Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder: video from Japan
Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder: video from Japan
A Spring Without Bees
by Michael Schacker
and here on video:
Honey bee survival rate better in west of Scotland
A further study led by Dr Connolly analysed colony failures over winter across the country. Of 89 colonies that had fed on oilseed rape, 27 failed, a death rate of 30 per cent. By contrast, 13 out of 82 colonies which had not fed on oilseed rape died – a smaller failure rate of 16 per cent.
Dr Connolly believes nicotine-based pesticides, neonicotinoids, may be contributing to the deaths of bees feeding on the crop, which is more commonly grown in the east.
He said: “All oilseed rape is treated with neonicotinoids, you can’t buy it without it being pre-treated with neonicotinoids.”
Comparative Sublethal Toxicity of Nine Pesticides on Olfactory Learning Performances of the Honeybee Apis mellifera
A. Decourtye, 1J. Devillers,2E. Genecque,3K. Le Menach,4H. Budzinski,4S. Cluzeau,1M. H. Pham-Del(gue3
Using a conditioned proboscis extension response (PER) assay, honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) can be trained to associate an odor stimulus with a sucrose reward. Previous studies have shown that observations of conditioned PER were of interest for assessing the behavioral effects of pesticides on the honeybee. In the present study, the effects of sublethal concentrations of nine pesticides on learning performances of worker bees subjectedto the PER assay were estimatedand compared. Pesticides were tested at three concentrations. The highest concentration of each pesticide corresponded to the median lethal dose value (48-h oral LD50), received per bee and per day, divided by 20. Reduced learning performances were observedfor bees surviving treatment with fipronil, deltamethrin, endosulfan, and prochloraz. A lack of behavioral effects after treatment with k-cyalothrin, cypermethrin, s-fluvalinate, triazamate, and dimethoate was recorded. No-ob-served-effect concentrations (NOECs) for the conditioned PER were derived for the studied pesticides. Our study shows that the PER assay can be usedfor estimating sublethal effects of pesticides on bees. Furthermore, comparisons of sensitivity as well as the estimation of NOECs, useful for regulatory purposes, are possible.
Quantification of Imidacloprid Uptake in Maize Crops
J. M. Bonmatin ,*† P. A. Marchand ,† R. Charvet ,† I. Moineau ,† E. R. Bengsch ,† and M. E. Colin ‡
Centre de biophysique moléculaire, CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) & Université d'Orléans, 45071 Orléans Cedex 02, France, and Laboratoire de Pathologie Comparée des Invertébrés, Université de Montpellier II, 34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
J. Agric. Food Chem., 2005, 53 (13), pp 5336–5341
Publication Date (Web): June 2, 2005
The systemic imidacloprid is one of the most used insecticides in the world for field and horticultural crops. This neurotoxicant is often used as seed-dressing, especially for maize, sunflower, and rape. Using a LC/MS/MS technique (LOQ = 1 μg/kg and LOD = 0.1 μg/kg), the presence of imidacloprid has been measured in maize from field samples at the time of pollen shed, from less than 0.1 μg/kg up to 33.6 μg/kg. Numerous random samples were collected throughout France from 2000 to 2003. The average levels of imidacloprid measured are 4.1 μg/kg in stems and leaves, 6.6 μg/kg in male flowers (panicles), and 2.1 μg/kg in pollen. These values are similar to those found previously in sunflower and rape. These results permit evaluation of the risk to honeybees by using the PEC/PNEC ratios (probable exposition concentrations/predicted no effect concentration). PEC/PNEC risk ratios were determined and ranged between 500 and 600 for honeybees foraging on maize treated with imidacloprid by seed dressing. Such a high risk factor can be related to one of the main causes of honeybee colony losses.
The corn pollen as a food source for honeybees
Acta Scientiarum. Agronomy Maringá, v. 33, n. 4, p. 701-704, 2011
Darclet Teresinha Malerbo-Souza
This experiment was conducted on the campus of the University Center Moura Lacerda, Ribeirão Preto, in 2009 an d 2010 with the objective of verifying the attractiveness of corn pollen for the Africanized honeybees Apis mellifera. The frequency of these bees, and the foraging behavior and stability were obtained by counting the first 10 min. of each hour, from 7.00 to 18.00, on three different days. Africanized honey bees collected only pollen in male flowers of maize, with a peak frequency of 9.00 in 2009 and between 16.00 and 17.00 in 2010. The corn pollen was very collected by Africanized honey bees, an important food source for these bees.
Evaluation of the nutritive value of maize for honey bees
BEEGroup, Biozentrum Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, D-97074 Würzburg, Germany
LLH Bieneninstitut Kirchhain, Erlenstraße 9, D-35274 Kirchhain, Germany
LWG, Fachzentrum Bienen, An der Steige 15, D-97209 Veitshöchheim, Germany
Received 23 September 2011
Received in revised form 1 December 2011
Accepted 2 December 2011
Available online 7 December 2011
In modern managed agro-ecosystems, the supply of adequate food from blooming crops is limited to brief periods. During periods of pollen deficiencies, bees are forced to forage on alternative crops, such as maize. However, pollen of maize is believed to be a minor food source for bees as it is thought to be lack ing in proteins and essential amino acids. This study was conducted to verify this assumption. In maize, a strikingly low concentration of histidine was found, but the amount of all other essential amino acids was greater than that of mixed pollen. The performance and the immunocompetence of bees consuming a pure maize pollen diet (A) was compared to bees feeding on a polyfloral pollen diet (B) and to bees feeding on an artificial substitute of pollen (C). Consumption of diets A and C were linked to a reduction in brood rearing and lifespan. However, no immunological effects were observed based on two parameters
of the humoral immunity.
Mixed pollen was collected by bees in June 2009 during the offbloom period of maize using commercial pollen traps. The pollen loads were removed daily in the evening and frozen to 18 C. Before the pollen was fed to the bees (colonies and caged bees) the pollen loads were ground and later mixed with honeydew honey (fir tree) to create a paste (ratio 2.5:1, wt/wt). Maize pollen (variety ‘‘Athletico’’ KWS, Einbeck, Germany) was collected by hand, ...
peter l. borst writes on bee-l:
"What really happened:
Several European countries have suspended the use of certain pesticides in response to incidents involving acute poisoning of honey bees. To EPA's knowledge, none of the incidents that led to suspensions have been associated with Colony Collapse Disorder. The following are the countries in which pesticides have been suspended, the pesticides in question, and the current registration status for the pesticide:
France - Sunflower and corn seed treatments of the active ingredient imidacloprid are suspended in France; other imidacloprid seed treatments, such as for sugar beets and cereals, are allowed, as are foliar uses.
Germany - The use of a number of seed treatment pesticides was temporarily suspended following an incident in May 2008 in which many bees were inadvertently poisoned. However, after investigating the factors contributing to the situation, Germany lifted the suspensions with the exception of the neonicotinoid clothianidin, which remains suspended as a seed treatment for corn.
Italy - Certain imidacloprid and other neonicotinoid seed treatment uses were suspended temporarily, but foliar uses are allowed. This action was taken based on preliminary monitoring studies in northern and southern regions of Italy showing that bee losses were correlated with the application of seeds treated with these compounds; Italy also based its decision on the known acute toxicity of these compounds to pollinators.
Slovenia - Neonicotinoid seed treatments for maize and oil seed rape (canola) were temporarily suspended. The suspension was based on poor seed treatment methods resulting in release of dust during the seed sowing process. In August 2008, the suspension for oil seed rape seed treatments was lifted due to improved seed treatment methods and seed sowing equipment.
for those who haven't seen it yet:
Central Archive for all Recent Papers on Neonics, Bee-Deaths and Bird Deaths associated with Neonics
Here is a sample:
This policy note from the EU Department for Economic and Scientific Policy contains some useful summaries of relevant research, including soil persistence rates, and defers in relation to pesticide authorisations to the on-going review by the European Food Safety Authority. The policy concludes that “ the precautionary principle in accordance with the Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 should be applied when using neonicotinoids.”
The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds – American Bird Conservancy, March 2013. This report shows that similar errors in risk assessment have been made with regard to birds as were made to insects – the chronic/reproductive toxicity of neonicotinoids to birds is high. This was recognised very early on in the regulatory reviews of the various active ingredients. Yet high reproductive toxicity in birds is typically ignored in the pesticide review process.
Sublethal doses of imidacloprid decreased size of hypopharyngeal glands and respiratory rhythm of honeybees in vivo
1) No food crops in the USA have suffered yield losses due to a shortage of honeybees.
2) Wildflowers growing in the vicinity of neonic treated crops in the USA continue to set alot of seed because both honeybees and wild pollinators like hover flies and butterflies continue to be common along the edges of the neonic treated crop fields.
3) Bats continue to be common in the evening in the vicinity of farm buildings that are surrounded by neonic treated crops because there are still lots of insects flying around in the evening.
4) Leopard frogs continue to be common along the margins of fields of Roundup Ready Corn and Soybeans in the Midwest USA.
5) Birds continue to be common in the tree hedgerows and shelter belts that are surrounded by neonic treated crops because there still lots of earthworms and other invertebrates for them to eat in the neonic treated crop soil plus they can find wildflower seeds along the crop margins.
One of my co-worker received the following in an email.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2013
USDA and EPA Release New Report on Honey Bee Health
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."
"The decline in honey bee health is a complex problem caused by a combination of stressors, and at EPA we are committed to continuing our work with USDA, researchers, beekeepers, growers and the public to address this challenge," said Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe. "The report we've released today is the product of unprecedented collaboration, and our work in concert must continue. As the report makes clear, we've made significant progress, but there is still much work to be done to protect the honey bee population."
In October 2012, a National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health, led by federal researchers and managers, along with Pennsylvania State University, was convened to synthesize the current state of knowledge regarding the primary factors that scientists believe have the greatest impact on managed bee health.
Key findings include:
Parasites and Disease Present Risks to Honey Bees:
The parasitic Varroa mite is recognized as the major factor underlying colony loss in the U.S. and other countries. There is widespread resistance to the chemicals beekeepers use to control mites within the hive. New virus species have been found in the U.S. and several of these have been associated with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Increased Genetic Diversity is Needed:
U.S. honeybee colonies need increased genetic diversity. Genetic variation improves bees thermoregulation (the ability to keep body temperature steady even if the surrounding environment is different), disease resistance and worker productivity.
Honey bee breeding should emphasize traits such as hygienic behavior that confer improved resistance to Varroa mites and diseases (such as American foulbrood).
Poor Nutrition Among Honey Bee Colonies:
Nutrition has a major impact on individual bee and colony longevity. A nutrition-poor diet can make bees more susceptible to harm from disease and parasites. Bees need better forage and a variety of plants to support colony health.
Federal and state partners should consider actions affecting land management to maximize available nutritional forage to promote and enhance good bee health and to protect bees by keeping them away from pesticide-treated fields.
There is a Need for Improved Collaboration and Information Sharing:
Best Management Practices associated with bees and pesticide use, exist, but are not widely or systematically followed by members of the crop-producing industry. There is a need for informed and coordinated communication between growers and beekeepers and effective collaboration between stakeholders on practices to protect bees from pesticides.
Beekeepers emphasized the need for accurate and timely bee kill incident reporting, monitoring, and enforcement.
Additional Research is Needed to Determine Risks Presented by Pesticides:
The most pressing pesticide research questions relate to determining actual pesticide exposures and effects of pesticides to bees in the field and the potential for impacts on bee health and productivity of whole honey bee colonies.
Those involved in developing the report include USDA's Office of Pest Management Policy (OPMP), National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Agricultural Research Services (ARS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), National Resource Conversation Service (NRCS) as well as the EPA and Pennsylvania State University. The report will provide important input to the Colony Collapse Disorder Steering Committee, led by the USDA, EPA and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
An estimated one-third of all food and beverages are made possible by pollination, mainly by honey bees. In the United States, pollination contributes to crop production worth $20-30 billion in agricultural production annually. A decline in managed bee colonies puts great pressure on the sectors of agriculture reliant on commercial pollination services. This is evident from reports of shortages of bees available for the pollination of many crops.
The Colony Collapse Steering Committee was formed in response to a sudden and widespread disappearance of adult honey bees from beehives, which first occurred in 2006. The Committee will consider the report's recommendations and update the CCD Action Plan which will outline major priorities to be addressed in the next 5-10 years and serve as a reference document for policy makers, legislators and the public and will help coordinate the federal strategy in response to honey bee losses.
To view the report, which represents the consensus of the scientific community studying honey bees, please visit: http://www.usda.gov/documents/ReportHoneyBeeHealth.pdf
Macro-Invertebrate Decline in Surface Water Polluted with Imidacloprid
Tessa C. Van Dijk, Marja A. Van Staalduinen, Jeroen P. Van der Sluij
Imidacloprid is one of the most widely used insecticides in the world. Its concentration in surface water exceeds the water quality norms in many parts of the Netherlands. Several studies have demonstrated harmful effects of this neonicotinoid to a wide range of non-target species. Therefore we expected that surface water pollution with imidacloprid would negatively impact aquatic ecosystems.
Availability of extensive monitoring data on the abundance of aquatic macro-invertebrate species, and on imidacloprid concentrations in surface water in the Netherlands enabled us to test this hypothesis. Our regression analysis showed a significant negative relationship (P<0.001) between macro-invertebrate abundance and imidacloprid concentration for all species pooled. A significant negative relationship was also found for the orders Amphipoda, Basommatophora, Diptera, Ephemeroptera and Isopoda, and for several species separately. The order Odonata had a negative relationship very close to the significance threshold of 0.05 (P = 0.051). However, in accordance with previous research, a positive relationship was found for the order Actinedida.
We used the monitoring field data to test whether the existing three water quality norms for imidacloprid in the Netherlands are protective in real conditions. Our data show that macrofauna abundance drops sharply between 13 and 67 ng l−1. For aquatic ecosystem protection, two of the norms are not protective at all while the strictest norm of 13 ng l−1 (MTR) seems somewhat protective. In addition to the existing experimental evidence on the negative effects of imidacloprid on invertebrate life, our study, based on data from large-scale field monitoring during multiple years, shows that serious concern about the far-reaching consequences of the abundant use of imidacloprid for aquatic ecosystems is justified.
May 3, 2013 —
Bees Survival: Ban More Pesticides?
Neonicotinoids are under intense scrutiny. But a ban on a broad variety of pesticides may be required to protect bees, humans and the environment.
The European Commission, on 29th April 2013, slapped a two-year ban on insecticides suspected of killing-off bee colonies. This follows the European Food Safety Authority finding that they pose a high acute risk to honey bees. Studies suggest that the nicotine-like compounds fry bees' navigation systems and leave them unable to learn, while weakening their immune system.
But scientists now warn that other nerve-agents targeting insect pests may also be harming bees and other pollinators.
"These neonicotinoids are just one of hundreds of compounds being used and I would be surprised if it was all down to just these chemicals," says Christopher Connolly, a neuro-scientist at the University of Dundee, UK. He argues that we should not allow farmers spray a toxic soup of chemicals onto their crops.
Pesticides not adequately tested
Connolly exposed bee brains to these pesticides and organo-based pesticides and reported that the nerves spun into hyperactivity and then stopped working. A combination of these two pesticides types had a stronger impact, suggesting the combined soup of pesticides could be causing more serious harm.
"I don't understand how this was missed. As a neuroscientist it just seemed blindingly obvious. The biggest effect was hyper-activation of the major learning centre, which was completely predictable," Connolly said.
The nerve agents effects were missed because safety-screens only looked to see how many honey bees die after four days exposure to the pesticide in question. But harm to the bees is only evident over a period of two weeks in bumblebees and is only seen when you look at entire colonies.
"So the safety test is all wrong. The thing that concerns me is that this throws a question mark over several hundred pesticides, all tested by inadequate safety screens," says Connolly. He suggests that we should be tracking pesticides use in the environment, just like we monitor drug use in patients.
Not collecting such data might even pose health issues for people.
"Bear in mind we have lots of 'idiopathic' diseases (diseases of unknown origin) in humans, which we don't know the cause of and given that we don't know what pesticides are used in what combinations and when, we don't know if these pesticides may be contributing to some or even all these unknown diseases," Connolly warns.
More research needed
Connolly argues that we need to carry out research to find out which pesticides are the least harmful.
If neonicotinoids are the least toxic, then we should go with them. He says governments have under-funded this research area partly because it is inconvenient to find pesticides are dangerous.
Dave Goulson, Professor of Biological Science at the University of Stirling, UK agrees:
"there haven't been nearly enough studies of all pesticides or interactions between them."
He recently published a study showing neonicotinoids hit bumblebee colony growth and queen production.
He also said: "beneficial insects such as ladybirds and bees are exposed to lots of different chemicals and we have a really poor understanding of what it does to them." He also points out that we need to be concerned with what we replace these nerve agents with.
More research may be helpful, but industry criticises extrapolation of lab studies to field conditions. Julian Little, spokesperson for Bayer Cropscience, based in Norwich, UK, says the evidence against these pesticides has all been lab based, essentially taking a social insect and force-feeding it insecticide. It says the results cannot be replicated in the environment.
But he also agrees more monitoring of pollinators is needed. "Where you do get large-scale bee deaths not enough has been done to know exactly what has happened," Little commented. He says pests and loss of feeding sites and nesting sites are most likely behind bee declines. "France has had restrictions [of neonicotinoids] over the last ten years, yet the bees there remain as bad if not worse than they are in the UK."Avoidance of pesticide use
A possible solution to preserve bee populations further would be to restore the principle of avoidance of pesticide use.
"The whole ethos of pest management has gone in the wrong direction," Goulson argues. Whereas integrated pest management sought to use as few pesticides as possible, the neonicotinoids are a preventive strike.
"A simple analogy is that it's like taking antibiotics in case you get ill rather than when you get ill. Everyone knows that is a silly idea, as it results in bacteria rapidly developing resistance. It is the same with these pesticides."
However, opponents believe that the neonicotinoids ban is unlikely to decrease pesticide use. Quite the opposite.
Julian Little of Bayer warns that farmers may now have to resort to spraying insecticides up to four times a year, now that they cannot coat seeds in neonicotinoids.
But other experts do not agree. There are several alternatives to using neonicotinoids, and other pesticides, according to Simon Potts, professor of biodiversity and ecosystem services at Reading University, UK.
"This is a great opportunity for farmers to adopt these practices to protect bees and other pollinators".Indeed, he believes farmers will benefit from healthy pollinator populations as they provide substantial economic benefits to crop pollination.
"Few people would disagree that we need to protect our food production, but it shouldn't be at the cost of damaging the environment," Potts said, adding:
"A short-term decision to keep using harmful products may be convenient, but will almost certainly have much greater long-term costs for food production and the environment."
CBC Edmonton: May 3, 2013 2:18 PM MT
Canada wrestles with bee-killing crop pesticides
Government recommends mitigation measures, not ban
Canadian government scientists have found evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides were linked to mass bee deaths during the spring corn planting in Ontario and Quebec in 2012. (Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters)
Canadians beekeepers, farmers and regulators are wrestling with how to protect bees from popular pesticides that were partially banned in Europe this week.
The European Commission announced Monday that it would go ahead with a partial two-year ban on three kinds of neonicotinoid pesticides that have been linked to bee deaths. The pesticides are used to coat most commercial corn seeds and protect them from pests such as seed-eating insects.
Canadian government scientists have found evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides were linked to mass bee deaths during the spring corn planting in Ontario and Quebec in 2012, Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency confirmed in a report.
Read more about Health Canada's findings HERE:
To ban or not to ban?
That has some people, such as Dan Davidson, president of the Ontario Beekepers' Association, calling for the use of the neonicotinoid pesticides to be restricted in Canada also.
Listen to the full interviews on 'The Current'Quote:
"I think the best for beekeepers would be a ban," he told CBC's The Current. "We have to call for replacement of these chemicals.
We won't be able to keep going on if they continue to be used at the rates they're being used now."
The environmental advocacy group Sierra Club Canada is similarly calling for a Canada to take the pesticides off the market until they have been proven safe.
However, Kevin Armstrong, a farmer who grows corn, wheat and soybean south of Woodstock, Ont., said neonicotinoid pesticides are essential for protecting corn seeds and seedlings during their crucial first month.
"It is a kind of insurance policy for us," he told The Current. "The vigour of the whole plant is assured for the whole season."
Armstrong said neonicotinoids are largely responsible for a 15 per cent increase in Ontario corn yields over the past 15 years, and so a ban on them could cause a significant loss. A loss of 10 per cent translates into about $100 an acre, he said. If Ontario farmers plant 2.3 million acres of corn as expected, that could amount to a $230-million loss.
"It works out to a significant economic setback for us."
2012 mass bee-deaths unprecedented
Mary Mitchell, director-general of the environmental assessment directorate with Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency, said neonicotinoid pesticides have been registered in Canada for 10 to 15 years and mass bee deaths linked to them had never been reported before last year.
"So we do think the weather may have been a factor," she said, noting that it had been an unusually early, warm dry spring.
She said regulators are working to prevent that happening again, but she did not mention any talk of restrictions on the use of the pesticides.
Instead, she said the government is encouraging farmers to communicate better with beekeepers and to using planting equipment that minimizes the production of dust, which is thought to be a major way bees are exposed to the pesticides.
The government is also working with the agricultural industry on ways to get the pesticide coating to stick better to the seed so it can't come off and harm the bees.
Tracy Baute, who leads the field crop entomology program at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, said more studies are underway to find out exactly how bees are exposed to neonicotinoid pesticides.
However, in the meantime, she recommends that farmers:
- Let nearby beekeepers know when they are planting so the beekeepers can move hives if necessary.
- Consider planting in the early morning or the evening, when bees are less active.
- Consider using seeds that aren't treated with pesticides in fields at a lower risk of attack by pests.
The reports of mass bee deaths in Ontario and Quebec in 2012 took place around the time that two scientific studies were published showing that bees can be harmed by even low levels of neonicotinoids.
Many bee species have been declining in North America and Europe, and some have even gone extinct or are believed to be close to extinction. Meanwhile, honeybees have been reported dying or disappearing en masse since 2006. In addition to pesticides, there is evidence that fungi, viruses, or parasites may play a role.