In the Buzz About Bees, Don’t Forget the Natives

Wildlife Online

In the Buzz About Bees, Don’t Forget the Natives

from Wildlife Promise

20 5/20/2013 // Laura Tangley

Bumblebee on Coneflower by Josh Mayes

A bumblebee visits a coneflower in a Dayton, Ohio, backyard. Photo by Josh Mayes.

Honeybees have been in the news a lot this month. On May 2, the federal government published results of a comprehensive study looking at potential causes of the insects’ dramatic decline in a phenomenon known as colony-collapse disorder. The widely publicized report blamed a combination of problems, including parasites, pesticides, bad nutrition and low genetic diversity within hives.

The following week, some U.S. activists made headlines by demanding the government ban a class of insecticides, neonicotinoids, after learning the European Union placed a moratorium their use due to concerns the chemicals are harming honeybees. (Imported to North America during the 1600s, honeybees are native to Europe.) Such concerns are understandable. Beyond their honey-making prowess, domestic honeybees are worth tens of billions of dollars to U.S farmers and beekeepers, who truck colonies back and forth across the country to pollinate commercial crops such as almonds, soybeans and watermelon. Continue reading “In the Buzz About Bees, Don’t Forget the Natives”

EU Announces Potential Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides Linked to Bee Deaths, Environmental Collapse

EU Announces Potential Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides Linked to Bee Deaths, Environmental Collapse

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

EU Announces Potential Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides Linked to Bee Deaths, Environmental Collapse

 

 

 

 

 

In a major victory for environmental preservation, the European Union has announced a potential history-making ban on neonicotinoid pesticides that have been linked to the death of bees worldwide.

Restricting Bee-Destroying Pesticides

As irritating as bees can be, everyone knows how essential these tiny insects are not only for flowers, but for the entire ecosystem and agricultural purposes at large. Unfortunately, the bee population has dropped dramatically over the last few years across the EU and the United States. There are multiple factors to consider, but one large factor is the use of bee-destroying pesticides. This is why the European Union has decided to heavily restrict the use of these pesticides on crops, despite being split on the decision among the states.

Despite 15 nations voting against the ban, EU rules allow for a designated ruling body to enact limitations on the use of neonicotinoids. The EU commission may now put into effect a 2 year restriction on neonicotinoids found in pesticides – the chemicals responsible for harming bees. Furthermore, the UK won’t have the option to opt of of these restrictions (even though they voted against a ban due to ‘inconclusive scientific evidence’). Continue reading “EU Announces Potential Ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides Linked to Bee Deaths, Environmental Collapse”

EPA Approves New Pesticide Highly Toxic to Bees

In apparent contradiction to its stated intention to protect pollinators and find solutions to the current pollinator crisis, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the unconditional registration of the new insecticide sulfoxaflor, which the agency classifies as highly toxic to honey bees. Despite warnings and concerns raised by beekeepers and environmental groups, sulfoxaflor will further endanger bees and beekeeping. The U.S. EPA continues to put industry interests first to exacerbate an already dire pollinator crisis.

In January, the agency proposed to impose conditional registration on sulfoxaflor due to inconclusive and outstanding data on long-term honey bee brood impacts. At that time, the agency requested two additional studies—a study on residue impacts, and a field test to assess impacts to honey bee colonies and brood development. This week, the EPA granted full unconditional registration to sulfoxaflor stating that there were no outstanding data, and that even though sulfoxaflor is highly toxic to bees it does not demonstrate substantial residual toxicity to exposed bees, nor are “catastrophic effects” on bees expected from its use. While sulfoxaflor exhibited behavioral and navigational abnormalities in honey bees, the EPA downplays these effects as “short-lived.” The agency says it has reviewed 400 studies in collaboration with its counterparts in Australia and Canada to support its decision. However, these studies do not seem to be currently available in the public scientific literature. Continue reading “EPA Approves New Pesticide Highly Toxic to Bees”

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Linked To Bee Colony Collapse

High-Fructose Corn Syrup Linked To Bee Colony Collapse

Honey May Hold The Sticky Solution To Bee Colony Collapse

By Geoffrey Mohan, Los Angeles Times

honeycolonybeesHoneybees that live off the same sweetener found in soft drinks could be more vulnerable to the microbial enemies and pesticides believed to be linked to catastrophic collapse of honeybee colonies worldwide, a new study suggests.

Researchers identified a compound found in the wall of plant pollen that appears to activate the genes that help metabolize toxins, including pesticides, according to the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

Although pollen winds up in the honey produced by Apis mellifera, these bees used to pollinate crops spend more time sipping on the same sugar substitute that is ubiquitous in processed foods – high-fructose corn syrup. The honey substitute is an important way for the industry, which contributes about $14 billion to the U.S. economy, to make ends meet. Continue reading “High-Fructose Corn Syrup Linked To Bee Colony Collapse”

USDA and EPA Release New Report on Honey Bee Health

USDA and EPA Release New Report on Honey Bee Health

Release Date: 05/02/2013
Contact Information: EPA, Molly Hooven (News Media Only), hooven.molly@epa.gov, 202-564-2313, 202-564-4355, USDA, Michelle Saghafi (News Media Only), Michelle.Saghafi@oc.usda.gov, 202-720-6959

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health. The report states that there are multiple factors playing a role in honey bee colony declines, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.

“There is an important link between the health of American agriculture and the health of our honeybees for our country’s long term agricultural productivity,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. “The forces impacting honeybee health are complex and USDA, our research partners, and key stakeholders will be engaged in addressing this challenge.” Continue reading “USDA and EPA Release New Report on Honey Bee Health”