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  1. #1
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    Exclamation EPA sued after allegations Bayer pesticide killing honeybees

    EPA sued after allegations Bayer pesticide killing honeybees
    By Rick Wills
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    Buzz up!


    For nearly two years, Jim Doan painstakingly has kept his thousands of bee colonies away from crops treated with a type of pesticide created by Bayer AG.

    "We keep bees away as much as we can. I don't want them anywhere near it," said Doan, of Hamlin, N.Y., the state's largest beekeeper.

    Doan suspects a connection between pesticides and the mysterious, global bee die-off known as Colony Collapse Disorder. And it's a suspicion shared by most of the commercial keepers who haul their bees in tractor-trailers to pollinate everything from Florida oranges to Pennsylvania pumpkins.


    story continues below





    "Lots of beekeepers have done careful observations, and they have pretty good instincts about the way bees behave. And many of them think that CCD is caused by pesticides," said Troy Fore, president of the American Beekeeping Federation in Jessup, Ga. The federation has 1,100 members.

    Beekeepers now have some support.

    The National Resources Defense Council, a New York environmental advocacy group, last week filed a lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The lawsuit accuses the agency of withholding information about the risks that honeybees face from pesticides.

    "I am glad that someone filed suit to find out what's in these products," Doan said. "This information should have been out there when the chemical was released."

    Dave Hackenberg, the largest beekeeper in Pennsylvania, said: "I think the noose is tightening. I am convinced that pesticides are a large part of the problem."

    In Germany, two top-ranking executives of Bayer AG, including the company's CEO, are being accused by the group Coalition Against Bayer Dangers of "knowingly polluting the environment."

    "We are aware that Coalition Against Bayer Dangers has filed allegations against Bayer AG's CEO with regard to bee safety as it relates to the use of Bayer Crop Science pesticides. We are unaware of any investigation being initiated by the prosecutors," said Greg Coffey, a spokesman for Bayer Crop Science Inc. in Research Triangle, N.C.

    Bayer AG is the corporate parent of Bayer Corp., which has operations in Robinson. The German company's Medrad Inc. has manufacturing and research facilities in Allegheny and Butler counties.

    The U.S. lawsuit was filed after the EPA failed to respond to a request in July made under the Freedom of Information Act, said Josh Mogerman, a Chicago-based spokesman for the National Resources Defense Council.

    "This is an aggressive lawsuit. This is potentially a crisis that affects every dinner table in the world. And if there is information of value to the scientific community, they ought to know about it," Mogerman said.

    The EPA, which has posted some requested information on its Web site, said it had no intention of withholding information and did not reply to the council's request promptly because the information requested was so vast.

    Honeybees add about $15 billion to U.S. agricultural output each year. The two-year bee die-off has led to sharp price increases for growers. Pumpkin growers, for instance, now are paying $95 to $105 to rent a single bee colony, compared with $55 to $65 last year.

    Even smaller beekeepers, like Jim Fitzroy of Penn Hills, are concerned.

    "I have not had problems with CCD, but I know many people who have. I am spending a lot more on supplemental feedings to avoid CCD," said Fitzroy, who keeps about 15 hives at home and in the Allegheny National Forest.

    The lawsuit seeks information connected with the EPA's 2003 approval of clothianidin -- a pesticide used to treat corn, sugar beet and sorghum seeds.

    "This is not an assumption of guilt. We are not going in with the assumption that there is some kind of conspiracy," said Mogerman of the National Resources Defense Council.

    The same chemical is under fire in Germany, where there was a large bee die-off this past spring.

    Bayer AG says the die-off occurred because the pesticide was used improperly. And the bees in Germany died inside their hives, not -- as in the case with Colony Collapse Disorder -- far from their hives.

    "Field studies have demonstrated that when used according to label directions and applied correctly, clothianidin will not harm bees. All of the EPA's study requirements have been conducted and have been submitted to the agency," said Bayer AG's Coffey.

    Nearly two years since CCD first was identified, there is no evidence linking the phenomenon exclusively to pesticides, a particular pathogen or virus, said May Berenbaum, chairwoman of the department of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana.

    "We just don't know," she said. "It is unbelievably complicated. Bees are as complicated as people -- except they don't talk."


    Rick Wills can be reached at rwills@tribweb.com or 724-779-7123.

  2. #2
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    Default Ccd

    This really makes sense since hobby keepers like myself are not having as many problems if any with CCD.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by seamuswildhoney View Post
    This really makes sense since hobby keepers like myself are not having as many problems if any with CCD.
    I suspect that depends upon where you are located.

    If you're a beek with 2-10 hives and there is commercial type agriculture going on nearby then you're more likely to be impacted since your bees will likely be foraging off what is being grown by those operations/farmers.
    Milk Cows Not Taxpayers

  4. #4
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    Default Ccd

    I live in SC and farming is pretty much nil in this part of the state (northwest corner) so most of the keepers I talk to do not have problems with CCD.

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    Default

    "Field studies have demonstrated that when used according to label directions and applied correctly, clothianidin will not harm bees. All of the EPA's study requirements have been conducted and have been submitted to the agency," said Bayer AG's Coffey.

    Nearly two years since CCD first was identified, there is no evidence linking the phenomenon exclusively to pesticides, a particular pathogen or virus, said May Berenbaum, chairwoman of the department of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana.
    So why sue EPA? Prove that it's doing something, then make them stop. Don't assume something...
    The bees know!
    AKA Wormtounge

  6. #6
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    I believe they're suing under the freedom of information act to make them produce more documentation

    http://www.newsobserver.com/print/fr...y/1188499.html

    Dave

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    The suing of the EPA is two fold. One it allows discovery of all documentation that they have for study and to see if they had information that they disregarded regarding pesticides. Second, if they did disregard it then and you find that certain chemical companies (Bayer) influenced those decisions be it though financial support of elected officials who then influenced the EPA to dumb down or ignore certain findings to allow those pesticides into the market you then can make a criminal case against Bayer or whomever and those involved in the government. Usually what gets people in trouble is the cover ups that will need to take place once the investigations start.

    It will be interesting to see where this finally ends up. I suspect as I always have, that many of these pesticides which I personally believe are responsible for the majority of bee die offs, have gotten on the markets due to the chemical companies lobbying groups with spend hundreds of millions in lobbying efforts and to get their chemicals on the market.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodo View Post
    So why sue EPA? Prove that it's doing something, then make them stop. Don't assume something...

    Have you read the book " A Spring without Bees" by Michael Schacker. It pretty much details how France beekeepers noted problems with specific pesticides that use "neonicotinoids". At subleathal levels, it attacks the nervious system of bee, causing them to loose thier orientation and fly off and loose their way. The beekeepers of France succeeded on limiting these pesticides on the commercial market...Southern France now does NOT have CCD problems.

    The EPA has very stringent guidlines in the use of pesticides. However, there is a loophole that allows these pesticides to be used without proper testing. It is an "emergency authorisation" loophole, called "section 18". As I understand it, the EPA has to issue a Section 18 for every state. California has the most section 18s...There are a few states that have NOT allowed neonicotinoids use. Wanna guess which states are NOT having CCD problems?

    From the documentation of this book, there is some pretty damning evidence that the EPA is NOT doing it's job.

    Concider, ladies and gentlebeeks....when did we see CCD come into play? Was it around 2003-2004? When did the Bush administration start loosening up regulations on the EPA? 2000? Given a year for the Pesticide companys to bring out thier "NEW" marginal products, and another couple of years for the stuff to build up to leathal levels and guess when CCD starts showing up....

    Now, for all you ultra conservative Beeks who love the Bush adminstration....this is your goverment that is taking away YOUR livelyhood all due to those "stupid" regulations that you have had to put up with...Apparently, there's a good reason for those "stupid" regulations....and they save your livelyhood...

    nuff said.

    And yes, I am angry. So to be fair, I never did like the Bush administration. And my info is probably "a bit" biased. But if you get the book, you will have some real information that will give you a handle on CCD. I will never intentionally place my girls near a commerical farm if I can help it.
    Last edited by admiral_d; 08-30-2008 at 09:03 AM. Reason: One more thing to add

  9. #9
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    Bodo and Admiral......First Bodo.....EPA is a goverment agence...meaning very prone to things with green on them($$$$). dont think at times green mateial doesnt get put in someones pocket! Its all about money.....thats why oxlic acid hasnt been approved.....noone canmake alot of $$$ so no money to get it thru EPA!

    Admiral I'm not a Bush fan either BUT all this same stuff has gone on for years with BOTh parties! Big $$$ control who gets elected....you gotta have millions to get in office.....where does this come from....big business so you are sold out when u get in! hence us poor beekeepers dont get alot of attention! Also Bush gets blame for the economy....you need to blame Reagan, Clinton and almost all of the senate/house......something called NAFTA and Gatt.......that sent millions of good jobs across the border and Both parties supported it(big $$$ made in the stock market for a few years by the big companies until all the effects ere felt here!.) Thats why jobs like beekeeping are hard as its labor intensive and we have to compete with someone in China who lives in a two room house and uses a cow to get around!
    no one represents the working class! Just a shame we get two bozos to choose from.....but I gotta go with Mc Cain and I'm a democrat! When trying to get EPA to pass the honey identity standards so we could stop the crap honey(adultrated) from coming into this country EPA said they had more important work to do and it would have taked only about 1 days attorney work. Why? The $$$$$ wasnt there for them! Most research is done by the chemical companies or universities who get their research $$$ for the chemical companies.....what kinda results you gonna get!!!!!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by suttonbeeman View Post
    Admiral I'm not a Bush fan either BUT all this same stuff has gone on for years with BOTh parties! Big $$$ control who gets elected....you gotta have millions to get in office.....where does this come from....big business so you are sold out when u get in! hence us poor beekeepers dont get alot of attention! Also Bush gets blame for the economy....you need to blame Reagan, Clinton and almost all of the senate/house......something called NAFTA and Gatt.......that sent millions of good jobs across the border and Both parties supported it(big $$$ made in the stock market for a few years by the big companies until all the effects ere felt here!.) Thats why jobs like beekeeping are hard as its labor intensive and we have to compete with someone in China who lives in a two room house and uses a cow to get around!
    no one represents the working class! Just a shame we get two bozos to choose from.....but I gotta go with Mc Cain and I'm a democrat! When trying to get EPA to pass the honey identity standards so we could stop the crap honey(adultrated) from coming into this country EPA said they had more important work to do and it would have taked only about 1 days attorney work. Why? The $$$$$ wasnt there for them! Most research is done by the chemical companies or universities who get their research $$$ for the chemical companies.....what kinda results you gonna get!!!!!
    First off, we agree on a couple of things. Jobs going overseas don't need Tax credits. That's not a McCain proposed policy. It is Obamas.

    Bush gets the blame for the ecomony. But the reality is that goverment has little to do with the ecomomy. However, when they take away safeguards that protect my bees, and threaten my livelyhood, the buck stops on thier door step. And they had better fix it before the next guy I vote into office.

    Your EPA has been in the hands of conservative republicans for the past 8 years. Thier message was simple. Anything clinton had to go. Including the regulations of the past EPA. That stuff you discribed was done under the Republican watch. And you want to vote McCain in to do more of the same????? Are you suicidal or something?

    The republicans have pushed for the Universitys to recieve most of thier grants from companys ...and have suceeded in getting the US grant money withdrawn mostly from those Universitys. Now those Universitys are supposed to fostering the ideas of the youth and encouraging new ideas from which to flourish the ecomony. Instead, University research is biased as it recieves money from the very companys that kill your bees. Sorry, but Universitys need to be apolitical. That doesn't mean that they can't recieve money from Companys. It means that the moneys recieved need to be 'apolitical'....

  11. #11
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    admiral d writes:
    From the documentation of this book, there is some pretty damning evidence that the EPA is NOT doing it's job.

    tecumseh: I read an article today in the Houston paper that stated that (get this) citizen watch dog groups and the oil industry (I assumed they were talking about the refinery folks down around the Houston ship channel) were suing the epa for what was describes as exactly the same reason.... failure to do their jobs in defining air quality standards.

  12. #12
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    Default Follow-up

    The Bayer studies neglect the obvious point that a honeybee will visit thousands of flowers to collect nectar which is evaporated down to create honey - further intensifying the harmful effects of the chemical.

  13. #13
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    Default The NRDC lawsuit is a puppet show

    to hide the real issue in beekeeping - the over use and massive contamination of brood comb with Fluvalinate and Compaphous.

    Here is a very accurate news story which explains the various FACTS as we know them on Bayer materials. We just don't have any evidence yet on Bayer despite the fact the materials have been in use for almost 15 yrs.


    http://www.capitalpress.info/main.as...85&TM=54280.73

    Beekeepers suspect pesticide in hive deaths
    Bayer says evidence anecdotal, as watermelon growers agree to curb neonicotinoid use

    Cecilia Parsons
    Capital Press

    Los Banos beekeeper Gene Brandi made a decision last year that cut into his bottom line, but he thinks it may ensure the survival of his bees.

    He will no longer allow his bees to pollinate watermelon crops - no matter how badly the growers need him.

    "Hives I've placed in watermelons over the last several years have had low winter survival rates, less than 50 percent, so for me the risk was too high to continue," Brandi said.

    Brandi suspects his bees were affected by a systemic pesticide melon growers use to kill aphids. He said the bees are picking up minute doses of neonicotinoid pesticides from crops they pollinate, and the pesticide is affecting their nervous systems. It doesn't kill them outright, Brandi said, but it seems to cause them to lose their appetites and become disorientated.

    The issue of neonicotinoid pesticides has potentially widespread consequences: Bee hives are collapsing at alarming rates and should this pesticide prove to be a factor in that collapse, farmers of all kinds of crops may have to change the way they treat their fields.

    Neonicotinoid pesticides are manufactured by Bayer CropScience and have been registered for use on a multitude of crops since 1994. They were much welcomed by growers who found they were especially effective against sucking insects such as aphids. They've also been hailed as "softer pesticides," in contrast with contact-killing organo-phosphates.

    Imidacloprid was the first commercially successful neonicotinoid insecticide. As of 2006, there were 115 active registered products containing imidacloprid, which is registered in California under a number of trade names, including Admire, Gaucho, and Provado.

    Products include seed coatings, soil applications and foliar sprays. According to Bayer, they work by interfering with the transmission of impulses in the nervous system of insects.

    Use of imidacloprid in California agriculture is widespread, with grape and lettuce crops using the most at 20,000 to 23,000 pounds annually. Broccoli crops used 6,500 pounds in 2006 and citrus used about 6,000 pounds. It is also used to kill termites.

    Beth Grafton-Cardwell, integrated pest management specialist and director of the UC Lindcove Research Station said there is great potential for use of imidacloprid in the citrus industry to help eradicate exotic pests such as the Asian citrus psyllid and brown citrus aphid. In citrus, the pesticide is applied through the irrigation water and, if label instructions are followed, bees should not come in contact with it, she said.

    Glenn Brank, spokesman for the state Department of Pesticide Regulation, said imidacloprid has been studied as a potential hazard to bees for some time. The department is in the process of putting together data from a number of different studies to see if the state needs to changes its regulations.

    UC honeybee specialist Eric Mussen said there is no doubt that imidacloprid does damage to the nervous systems of bees - and that significant amounts of the pesticide would kill bees on the spot. There are questions about sub-lethal doses of the pesticide over a period of time, he said.

    Like Brank, Mussen said there's no shortage of studies on the effects of neonicotinoids on honeybees. What it does to them may be different depending on whether they encounter the pesticide in pollen rather than nectar, he said. Also, different plants treated with the pesticide may have different amounts of the chemical in their pollen.

    "It is extremely difficult to say if it affects bees in the way they say it does. I have not seen where a specific amount causes this (effect) to happen," Mussen said.

    Beekeeper Dave Mendes, vice president of the American Beekeepers Federation, acknowledges that much of the evidence against neonicotinoids is anecdotal.

    "We're seeing these losses, but there is no data to back it up," Mendes said. His bees live in Florida, but Mendes brought thousands of hives to California last winter to keep them out of citrus in his home state, where growers use imidacloprid to fight the Asian citrus psyllid.

    Mendes thinks concentrations of the pesticide in pollen is causing developmental problems in bee broods. He participated in a study last year that found levels of imidacloprid in his hives at 15-17 parts per billion.

    "What does that mean? I want to know the long-term effects of that in my hives," he said. Mendes said he plans to push for research funding to find some answers.

    "If you don't know what the cause is (for losing bees), it creates a lot of anxiety. From what we read, this could be a problem, but we have no data."

    Documents supplied by Bayer say the maximum concentration of the pesticide in pollen and nectar is five parts per billion, far less than what is expected to kill bees. In addition, Bayer reports that long-term exposure doesn't hurt bees because they metabolize the neonicotinoids.

    "Controlled field studies have demonstrated over and over again that use of neonicotinoid insecticides use per label instructions do not harm bee colonies," Bayer spokesman Greg Coffey said.

    Coffey also noted that colony collapse disorder is a recent occurrence, whereas neonicotinoid use has been widespread for many years.

    All this leaves Fresno-area watermelon grower Parry Klassen in a difficult situation.

    His beekeeper also told him he wouldn't place bees in the field if imidacloprid were used. Klassen obliged, but aphids killed part of his crop.

    Klassen said other materials aren't as effective against aphids and other sucking insects, such as whiteflies.

    "It hasn't been proven to be the cause of the bee deaths. They're looking at all kinds of things," Klassen said. "If I can't use that product, I might as well stop growing watermelons."

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by tecumseh View Post
    admiral d writes:
    From the documentation of this book, there is some pretty damning evidence that the EPA is NOT doing it's job.

    tecumseh: I read an article today in the Houston paper that stated that (get this) citizen watch dog groups and the oil industry (I assumed they were talking about the refinery folks down around the Houston ship channel) were suing the epa for what was describes as exactly the same reason.... failure to do their jobs in defining air quality standards.
    EPA gets it's orders from the staff of the President. And they have relaxed those regulations and allowed these pesticides thru, what is called, section 18a of the regulations. It 's an emergency measure. It's being abused.

    In my humble opinion, demonstrations need to happen somewheres where some news agency will listen....

    .....but will the beekeepers listen and make known thier desires......That is the question...It's your livelyhood that is being taken away....by some body that's a bit more greedy than rational....

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