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posted by janrinok on Sunday March 04 2018, @02:18AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the time-to-act dept.

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

Related Stories

Landmark Study: Honeybee Queens Severely Affected by Neonicotinoid Pesticides 18 comments

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

Neonicotinoid Can Cause Brain Damage in Bats; Bumblebee Species Added to Endangered List 21 comments

Researchers have found that long-term exposure to the neonicotinoid pesticide imidacloprid can cause bats to forget flight paths and even lose the ability to catch insects. The pesticide can accumulate in the bats as a result of eating tainted insects:

Imidacloprid — a neonicotinoid pesticide that the US Environmental Protection Agency says can be harmful to bees — is a threat to the survival of bats, a research team said. The team, headed by National Taiwan Normal University professor of life sciences Wu Chung-hsin (吳忠信) found that bats feeding on imidacloprid-tainted insects were unable to fly along learned paths and often got lost while hunting. With Formosan leafnosed bats as their experimental subject, the team found that animals treated with a low dose of imidacloprid developed neural apopotosis — a process of programmed cell death — in the brain, Wu said.

Imidacloprid toxicity impairs spatial memory of echolocation bats through neural apoptosis in hippocampal CA1 and medial entorhinal cortex areas. (DOI: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000562) (DX)

A species of bumblebee has been added to the U.S. Endangered Species List. Canada designated the rusty patched bumblebee as endangered in 2012:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the rusty patched bumblebee an endangered species — the first such designation for a bumblebee and for a bee species in the continental U.S. The protected status, which goes into effect on Feb. 10, includes requirements for federal protections and the development of a recovery plan. It also means that states with habitats for this species are eligible for federal funds.

"Today's Endangered Species listing is the best—and probably last—hope for the recovery of the rusty patched bumble bee," NRDC Senior Attorney Rebecca Riley said in a statement from the Xerces Society, which advocates for invertebrates. "Bumble bees are dying off, vanishing from our farms, gardens, and parks, where they were once found in great numbers." Large parts of the Eastern and Midwestern United States were once crawling with these bees, Bombus affinis, but the bees have suffered a dramatic decline in the last two decades due to habitat loss and degradation, along with pathogens and pesticides.

A UK study (open, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms12459) (DX) published in August linked neonicotinoids used on rapeseed crops to the decline of bumblebee species.


Original Submission

Extensive Study Concludes Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees 17 comments

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40382086

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

Lithium Chloride May Help in Fixing Bee Colony Collapse Disorder 20 comments

As some one who is very interested in the subject of honey bees, and several decades ago had a bee hive, I've been very concerned about colony collapse disorder. Today I came across this article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-19137-5

Excerpt from the Nature abstract:
"Recent reports of the weakening and periodical high losses of managed honey bee colonies have alarmed beekeeper, farmers and scientists. Infestations with the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor in combination with its associated viruses have been identified as a crucial driver of these health problems. Although yearly treatments are required to prevent collapses of honey bee colonies, the number of effective acaricides is small and no new active compounds have been registered in the past 25 years. RNAi-based methods were proposed recently as a promising new tool. However, the application of these methods according to published protocols has led to a surprising discovery. Here, we show that the lithium chloride that was used to precipitate RNA and other lithium compounds is highly effective at killing Varroa mites when fed to host bees at low millimolar concentrations."

I am in no way, shape or form a biologist, but as I read through the article there was mention of gene targeting and so started to get way out of my knowledge area..which is electronics...and quickly lost me.

Is there any truth to this path or is it another way for insecticide makers to push their wares?


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: 2) by Gaaark on Sunday March 04 2018, @02:32AM (2 children)

    by Gaaark (41) on Sunday March 04 2018, @02:32AM (#647429) Journal

    About. time.

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday March 04 2018, @09:49AM (1 child)

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 04 2018, @09:49AM (#647566) Journal

      Wait, we we're assured that it was the lithium chloride stuff as indicated in the last link in TFS.
      So now they're telling us no, no We were wrong, we're going back to the original neonicotinoids story, or maybe the cell phone story.

      It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04 2018, @11:22PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04 2018, @11:22PM (#647767)

        The /original/ original explanation (PDF) [callnetuk.com] seems likely enough to me, the other things are just confounding factors.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04 2018, @04:56AM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04 2018, @04:56AM (#647479)

    What is the news here? Have we just discovered that bees are insects, or that insecticides kill insects, or that neonicotinoids are insecticides?

    If your insecticide doesn't kill bees, you probably bought the homeopathic stuff. It's some pretty exotic stuff if it kills anything you dislike while being harmless to bees.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Sunday March 04 2018, @06:27AM (7 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 04 2018, @06:27AM (#647520) Homepage Journal

      The real news? Well, it isn't really news, at all. But, the real story went pretty much like this:

      Bayer didn't want, and certainly didn't fund, any real testing of neonics. Bayer did it's own unsubstantiated testing, in Canada, in a rather remote location. Bayer jumped to conclusions over inconclusive testing, then applied for licenses based on that unsubstantiated bullshit. Gubbermint awarded the licenses, and Bayer went into overdrive marketing the stuff.

      Precious few people know how little "testing" there was. Far fewer people understand the consequences of that lack of rigorous testing.

      Long story short - there was money to be made.

      --
      Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday March 04 2018, @09:54AM (6 children)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 04 2018, @09:54AM (#647568) Journal

        Was the testing unsubstantiated or was it inconclusive? Are you certain there's a difference?.

        And what by the way constitutes substantiated testing?
        Where does one go to have their testing substantiated?

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday March 04 2018, @02:24PM (4 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 04 2018, @02:24PM (#647620) Homepage Journal

          Substantiation can be done in house, if the "researcher" prefers to do it. That may or may not be adequate to satisfy academic authority, or whoever might be interested in the substantiation. In this case, no one checked the results - there was a rush to get to market, so the early favorable results were accepted. Those results were then forwarded to gubbermint, where the results were accepted again.

          If you are interested in Bayer's study, you can get the PDF here - https://grist.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/bees_guelph.pdf [wordpress.com] It's nine pages of reading.

          If, on the other hand, you would like to read an evaluation of that study, as well as the EPA's handling of it, this is a good read: https://grist.org/article/food-2010-12-10-leaked-documents-show-epa-allowed-bee-toxic-pesticide/ [grist.org] That evaluation is all on one web "page", but it's about half as long a read as the PDF.

          Prepared for Bayer by researchers at Canada’s University of Guelph, the study is a bit of a joke. The researchers created several 2.47-acre fields planted with clothianidin-treated seeds and matching untreated control fields, and placed hives at the center of each. Bees were allowed to roam freely. The problem is that bees forage in a range of 1.24 to 6.2 miles — meaning that the test bees most likely dined outside of the test fields. Worse, the test and control fields were planted as closely as 968 feet apart, meaning test and control bees had access to each other’s fields.

          So, in effect, there was no control group, or test group of bees. Bayer populated an area with canola crops, some treated, and some untreated, then populated that same area with several bee hives. For there to have been a test group, and a control group of bees, the two groups should have been separated by AT LEAST six miles distance - and preferably more.

           

          --
          Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
          • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04 2018, @04:45PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04 2018, @04:45PM (#647648)

            two groups should have been separated by AT LEAST six miles distance - and preferably more

            WTF are you talking about? The purpose of the study was to show there was no difference!

          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday March 04 2018, @07:37PM (2 children)

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 04 2018, @07:37PM (#647702) Journal

            So bees in both groups died at record levels?

            There's nothing here about substantiation, or what that actually means.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday March 04 2018, @08:59PM (1 child)

              by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 04 2018, @08:59PM (#647721) Homepage Journal

              That was my original point - the supposed safety of the product was never established, let alone substantiated. The EPA's own scientists disputed the purported findings of this "study". The whole thing just falls flat on it's face. Bayer pulled a fast one, and the head of the EPA let them do it.

              --
              Our first six presidents were educated men. Then, along came a Democrat.
              • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Sunday March 04 2018, @09:24PM

                by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <mdcrawford@gmail.com> on Sunday March 04 2018, @09:24PM (#647730) Homepage Journal

                My father used his binoculars to look at a Soviet ship as it passed his ship. He saw a Soviet sailor looking back at him through binoculars too.

                Dad put down his binocs, smiled and waved

                Thee Free Worlds sworn enemy put down his own binoculars, looked furtively to each side, then stepped into a doorway then...

                ... smiled and waved back

                --
                Yes I Have No Bananas. [gofundme.com]
        • (Score: 2) by linkdude64 on Tuesday March 06 2018, @02:17AM

          by linkdude64 (5482) on Tuesday March 06 2018, @02:17AM (#648308)

          I imagine it's as simple as hiring an unbiased 3rd party with a reputation in agriculture, and coordinating with bee-ologists in the regions you're planning on marketing the stuff in.

          Whoops! But that would make sense, so I'm clearly not an MBA who would be placed in charge of something like that.

  • (Score: 1) by GreatOutdoors on Sunday March 04 2018, @06:12PM (5 children)

    by GreatOutdoors (6408) on Sunday March 04 2018, @06:12PM (#647684)

    So you are telling me that a product that was designed to kill insects.... Actually works!?!?
    Who would've thought?

    I understand that technology is important at maintaining our food supply, but if we do kill off most of the bees in the world, we will starve. Period.

    --
    Yes, I did make a logical argument there. You should post a logical response.
    • (Score: 1) by GreatOutdoors on Sunday March 04 2018, @06:14PM

      by GreatOutdoors (6408) on Sunday March 04 2018, @06:14PM (#647686)

      Aye... Should have previewed it. Was supposed to be "Whoa Really"

      --
      Yes, I did make a logical argument there. You should post a logical response.
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04 2018, @07:17PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04 2018, @07:17PM (#647697)

      Only about 1/6 of the crops need bees, and most of that is not high-volume stuff.

      All of the major staples are wind pollinated, self-pollinated, or not in need of pollination at all.

      To pick an example from each category: there will be no shortage of corn, tomatoes, or bananas.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by frojack on Sunday March 04 2018, @07:40PM (2 children)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 04 2018, @07:40PM (#647703) Journal

        I can assure you tomatoes need pollination, or they won't set fruit.

        https://www.buzzaboutbees.net/bees-pollinate-tomatoes.html [buzzaboutbees.net]

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04 2018, @11:26PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04 2018, @11:26PM (#647773)

          Wasps and flies do the most to pollinate my tomatos. The few honeybees I see are always crawling on the mints and onions. Bumblebees don't usually touch the tomatos, but they seem to like the more open tomatillo flowers, and visit pretty much everything else.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05 2018, @07:38AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05 2018, @07:38AM (#647898)

          Tomatoes are grown in shipping containers on the northern shore of Alaska.

          Yes, they need pollination. No, they don't need bees.

          Put a potted tomato plant in your bathroom. Get tomatoes.

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