The Honeybee Mystery: What it means to you and your investments
Here at the Stockmasters, we're always on the lookout for an angle,
some type of edge that we can use to make money (and help you make
it too). In this day and age, the best way to achieve investment
success is by knowing something that others don't, to try and find
something that the investment community has overlooked. With that
said, in the past year, 24 U.S. States have reported Honey Bee disappearances.
Government and science authorities are calling it "Colony Collapse
Disorder (CCD)." Beekeepers have reported losses ranging from
60% to 100% of their bee colonies.
A third of the food supply in the United States - and actually
the world - is directly related to the honey bee: Fruits, vegetables,
nuts. Then, there is probably another 30% of what we consume that
honey bees are indirectly responsible for. Take the milk we drink.
The cows have to have hay. They need to eat clover and alfalfa to
This isn't just an isolated incident in the United States. Canada
has reported similar problems, along with Spain, Poland, and Brazil.
In Taiwan, about 10 million bees have gone AWOL in the last 2 months.
Part of the mystery is that beekeepers aren't finding millions of
dead bees in the hives and on the ground; they are flying away from
the hive and not returning. Experts have no real idea what causes
CCD. Alleged causes range from harmful pesticides and increased
solar radiation through ozone thinning, to falling queen fertility
and use of unauthorized bee treatments. German researchers recently
suggested mobile phone radiation may interfere with bees' "navigation
systems", resulting in an inability to find their way back
to the hive. A recently published report is blaming 'Varroa mites",
which have piercing and sucking mouthparts and feed on the blood
of honey bee adults, larvae and pupae. Even the Christians have
thown in their two sense, with there article entitled Missing
Bees, Cell Phones and Fulfillment of Bible Prophecy. (That is
priceless) Or maybe this is all a big publicity stunt, orchestrated
by Jerry Seinfeld for his new movie - Bee
As you can see, there are a lot of theories, but the bottom line
is scientists are stumped. Historically, there have been times when
the honey bee population has decreased, but nothing comparable to
the current crises.
This article is not all about gloom & doom though. I am optimistic
that if the problem gets bad enough, the human race will find away
to fix it. The real question here is how can you prepare yourself,
and profit, from what could be a global food shortage?
First, let's talk about how to prepare yourself and take a lesson
from the Church of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as Mormons.
They believe that there will be a massive starvation - and they
might get their wish this time. Every Mormon I've met has massive
stockpiles of food in their basement and is obsessed about canning
equipment. What I'm trying to get at is it wouldn't hurt to stockpile
some food, just in case the stores run out.
Now let's get to the fun part - how can you profit from a global food
shortage? It's a daunting task, but I think you will find that the
results are quite intriguing. The most obvious place to start is:
The Futures Market: I won't lie and tell you I am an expert in
the futures market. My specialty is Stock Mastery. But you're about
to get a crash course of what will and will not be profitable in
the futures market.
- Like I said earlier, Cattle depends on Hay, Clover &
Alfalfa as food sources. Take away the food source, and we have
less supply in a high demand market.
COCOA - Don't worry, your chocolate isn't going anywhere. Cocoa, derived
from the Cacao plant, pollinates from small insects.
- In most instances where pollination of coffee was studied, the
honeybee was the most important - however, Africanized 'killer'
bees can also do the job, and in some cases do it better. There
is an Arabic coffee bean that self pollinates.
- Corn does not require bees for pollination, however, corn prices
may inadvertently increase because of the lack of other foods available.
100 OZ - This would be the classic panic buy if the honey bee
issue does turn into a major problem.
SOYBEAN - Prepare yourself for meals of Tofu. Soybeans self-pollinate.
- no dice, sugar doesn't rely on the honey bee.
JUICE - Gold mine! Or is it? As Billy Ray Valentine (Trading
Places) would say: Yeah. You know, it occurs to me that the best
way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people. Would
Orange Juice be affected by the lack of honey bees? That's a tough
call. Navel oranges don't need bees, but a lot of other orange varieties
do need bees to pollinate their fruit. The problem is, OJ futures
have already had a huge run-up in the last year because of the late
frost that killed the greater part of crops. The run from $100 to
$200 has since corrected to around $150, but the price is still
If you're not familiar with the Futures market, here is a good
site to view charts and quotes http://futures.tradingcharts.com/menu.html
Now that we've covered the futures market, let's delve into the
world of Stocks. You don't have to be an Economics major to realize
that if 1/3 of the food supply turns up missing this summer, our
economy will most likely enter a recession. Here is a list of stocks
in the Farm Produce industry; this sector would most likely get
hit the hardest. My top pick from the list is (FDP),
Fresh Del Monte Produce. I can't give you all the answers on this
one or this article is going to turn into a novel, so do a little
research and use your best judgment.
Symbol, Company, Name, Industry
Alico, Inc. FarmProd
Bevo Agro Inc. FarmProd
Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. FarmProd
Chai-Na-Ta Corp. FarmProd
Brands International, Inc. FarmProd
Cresud Inc. (ADR) FarmProd
Calavo Growers, Inc. FarmProd
Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. FarmProd
Hines Horticulture, Inc. FarmProd
Innovium Capital Corp. FarmProd
Knox Nursery, Inc. FarmProd
Menu Foods Income Fund FarmProd
Margo Caribe, Inc. FarmProd
Macadamia Orchards, L.P. FarmProd
Optimax Industries, Inc. FarmProd
OrganiTECH USA, Inc. FarmProd
Ridley Inc. FarmProd
American Soil Technologies, Inc. FarmProd
SVIN Scheid Vineyards Inc. FarmProd
Agricore United FarmProd
Food Technology Service FarmProd
Western Forest Products, Inc. FarmProd
Holdings Inc. FarmProd
To summarize: if you're the bull type, your best bet is to go with
the Commodity futures market. My assumption is Gold, Corn, Cattle,
Coffee, and Orange Juice could have an edge. If you're the bear
type, look for Farm Produce stocks, or any stocks that could indirectly
be affected by the honey bee drought.
The ballot is still out on whether or not the disappearing honey
bees will actually cause a global impact or not. More data will
come in the summertime when farmers report their yields (or lack
thereof). There is also a huge debate on whether other pollinators
can take the place of honey bees. I recommend keeping a very close
eye on the situation, and take steps to prepare yourself. Stay tuned
for a follow up article this summer.
Article written by: Eric
Article posted on: April 29th, 2007
Disclaimer: The Author owns no commodity futures and none of
the stocks mentioned during the time of this publication.