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posted by martyb on Saturday October 31 2015, @03:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the concerning-but-not-surprising dept.

AlterNet reports

A research team from the Institute of Bee Health at the University of Bern, from Agroscope at the Swiss Confederation, and from the Department of Biology at Canada's Acadia University [published the results of their study] in an article in the open-access journal Scientific Reports from the Nature Publishing Group [which concludes] that honey bee queens are "extremely vulnerable" to the neonicotinoids thiamethoxam and clothianidin.
[Reprinted in the journal Nature."]

The study shows profound effects on queen physiology, anatomy, and overall reproductive success.

[...] Previous research suggests that exposure to these chemicals [causes] both lethal and sub-lethal effects on honey bee workers, but nothing has been known about how they may affect queens.

The observation that honey bee queens are highly vulnerable to these common neonicotinoid pesticides is "worrisome, but not surprising", says senior author Laurent Gauthier from the Swiss Confederation's Agroscope.

[...] Since there is only a single queen in each colony, queen health is crucial to colony survival.

[...] In 2013, governments in Europe took a precautionary approach by partially restricting the application of the neonicotinoid pesticides thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and imidacloprid, with the mandate to perform further environmental risk assessments.

A new inter-governmental review will take place in the coming months.

Previous: Can Obama Save the Bees?
EPA Finds Little Benefit to Pesticide Linked to Bee Declines


Original Submission

Related Stories

Can Obama Save the Bees? 49 comments

They are among America's busiest workers but they've been declining sharply in recent years due to various factors, including pesticides, mite infestations and loss of genetic diversity. Now Faith Karimi writes at CNN that President Obama has created a task force to address the issue of rapidly diminishing honey bees and other pollinators. "The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment," Obama said in a memo was sent to Cabinet secretaries and agency heads.

Friends of the Earth says that the US needs to immediately ban the use of neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides chemically similar to nicotine that has been linked to bee deaths. "The administration should prevent the release and use of these toxic pesticides until determined safe," says Erich Pica whose organization is conducting a campaign and has collected more than half a million petition signatures asking Home Depot and Lowe's to stop selling plants treated with neonicotinoids (neonics). So why isn't the US moving more quickly to ban neonics? Neonics play "a major role in pest management for pest control, agriculture and the ornamental plant protection industries. They serve as a group of highly effective insecticides with low risk to people and birds, which can be applied systemically to the soil," notes a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension blogger. This is a safer, better pesticide than many alternatives.

Another reason to hold off on a ban: There are still doubts that neonics are the principal cause of bee colony collapse. "In other words, while neonics might be one of the precipitating causes, they might not be the principle cause of colony collapse disorder (CCD) in the US and Europe," says David Clark Scott. "Saving the honey bees may require a more complex solution than banning one group of insecticides. And it may require more investigation into other possible causes of CCD, including parasites, viruses, climate change, bee nutrition, lack of genetic diversity and bee keeping practices."

EPA Finds Little Benefit to Pesticide Linked to Bee Declines 3 comments

Agriculture.com reports:

Neonicotinoids Provide Minimal Soybean Yield Help.

The class of soybean pesticide seed treatments about which speculation has swirled on its impact on the decline of critical pollinator populations in the U.S. has now been deemed "of little or no benefit" to the crop, federal officials said [October 16].

Leaders of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced [October 16] a long-term study of neonicotinoid seed treatments they say have been "linked to a wide range of impacts on pollinators and are a driving factor in bee population declines" has shown the class of chemicals have basically no influence on soybean yield and, in turn, profitability.

[...][The bureaucrats were] quick to say the findings are limited to soybean production, of which 30% of the nation's acres [ ] are typically treated with a neonicotinoid insecticide, many of them "prophylactic," or preventative in nature

European Regulator Finds That Neonicotinoid Pesticides Threaten Bees 18 comments

European agency concludes controversial 'neonic' pesticides threaten bees

Controversial insecticides known as neonicotinoids pose a danger to wild bees and managed honey bees, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma, Italy, said in a report released today. Bayer, a maker of so-called neonics, disputed EFSA's findings. But the report is likely to give a boost to those pushing for tighter European regulation of the chemicals.

"This report certainly strengthens the case for further restrictions on neonicotinoid use," entomologist Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex in Brighton, U.K., said in a statement. The European Commission last year proposed—but has not yet adopted—extending a partial ban on neonics to all field crops.

Related: Landmark Study: Honeybee Queens Severely Affected by Neonicotinoid Pesticides
Neonicotinoid Can Cause Brain Damage in Bats; Bumblebee Species Added to Endangered List
Extensive Study Concludes Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees
Lithium Chloride May Help in Fixing Bee Colony Collapse Disorder


Original Submission

Glyphosate May Contribute to Bee Colony Collapse Disorder 29 comments

Study: Roundup Weed Killer Could Be Linked To Widespread Bee Deaths

The controversial herbicide Roundup has been accused of causing cancer in humans and now scientists in Texas argue that the world's most popular weed killer could be partly responsible for killing off bee populations around the world.

A new study [open, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1803880115] [DX] by scientists at the University of Texas at Austin posit that glyphosate — the active ingredient in the herbicide — destroys specialized gut bacteria in bees, leaving them more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.

Researchers Nancy Moran, Erick Motta and Kasie Raymann suggest their findings are evidence that glyphosate might be contributing to colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that has been wreaking havoc on honey bees and native bees for more than a decade.

Also at Science Magazine.

Related:


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 31 2015, @03:58PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 31 2015, @03:58PM (#256908)

    This proves that a chemical designed to indiscriminately kill insects actually indiscriminately kills insects. Who'd have thunk huh?

    But it's good to see this idea now has an official scientific stamp of approval, it helps to force certain governments to actually do something useful about the situation.

    • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Saturday October 31 2015, @06:19PM

      by davester666 (155) on Saturday October 31 2015, @06:19PM (#256946)

      Yes. We must immediately start doing research on creating GM bee's that don't need a queen.

      • (Score: 1) by driverless on Sunday November 01 2015, @12:29AM

        by driverless (4770) on Sunday November 01 2015, @12:29AM (#257050)

        Naah, just switch pesticides. I would recommend Amiton. Totally toxic to things like flies, 1,000 times less so for bees. Also it disperses fairly rapidly when applied as an aerosol so it won't be taken back to the hive.

        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Sunday November 01 2015, @02:17AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Sunday November 01 2015, @02:17AM (#257075) Homepage
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 01 2015, @04:02AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 01 2015, @04:02AM (#257088)

            [...] a toxicity of about 1/10 that of VX, i.e. similar to that of sarin [...] particularly effective against mites [...]

            It sounds like a winner to me!

          • (Score: 1) by driverless on Sunday November 01 2015, @04:03AM

            by driverless (4770) on Sunday November 01 2015, @04:03AM (#257089)

            Everything I said was true, you just have to be careful not to inhale any of it yourself. Geeze, some people are so picky, I mean they had the perfect insecticide but withdrew it because of some silly Chemical Weapons Convention. Next thing you know I'll have to take the asbestos cladding off my house...

            • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Sunday November 01 2015, @04:18AM

              by Reziac (2489) on Sunday November 01 2015, @04:18AM (#257093) Homepage

              Picky, picky... I once lived in a house covered in asbestos shingles: fireproof house in a wildfire area, and no real need to inhale the shingles anyway...

              And now I'm wondering if it could be modified so it only affects or uptake is only by the desired targets. The pesticide, not the shingles. ;)

        • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Sunday November 01 2015, @03:24AM

          by davester666 (155) on Sunday November 01 2015, @03:24AM (#257081)

          Are you new to this planet? Switch to another product that doesn't cause the problem? Are you some kind of planet hugger?

          The way we do things here on Earth is for a large corporation to create some GM bee's that aren't susceptible to the pesticide, and for bee keepers to buy new of bee's every year from that corporation. And they have to sign a contract saying they will kill 'regular' bee's on sight.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 01 2015, @11:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 01 2015, @11:52PM (#257309)

      The 1st 4 generations of bees do ok. The 5th generation start making bad decisions and wander off from the colony and the colony dies.

      We're eating foods treated with these pesticides. We're doing ok. I hope my great-great grandkids don't have issues.

  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday October 31 2015, @04:12PM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 31 2015, @04:12PM (#256914) Homepage Journal

    Let's look at humans. There are all sorts of chemicals and crap that irritate humans. Pregnant humans are often more sensitive to these irritants than other humans. Pregnant humans often seem to suffer more from these irritants than other humans. Pregnant humans also experience a risk to their offspring by way of these irritants. Smoking, alcohol, drugs, poor nutrition, cancer causing agents, the list goes on and on.

    So, we look at an insect - not just an insect, but a hive insect. And, we are surprised that the only breeding female in the hive suffers from something that is meant to kill - INSECTS???

    Duhhhh - WTF did they expect to find? That all the workers and drones tended to die off, leaving the queen to die of loneliness? Of course the queen is as susceptible to these poisons as any other bee. We might reasonably expect that the queen is more sensitive to the poison than other bees are. Without a study, we don't KNOW that, but yes, we can reasonably expect it to be so.

    "Since there is only a single queen in each colony, queen health is crucial to colony survival." It didn't really require a study to conclude that much.

    --
    "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 31 2015, @05:17PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 31 2015, @05:17PM (#256929)

      Unfortunately it does require a study. First, it is the scientific way to verify hypotheses with experimentation, but most importantly, politically, it provides proof that regulators can use against companies fighting any bans againsts pesticides.

      It is common practice for companies to use FUD to prevent meaningful regulations of pesticides, and they can use the lack of any conclusive studies to prevent any regulations against their products.

    • (Score: 1) by linkdude64 on Saturday October 31 2015, @06:03PM

      by linkdude64 (5482) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 31 2015, @06:03PM (#256940)

      I'll never forget staring at the television a few years ago with incredulity as the broadcasted news anchor described, with a perfectly straight face, the release of a new study that concluded eating fresh fruits and vegetables was beneficial to your health.

      These types of studies are not released for sane individuals. These types of studies are released for bureaucrats who will sign the bill sentencing hundreds of innocent people to death because the "Intel" has shown that it will net their campaign funders extra money by increasing demand for bombs, which will create Red White and Blue, Capital-A, deep-fried American jobs. It's all cognitive dissonance and plausible deniability for them. They will only care enough to ret-con and alter their previously fervent statements and voting records when studies this are released and they can no longer plea "ignorance" that is conviently profitable.

      Speaking of back-tracking on voting records, I am especially reminded of Hillary Clinton, who has defended her infuriatingly status-quo-complacent and lobbied-for stances she has had in the past because the "Intel was bad/I didn't know it would be harmful/Didn't know it was against the law." Meaning there was really no intel at all, and she, like the EPA (and equivalent international agencies) who allow these pesticides, simply choose what was more profitable at the time.

      Let's hope somebody sane gets elected so that their influence might spread throughout governing agencies.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday October 31 2015, @06:33PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 31 2015, @06:33PM (#256949) Homepage Journal

        "These types of studies are not released for sane individuals."

        That's kinda scary, when you think about it. What is sane, anyway? When 98 out of 100 people eat this shit up, if they even bother to watch/read/listen to the news, does that mean that we're the insane ones?

        And, that's not even a partisan observation. Righties probably disbelieve this report, or at best it's, "Aww shit, are the lefties right about this? How much is it going to cost me?" Lefties are just as bad, with "See, I told you so!" And, in reality, little if anything changes. Bayer is still going to buy off the policians necessary to protect their investment. Bayer, and every other major corporation out there. If Bayer can't afford enough politicians to get what they want, they'll just find common cause with another corporation. If that is even necessary - with all the interlocked boards of directors, there will be other corporations in line to come to Bayer's aid.

        --
        "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 1) by driverless on Sunday November 01 2015, @04:08AM

      by driverless (4770) on Sunday November 01 2015, @04:08AM (#257090)

      Pregnant humans are often more sensitive to these irritants than other humans. Pregnant humans often seem to suffer more from these irritants than other humans.

      I'll say. "Stop thinking in that tone of voice, the sun is too loud, I hate the way you lick stamps, my hair hurts, YOU DID THIS TO ME ITS ALL YOUR FAULT YOU SEE WHAT ITS LIKE CARRYING A WATERMELON AROUND FOR NINE MONTHS ARGGHHH!!!!!!!", everything seems to irritate them.

  • (Score: 2) by fritsd on Saturday October 31 2015, @05:27PM

    by fritsd (4586) on Saturday October 31 2015, @05:27PM (#256931) Journal

    <troll>

    Americans can buy exclusive American Apples(TM), where every single apple is pollinated by hand using a little paintbrush.

    Or they can buy fruit from Europe, where the governments overruled the agrobiz in this case, and applied the precautionary principle [wikipedia.org].

    </troll>

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by edIII on Saturday October 31 2015, @11:29PM

      by edIII (791) on Saturday October 31 2015, @11:29PM (#257030)

      You self-marked it as troll, but what is trolling about the actual truth again?

      "American Apples(TM)" would be exclusive. If we don't have intellectual property, we don't have anything anymore. God knows where we are getting this intellectual property too with brain drain going on for a couple of decades. Of course those American Apples would be exclusive, and operate in a protected propped up market by the state. What are you a Commie? ;)

      You think I'm kidding? Walk into any nursery around here and about half of what you can buy is protected by some intellectual property that demands compensation. It doesn't even have to do with the "evil" GMO either, people are being granted IP rights on hybrid plants.

      Yes, many, many, Americans will flock to over-priced culture-war grocery stores that will allow you to eat real food by importing it from Europe, and then charging you an arm and a leg for it. However, Big Ag is winning over here and soon we will be censored and under gag orders where we can't, and aren't allowed, to identify our food. We won't be able to tell your stuff is even from Europe probably. Heck, we will be thrown in prison now for whistle blowing and/or activism showing Big Ag acting improperly. Their whore senators in Wyoming I think? They'll punish you instead of Big Ag if you show them to be doing something illegal you shouldn't have seen in the first place.

      Trolling? I think we need a +1 Inconvenient Truth

      --
      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Saturday October 31 2015, @10:10PM

    by VLM (445) on Saturday October 31 2015, @10:10PM (#257006)

    I googled around for nicotine and tobacco pollination and apparently tobacco doesn't have much use for bees, so nicotine-family chemicals screwing up bees is a feature, not a bug (oh the pun) for tobacco.