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
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.
Imagine this: You're a commercial beekeeper, who relies entirely on keeping honeybees for making a living. You head out one morning to examine your bees and find that thousands of your previously healthy hives have "collapsed" mysteriously, after your bees pollinated crops in the fields of one of the farmers with whom you contract. Your bees have abandoned their hives, and they've not returned.Read More