Skip to comments.2 Studies Point to Common Pesticide as a Culprit in Declining Bee Colonies
Posted on 03/29/2012 6:37:51 PM PDT by neverdem
Scientists have been alarmed and puzzled by declines in bee populations in the United States and other parts of the world. They have suspected that pesticides are playing a part, but to date their experiments have yielded conflicting, ambiguous results.
In Thursdays issue of the journal Science, two teams of researchers published studies suggesting that low levels of a common pesticide can have significant effects on bee colonies. One experiment, conducted by French researchers, indicates that the chemicals fog honeybee brains, making it harder for them to find their way home. The other study, by scientists in Britain, suggests that they keep bumblebees from supplying their hives with enough food to produce new queens.
The authors of both studies contend that their results raise serious questions about the use of the pesticides, known as neonicotinoids.
I personally would like to see them not being used until more research has been done, said David Goulson, an author of the bumblebee paper who teaches at the University of Stirling, in Scotland. If it confirms what weve found, then they certainly shouldnt be used when theyre going to be fed on by bees.
But pesticides are only one of several likely factors that scientists have linked to declining bee populations. There are simply fewer flowers, for example, thanks to land development. Bees are increasingly succumbing to mites, viruses, fungi and other pathogens.
Outside experts were divided about the...
Dr. Goulsons study on bumblebees might warrant a closer look, Dr. Fischer said, but he argued that the weight of evidence still points to mites and viruses as the most likely candidates for...
Although bumblebees have been on the decline in the United States and elsewhere, they have not succumbed to a specific phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder, which affects only honeybees...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Other studies point to radio signals from cell phone towers.
Whatever the problem is, I hope they get a fix for it soon. Bees are marvelous, fascinating creatures and we depend on them a lot, yet most people have no idea.
This might bee of interest to you.
Neonicotinoid Insecticides used with seed treatment (systemic)
I am sure there are other simliar insecticides. These are relatively new insecticides.
i lost my one backyard hive last year when it got robbed by other bees. pretty amazing to watch, couldn’t stop it. i think i have a really strong wild hive nearby that has learned how to rob. second year in a row.
There are nearly 20,000 known species of bees in seven to nine recognized families, and probably many more not yet identified.
European honey bees, the type we are most familiar with, are not the only kind that makes honey and certainly just one of many that could be used for pollination of crops. It is also rather prone to disease and deadly mites.
And effort to breed a hardier bee resulted in the “killer bee”, that despite its reputation *is* more resistant *and* produces delicious honey. If its aggression can just be turned down, it could fill much of the gap of the honey bee.
But even more important, one of the reasons that bee diseases and mite infections are so bad is because honey bees are not used just for honey, but are transported around to pollinate, which exposes them to these problems.
Thus a good solution is to limit honey bees to just producing honey, hopefully a crossbred variety that is more resistant. Then use a different bee, that is as good, or better, for pollination. Hopefully one that does not interact much with honey bees.
Could have sworn that they difinitively determined hive disorders were being caused by parasites.
Clearly, they have their ethnic issues as well.
About 18 years ago my son threw one of his toys on the roof of our garage. I climbed up to get it and as I reached toward it, the most wonderfully bright solid yellow mini-bee (perfectly proportioned) hovered 4 inches from my hand. I had never seen one before and haven’t seen one since. Looked all over about it to no avail. Ever seen one?
Hubby pushed over a dead tree recently & it was full of bees and honey....made us sad but the tree is still on the ground in our field & the bees are still with it. We also have a dead tree at the golf course that is full of bees etc. Today our holly bush is in bloom & the bees are thick on it.
Another possibility is that genetically modified crops can produce their own pesticides.
Would they tell us if they determine this is true?
Hovered as in like a hummingbird? If yes, indeed there *is* a honeybee that hovers similar to a hummingbird... called the "hummingbird bee". It's rather large at 2", but I've seen here in the northeast a regular-sized honeybee that hovers like a hummingbird.
Is it still there? True around here, and I'd think in most places - ask and google around, and find your local or county bee club. They'd be likely to have a list of members that, no charge, come and "rescue" the colony - they get a new bee colony out of the deal - you are looking at about $100 worth of honeybees, and a chance to save them...
Could you have or did you install an entrance reducer to give your hive a better chance of defending itself? Do you think it would have done any good to put some sugar water away from your hive that would have drawn the feral bees away from your hive?
Thank you, Red. It is interesting, but I suspect that these studies may be targeting pesticides with an agenda. We use some of the brand names listed on our crops, as do many other farmers, and there has been colony collapses anywhere in NE Louisiana. I can’t speak for other areas, but I think we would have heard about it if keepers were losing hives. I read several bee fora, and stay in touch with the state beekeepers’ organizations.
However, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that pesticides are bad for bees as well.
You are right on the “shipping around for pollination”, which is done because the honey does not make the keepers enough money.
I’m pretty sure it is still full of bees, hubby is allergic to bee/wasp stings so he has kept his distance from them. I can investigate and see if someone wants to come get them.
This is why we put NO pesticides, or grass enhancers, or any other chemical on our yard. The bees (sort of owned a few streets over) loved our hyssop last year. Bought some honey from the neighbor and could actually taste the hyssop. Nothing like local honey! Hope they get this problem solved.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
The Hummingbird Bee is actually the Hummingbird Moth. Saw my first one the other day while it was feeding on our wild Indian Paintbrushes.
Looks like all you need do is google "Swarm List -my-town-city-county-state"
Years ago I bought an ant bait (little blocks) that had some pretty intense warnings on it.
After that, it became unavailable, afaik.
It contained one of nicotinic poisons called “fipronil” and said one ant could carry enough of the stuff to kill like 500 honeybees.
***Then use a different bee, that is as good, or better, for pollination. Hopefully one that does not interact much with honey bees.***
I’m looking into these guys for my fruit production:
They are much more effective pollinators than honeybees apparently.
How about just not using bee-killing insecticides?
The amounts of pesticides used are way above anything found in the nectar of the plants involved. They are fed at different concentrations using sugar syrup since they cannot get the greater concentrations any other way.
When bees are in fields, such as canola, which is treated with the pesticides involved, they show no problems. So your observations, that you have not seen the problem described, is accurate.
There is a concerted attack against these pesticides and bees are being used as the tool to get them banned.
Not as easy as you might think. Insects can be devastating to crops, and even with pesticides losses are still high, in many cases as much as 1/3rd. To make matters worse, insects take a relative “horse dose” of insecticide to kill them, and distribution on plants is never even, so some plants get a lot, as some plants very little if any.
One of the pesticides used for a long time are the organophosphates, which are essentially akin to military nerve agents, but weaker. Parathion, one of these popular with crops, has a Lethal Dose for 50% (LD/50, a standard measure) of a group of *humans* of only 6,000 ppm. The military chemical weapon phosgene has an LD/50 of about 9,000 ppm, so it is actually weaker than this pesticide. Crop duster pilots who use Parathion have to wear whole body space suits with a filtered air supply.
The pesticide sprayed on the public in California, to combat the Medfly was a weaker type of organophosphate called Malathion, which still has an LD/50 of about 30,000 ppm.
Insect resistance to pesticide also increases over time, so between that and the relentless federal effort to stop the use of any effective pesticides, farmers are fighting a losing battle.
There is now growing reliance on trying to combat insects in different ways, such as breeding and releasing radiation sterilized insects that will mate with wild insects but not produce offspring, and also to create and cultivate insect diseases that will wipe out vast numbers of insects in epidemics.
Yet so far these have only worked on a limited basis and for single species of insects. Thus we have no choice but to continue to use pesticides, some of which kills bees.
We’ve done fine without bee-killing insecticides for decades. Going in to change the bees because we’re poisoning them now is a pxxx-poor solution IMO.
I usually ignore the leftist greenies rants abot pesticides, especially when they are killing some particularly useless creature. But this bears investigating, and remedy if found to be true.
I have five large hives in my backyard. Louisiana is nearly the bug capital of the world, challenged only by the number of weeds.
We do apply pesticides, but only in the evening after the bees have gone to the hive. I use fire ant crystals on beds that are within 2-3 feet of the hives because ants are prone to invading hives. I also keep the grass and weeds around the hives at bay using RoundUp.
As long as the pesticides are 'contact killers' and don't have residual action, it is safe to use them with care.
...the chemicals fog honeybee brains... pesticides, known as neonicotinoids.
Put some swarm traps out and capture ‘em back.
“Weve done fine without bee-killing insecticides for decades. Going in to change the bees because were poisoning them now is a pxxx-poor solution IMO”
Actually, pesticides by their nature kill bees. Sevin, a home garden pesticide is exceptionally lethal. Plus, the organophosphates, which the Neonicotinoids replace, are exceptionally harmful to both the environment and humans along with bees. They were in flea and tick collars.
2” and I would have fallen off the roof! No, this was a tiny, tiny bee. Sometimes I see little flies that are luminescent and around 3/8 of an inch max and it was that size.
No, this is a lie. Pesticides are only GOOD and only kill the things we want it to kill. It doesn’t kill birds or lizards or fish or make our pets sick... or have any effect on people. The bird people and some people in this forum say so! So stop spreding lies. /S