monsanto licenses its biotech traits to 250 companies
< 48% of DuPont’s seed revenue came from products that carried a biotech trait.
Global value of GM crops in 2007 at $6.9 billion (Cropnosis).


Consider the Ant and Be Wise

A conversation with the Entomological Philosopher, Wm Olkowski, PhD

Republished from 2.1.12

“Consider the Ant” is good advice.  After all, as social experiments go, ant colony life looks robust.  Ants go back, way back, when Insects started in or before the Cambrian Geological period almost 400 million years ago (mya).  So they must have experimented and learned a bunch over the million of years, right? Well, from my view it’s a heartless social organization, not worth emulating.  But one can learn from almost any bad idea.

The ant, remember is not one species.  Estimates for the number of ant species run over 9,000 species so far (see Wilson’s famous book on the Ants of the World). Will we fragment into 9,000 species of humans?  We certainly can’t get along with each other, much like ants, who raid and kill each other, take war victims, have slave raids, and just march out of the colony to die when its time.  And many people operate just like ants with someone else calling the shots.

An Exception

One exception amongst so many is the Argentine Ant, Linepithema humile (Iridomyrmex humulis), common throughout the southern US and elsewhere by now.  This species does not war between colonies, but interrelates.  Queens walk off with a few hundred or so workers and start up another colony.  Basically it’s one giant, giant, giant, etc., ant colony from coast to coast.  These omnivorous species, accidentally introduced to N. America in coffee shipments from Brazil are really beneficial species as they attack the troublesome fire ants and subterranean termites.  To get them to attack a termite nest you have to help them along by opening the termite nest at one of its branches.  I did this once and watched the ants swarm into the nest eliminating it.  Could the bothersome house invader from S. America be a good model for us humans?  We could get along with each other if there were fewer of us, maybe.  Or do we need evolutionary changes?

What Have the Ants Learned So Far?

And what have all those ants all learned so far?  What have they learned that we can learn from? They are certainly older than us mammals, but that means they have shifted enough, species-wise, to get thru some mighty big environmental changes.  We mammals got thru the last few ice ages probably by eating meat, and the age of the dinosaurs by going underground.  We made it thru many thousands of years of drought, which is a good start, but we were near extinction many times.  And for the big changes ahead we look rather poorly prepared.  At least something was in control of ant colony life – the queen, with her hormones and directing pheromones.

But the automation evident in ant colonies leaves me feeling vapid.  I don’t want that kind of limited life for me as an individual.  So we mammals bought freedom with pain and suffering.  Still, maybe ants have pain and suffering, too.  Other vertebrate animals I have known certainly suffer pain, sadness, loneliness, and fear.  Invertebrates, I don’t know.  Bees are certainly smart.

Lessons from Sheep

We learned a great deal from sheep when we were sheepherders in the 1990s.  One stormy night with high frequency of lightning I got worried about how the sheep were doing.  Once you take on sheep you get to really know what dependency means.  You are responsible for food, water, their health, shelter, and even their emotions, especially fear.  Your job is providing freedom, freedom from famine, thirst, disease and fear.

They give you in return meat, wool, and each mouth a mowing machine.   But there’s no day off.  And they will all die if they think it’s a good idea.  You can surely see that it’s a symbiotic relationship.  You must even worry about when they worry and it’s detectable.

A Night in a Rainstorm on a Ridge above the Sacramento Valley, CA

So this night with a rainstorm falling full of lightning I go up the hill and there they all are huddled around a donkey.  We kept donkeys with our sheep to protect them from coyotes and mountain lions.  Never lost any to these feared predators for well over the 5-8 years we had donkey protection.  An aside: donkeys are cheaper than guard dogs, as donkeys can eat grasses; dogs need dog food, a purchased item.

So I am in the pasture with the sheep and donkeys, rain is falling heavily and lightning is coming less than 5-10 seconds apart.  The light creates recognizable walls of silhouettes.   I know that the shorter the time between flashes the closer the lightning, and I get some fear.  But the sheep are virtually shoulder-to-shoulder to the two guard donkeys.  Normally sheep and donkeys don’t like each other but tolerate the other species.  We force them together but given the choice there would not be symbiotic.  The sheep have made a good decision.  If the lightning hits it will hit the higher headed donkeys.  Once I realize I am standing too tall for safety I go back to bed.

Ants Shift for Humans?

Should we switch to an ant-like colonial life, or will we remain like human-sheep?  Maybe it’s a matter of the known enemy is better than the unknown enemy, or something like that.  I like the idea of division of labor, but to make it a caste inherited by birth (=genes) is too strict. Hindu society was structured like that but it’s an obvious violation of freedom for those on the bottom.

Our civilization makes it even more difficult than merely a matter of freedom.  Ours just lets those on the bottom starve and die from lack of help.  And we just keep on reproducing without any deliberate brakes.  But disease knows no boundaries for the most part.  Sure the elites can hide behind their walls but microbes can sneak in without being seen.  We are all connected, ants, sheep and humans.  What we do to the web we do to ourselves.

Organize Behind Freedom?

Freedom is a good idea.  Freedom, without pain and suffering produced by freedom is the best.  This maybe the only way forward as a criterion for any social/political/genetic changes now contemplated.   One guy I heard wants to use stem cell research by applying it to add wings to the human body.  That’s so wild an idea that I am sure it’s for attention purposes.  But freedom or even wings cannot be imposed unless people want it.  Most people make the cage they live within.  They even get to like it.  But that’s the bad angel of my nature speaking up.  Got to watch out for him, or is it a her?

Organize Around Compassion?

And then there is compassion.  Do ants have compassion?
The real tragedy of the fight over evolution instigated by the right wing crazy religious nuts is that evolution is a cruel process I feel we must, as humane people, resist.  If that is part of the law of life I don’t want it, so in a way, me and the religious nuts overlap.  But how can you resist something you don’t know anything about and even refuse to learn about?  These people don’t know evolution exists because they are using all their mental energy to resist knowing about it and how it works.  Sure, the geological and archeological record is wrong.  The earth and all its being was created in 6 days about 6,000 years ago.  When myths compete for knowledge we are in trouble.

I am for medical interventions as a way to reduce pain and suffering. This sort of thing is a cultural creation, but still due to the same forces of evolution.  So cultural evolution fights traditional evolution, the dog-eat-dog evolution of Darwin.  Ants don’t have medical interventions.  In fact ants maybe model bureaucrats but it looks dull to me.  But having only one female to produce most young maybe is a good idea as the birth rate could be regulated more easily than if every female can reproduce willy-nilly.

And ants have chemical evolution as their principle communication system (and sight); we have sound and sight.  We both have tactile communications as well.  So when two ants meet of the same colony they smell each other, sometimes share food, feces when young, and touch.  This keeps them organized as food searchers, nurses, soldiers, and kings or queens.  Our boundaries are more fluid and redefinable as situations change.


But the phrase – from the Bible I think – about considering the ant has that other rider about Being Wise.  So where is the wisdom in the ant world?  Could it be in the vast experimentation done in organizing the colony?  Could the colony be the agent of evolution that is favored or selected out as the colony meets the exigencies of living?  I think the agent of evolution is the colony not the individual alone.  It’s both.  And that is a bit of wisdom applicable to humans.  We need to learn how to cooperate.  There the ant has a long time ahead of us.  The individuals gave up their reproductive actions to focus on the job of maintaining a living.  But it turn out they did not give up too much as their fellow workers are all sisters.  So by helping a sister and not reproducing yourself you can make a good life.  Is that their learned message?

Wisdom is the love of knowledge and is gained by applying knowledge and seeing that there is more to be learned.  There is always more to be learned.  And nobody has learned it all, nor will.  And that’s one of the great truths from a search for wisdom.  You never get there because it recedes like all ideals.  It’s in the search where the fun is.  Oh, well back to the search.  End.




by William Olkowski, PhD, 8.25.12

Compiled from various sources.

GMO = Genetically Modified Organisms; GM   = Genetically Modified; GE    =  Genetically Engineered = GM.

Genetic modifications occur when a foreign gene is inserted into another organism.  This is done with a transporter virus or by physical injection.  The source gene can be from an organism far removed from the targeted species gene and once transported will remain part of the new genome forever.  And that’s the most serious threat, the forever part, but Jeffrey Smith sums up the core of the problem with this technology:

“Inserting transgenes is like throwing darts that can land in more than a billion possible locations in a genome.  At the insertion site, the host’s natural genes may become mutated, deleted, altered or permanently tuned on or off.  In addition, up to 5% of the active genes throughout the genome may change expression levels.  This is evidenced by laboratory tests.  For example, growing GM cells in tissue culture can cause hundreds or thousands of additional genome-wide mutations.  All this can change RNA, proteins, and other substances, including the countless natural products in plants.  Any one might be harmful.”


a. Labeling foods containing GM products would alert people to such products but in the US there is no way to determine what is GM or not.  50 other countries have labeling laws.  The US does not.

b. There are an unknown but important set of chemicals now occurring in major foods, like corn, soybeans, wheat and sugar beets, for example.  These are produced like a normal gene produces its products, which include RNA’s, proteins, and other substances, including various proteinaceous poisons.   Herbicides gain entry to food plants by direct absorbtion when a plant is rendered herbicide resistant and thus can be sprayed to kill neighboring weeds.

c. The effects of these chemicals are unknown because they were assumed to be safe so were registered by EPA, but also passed by FDA and encouraged by USDA.  This is an example of what the deregulation mania started by Reagan means.  We need better regulation not deregulation.

d. 6 major pesticide companies with loads of cash are fighting the labeling of foods as GM Foods (=Prop 37), but hundreds of others don’t want labeling. Chief among these NO companies are Monsanto (owned by Pfizer), DuPont, Bayer, Pepsi Cola, Nestle, and others.

e. IT’S OUR RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT IS IN OUR FOODS. Even if you don’t care about potential health effects and don’t believe there is a health concern we have the right to know what’s in our food.  With labeling one can make a choice.  Now we are eating various chemicals without knowing it.  All are untested and some are certainly poisons.

e. Health problems are surfacing of great import, for example,when GM soybeans were introduced into the UK there was a 50% rise in allergies.  Allergies are indications of impact on the immune system which protects against disease causing pathogens.

f. Animal studies show major problems: feeding studies kill lab animals, from bleeding stomachs – a common way to go.

g. Genetic pollution is now widespread, moving from GM plants by way of pollens to weeds, other crops, all over the world.  Genetic pollution is forever.

h. Loss of organic certification from wind blown pollens. Instead of farmers suing because of genetic contamination from GM crops the GM companies claim losses due to patent infringement, an unbelievable consequence of judicial ignorance and misinformation campaigns by super wealthy corporations.

i. Rapid growth of herbicide resistant weeds, thus increasing costs of crop production and increasing soil, water and air concentrations of herbicides, already a big problem.

j. Loss of natural enemies due to loss of lepidopteran hosts.  Contaminated pollens spread gene producing poisons to other plants thereby killing non-target herbivores which support natural enemies, thereby reducing these species which are important natural controls.

WHY IS CA PROPOSITION 37, WHICH WILL FORCE GM FOOD LABELING IMPORTANT? Once CA passes a law requiring labeling, the US will follow suit.  50 other countries have already and consumers can identify such foods and avoid them.


More Monsanto Lies about GMO Foods.



Published: Friday 24 August 2012

Monsanto has even recently published a page on their site titled “Taking a Stand: Proposition 37, The California Labeling Proposal,” where the GMO giant attempts to logically explain why it is against GMO labeling.

Due to the near future voting on November 6, 2012 for California’s Proposition 37, there has been a lot of heat going back and forth concerning GMO foods. Up until now, 10′s of million of dollars have been funneled into the opposing side of the bill, with biotechnology giant Monsanto dishing out a whopping $4.2 million alone. Monsanto has even recently published a page on their site titled ”Taking a Stand: Proposition 37, The California Labeling Proposal,” where the GMO giant attempts to logically explain why it is against GMO labeling. Needless to say, the post reeks of false and misleading statements, and oftentimes downright deception. Here are the top 7 lies Monsanto wants you to believe regarding GMO labeling and Prop 37.

Monsanto’s Top 7 Lies

1. The bill ”would require a warning label on food products.”

GMO foods will not require a warning label (although they ought to!) Actually, foods made with GMOs would say ”partially produced with genetic engineering” or “may be partially produced with genetic engineering,” – not a warning label, but a clear warning sign to those of us who want to avoid GMOs. The whole idea of the GMO labeling bill is to make consumers aware of what they are consuming, not to bash GMOs on every label. We have a right to know.

2. ”The safety and benefits of these ingredients are well established.”

This may be the most comical statements of all. While no long-term studies portray the dangers or benefits of GMOs, countless studies using a ‘shorter’ time interval show not only how GMOs are a danger to humans, but also the environment and the biosphere. One study published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences shows that GMO corn and other GM food is indeed contributing to the obesity epidemic and causing organ disruption.

Through the mass genetic modification of nature via GMO crops, animals, biopesticides, and the mutated insects that are created as a result, mega biotechnology corporations are threatening the overall genetic integrity of the environment as well as all of humankind. This is just one reason that GMO crops are continuously banned around the world in nations such asFrance,Peru,Hungary, andPoland.

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3. “FDA says that such labeling would be inherently misleading to consumers.”

While the FDA may think that labeling GMO foods would be misleading, in reality the exact opposite is true. Most consumers are in the dark when it comes to GMOs residing in their purchased foods. Foods being sold that contain hidden GMOs is much more misleading than letting the consumer be aware.

The FDA may call it ‘misleading’ since ‘GMOs are safe,’ but research shows that this is far from the truth.

4. “The American Medical Association just re-affirmed that there is no scientific justification for special labeling of bioengineered foods.”

Although true, the American Medical Association also recently called for mandatory premarket safety studies for GMOs – a decision virtually polar opposite of the above quote. It seems that the AMA is being inconsistent no matter which view is taken. Here is a quote from Consumers Union recently noted in its reaction to AMA’s announcement:

“The AMA’s stance on mandatory labeling isn’t consistent with its support for mandatory pre-market safety assessments. If unexpected adverse health effects, such as an allergic reaction, happen as a result of GE, then labeling could perhaps be the only way to determine that the GE process was linked to the adverse health effect.”

5. ”…the main proponents of Proposition 37 are special interest groups and individuals opposed to food biotechnology who are not necessarily engaged in the production of our nation’s food supply.”

Not engaged int he production of our nation’s food supply? Countless farmers, food producers, and consumers who are engaging with their hard-earned dollar support Proposition 37. In fact, many farmers have taken legal action against Monsanto in the past for widespread genetic contamination.

Here is a growing list of endorsements for the GMO labeling bill.

6. ”The California proposal would serve the purposes of a few special interest groups at the expense of the majority of consumers.”

Monsanto says “at the expense of the majority of consumers.” Maybe the biotech giant isn’t away that GMO labeling is so desired that the pro-labeling side has a 3-to-1 advantage, based on recent polls. The majority of consumers actually want GMO foods to be labeled. It is no secret that government organizations such as theFDA and USDA are in bed with Monsanto, but this is a decision for the people – not any government organizations.

It has also been revealed that Monsanto has control of virtually all U.S. diplomats, and the company has even used its massive influence to force other nations to accept their genetically modified crops through economic threats and political pressure.

7. ”Consumers have broad food choices today, but could be denied these choices if Prop 37 prevails.”

There is absolutely no reason to think that because of Proposition 37, food choices would become more limited. Actually, the bill would add value to the purchase by consumers, as no one would need to ‘eat in the dark’ and unknowingly consume GMOs.