Defenseless bees

Jennifer Sass’s Blog

Defenseless bees

Jennifer SassPosted November 7, 2013 in Health and the Environment

BeeOur Nation’s bees are in a tail spin, and victims include commercial honey bees, wild bumble bees, and other native bee species.  This isn’t just a bee problem – it’s our problem too because we rely on the pollination services of our buzzing invertebrate friends to grow food and make flowers bloom. According to the US Department of Agriculture Honey Report, honey production is down, as it has been almost every year since the neonicotinoid pesticides were approved.

The decline of bee colonies almost certainly has numerous causes.  Much of the pesticide industry is focused on pathogens like Nosema parasites and Varroa mites, shifting attention away from their own toxic pesticide products. But, science is bringing pesticides and bee deaths closer together. Continue reading “Defenseless bees”

Scientists Discover Key Molecule Linking Neonicotinoids to Honey Bee Viruses

Scientists Discover Key Molecule Linking Neonicotinoids to Honey Bee Viruses

Beyond Pesticides |October 24, 2013 12:59 pm | Comments

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A team of scientists in Italy believe they have found the molecular mechanism through which neonicotinoid pesticides adversely impacts the immune system of honey bees. The team’s experiments suggest that exposure to neonicotinoids results in increased levels of a particular protein in bees that inhibits a key molecule involved in the immune response, making the insects more susceptible to attack by harmful viruses.

beesFINeonicotinoids cause significant problems for honey bees, include disruptions in mobility, navigation, feeding behavior, foraging activity, memory and learning, and overall hive activity. Continue reading “Scientists Discover Key Molecule Linking Neonicotinoids to Honey Bee Viruses”

President Obama, Act Now to Save the Bees

IEcoWatch: Uniting the voice of the grassroots environmental movement

President Obama, Act Now to Save the Bees

n light of recent action in Europe to suspend the use of certain neonicotinoid pesticides, Beyond Pesticides joined 12 other environmental and advocacy organizations in urging the Obama Administration to direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow the European Union’s lead in recognizing that risks posed by these pesticides are unacceptably high, and to suspend the use of these chemicals in the U.S. to protect pollinators and the nation’s agricultural economy.

The letter urges the Obama Administration to not only direct EPA to follow Europe’s lead in suspending certain neonicotinoid pesticides uses, but requests even more protective measures, including a minimum two-year suspension for all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid insecticides pending resolution of their hazards to bees and beneficial organisms. Highlighting the negative environmental and economic impacts of outdoor uses of the EPA-approved neonicotinoid insecticides—imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinetofuran and acetamiprid—as well as a recognition that the initial risk assessments for these chemicals fail to adequately consider key risks to bee health, the letter to President Obama notes that it, “would not be responsible to continue to allow these threatening compounds to be used so broadly.” Continue reading “President Obama, Act Now to Save the Bees”

50,000 Bumblebees Dead After Neonicotinoid Pesticide Use in Oregon

EcoWatch: Uniting the voice of the grassroots environmental movement

Beyond Pesticides

Just as Pollinator Week began last week, an estimated 50,000 bumblebees, likely representing more than 300 colonies, were found dead or dying in a shopping mall parking lot in Wilsonville, OR. Authorities confirmed Friday that the massive bee die-off was caused by the use of a neonicotinoid pesticide, dinotefuran, on nearby trees. Then on Saturday, it was reported by The Oregonian that what could be hundreds of bees were found dead after a similar pesticide use in the neighboring town of Hillsboro.

According to the Xerces Society, this is the largest known incident of bumblebee deaths ever recorded in the country. Bumblebees, which are crucial to the pollination of multiple berry and seed crops grown in the Willamette valley—as well as many other food crops across the country—have recently experienced dramatic population declines, a fate similar to other pollinators. Continue reading “50,000 Bumblebees Dead After Neonicotinoid Pesticide Use in Oregon”

Neonicotinoid pesticides tied to crashing bee populations, 2 studies find

Neonicotinoid pesticides tied to crashing bee populations, 2 studies find

AAAS / Science

A bee with a transmitter glued to its back was one of the specimens in a study that used the radio technology to track what happened to bee colonies exposed to a widely used pesticide.

By Miguel Llanos, NBC News

A widely used farm pesticide first introduced in the 1990s has caused significant changes to bee colonies and removing it could be the key factor in restoring nature’s army of pollinators, according to two studies released Thursday.

The scientists behind the studies in Europe called for regulators to consider banning the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoid insecticides. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency told that the studies would be incorporated into a review that’s currently under way.

A pesticide trade group questioned the data, saying the levels of pesticide used were unrealistically high, while the researchers said the levels used were typical of what bees would find on farms. Continue reading “Neonicotinoid pesticides tied to crashing bee populations, 2 studies find”

Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms

The New York Times

March 28, 2013

Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms


A Disastrous Year for Bees: For America’s beekeepers, who have struggled for nearly a decade with a mysterious malady called colony collapse disorder that kills honeybees en masse, the last year was particularly bad.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A mysterious malady that has been killing honeybees en masse for several years appears to have expanded drastically in the last year, commercial beekeepers say, wiping out 40 percent or even 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor.

The pesticide industry disputes that. But its representatives also say they are open to further studies to clarify what, if anything, is happening. Continue reading “Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms”

Honeybee Deaths Linked to Corn Insecticides

By Mar 15, 2012 6:15pm

gty honeybee jef 120315 main Honeybee Deaths Linked to Corn Insecticides                                  Image credit: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

What was killing all those honeybees in recent years?  New research shows a link between an increase in the death of bees and insecticides, specifically the chemicals used to coat corn seeds.

The study, titled “Assessment of the Environmental Exposure of Honeybees to Particulate Matter Containing Neonicotinoid Insecticides Coming from Corn Coated Seeds,” was published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology journal, and provides insight into colony collapse disorder. Continue reading “Honeybee Deaths Linked to Corn Insecticides”

Pollinator Decline/Colony Collapse Disorder Timeline

Pollinator Decline/Colony Collapse Disorder Timeline

by GreenMotherFollow


“Immadicloprid first registered for use in the United States. Beyond EPA initiates review for pesticide linked to honey bee decline. “Imidacloprid has been linked to sublethal effects in honeybees, which include disruptions in mobility, navigation, and feeding behavior. Lethal and sublethal exposures to imidacloprid have been shown to decrease foraging activity, along with olfactory learning performance and decrease hive activity. Bees are exposed when they pollinate flowering crops treated with imidacloprid, or pesticide drift (via wind) from surrounding areas. The rapid disappearance of the honeybees, also dubbed “Colony Collapse Disorder” or CCD, has been observed in the U.S. since 2006.”…1994: The Scotsman: Mad Bee Disease Hits French Honey Harvest. Gaucho is first used in France, Beeks there report immediate change in behaviors in bees.…

1995: Guardian UK: Germany Bans Chemicals Linked to Honey Bee Devastation:

“In the United States, a group of beekeepers from North Dakota is taking the company to court after losing thousands of honeybee colonies in 1995, during a period when oilseed rape in the area was treated with imidacloprid. A third of honeybees were killed by what has since been dubbed colony collapse disorder.”… Continue reading “Pollinator Decline/Colony Collapse Disorder Timeline”