Skip to comments.Insecticide firms in secret bid to stop ban that could save bees
Posted on 04/28/2013 5:07:12 AM PDT by Renfield
Europe is on the brink of a landmark ban on the world's most widely used insecticides, which have increasingly been linked to serious declines in bee numbers. Despite intense secret lobbying by British ministers and chemical companies against the ban, revealed in documents obtained by the Observer, a vote in Brussels on Monday is expected to lead to the suspension of the nerve agents.
Bees and other insects are vital for global food production as they pollinate three-quarters of all crops. The plummeting numbers of pollinators in recent years has been blamed on disease, loss of habitat and, increasingly, the near ubiquitous use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
The prospect of a ban has prompted a fierce behind-the-scenes campaign. In a letter released to the Observer under freedom of information rules, the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, told the chemicals company Syngenta last week that he was "extremely disappointed" by the European commission's proposed ban. He said that "the UK has been very active" in opposing it and "our efforts will continue and intensify in the coming days"....
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
I thought it was established that bee hive collapse was being caused by a parasite and not insecticide.
Interesting.....Bees have been on the decline for some time and a necessity in our food production.
I am very interested in the reason for the decline as I have hives on my property that belong to a local bee guy
We could bring back ddt.
That might help us in Afghanistan...
Honeybees have virtually disappeared in my area, as have most wild bees. When I first moved here...in 2009....my apple trees were covered with bees when they bloomed. There were thousands of bees around. This season I saw exactly two honeybees in my orchard. The situation is dire.
A local beekeeper tells me they come and go. He says that now they’re on the rise again.
With our extreme drought here in TX, I was concerned about the local bee population. Then I discovered a huge number of Solitary Bees in my blackberry bushes, on my strawberry plants, on my plum bushes and on my fruit trees.
What found amazing was the variety, number and activity of these bees. And they don’t bring diseases back to the hive, there is none.
And they are a much better pollinator because they move from bloom to bloom more frequently than honey bees.
Here is a very early book on “The Mason-Bees” (as in Purple Orchard Mason Bees).
The chemical some connect to bee decline are the neonicotinoids (Syngenta’s called Cruiser OSR). It is a systemic insecticide. Applied as seed treatment and is lethal to insects that attack the plant. Some say the poison gets into the pollen of the plant and kills the bees.
Here is another good book on Solitary Bees:
I’m thinking this kind of over reaction is similar to the global warning over reaction. It will take time for the cycle to play out.
Anything even close to real science exists not in that rag.
Think NYT, but more leftist, but wiith much lower IQ (rare, but possible).
Yup, lots of native pollinators fill the niche when European honeybee populations fall.
Yes, and from my observation and reading they are more efficient pollinators too.
I read a panicky article the other day proclaiming that the fruit crop in the midwest collapsed last year due to the collapse of the honeybee populations.
The article didn’t mention the very early bloom followed by a hard freeze followed by a severe drought. Nope, it was because all the honeybees are gone.
Just like global warming.
BTW, the fruit growers are predicting a banner year this year as things appear to be working in their favor this spring.
Before these neonicotinoids were brought in during the 90s the main pesticides that affect nervous systems were organophosphates and carbamates. They were bad enough especially in killing song birds in forest spraying, supposedly protected by international treaties. The point is if bees are being decimated, it’s not just them. The American Bird Conservancy published 200 studies that show that neonicotinoids adversely affect birds and aquatic life as well and even wildlife. This is an old story that just keeps repeating itself. These companies like Shell and Bayer bring products onto the market without really knowing what their harmful effects are. Many of people who apply them don’t follow the instructions in any case or make mistakes.
Of course, on the flip side, perhaps the EPA banned something in a manufacturing chain that kept the fungi/diseases/hive infestors at bay?
Imadacloprid was developed by a Japanese company and Bayer got the exclusive rights about 1985. Its off-patent now and is manufactured by many companies in India and China.
Bees have been on the decline since insecticide gene splicing was done to boost insect resistance of crops. The gene mod is spreading in the wild.
“thinking themselves to be wise, they become as fools when they worship creation and not the Creator”.
pesticide is a general term that encompasses insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, biocides............... neonicotinoids are insecticides used extensively in commercial agriculture and for termite control in and around homes and structures. The desirability of this class of insecticide is also at the heart of the problems it causes (side affects) and why it became so popular and is now used extensively: it has a low mammalian toxicity, it is broad spectrum meaning that it kills many types of insects, pests and beneficials alike, it is extremely effective at very very low dose rates, it is persistent (degrades over a period of weeks not days) and when applied topically to a plant the insecticide translocates throughout the plant but mostly to the leaves, stems and flowers to include the pollen. Once inside the plant, it become more dilute as the plant increases in biomass. The trace amounts that can be detected in the pollen is where the harm to the pollinators derive. The bees carry the insecticide laden pollen back to the hive thus eventually killing the entire hive(s).
RE parasites and mites that effect bees: Honey bee parasites do affect their populations but have also been part of nature for thousands of years and when infested, the bees have seemingly always adapted, survived and eventually thrived again.
This neonicotinoid insecticide class was introduced for commercial use in US agriculture in the 1980s and its use sky rocked in the 1990s and is still being used extensively today.
Is it just a coincidence that the bee colony collapse began around the same time? My opinion as an Agricultural Pest Control Adviser, I believe there is a connection. The mode of action (how it kills insects) of this insecticide has been found as the cause of death in many of the bee colony collapse research studies. At this point, money and politics aside, it should be incumbent upon our government to accept the data that has been presented by independent researchers (do your own search) which clearly implicates the effects of this compound in Honey Bee Colony Collapse and immediately prohibit its use in the agricultural industry.
Ps, love bees, had a hive for a number of years, just because.
Bee colonies are destroyed by cellphone towers. The radio transmissions effect their ability to navigate and they can’t find their way home.
I read it on the internet so it must be true.
hee hee hee
Correct. We had 2 late frosts this year. Killed all the fruit on my plum bushes (4) and my pear trees (2). Have not checked my persimmon tree yet. Thinks it also got the fruit on my young apricot tree.
Blackberry bushes are blooming now and strawberry plants too. You have to have a variety to be successful here with fruit trees.
I watered them all yesterday. Still real dry here.
Fruit growers here in Michigan took a hit in the pocketbook last year but say that it was good for the trees in the long run. The trees just shut down in the dry heat last summer and conserved energy. Now the leaves are starting to bud and will burst into full bloom within the week with fruiting energy to spare.
Yep. Same is true with books. Easily modified after the fact.
Consequence of today’s tech.
The old forensic stuff no longer works. Harder to catch a crook or a fraud.
I just wanted to clear up a few facts about the neonicotinoid pesticides’ effect on Honeybees as well as our dependance on Honeybees.
My husband and I are hobbyist beekeepers (going on 14 years now) and we have over 35 hives. We keep them outside Atlanta, GA and take them up to western NC during the sourwood flow. We regularly attend meetings where state agriculture agents, university research scientists, and other experts in the field are speaking. We have both been asked to speak ourselves upon occasion.
This problem is NOT, I REPEAT NOT, a hyped up, agenda-driven scare tactic like global warming. It is very real. And the consequences are potentially devastating. One third of our food depends on insect pollination and trust me... native bees cannot handle what is needed. Keep in mind that North America did not have the variety and abundance of fruits and vegetables until they were brought here along with the honeybee.
While native bees like Mason bees do pollinate, the hard cold fact is that they cannot pollinate on the scale that the honeybee does. And I will be happy to debate that issue with any of you who want to argue the fact. I will say here that one of the main reasons is because the honeybee can be managed..... meaning their hives can be transported to the fields and orchards where they are needed at any specific time. For instance, it takes over a million hives to pollinate the almond groves in CA, so hives are trucked there for the two or three weeks of pollination.
It is true that the parasitic Varroa mites, and several viruses cause severe loss of honeybees. But we are learning more and more non-chemical ways of helping the bees manage these threats, but when the bees are weakened by pesticides, their ability to fight off the mites and viruses is harmed. Also we have watched research video of bees being exposed to the neonicotinoid pesticides then exhibiting severe nerve damage.
I agree that the Guardian is not always a reliable scientific source, however it is TRUE that Germany and France (I think, and possibly other countries) have already banned those neonicotinoids and the UK is on the brink of doing so..... here in the USA, our chemical lobbyists are just too powerful to even allow discussion on the topic to take place.
Thanks for listening and FReep-mail me if you have any questions or doubts about what I have said.
We are in the planting seed business and apply seed treatment each years. Syngenta is one of the companies who supplies the seed treatment that we use on our wheat seed. What we use does not have neonicotinoid pesticides in it. The treatment we use is for soil fungus, not insect control.
My family has owned/operated farms in this county since 1889. We do care about protecting our land and crops. We only sell seed locally and in bulk.
Now, this area is a large cotton producing area and much of the cotton seed planted here does have Neonicotinoid treatment.
We did quit Texas A&M as a seed supplier due to the joint effort that A&M made with Syngenta. That effort was/is to control seed breeding and is not in the interest of US farmers. And yes, they are very powerful politically.
We partnered with Oklahoma State University as our seed source. They are great people and have the interest of the producers in mind. Breath of fresh air.
To your credit, you are certainly doing your part to not have neonicotinoid pesticides in your fields and you are to be commended with sincere thanks from all bee keepers. The frustrating thing is that the bees will fly 3 or 4 miles from their hives, so they may encounter another farmer’s field that is using Monsanto seed.
We are in the process of building a house on our land in NC so that we can move up there full time and move the entire apiary there. Selling “locally produced” honey here in the Atlanta area is very profitable due to so many allergy doctors recommending their patients use it, and we hate to give that up. Up in the NC mountains the honey will sell for at least a dollar per pound less (maybe even $2 less) than it does in Atlanta. But the danger of loosing many hives to Colony Collapse is so great that we need to get all the hives up in the mountains.
Our hobby has turned into a mini honey business since my hubby retired from the corporate world.... and that really helps in this economy!
Then the decline (from 2009 to today) wouldn't be due to use of insecticides.
For row crops, we never used insecticide except when an infestation occurred, but I know that fruit orchards are more heavy users to make the fruit more presentable (less skin spots) for sale.
For many years we grew/sold Texas A&M planting seed. It was a good relationship before the time they joined forces with Syngenta/Agri Pro. After that we bought registered TAM seed from a grower in the Panhandle, a really good guy. The TAM 100, 110, 112 series was excellent wheat and it had breed in green bug resistance (not GMO).
We switched due to drought. The drought was so bad that we did not think we would even have enough moisture to plant. At the last minute (early November) we received enough rain and found our normal supplier could not furnish the seed we needed. We had previously bought some seed from OSU and I called them. After a few phone calls I was able to purchase seed from one of their growers.
After that we were so happy with the results that we overlooked the issue of green bug resistance. The new variety that we chose was much more resistant to rust and that overshadows the issue of green bug resistance.
We can spray for green bugs if needed.
Now, wheat is not insect pollinated, it is wind pollinated and is strongly self pollinating.
So wheat crops do not pose a threat to bees. Locally grown cotton however do. Almost all of it is Monsanto, because of the RoundUp Ready aspect.
The last 2 years have been total failures on cotton production due to the drought. Even the irrigated fields were failures in most cases, and certainly were economic failures because of input costs (seed, irrigation, etc).
The seed licensing mine field is the biggest threat to food cost in the US. We do all that is asked of us to comply with the licensing, but the compliance is not free. Cost push on seed.
It was in 2006 that we first heard of the mysterious CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) and have been following the research ever since. Dr. Keith Delaplane at the University of Georgia heads up one of the largest studies, a collaboration of several big Universities. When ever we hear him speak, he reports that they do not yet have a definitive answer as to the cause. They are finding several things that contribute to the cause.... pesticides is just one contributing factor.
You say your decline began in 2009. Perhaps that was when these pesticides began to be used in your area?????
Grains like corn and wheat are pollinated by air, root vegetables like potatoes do not need bees, cotton does not require bees..... so there are enough big money crops to drive the desire for these pesticides no matter the consequences.
Yes, I get that, but if those also shouldn't attract bees, right? So, if the subject pesticide isn't used on flowering crops, then isn't the effect on bees limited? I don't know the answer, but it seems like it wouldn't have a huge impact.