The European Union plans to ban the world’s most widely used insecticides in an effort to protect bees and other valuable pollinator insects. The ban on neonicotinoids, approved by member nations on Friday, is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will mean they can only be used in closed greenhouses.
Not only have these insecticides been linked to dramatic declines in bees and other pollinators, they’re also suspected in declines in many other insect species, along with insect-eating birds and bats. Even important creatures like earthworms are being damaged by neonics, a four-year investigation by the task force found.
The EU had previously banned use of neonics on flowering crops that are known to specifically attract bees, noting that an estimated three quarters of important food crops may be pollinated by bees.
Three-quarters of all honey on Earth has pesticides in it! In 2013, the European Union banned the use of three neonics on crops that are visited by bees. But because these pesticides are used to coat the seeds of crops, much of it leaches onto the soil, contaminating nearby wildflowers and other crops. Even in tiny doses, these chemicals can harm bees. “These neonicotinoids are extremely, extremely toxic, according to Edward Mitchell, the leader of the Laboratory of Soil Biology at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, they are 4 to 5,000 times more toxic than DDT.
And the problem could be even worse, according to Christopher Connolly, a neurobiologist at the University of Dundee’s School of Medicine, recent studies only tested the honey for five neonics, but crop fields are sometimes sprayed with more than 20 chemicals and bees hop from field to field, Connolly says. So the honey could contain many more pesticides.
These findings are concerning not only for bees. Even though most studies have focused on how neonics harm honeybees, these pesticides are likely to harm many more insects, including butterflies, moths, and earthworms that live in contaminated soil, Connolly says. But our ecosystems need a variety of bugs to be strong and resilient, just as our crops need a variety of pollinators to survive. If we keep using pesticides indiscriminately, “we don’t know when we can expect a tipping point,” Connolly says. “This is a very dangerous strategy for human-kind to go down.”
Field results confirm that neonicotinoids negatively affect pollinator health under realistic agricultural conditions. Read the full publication here
Chensheng Lu was in his element last month at a speech before a green group at Harvard Law School. The School of Public Health professor was lecturing on his favorite topic--his only subject these days, as it has become his obsession: why he believes bees around the world are in crisis.
Lu is convinced, unequivocally, that a popular pesticide hailed by many scientists as a less toxic replacement for farm chemicals proven to be far more dangerous to humans and the environment is actually a killer in its own right. "We demonstrated that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering Colony Collapse Disorder in bee hives," claimed Lu. The future of our food system and public health, he said, hangs in the balance. Read more
Though no one cause has been identified for CCD, poor diets, exposure to pesticides and parasites are all on the list of potential causes. Now, the University of London says, pressure on young bees could also be a factor. Read more
15/02/15 21:10 Filed in: Colony Collapse Disorder | CCD | Bees
The first comprehensive survey of CCD-affected bee populations
that suggests CCD involves an interaction between pathogens and other stress factors. We present evidence that this condition is contagious or the result of exposure to a common risk factor. Potentially important areas for future hypothesis-driven research, including the possible legacy effect of mite parasitism and the role of honey bee resistance to pesticides, are highlighted.
The European Commission has adopted a proposal to restrict the use of three pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoid family (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) for a period of two years.
The Commission's action was in response to the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) scientific report,
which identified "high acute risks" for bees as regards exposure to dust in several crops such as corn, cereals and sunflowers, to residues in pollen and nectar in crops like oilseed rape and sunflower and to guttation in corn.
In the US, the EPA is not currently banning or severely restricting the use of the neonicotinoid pesticides. The neonicotinoid pesticides are currently being re-evaluated through registration review.
28/03/14 09:14 Filed in: Bees | Pesticides | Canada
Four major environmental groups are demanding that Ottawa force pesticide makers to provide scientific studies looking at whether their products are killing off bees.
Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency has been asking registered pesticide manufacturers for the studies since 2004.
But despite several notices, the studies haven't been produced, while the pesticides in question continue to be manufactured and sold.Read More
14/03/14 23:05 Filed in: Insecticides | Bees | Neonicotinoids
An excellent presentation by Graham White, which covers the effect of neonicotinoids on bees. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rb_0xFwCYx4&feature=youtu.be
This invention concerns a method for preventing and treating Colony Collapse Disorder, consisting in the use of an automated device that delivers a diet specifically calibrated for consumption by farm colonies of bees to be treated. The apparatus comprises a box-like container accommodating in its interior at least one reservoir for liquid-tight, accessible from outside through a nozzle, an atomizing device of a liquid solution or suspension contained in the reservoir, means for the delivery of the liquid atomized solution or suspension into micrometric drops outside the apparatus, and a control unit programmed for timing the delivery of the solution or suspension to the outside, for the determination of the quantity of solution or suspension delivered and for emitting alarm signals in case of malfunction, the apparatus being powered DC with the energy supplied by a solar panel located outside of the container. The liquid solution or suspension comprises tonic and nutrient ingredients, mainly consisting of milk powder, sugars and lower organic acids, antioxidant and antiseptic ingredients contained in plant extracts and healing ingredients to bees, such as essential oils of thyme and oxalic acid.Read More