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posted by martyb on Saturday July 01 2017, @05:10AM   Printer-friendly
from the be-nice-to-bees dept.

The most extensive study to date on neonicotinoid pesticides concludes that they harm both honeybees and wild bees. Researchers said that exposure to the chemicals left honeybee hives less likely to survive over winter, while bumblebees and solitary bees produced fewer queens.

The study spanned 2,000 hectares across the UK, Germany and Hungary and was set up to establish the "real-world" impacts of the pesticides. The results are published in Science [open, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa1190] [DX]. Neonicotinoids were placed under a temporary ban in Europe in 2013 after concerns about their impact on bees. The European Commission told the BBC that it intends to put forward a new proposal to further restrict the use of the chemicals.

Original Submission

Related Stories

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.


Original Submission

Hives With Over Half-Million Bees Burned and Drowned in Brazoria County, Tx. 24 comments

On the night of April 26th, an unknown person or persons destroyed beehives that were home to over half a million bees in Alvin, Texas.

With the advent of Colony Collapse Disorder early this millennium, and the resulting drops in bee populations across the USA, Europe, and Asia, people and organizations have been making efforts to house, protect and nurture honeybee populations for the sake of their crops, the good of the environment, or as a service to humanity at large.

Use of the land for the bees destroyed was donated by a private citizen and the location is visible to the road so passers by can watch and enjoy the bee keepers working with the bees.

Then we get people that do things like this:

Over the weekend, someone set fire to two dozen bee colonies in Alvin, Texas belonging to the Brazoria County Beekeepers Association. The perpetrator also dumped some of the bee boxes into a nearby pond.

According to one of the beekeepers:

I broke down in tears when I saw a floating brood frame in the water with bees still caring for the brood.

It is expected that the perpetrators were very likely stung and the community is on the lookout for individuals with bee stings.

Perhaps more remarkably, this is not a completely new idea. Multiple Facebook comments speak of past attacks on bees elsewhere attributed to teenagers and rival bee keepers.

We've already seen bees persevering through fire and smoke, according to beekeepers the surviving bees are stressed and many will have lost their queens, but is also possible some hives will survive.

Previous coverage of Bee troubles:
Some Honeybee Colonies Adapt in Wake of Deadly Mites
Backyard Beekeeping Now Legal in Los Angeles
Honeybees Pick Up 'Astonishing' Number of Pesticides Via Non-crop Plants
Bees Dead from Aerial Zika Spraying in South Carolina
Pesticide Companies' Own Secret Tests Showed Their Products Harm Bees
Extensive Study Concludes Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees
EU Bans Outdoor Use of Pesticides That Harm Bees

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday July 01 2017, @05:22AM (9 children)

    by kaszz (4211) on Saturday July 01 2017, @05:22AM (#533826) Journal

    If neonicotinoids are bad. Then there's surely a lot of other stuff which is yet undiscovered and bad for bees.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by https on Saturday July 01 2017, @06:53AM (2 children)

      by https (5248) on Saturday July 01 2017, @06:53AM (#533838) Journal

      That's like saying smoking-related diabetic nephropathy is something to worry about after someone points out that smoking is strongly correlated with heart disease. Nothing has had as big an impact on bees as the neonicotinoids. Saying "other stuff is dangerous too" is unhelpful and derailing.

      Back in the 1990s I had a conversation with the president of the provincial beekeeper's association, and the correlation was, even then, seen as direct and 100%. A farmer starts using neonics, hives on their farm start dying. Maybe not all of them, but way more than average and way more than on the neonic-holdout's farms. They were freaking, because there was nothing like it ever before and nobody in government or business was taking their observations seriously.

      Offended and laughing about it.
      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Saturday July 01 2017, @07:43AM (1 child)

        by kaszz (4211) on Saturday July 01 2017, @07:43AM (#533842) Journal

        My point is that there might be more toxins worth to investigate. So as to not remove neonicotinoid just to get another worse replacement. And other toxins may show up when the worst one is removed from use.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Gaaark on Saturday July 01 2017, @01:39PM

          by Gaaark (41) on Saturday July 01 2017, @01:39PM (#533899) Journal

          and with the way the money grubbing goes, you have to maintain vigilance against evil... ALWAYS.

          Lobbying with money should not be allowed: it mutes those without it

          --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by driverless on Saturday July 01 2017, @09:54AM

      by driverless (4770) on Saturday July 01 2017, @09:54AM (#533874)

      Naah, it's all OK, some schmuck speaking for Big Pharma has said theres nothing to worry about:

      Dr Richard Schmuck, director of environmental science at Bayer, said: "We do not share the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology's interpretation

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by fraxinus-tree on Saturday July 01 2017, @01:22PM (4 children)

      by fraxinus-tree (5590) on Saturday July 01 2017, @01:22PM (#533895)

      Some logic applied: Glyphosate is a herbicide. Bees are insects, not herbs. Neonicotinoids are insecticides, i.e. a lot better suspect.

      Up to now the bees survived a lot of agricultural chemistry by either dying right away from something (so "something" is never more tried near bees) or working as usual when treated with something else (so "something else" is tried some more and then applied in a scale).

      Neonicotinoids are in the middle: bees work ALMOST as usual, but in the long run some hives get irreversibly depleted of bees. Details are still not clear. The effect went unnoticed for a while, untill the substances developed a stable market. Now, they have a lot of friends (because they are effective) and debugging the problem is a lot harder.

      • (Score: 2) by datapharmer on Saturday July 01 2017, @04:56PM (1 child)

        by datapharmer (2702) on Saturday July 01 2017, @04:56PM (#533938)

        Debugging? I see what you did there...

        • (Score: 2) by fraxinus-tree on Saturday July 01 2017, @05:56PM

          by fraxinus-tree (5590) on Saturday July 01 2017, @05:56PM (#533951)

          Pun not intended. I know, I know, but in my brain "debugging" and "bug" do not really relate to insects.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01 2017, @05:05PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01 2017, @05:05PM (#533940)

        no, it's never been a big mystery to non-whore beekeepers. the poison industry has just suppressed and ignored the obvious evidence.

        • (Score: 2) by fraxinus-tree on Saturday July 01 2017, @06:08PM

          by fraxinus-tree (5590) on Saturday July 01 2017, @06:08PM (#533955)

          I don't say it is a mystery what insecticides of almost any kind do to the bees. Solving a problem that affects a lot of parties is more complex than just nailing the substance. Do we need to kill the neonicotinoids completely? Alter their application, quarantine periods? Do we have some remedy which can be applied to the bees themselves?

  • (Score: 2) by Some call me Tim on Saturday July 01 2017, @08:14AM (1 child)

    by Some call me Tim (5819) on Saturday July 01 2017, @08:14AM (#533849)

    A quick search found an article from 2016 but there are probably earlier studies. []
    Someone should tell the bees that smoking is bad for them.

    Questioning science is how you do science!
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Saturday July 01 2017, @12:54PM

      by bzipitidoo (4388) on Saturday July 01 2017, @12:54PM (#533890) Journal

      Oh yes, and it seems Big Tobacco style propaganda had a lot to do with delaying this admission. Colony Collapse Disorder was a big "mystery" for years, thanks to industry propaganda denying that their pesticide products had anything to do with it, and that there wasn't enough evidence to make that connection. "Doubt is our product."

  • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01 2017, @09:10AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01 2017, @09:10AM (#533860)

    This is insect poison, without which we can't feed 8 billion people.

    Most crops don't need bees. If you put insect poison on bee-pollinated crops, well, bless your heart.

    • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Saturday July 01 2017, @07:03PM (1 child)

      by butthurt (6141) on Saturday July 01 2017, @07:03PM (#533967) Journal

      > This is insect poison, without which we can't feed 8 billion people.

      There are other options besides using insecticides exactly as we are now, or not using them at all. Neonicotinoids have only been in use since the late 1990s; they replace less specific insecticides (which affect birds and mammals).

      > Most crops don't need bees.

      Wikipedia has a lengthy list of crops that are pollinated by bees. []

      [Wind] pollination is used by grasses, most conifers, and many deciduous trees. Hydrophily is pollination by water, and occurs in aquatic plants which release their pollen directly into the surrounding water. About 80% of all plant pollination is biotic.


      The number of managed beehives in the US has steadily declined from close to 6 million after WWII, to less than 2.5 million today. In contrast, the area dedicated to growing bee-pollinated crops has grown over 300% in the same time period. [...] At present, there is an enormous demand for beehive rentals that cannot always be met.

      -- []

      The cereals (rice, wheat, barley, corn/maize, oats, millet, rye, sorghum, etc.) are grasses so they don't need bees; certainly those are major crops, but a decline in pollinating insects could mean a shortage of other foods we might wish to eat. If what I read in Wikipedia is true, that's already happening.

      > If you put insect poison on bee-pollinated crops [...]

      The European Food Safety Authority recommended that neonicotinoids be restricted to use on crops not attractive to honey bees. []

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 02 2017, @04:50AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 02 2017, @04:50AM (#534088)

        Tomatoes are self-fertile. The flower parts sort of crash into each other as they grow.

        Bananas, potatoes, and sweet potatoes are all vegetatively propagated. There are flowers, but we don't give a damn if they are pollinated.

        Vanilla is pollinated by people with electric toothbrushes. There is some sort of bug that could pollinate it, but that doesn't live in most of the places where we grow the crop.

        There are non-bee pollinator animals, including bats.

        And of course there is wind, as you mentioned. This happens to provide a huge portion of humanity's food. Grain is what feeds us, directly (starch, sugar, oil) and via meat.

        We wouldn't want a world without bees or a world without insecticides. If we had to choose, feeding 8 billion people is far easier without the bees than it is without the insecticides.

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01 2017, @08:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 01 2017, @08:07PM (#533979)

      Shill said

      Complete and utter rubbish

      Do you get paid for these posts even though you post as AC?

  • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Sunday July 02 2017, @01:10AM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 02 2017, @01:10AM (#534046) Journal

    The headline reads, "Extensive Study Concludes Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees"

    Let's simplify.

    "Extensive Study Concludes (bug sprays) Harm (bugs)"

    Gathering additional evidence from the summary itself, it appears that there was an extensive study once and for all to see whether it appears that bug sprays intended for bug-harm did in fact harm some bugs, and the answer is leaning towards "yeah, pretty much".

    Am I missing something? Did we think that bug sprays did not harm bugs? I understand that fringe deniers gonna deny, but that's true everywhere...