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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pesticides & Pollinator Decline

Bees have been dying off in droves around the world since the mid-1990s. First in France, then in the U.S. and elsewhere, colonies have been mysteriously collapsing with adult bees disappearing, seemingly abandoning their hives. In 2006, about two years after this phenomenon hit the U.S., it was named “Colony Collapse Disorder,” or CCD. Each year since commercial beekeepers have reported annual losses of 29% - 36%. Such losses are unprecedented, and more than double what is considered normal.
While wild pollinators like bats and bumble bees are also facing catastrophic declines, managed honey bees are the most economically important pollinators in the world. According to a recent U.N. report, of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees. In the U.S. alone, honey bees’ economic contribution is valued at over $15 billion.

What the bees are telling us

State of the Science

State of the Science: Pesticides & BeesPAN's report Honey Bees and Pesticides: State of the Science presents findings from dozens of scientific studies, focusing on the link between pesticides and CCD. Download here»
U.S. commercial beekeepers report that their industry is on the verge of collapse, and farmers who rely on pollination services are increasingly concerned. It's unlikely that such a collapse will directly result in a food security crisis, but crop yields would decline signficantly, and more acres of land would need to be put into production to meet demand.[1] With most fruits, many vegetables, almonds, alfalfa and many other crops all dependent upon bees for pollination, the variety and nutritional value of our food system is threatened.
In addition to their agricultural value as pollinators, honey bees are a keystoneindicator species. Their decline points to (and will likely accelerate) broader environmental degradation in a kind of ripple effect. Pollinator population declines are thus a disproportionately important piece of the current collapse in biodiversity that seven in ten biologistsbelieve poses an even greater threat to humanity than the global warming which contributes to it. Little-known fact: we are today living through a sixth mass extinction. During the last one, dinosaurs went extinct.
As indicator species, honey bees are sounding an alarm that we ignore at our peril. Among their lessons: industrial agriculture has gone off the rails, kicking the pesticide treadmill into high gearwith a new class of dangerous systemic pesticides while regulators were asleep at the switch.

Neonicotinoids at-a-glance

  • Very persistent in soil & water soluble.
  • Systemic pesticides applied at the root (as seed coating or drench) & then taken up through the plant’s vascular system to be expressed in pollen, nectar & guttation droplets(like dew) from which bees then forage & drink.
  • Systemics on food cannot be washed off.
  • Nicotine-like, neurotoxic insecticides that bind to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in insects’ brains.
  • Bees have a particular genetic vulnerability to these & other pesticides because they have more of these receptors, as well as more learning & memory genes, & fewer genes for detoxification.
  • Widely used on more than 140 crop varieties, as well as on termites, flea treatments, lawns & gardens.
  • Fastest-growing class of synthetic pesticides in history. Imidacloprid is Bayer Crop Science's top-sellingproduct.

What we know

Much has been made over the "mystery" surrounding CCD, but in recent years two points of consensus have emerged:
  1. Multiple, interacting causes are in play – key suspects include pathogens, habitat loss and pesticides; and
  2. Immune system damage is a critical factor that may be at the root of the disorder.
Meanwhile, a new class of systemic, neurotoxic pesticides that are known to be particularly toxic to honey bees has rapidly taken over the global insecticide market since their introduction in the 1990s: neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids (like imidacloprid and its successor product clothianidin) are used as seed treatments in hundreds of crops from corn to almonds, as well as in lawn care and flea products. These products persist for years in the soil, and, as systemics, permeate the plants to which they are applied to be expressed as pollen, nectar andguttation droplets (like pesticide dew).
Honey bee exposure to this class of pesticides is, in other words, nearly pervasive – and in the U.S. the rate of seed treatment with these insecticides increased five-fold around the same time CCD hit the U.S.
Recent science shows that extremely low dose exposures to neonicotinoids undermine immunity – rendering honey bees more susceptible to pathogens. And beekeepers in the U.S. and Europe have, for years, been asking governments to pull or restrict this class of pesticides because they believe them to be harming hive health.  

Decisive action is overdue

Governments in Italy, Germany, France and elsewhere have already taken action against neonicotinoids to protect their pollinators. And beekeepers there are reporting recovery. Yet regulators in the U.S. remain paralyzed, apparently captive to industry-funded science and a regulatory framework that finds chemicals innocent until proven guilty.
It seems that only massive public outcry will compel U.S. policymakers to take action on a timeframe that is meaningful for bees and beekeepers. With one in every three bites of food dependent on honey bees for pollination, the time for decisive action is now.
[1] Spivak M, Mader E, Vaughan M, et al., The plight of the bees, Environmental Science and Technology (45) 34-38, 2011.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

50% of US Bees Dead.

“We’ve been doing this 30 years, & we’ve never experienced this kind of loss before.”~ Jeremy Hance


Colony Collapse Disorder: Common Pesticides Disrupt Brain Functioning in Bees.

Update via Reddit r/permaculture:
Recent bee related death reports:
Meanwhile, other reports of bees dying around Wilsonville and surrounding towns have prompted Xerces to check whether similar pesticides were used elsewhere.
“My worry is that we’re going to lose sight of the real message,” said Mace Vaughan of Xerces. “I think we’re (using insecticides) all over the place, and people are doing it in their backyards without even knowing it.”
Agrichemical and pesticide makers like Monsanto, Bayer AG and Syngenta are also launching projects to study and counter colony collapse.
Few deny that pesticides – particularly a class of commonly used insecticides called neonicotinoids – can be harmful to bees in the laboratory. It is unclear what threat the insecticides pose under current agricultural usage. Some scientists say habitat decline and disease-carrying parasites, such as the Varroa mite, are the chief cause of bee deaths.
One of every three bites of food we consume depends on pollination by honeybees, but these overlooked contributors to our food system are continuing to die in stubbornly perplexing ways.
In 2006, beekeepers started noticing that bees were abandoning their hives, a phenomenon scientists dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder. Since then, the American bee population has dropped by an average of 30 percent every year, sending researchers, beekeepers and farmers into a head-scratching frenzy to figure out the cause.
According to Jean-Pierre Chapleau, spokesman for the Quebec Beekeepers’ Federation, beekeepers want neonicotinoid insecticides banned.
“Neonicotinoid insecticides are overused,” he says. Chapleau said that beekeepers don’t blame farmers, because they can’t buy seeds that have not been treated with insecticides even if they want to.
The industry says that’s not accurate.
SBA president Phil McAnespie said: “Last summer and autumn were very bad, which is obviously an issue and viruses are associated with that. “I think most of the losses are down to the weather. Obviously, there is concern about neonicotinoids and there is ongoing research into that but I don’t think they have played any major part in this [the increase in bee deaths].”

Update: It’s confirmed: It’s getting worse. Cover of the NY Times today, edging out even the Taliban. Thing is, this threat we know how to stop.

bee colony nytimes bees

“Bee Die-Off Soars, Putting Crops at Risk A mysterious malady seems to have expanded drastically in the past year, wiping out as many as half of the beehives needed to pollinate much of America’s produce.”

Exposure to commonly used pesticides directly disrupts brain functioning in bees, according to new research in Nature.”

While the study is the first to record that popular pesticides directly injure bee brain physiology, it adds to a slew of recent studies showing that pesticides, especially neonicotinoids, are capable of devastating bee hives and may be, at least, partly responsible for on-going Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Christopher Connolly with the University of Dundee in Scotland and his team exposed honeybees to two pesticides at levels encountered in the wild: neonicotinoids and miticidal pesticides.
By recording brain activity after exposure, the researchers found that both pesticides directly hampered bee brain functioning, including blocking neurons from firing. The findings are especially notable for studying bees after exposure to the miticidal pesticide, which is used directly on bee hives to safeguard them from a common parasite, the Varroa destructor mite. In this case, however, the cure may be worse than the disease. Connolly explains:
“Much discussion of the risks posed by the neonicotinoid insecticides has raised important questions of their suitability for use in our environment. However, little consideration has been given to the miticidal pesticides introduced directly into honeybee hives to protect the bees from the Varroa mite. We find that both have negative impact on honeybee brain function.”
Furthermore the researchers found that when bees were exposed to both chemicals—the neonicotinoids and miticidal pesticides—their brain functioning and learning abilities were hurt even more.

The study is the first to show the direct brain impacts that may explain why bees exposed to these pesticides slow aberrant behavior, including losing their way easily and slow reactions.

Scientists both in the U.S. and Europe have recorded the complete collapse of hives following exposure. However, pesticide companies have continually argued that their products cause no harm to bees even as high-profile independent research from multiple sources appears to be telling a very different story.
The research has spurred some policy movement. France has banned the use of neonicotinoids on certain crops. The EU proposed a ban on neonicotinoids for two years after a committee looked at the research for six months. However, the ban was scuttled by opposition from Germany and the UK, though it could still come up in appeal.

Most recently, nine beekeeping and environmental groups sued the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to take action to protect bees.

Bees are key plant pollinators, and their decline has worried scientists, farmers, and policymakers worldwide. In the U.S. alone, bee pollination is estimated to be worth $8-12 billion. While bee declines have occurred in the past, researchers believe this one is much more severe.
Citation: Mary J. Palmer,Christopher Moffat, Nastja Saranzewa, Jenni Harvey, Geraldine A. Wright, Christopher N. Connolly. Cholinergic pesticides cause mushroom body neuronal inactivation in honeybees. Nature Communications. 4, Article number: 1634. doi:10.1038/ncomms2648.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths CCD



Your Bees Are Dying

The mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis melliferapopulation that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.
Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.
When researchers collected pollen from hives on the east coast pollinating cranberry, watermelon and other crops and fed it to healthy bees, those bees showed a significant decline in their ability to resist infection by a parasite calledNosema ceranae. The parasite has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder though scientists took pains to point out that their findings do not directly link the pesticides to CCD. The pollen was contaminated on average with nine different pesticides and fungicides though scientists discovered 21 agricultural chemicals in one sample. Scientists identified eight ag chemicals associated with increased risk of infection by the parasite.
Most disturbing, bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples.
“There’s growing evidence that fungicides may be affecting the bees on their own and I think what it highlights is a need to reassess how we label these agricultural chemicals,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study’s lead author, told Quartz.
Labels on pesticides warn farmers not to spray when pollinating bees are in the vicinity but such precautions have not applied to fungicides.
Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.
In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But vanEngelsdorp, an assistant research scientist at the University of Maryland, says the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health.
“The pesticide issue in itself is much more complex than we have led to be believe,” he says. “It’s a lot more complicated than just one product, which means of course the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product.”
The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying.
“It’s not clear whether the pesticides are drifting over to those plants but we need take a new look at agricultural spraying practices,” says vanEngelsdorp.

Friday, June 28, 2013

CCD Monsanto Bee Crisis

Monsanto launches honey bee advisory council

Reporter-St. Louis Business Journal
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The buzz around the plight of the honey bees has prompted Monsanto and other stakeholders to form a new advisory council to address bee health, the company announced.
The Honey Bee Advisory Council, which industry experts, was announced at the three-day Honey Bee Health Summit at Monsanto’s Chesterfield Village Research Center this week. The summit was hosted by the $13.5 billion agriculture company and by Project Apis m (PAm), for a crowd of about 100.
Monsanto also rolled out a Honey Bee Health page on its website.
“Healthy honey bees are essential for productive agriculture and the environment,” Jerry Hayes, who runs Monsanto’s bee industry efforts, said in a statement.
Since 2006, colonies of honey bees have been dying off in what’s been known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
An estimated 10 million bee hives, valued at $200 each, have been lost since 2006 — adding up to a total replacement cost of $2 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Overall, the number of bee colonies has dropped to 2.5 million in 2012, from 6 million in 1947. Colony losses this past winter were 31 percent, compared with 22 percent in 2011-12, according to USDA data.
Monsanto and PAm have been working together in California for the last year (in a three-year program) to encourage farmers to plant forage, the food supply for honey bees that is made up of nectar and pollen from flowering plants. Company officials said “year-one” results yielded 450 acres of forage, 130 percent of the goal.
For its part, Monsanto has been investing in bee health in the past several years. In 2011,Monsanto acquired Beeologics, a startup founded in 2007 to develop biological tools for disease control for bees, for $113 million. “If beekeepers let mite pressure get out of control, it becomes an uphill battle and they usually lose,” said Hayes, who is the Beeologics commercial lead.
The Honey Bee Advisory Council is comprised of Monsanto executives and others, including Diana Cox-Foster, a professor at Penn State University; David Mendes, past president of the American Beekeeping Association; Gus Rouse, owner of Kona Queen Hawaii Inc.; and Larry Johnson, commercial beekeper.

Friday, May 10, 2013

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/05/winter-honeybee-losses/

Saturday, April 20, 2013

CCD BEES ALMONDS

How Does Colony Collapse Disorder Affect The Almond, Blueberry, Honey Industry?




Why California Is in Desperate Need of Bees

$3.8 billion almond industry may take a huge hit due to colony collapse disorder.
Love isn’t the only thing blooming around Valentine’s Day. So are California’s 800,000 acres of almond blossoms. But scientists warn there may simply not be enough honey bees available to pollinate this year’s crop, which prompts an ominous question: “Is 2013 the year colony collapse disorder (CCD) begins to impact our food supply?
Mysterious and worrisome bee losses have been on the radar since 2006, but this winter was especially hard on hives, and some experts, like UC Davis entomologist Eric Mussen, predict 2013 could end up as one of the worst honey production years on record. That’s bad news for almond growers, who rely heavily on bees to pollinate the nut trees, and the state’s ag-economy. Almonds are California’s second largest cash crop (behind dairy) and the state’s largest export crop, worth an estimated $3.8 billion.
This is big business. According to Scientific Beekeeping, over a million out-of-state bee hives arrive by pickup truck and semi-trailers to work California’s almond orchards, outnumbering local hives two to one, before leaving to pollinate a rotation of flowering crops in other parts of the country.
So just how bad could the season be? Pretty bad. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says beekeepers have been losing approximately 30 percent of their honey bees each year. But word of hive losses in the 70-90 percent range are being reported this winter—an unsustainable trend for the nation’s commercial beekeepers, and a worrying decline for fruit and vegetable producers, who rely heavily on the tiny workers. For commercial beekeeper Jeff Anderson, whose bees pollinate crops in California and Minnesota, the declines are jaw dropping.
“My operation started last spring with a high count of 3,150 hives. Today I have 992 alive, most in severely weakened condition,” he says.
The nation’s almond crop won’t be the only food impacted.
“Bees pollinate over 95 different types of fruits and vegetables, with almonds being the most prolific,” Paul Towers, spokesperson for the Pesticide Action Network, tells TakePart. “What happens in the almond crop spells good news or bad news for other crops. There’s a ripple effect as commercial bees get moved from almonds to blueberries to cranberries and pumpkins.”
The European Commission, on the other hand, recently recommended a two-year suspension of three neonicotinoid insecticides beginning July 1. The U.S. has no such policy, but PAN, along with the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides and 25 beekeepers filed an emergency legal petition with the EPA to halt use of clothianidin until further studies have been done. The petition was denied.


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Monsanto Bee Colony Collapse Information GMO Total Frankenbee fucking bullshit #monsanto #fuckyou #monsantojustsuedme


*Blamed for Bee Collapse, Monsanto Buys Leading Bee Research Firm
Read more here: http://naturalsociety.com/monsanto-bee-collapse-buys-bee-research-firm/
*Monsanto buys leading bee research firm after being implicated in bee colony collapse
Read more here: http://www.naturalnews.com/035688_Monsanto_honey_bees_colony_collapse.html
Post by: Julie
Join us! http://www.facebook.com/thenwowillfail

Love isn’t the only thing blooming around Valentine’s Day. So are California’s 800,000 acres of almond blossoms. But scientists warn there may simply not be enough honey bees available to pollinate this year’s crop, which prompts an ominous question: “Is 2013 the year colony collapse disorder (CCD) begins to impact our food supply?
Mysterious and worrisome bee losses have been on the radar since 2006, but this winter was especially hard on hives, and some experts, like UC Davis entomologist Eric Mussen, predict 2013 could end up as one of the worst honey production years on record. That’s bad news for almond growers, who rely heavily on bees to pollinate the nut trees, and the state’s ag-economy. Almonds are California’s second largest cash crop (behind dairy) and the state’s largest export crop, worth an estimated $3.8 billion.
This is big business. According to Scientific Beekeeping, over a million out-of-state bee hives arrive by pickup truck and semi-trailers to work California’s almond orchards, outnumbering local hives two to one, before leaving to pollinate a rotation of flowering crops in other parts of the country.



So just how bad could the season be? Pretty bad. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says beekeepers have been losing approximately 30 percent of their honey bees each year. But word of hive losses in the 70-90 percent range are being reported this winter—an unsustainable trend for the nation’s commercial beekeepers, and a worrying decline for fruit and vegetable producers, who rely heavily on the tiny workers. For commercial beekeeper Jeff Anderson, whose bees pollinate crops in California and Minnesota, the declines are jaw dropping.
“My operation started last spring with a high count of 3,150 hives. Today I have 992 alive, most in severely weakened condition,” he says.
The nation’s almond crop won’t be the only food impacted.
“Bees pollinate over 95 different types of fruits and vegetables, with almonds being the most prolific,” Paul Towers, spokesperson for the Pesticide Action Network, tells TakePart. “What happens in the almond crop spells good news or bad news for other crops. There’s a ripple effect as commercial bees get moved from almonds to blueberries to cranberries and pumpkins.”
While there’s still no scientifically definitive cause for CCD (some suggest weather, parasites and disease), the finger is increasingly being pointed at a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids—including clothiandin, thiamethoxam imidicloprid and sulfoxaflor—currently under consideration at the Environmental Protection Agency. As we told you last year, scientists have linked neonicotinoids use on crops to sudden die-offs of honeybees.
The European Commission, on the other hand, recently recommended a two-year suspension of three neonicotinoid insecticides beginning July 1. The U.S. has no such policy, but PAN, along with the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides and 25 beekeepers filed an emergency legal petition with the EPA to halt use of clothianidin until further studies have been done. The petition was denied.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What is Colony Collapse Disorder?

What is Colony Collapse Disorder?


Fruits and NutsVegetablesField Crops
  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocadoes
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cherries
  • Citrus
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwifruit
  • Loganberries
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Nectarines
  • Olives
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums/Prunes
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Silence of the Bees


Silence of the Bees
Introduction

In the winter of 2006, a strange phenomenon fell upon honeybee hives across the country. Without a trace, millions of bees vanished from their hives. A precious pollinator of fruits and vegetables, the disappearing bees left billions of dollars of crops at risk and threatened our food supply. The epidemic set researchers scrambling to discover why honeybees were dying in record numbers — and to stop the epidemic in its tracks before it spread further.
Silence of the Bees is the first in-depth look at the search to uncover what is killing the honeybee. The filmmakers of Bees take viewers around the world to the sites of fallen hives, to high-tech labs, where scientists race to uncover clues, and even deep inside honeybee colonies. Silence of the Bees is the story of a riveting, ongoing investigation to save honeybees from dying out. The film goes beyond the unsolved mystery to tell the story of the honeybee itself, its invaluable impact on our diets and takes a look at what’s at stake if honeybees disappear. Silence of the Bees explores the complex world of the honeybee in crisis and instills in viewers a sense of urgency to learn ways to help these extraordinary animals.


Watch Silence of the Bees on PBS. See more from Nature.


http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/silence-of-the-bees/full-episode/251/