Bee Deaths

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Bee Deaths

Post by voguy » 10-22-2013 05:23 PM

Scientists discover another cause of bee deaths, and it's really bad news
Jaymi Heimbuch Science / Natural Sciences


So what is with all the dying bees? Scientists have been trying to discover this for years. Meanwhile, bees keep dropping like... well, you know.

Is it mites? Pesticides? Cell phone towers? What is really at the root? Turns out the real issue really scary, because it is more complex and pervasive than thought.

Quartz reports:
Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth 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.


The researchers behind that study in PLOS ONE -- Jeffery S. Pettis, Elinor M. Lichtenberg, Michael Andree, Jennie Stitzinger, Robyn Rose, Dennis vanEngelsdorp -- collected pollen from hives on the east coast, including cranberry and watermelon crops, and fed it to healthy bees. Those bees had a serious decline in their ability to resist a parasite that causes Colony Collapse Disorder. The pollen they were fed had an average of nine different pesticides and fungicides, though one sample of pollen contained a deadly brew of 21 different chemicals. Further, the researchers discovered that bees that ate pollen with fungicides were three times more likely to be infected by the parasite.

The discovery means that fungicides, thought harmless to bees, is actually a significant part of Colony Collapse Disorder. And that likely means farmers need a whole new set of regulations about how to use fungicides. While neonicotinoids have been linked to mass bee deaths -- the same type of chemical at the heart of the massive bumble bee die off in Oregon -- this study opens up an entirely new finding that it is more than one group of pesticides, but a combination of many chemicals, which makes the problem far more complex.

And it is not just the types of chemicals used that need to be considered, but also spraying practices. The bees sampled by the authors foraged not from crops, but almost exclusively from weeds and wildflowers, which means bees are more widely exposed to pesticides than thought.

The authors write, "[M]ore attention must be paid to how honey bees are exposed to pesticides outside of the field in which they are placed. We detected 35 different pesticides in the sampled pollen, and found high fungicide loads. The insecticides esfenvalerate and phosmet were at a concentration higher than their median lethal dose in at least one pollen sample. While fungicides are typically seen as fairly safe for honey bees, we found an increased probability of Nosema infection in bees that consumed pollen with a higher fungicide load. Our results highlight a need for research on sub-lethal effects of fungicides and other chemicals that bees placed in an agricultural setting are exposed to."

While the overarching issue is simple -- chemicals used on crops kill bees -- the details of the problem are increasingly more complex, including what can be sprayed, where, how, and when to minimize the negative effects on bees and other pollinators while still assisting in crop production. Right now, scientists are still working on discovering the degree to which bees are affected and by what. It will still likely be a long time before solutions are uncovered and put into place. When economics come into play, an outright halt in spraying anything at all anywhere is simply impossible.

Quartz notes, "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."
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Post by Fan » 10-23-2013 02:12 PM

I think it is more than one thing. Check this out for instance, to me it is obvious this would kill them http://phys.org/news/2013-04-high-fruct ... dwide.html
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Post by voguy » 10-23-2013 04:32 PM

Very possible. After all, it's not natural to them, despite what 1970's trials might have said.
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Post by Diogenes » 10-24-2013 01:31 PM

Fan wrote: I think it is more than one thing. Check this out for instance, to me it is obvious this would kill them http://phys.org/news/2013-04-high-fruct ... dwide.html


Both articles makes sense to me.
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Post by Fan » 10-25-2013 09:49 AM

They have a robotic bee that will take over pollinating once all the real ones are dead.

http://www.fastcoexist.com/1682095/this ... spy-on-you

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Post by SquidInk » 10-26-2013 01:58 AM

For if it profit, none dare call it Treason.

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Post by kbot » 01-25-2014 07:16 AM

Back on the bee issue - the EU has placed a ban on neonicitinoid pesticides because they have been identified as the prime course of colony collapse.

You'd think that our Congress could do the same and protect not only the bees but our food supply?

Ursula Carlson: EPA is dragging its feet on odd bee die-offs

In July, Reps. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon introduced bill HR 2692: the Protect America’s Pollinators Act of 2013, which asks for a temporary ban on the neonicotinoid class of pesticides. The European Union has imposed a similar ban, but our Environmental Protection Agency says it’s going to take five more years of study (or maybe fewer if there’s an “emergency”) before it feels it can do the same.

The first warning sign that bees were in trouble occurred in 2006, when it became evident that normal bee deaths had jumped from a typical 16 percent a year to 31 percent. It wasn’t merely the higher percentage that was alarming, but the mysterious nature of these deaths, eventually termed Colony Collapsing Disorder or CCD because no “biological agent” could be identified as the culprit for the deaths. Today bee loss has increased to 45.1 percent.

When I contacted the EPA in December wanting to know the reason for the delay in banning the neonicotinoid pesticides, the response was, “What is not clear is whether or not pesticide exposure in general, and the neonicotinoid class in particular, is a major factor associated with U.S. honeybee health declines. Current scientific consensus suggests that disease-carrying Varroa mites and other factors play more significant roles than do pesticides.”

I don’t know how vigilant or reliable the EPA is, because in 2008 it approved the pesticide spirotetramat (trade name Movento and Ultor) for use on hundreds of types of crops despite concerns from scientists and beekeepers. The National Research Council together with Xerces Society challenged the illegal registration of spirotetramat in federal court in New York; the court invalidated EPA’s approval of the pesticide and found that the EPA “utterly failed to comply with the law and gave no explanation whatsoever for these shortcomings.” Movento was pulled from store shelves.

Bayer CropScience (maker of pesticides, including the above Movento, as well as those found in products such as Bayer Advanced Fruit, Citrus & Vegetable Insect Control and Ortho Flower, Fruit & Vegetable Insect Killer) is also pointing the finger at the Varroa mite as the main culprit in bee die-offs despite the fact that the Varroa mite has been studied since the 1980s, as have other factors, and does not account for one of the major symptoms that CCD bees suffer from: disorientation that prevents them from finding their way back to the hive.


A recent study on neonicotinoids was done by team of scientists in Italy and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal on Oct. 24. The scientists examined how a neonicotinoid made by Bayer “adversely affects the insect immune response and promotes replication of a viral pathogen in honey bees bearing covert infections.”

The only thing the EPA has done in regard to the concern over pesticides is to 1) “advance new equipment and formulation technologies that keep the pesticide on the seed,” 2) “change pesticide labels,” share 3) “on the use of pesticides to control Varroa mites” and 4) “issue new enforcement guidance … to enhance investigations of beekill incidents.”

As if this were not enough, the U.S. chief agricultural adviser in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement was a former lobbyist for CropLife International, a consortium often identified as BIG AG and made up of companies such as Bayer CropScience, Dow Agro Sciences, DuPont, Monsanto, Sumitomo and Syngenta.

Ursula Carlson is professor emerita at Western Nevada College.

http://www.nevadaappeal.com/news/opinio ... -pesticide
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Post by voguy » 01-25-2014 07:56 AM

We can always count on the fact that what is good for the nation, our legislators and executive branch will do what is good for the bankers.
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Post by Diogenes » 01-25-2014 05:37 PM

YUP good for the bankers and good for them - we can always count on that.
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Post by kbot » 01-25-2014 07:21 PM

The part of the article that got me going: "The European Union has imposed a similar ban, but our Environmental Protection Agency says it’s going to take five more years of study (or maybe fewer if there’s an “emergency”) before it feels it can do the same."

What part of "We won't have a food supply" don't these dolts get?
What the hell are we fighting for? Ah, just surrender and it won't hurt at all. You just got time to say your prayers. Yeah, while you're waiting for the hammer to fall. (Brian May of Queen)

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Post by voguy » 01-25-2014 07:40 PM

@KBOT: We elect them because they are "popular" not because they possess any great intelligence which can help society.
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson

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Post by Diogenes » 01-25-2014 08:40 PM

voguy wrote: @KBOT: We elect them because they are "popular" not because they possess any great intelligence which can help society.


Absolutely - the ultimate "beauty contest".
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Post by Diogenes » 01-25-2014 10:49 PM

This has bothered me since I first became aware and started seeing (and still see) dead bees on the patio, etc.

We use no chemicals and haven't for probably 20 years. I live smack dab in the middle of an agricultural area.

Wasn't it Einstein who said and I am paraphrasing - we lose the bees and we are SOL.:(
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Post by voguy » 01-26-2014 08:40 AM

The quote is somewhat out of text, but it's accurate none the less. The fact is, when large corporations place money over the environment the end result is an environment of feces.
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson

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Post by kbot » 01-26-2014 09:57 AM

voguy wrote: @KBOT: We elect them because they are "popular" not because they possess any great intelligence which can help society.


Would be interesting to see which politicians get their contributions from the chemical/ pesticide industry........
What the hell are we fighting for? Ah, just surrender and it won't hurt at all. You just got time to say your prayers. Yeah, while you're waiting for the hammer to fall. (Brian May of Queen)

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