American Chemical Society Reports that Corn insecticide is linked to great die-off of beneficial honeybees (Colony Collapse)

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Corn insecticide linked to great die-off of beneficial honeybees
Author: American Chemical Society (ACS)
Published on Mar 15, 2012 - 2:20:39 PM
http://yubanet.com/scitech/Corn-insecticide-linked-to-great-die-off-of-beneficial-honeybees.php

March 14, 2012 - New research has linked springtime die-offs of honeybees critical for pollinating food crops — part of the mysterious malady called colony collapse disorder — with technology for planting corn coated with insecticides. The study, published in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology, appears on the eve of spring planting seasons in some parts of Europe where farmers use the technology and widespread deaths of honeybees have occurred in the past.

In the study, Andrea Tapparo and colleagues explain that seeds coated with so-called neonicotinoid insecticides went into wide use in Europe in the late 1990s. The insecticides are among the most widely used in the world, popular because they kill insects by paralyzing nerves but have lower toxicity for other animals. Almost immediately, beekeepers observed large die-offs of bees that seemed to coincide with mid-March to May corn planting. Scientists thought this might be due to particles of insecticide made airborne by the pneumatic drilling machines used for planting. These machines forcefully suck seeds in and expel a burst of air containing high concentrations of particles of the insecticide coating. In an effort to make the pneumatic drilling method safer, the scientists tested different types of insecticide coatings and seeding methods.

They found, however, that all of the variations in seed coatings and planting methods killed honeybees that flew through the emission cloud of the seeding machine. One machine modified with a deflector to send the insecticide-laced air downwards still caused the death of more than 200 bees foraging in the field. The authors suggest that future work on this problem should focus on a way to prevent the seeds from fragmenting inside the pneumatic drilling machines.

The authors acknowledge funding from the University of Padova and the Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali, Italy.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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Sacramento Dave
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http://yubanet.com/usa/Beekeepers-Environmental-Groups-to-EPA-Pesticide-Approval-is-Irresponsible-and-Damaging.php

Beekeepers, Environmental Groups to EPA: Pesticide Approval is "Irresponsible" and "Damaging"
By: Center for Food Safety March 21, 2012 - Today, commercial beekeepers and environmental organizations filed an urgent legal petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend further use of a pesticide the agency knows poses harm to honey bees, and adopt safeguards to ensure similar future pesticides aren't approved by the agency. The legal petition is supported by over one million citizen petitions also submitted today that were collected from people across the country calling out one pesticide in particular – clothianidin – for its harmful impacts on honey bees.

"EPA has an obligation to protect pollinators from the threat of pesticides," said Jeff Anderson of California Minnesota Honey Farms, a co-petitioner. "The Agency has failed to adequately regulate pesticides harmful to pollinators despite scientific and on-the-ground evidence presented by academics and beekeepers."

Over two dozen beekeepers and beekeeper organizations from across the country, from California and Minnesota to Kansas and New York, filed the legal petition with the EPA today. Many of these family-owned beekeeping operations are migratory, with beekeepers traveling the country from state-to-state, during different months of the year to providing pollination services and harvesting honey and wax. And they are concerned about the continued impacts on bees and their beekeeping operations, which are already in jeopardy.

"The future of beekeeping faces numerous threats, including from clothianidin, and we need to take steps to protect pollinators and the livelihood of beekeepers," said Steve Ellis of Old Mill Honey Co and a co-petitioner.

Nine years ago, scientists within the EPA required a field study examining the potential harms of clothianidin to non-target insects – specifically honey bees – because they had reason to believe the pesticide may harm pollinators. In the years since EPA first required this study, a substantial body of scientific evidence has confirmed that the use of clothianidin, a persistent chemical, presents substantial risks to honey bees and other insects that are in or near recently sown fields.

"EPA ignored its own requirements and failed to study the impacts of clothianidin on honey bees," said Peter Jenkins, an attorney for the Center for Food Safety and co-petitioner. "The body of evidence against the chemical continues to grow, yet the agency has refused to take action."

The legal petition points to the fact that EPA failed to follow its own regulations. EPA granted a conditional, or temporary, registration to clothianidin in 2003 without a required field study establishing that the pesticide would have no "unreasonable adverse effects" on pollinators. Granting conditional registration was contingent upon the subsequent submission of an acceptable field study, but this requirement has not been met. EPA continues to allow the use of clothianidin nine years after acknowledging that it had an insufficient legal basis for allowing its use to begin with. Additionally, the product labels on pesticides containing clothianidin are inadequate to prevent excessive damage to non-target organisms, which is a second violation of the requirements for using a pesticide and further warrants removing all such mislabeled pesticides from use.

Over 1.25 million people, including many hobbyist beekeepers, submitted comments in partnership with the organizations Avaaz, Change.org, Credo, Pesticide Action Network, Beyond Pesticides and Neals Yard Remedies/Care2.com, calling on EPA to take action on clothianidin.

"EPA should move swiftly to close the loophole and revoke the conditional registration of clothianidin," said Heather Pilatic, co-director of Pesticide Action Network and a co-petitioner. "Bees and beekeepers can't afford to wait another nine years for inaction."

Petitioners point to the agency's demonstrated delay in analyzing potentially harmful products and then taking them off the market. EPA is concurrently conducting a review of clothianidin's registration, which it projects completing in 2018.

Beekeepers estimate the real value of their operations at $50 billion, based on retail value of food and crop grown from seed that relies upon bee pollination. Bees in particular are responsible for pollinating many high-value crops, including pumpkins, cherries, cranberries, almonds, apples, watermelons, and blueberries. So any decline in bee populations, health and productivity can have especially large impacts on agriculture, the food system and rural economies. Honey bees are the most economically important pollinators in the world, according to a recent United Nations report on the global decline of pollinator populations.

Beekeepers have survived the economic recession only to find their operations are still threatened. Recent, catastrophic declines in honey bee populations, termed "Colony Collapse Disorder," have been linked to a wide variety of factors, including parasites, habitat loss and pesticides like clothianidin.

"Independent research links pollinator declines, especially honey bees, to a wide range of problems with industrial agriculture, especially pesticides," said John Kepner, program director at Beyond Pesticides and a co-petitioner.

Neonicotinoids, a class of systemic pesticides, is taken up a plant and expressed through the plants through which bees then forage and pollinate. Recent research in the journal PLoS ONE underscores the threat of these pesticides through a previously undocumented exposure route – planter exhaust – the talc and air mix expelled into the environment as automated planters place neonicotinoid-treated seeds into the ground during spring planting.

As a result of the petition, EPA may choose to suspend the use of clothianidin, or open a public comment process to evaluate the concerns voiced by beekeepers and environmental organizations.

The text of the legal petition is available here. Background on the economic value of honey bees and pollinator services is available here.

Sacramento Dave's picture
Sacramento Dave
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Nov. 27, 2010 10:46 am

UPDATE! March 29, 2012: http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre82s12p-us-pesticides-bees/

Studies show how pesticides make bees lose their way

By Kate KellandPosted 2012/03/29 at 2:04 pm EDT

LONDON, Mar. 29, 2012 (Reuters) — Scientists have discovered ways in which even low doses of widely used pesticides can harm bumblebees and honeybees, interfering with their homing abilities and making them lose their way.

In two studies published in the journal Science on Thursday, British and French researchers looked at bees and neonicotinoid insecticides - a class introduced in the 1990s now among the most commonly used crop pesticides in the world.

In recent years, bee populations have been dropping rapidly, partly due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Scientists also fear pesticides are destroying bee populations, but it is not clear how they are causing damage.

Dave Goulson of Stirling University in Scotland, who led the British study, said some bumblebee species have declined hugely.

"In North America, several bumblebee species which used to be common have more or less disappeared from the entire continent," while in Britain, three species have become extinct, he said in a statement.

The threat to bee populations also extends to Asia, South America and the Middle East, experts say.

Bees are important pollinators of flowering plants, including many fruit and vegetable crops. A 2011 United Nations report estimated that bees and other pollinators such as butterflies, beetles or birds do work worth 153 billion euros ($203 billion) a year to the human economy.

In the first of the Science studies, a University of Stirling team exposed developing colonies of bumblebees to low levels of a neonicotinoid called imidacloprid, and then placed the colonies in an enclosed field site where the bees could fly around collecting pollen under natural conditions for six weeks.

At the beginning and end of the experiment, the researchers weighed each of the bumblebee nests - which included the bees, wax, honey, bee grubs and pollen - to see how much the colony had grown.

Compared to control colonies not exposed to imidacloprid, the researchers found the treated colonies gained less weight, suggesting less food was coming in.

The treated colonies were on average eight to 12 percent smaller than the control colonies at the end of the experiment, and also produced about 85 percent fewer queens - a finding that is key because queens produce the next generation of bees.

In the separate study, a team led by Mickael Henry of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Avignon tagged free-ranging honeybees with tiny radio-frequency identification microchips glued to each bee's back. This allowed them to track the bees as they came and went from hives.

The researchers gave some of the bees a low dose of the neonicotinoid pesticide thiamethoxam which they knew would not kill them and compared them to a control group of bees that was not exposed to the pesticide.

The treated bees were about two to three times more likely to die while away from their nests, and the researchers said this was probably because the pesticide interfered with the bees' homing systems, so they couldn't find their way home.

Henry said the findings raised important issues about pesticide authorization procedures.

"So far, they (the procedures) mostly require manufacturers to ensure that doses encountered on the field do not kill bees, but they basically ignore the consequences of doses that do not kill them but may cause behavioral difficulties," he said in a statement.

($1 = 0.7525 euros)

(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Karolina Tagaris)

harry ashburn
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This is alarming news! They ignore the consequences of doses that may cause behavioral difficulties! We NEED THE BEES!!!! If there are petitions we can sign regarding this please post the links. Thanks!

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MrsBJLee
Joined:
Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am

It's pretty simple. No bees....no food. Bees are what allow most plants to produce edibles. Fruit, beans, peas, grains like corn, etc.

No pollinated plants....no anything. Without bees, most plants that agriculture relies on can't reproduce. Without bees, we can't reproduce either. We'd be dead from starvation along with most of the planet's animal life.

Three cheers for Monsanto's population control program!

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

.

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Currently Chatting

End. Fracking. Now!

California is already dealing with the worst drought in that state's history. So, the last thing residents needed was to learn that some of their dwindling water supply has been contaminated.

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