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  1. #1
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    Default Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    Tom Philpott of GRIST magazine has broken a new angle on the Neonicotinoids story in the USA.

    See here:

    http://www.grist.org/article/2011-01...ticide-harmful

    Full article appended below as a PDF.

    ABTRACT:

    "Remember the case of the leaked document showing that the EPA’s own scientists are concerned about a pesticide it approved that might harm fragile honeybee populations? Well, it turns that the EPA isn’t the only government agency whose researchers are worried about neonicotinoid pesticides. USDA researchers also have good evidence that these nicotine-derived chemicals, marketed by German agrichemical giant Bayer, could be playing a part in Colony Collapse Disorder—the mysterious massive honeybee die-offs that United States and Europe have been experiencing in recent years. So why on earth are they still in use on million of acres of American farmland?"

    Independent film blockbuster
    According to a report by Mike McCarthy, environment editor of the U.K.-based Independent, the lead researcher at the USDA’s very own Bee Research Laboratory completed research two years ago suggesting that even extremely low levels of exposure to neonicotinoids makes bees more vulnerable to harm from common pathogens.
    For reasons not specified in the Independent article, the USDA’s Jeffrey Pettis has so far not published his research.

    “[It] was completed almost two years ago but it has been too long in getting out,” he told the newspaper.
    “I have submitted my manuscript to a new journal but cannot give a publication date or share more of this with you at this time.”


    Pettis’s study focused on imidacloprid, which like clothianidin is a neonicotinoid pesticide marketed by Bayer as a seed treatment. The findings are pretty damning for these nicotine-derived pesticides, according to McCarthy. He summarizes the study like this:

    “The American study ... has demonstrated that the insects’ vulnerability to infection is increased by the presence of imidacloprid, even at the most microscopic doses. Dr. Pettis and his team found that increased disease infection happened even when the levels of the insecticide were so tiny that they could not subsequently be detected in the bees, although the researchers knew that they had been dosed with it.”

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    Appreciate the interest, but you're a little late this has been posted as a website in the thread titled clothianidins.
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    Waiting for a certain gentleman to come to bayers defense!!! Where r u bud?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    Thanks for the introduction dude. Over at BEEL this Pettis study was discussed by leading researchers and the word is the study was done with caged bees. They discuss the limitations of caged bee studies in that the bees are stressed and not in a natural state like in the field.

    So while interesting the study is far from earthshaking given there really is a large body of scientific data already published on neonics and bees. Folks on this chat group act like no studies have been done, simply not true.

    There is speculation on BEEL the reason Pettis's study did not get published for 2 years is other scientists who reviewed it for publication felt it was weak.

    What gets posted in these threads is one sided biased out of context information.

    To illustrate my point, how many of you all know about the neonic study suggested by the anti-Bayer poster boy himself David Hackenberg? Bayer funded this study for HAckenberg and he used his hives in the experiment.

    This too is from BEEL

    http://community.lsoft.com/SCRIPTS/W...%3BMatches&z=4



    This trial was designed to satisfy the suggestions by the NHBAB that tests
    be run on normal commercial colonies, with normal used combs, and normal
    pathogen levels, with the test and control yards suggested by Dave
    Hackenberg.

    The trial ran from March through October, with Movento being sprayed onto
    bloom on March 26 at label rate (730ml product/ha) while bees were actively
    foraging. In fact, the spray rig passed immediately next to the test
    colonies.

    I believe that most in the audience were impressed by the thoroughness and
    meticulousness of the data collection by Dr Rogers and team. They monitored
    brood viability immediately after spraying, and for the next four months
    recorded frames covered by bees, capped brood, open brood, frame coverage by
    honey, and by pollen, varroa and nosema levels.

    They also monitored dead bee traps, and noted the age (pupa or adult) and
    sex of each dead bee, and whether it had signs of DWV.

    They also recorded hive weight, and spirotetramat residues in blossoms,
    nectar shook from the combs, and in trapped pollen loads.

    There were no differences in brood (larval or pupal) viability for the
    several days after spraying.

    The colonies were moved by Hackenberg after citrus bloom to apples, then
    blueberries, then pumpkins, and were again monitored after each crop.

    The control colonies were somewhat stronger before spraying, but were passed
    up by the Movento colonies during the ensuing months.

    To briefly summarize the rest of the data, the Movento colonies started with
    9% mite levels, and the controls at 5%. A month later, they had dropped
    slightly in the Movento group, and risen in the controls.

    Hackenberg treated for mites in May and then twice in June.

    Nosema levels were in the range of 1-4M for most of the trial for both
    groups.

    No colonies died in citrus. More control colonies than Movento colonies
    died thereafter at each assessment (last assessment after pumpkins in Oct.),
    at which point 8 Movento, and 9 controls had died (out of 12 in each group).

    Causes of death appeared to be due to high mite levels and DWV infection, as
    evidenced by the high DWV mortality of pupae in the dead bee traps.

    Conclusion: Movento sprayed on citrus bloom did not appear to negatively
    affect commercial test colonies in either the short or long term.

    However, after the trial concluded, Dave Hackenberg told beekeepers that the
    remaining 4 Movento colonies eventually died, whereas the 3 remaining
    control colonies survived. Some beekeepers in the audience felt that that
    final mortality was due to some sort of delayed response.

    However, this didn't appear plausible to us, since spirotetramat residues
    were far below toxic levels at any time of the trial, and rapidly degraded.
    From the data at the Oct report, it was clear that ALL colonies were on a
    hard downhill trend as far as health was concerned, due to mite levels and
    DWV.

    I (Randy) personally asked Dave whether next year he would prefer the
    orchard to be sprayed with Movento or to go back to existing products. He
    said that he would prefer Movento.

    END QUOTE

    Whats interesting is how the migratory beekeeping pressures killed off most of the hives in the experiment in the end. Sheesh he treated the bees 3X in spring and still most of them crashed from mites and viruses. That's pretty much the basis of my posts here on BEE source. Its all about the mites folks.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    Who are these 'top researchers', and why are they discussing an unpublished study?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    The study has not yet been published.

    There seems to be a film being shown in Europe with a sequence of Jeff Pettis discussing some aspects of the study (I believe this is where the Grist article got their information)...specifically that "undetectable levels" increased nosema infections, and that the study was completed 2 years ago.

    A Bayer UK spokesperson (Dr. Little) is on the record saying that he doesn't know the details of the study, but at the same time saying that whatever Pettis saw in the lab, they are not seeing it in the field.

    Also, a blurb was in one of the CCD reports (which looks like the same study, but no way to know)...pasted at the bottom of the page.

    Randy Oliver asked for a copy from Jeff Pettis...his request was declined (which Randy said was unusual).

    deknow
    ==========================

    Sub-lethal pesticide exposure in honey bees: Chronic pesticide exposure at the colony level results in increased susceptibility of workers to pathogen infection

    Jeffery S. Pettis, USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705 USA

    Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Penn State University, Department of Entomology, University Park, PA

    Josephine Johnson, University of Maryland Baltimore, Department of Toxicology, Baltimore, MD

    Galen Dively, University of Maryland, Department of Entomology, College Park, MD

    Global pollinator declines have been attributed to habitat destruction, pesticide use and climate change or some combination of these factors and managed honey bees, Apis mellifera, are part of worldwide pollinator declines. We exposed honey bee colonies during three brood generations to sub-lethal doses of a widely used pesticide, imidacloprid, and then subsequently challenged newly-emerged bees with the gut parasite, Nosema ceranae. The pesticide dosages used were below levels that are thought to cause harm to honey bees. We demonstrated an increase in pathogen growth within individual bees reared in colonies exposed to the pesticide. Interactions between pesticides and pathogens could be a major contributor to increased mortality of honey bee colonies and other pollinators worldwide. Other sub-lethal pesticides studies will also be discussed in trying to understand the role of pesticides in declining bee health.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    Well, I think I understand why it wasn't published.

    They would have to be able to show HOW those 'undetectable' ( ) levels of pesticide caused an increase in Nosema infections.

    The French have already reported on an association between neonics and Honeybee disease. They couldn't explain the why either.

    So, the problem with that kind of a study is that you can't follow an 'undetectable pesticide' in vivo, and you have no way to connect it to a molecule/process that causes an increase in Nosema.

    Basically, without any new information on how the neonic can cause an increase in bee pathology, it's not worth publishing.

    That being said, Is this yet another case of science by newspaper?

    Who was the researcher that claimed to have found the CCD 'bullet'?

    Was that Pettis?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    FYI I attach the transcript of the filmed interview of Jeff Pettis and Dennis van Engelsdorp with American documentary film maker Mark Daniels. The interview took place at 'Apimondia' the World Bee Congress held at University of Montpelier in France in summer 2009.

    The crucial point here, is that Maryann Frazier had found up to 31 different pesticides in a single load of incoming pollen from one bee forager. On average she discovered four different pesticides in each incoming pollen load. She notes the 'synergistic' effect whereby just adding one additional fungicide or herbicide to one insecticide - created a combined toxic effect that was 'up to a hundred times more toxic' than one pesticide alone.

    The other vital thing to note from this field study, was that she found relatively little evidence of neonicotinoids - I think the figure was 'less than 10%' had detectable levels of neonics in the bees or the pollen or the hive.

    NOW . . . what Alaux's work in France, and Pettis' work in American have shown independently, is that both teams found an increased susceptibility to infection by nosema when bees were 'challenged' with infinitesimally small doses of Imidacloprid. Pettis and Englesdorp - and Alaux - all state that they believe the increased mortality of the test colonies was not simply the neurotoxic effect of the insecticide. They both cite the observation that in all cases - the immune system of the bees seemed damaged, impaired, compromised - by the feeding of Imidacloprid. They then go on to express their 'astonishment' that, having fed the foragers a known dose of Imidacloprid - they were subsequently 'unable to detect the Imidacloprid' in the pathology of the dead foragers. It was 'beyond the levels of detection'.

    Engelsdorp also comments that the dead bees that he himself had administered the poison to had many more viruses than he expected - which was consistent with the observation of a failed immune system.

    So, even though both Pettis' work and Alaux work were both laboratory or highly controlled studies - when you add them to Maryann Frazier's field studies you have an obvious hypothesis for how this may impact bees.

    1. Alaux and Pettis noted that the immune system of bees was damaged when the bees were fed Imidacloprid at levels that were so low they defied detection in the later pathology examination of the dead bees.

    2. This would chime with Frazier's field studies, where she often could find no trace of neonicotinoids in the bees and hives she studied. From PEttis and Alaux's work, we now have evidence as to WHY she would find no evidence.

    3. Engelsdorp says that although they found no measurable levels of Imidacloprid in the forages they had deliberately poisoned - they DID find the insecticide in the nurse bees in those hives. DISCUSS . This is a profound observation -IMHO. Nurse bees have never left the hive - so they cannot have consumed Imidacloprid in the field. So this seems to be evidence of BIO-ACCUMULATION of Imdacloprid within the hive. They must be getting it from stored pollen and stored honey. Which they use to make brood food and royal jelly to feed the queen. What does that in turn suggest?

    4. Alaux and Pettis fed bees one pesticide and exposed them to one infectious pathogen - Nosema. And they died.
    What are the implications if we add in Fraziers 4-31 additional pesticides and Engelsdorp's average of 4-6 different viruses, plus bacteria, plus fungal diseases? Altogether, it sounds like bees with a weakened immune system would die of just about everything under the sun.
    Last edited by borderbeeman; 01-24-2011 at 06:36 AM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    i'm anxiously awaiting the approval of the attachment so that i can read it.

    with that said, we really need to see the study itself to have an idea of what is going on.

    the language i've heard so far talks about "undetectable levels of imidacloprid" in the bees....i _hope_ they were also looking for metabolites of imidacloprid, as it breaks down fairly quickly in bees. also, it would be good to know what the dose of imidacloprid was given to the bees.

    deknow

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    I would like some clarification as to what is meant by: '...failed immune system'.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    ...it's a "technical term"

    deknow

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    Dean:

    I have enough familiarity with the literature to understand which markers are associated with bee immunity.

    Maybe I'll just have to dig for the explanation myself unless someone knows off-hand which specific markers they used to demonstrate how an 'undetectable' dose of a neonic impaired the bee's immune system.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    I don't know of anyone that has seen the study, and as I posted before, Jeff declined to provide a copy to Randy Oliver.

    Best I can tell from what _is_ available, it was a measured dose of imidacloprid that was applied to the bees in a cage (and they were unable to detect it after the fact), and both the treated and a control were then inoculated with nosema. They seem to say that the treated bees had 4 times the infection as the control.

    I'd be very surprised if there was any actual data on the mechanism in this study.

    deknow

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    OK.

    Here are the links to the Alaux et al. paper:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...i0012-0774.pdf

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2847190/

    By quantifying the strength of immunity at both the individual and social levels, we showed that neither the haemocyte number nor the phenoloxidase activity of individuals was affected by the different treatments. However, the activity of glucose oxidase, enabling bees to sterilize colony and brood food, was significantly decreased only by the combination of both factors compared with control, Nosema or imidacloprid groups, suggesting a synergistic interaction and in the long term a higher susceptibility of the colony to pathogens. This provides the first evidences that interaction between an infectious organism and a chemical can also threaten pollinators, interactions that are widely used to eliminate insect pests in integrative pest management.
    So glucose oxidase activity was affected by the combination of Nosema and imidacloprid.

    Now, which Honeybee immunity marker(s) did Pettis et al. use? If it was in fact glucose oxidase, then there might be corroborating evidence for the same effect between: sublethal/undetectable levels of neonics; Nosema; and reduced glucose oxidase activity.

    Glucose Oxidase:
    This enzyme is essential in producing the antiseptic and thus sterilizing larval food (Sano et al., 2004) and honey (White et al., 1963; Ohashi et al., 1999).
    Last edited by WLC; 01-24-2011 at 02:39 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    I knew Bud would be faithful to Bayer..I still believe he is on their payroll! Now here is my opinion on our problems(ccd and declining colonies). First off all the pesticides and growth horomes are not healthy for us. We are growing chickens in 5 weeks that take 5 months on grass. Most beef has implants...it is my belief that all this has residual results....for instance earlier puberty in females eating lots of chicken and obese population....it is NOT the only cause but part of the big picture!. Now to bees...I dont think nicotinoid pesticides are the problem but rather part of the problem. They weaken the bees immune system(thats how they kill along with mentaL abnormalities). Combine this with all the other pesticides and herbicides our bees are exposes to, then add in mites spreading viruses and you have a huge enviromental mess. In talking to David Hackenberg he thinks that mite levels has to be kept lower that in the past as it seems problems arise with lower mite levels. IN my case some bees in town went downhill rapidly after Oct 30. My colonies were treated twice for mites...once in mid sept and at first of oct . Mite levels in these colonies were never thru the roof....a few mites on drone brood, rarely could you find a dwv bee prior to treatment and almost no visable mites on bees prior to treatment. THe colonies that werein town were around alot of treated lawns ect...where as colonies out in country where little pesticides are used looked much better and still do. Its my opinion that the combination of pesticides, mites and stress are our problems. By the way since bud refers to David as ccd poster boy I will in the future refer to him as bayers poster boy as he really seems to believe in bayer!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    Suttonbeeman,
    DITTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    So much to learn, so little time!!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    well I dont know if they are good or bad for the bees, my guess would be BAD! but I think we have a better chance of all of us winning a "power ball" lottery than our government banning anything when it comes to big AG, big PHARM, or big $$$$.

    steve
    A government large enough to provide everything you need is strong enough to take everything you have. T. Jefferson

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    Well, we all know that organophosphates had their day and were then replaced by other pesticides (like neonicotinoids) when they were found to be too toxic.

    While I don't think that neonics have the same kind of problems that were found associated with organophosphates, you have to admit that there is something unusual going on if the French study is right.

    If someone does eventually finds out exactly how neonics and Nosema reduce the levels of glucose oxidase, and colony immunity, then they might have a shot at developing newer neonics without the same side effects as the current neonics in use today.

    Unfortunately, I don't think that there are enough top flight biochemists around who would be capable determining the biochemistry of how neonics and Nosema reduce colony immunity that aren't already employed by agro-pharma companies.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Grist magazine breaks neonicotinoids story

    This is Pettis here talking about nosema interactions
    Note his comment around minute 4.20.
    'I don't want you to get hung up on pesticides'

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs4vx...layer_embedded

  20. #20
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    Default Don't get hung up on pesticides

    Now Jon, you wouldn't be intending to spread 'doubt' here would you?

    Here is Jeff Pettis' email to me from several weeks ago, in which he divulged a truly interesting disovery.

    Dear Graham,
    I agree that the research needs to be published and it does in fact support the work of Alaux and others.

    It has been submitted to Naturwissenschaten and I would hope that they find it acceptable.

    I agree that one of the most troubling finds of our work is that the newly emerged bees that were exposed to Nosema had undetectable levels of imidacloprid but the nurse bees from the colonies had detectable levels.
    Regards,

    Dr. Jeff Pettis
    Research Leader
    USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory


    Many of the experts on this forum have a profound knowledge of beekeeping and the science of pesticides Risk Assessments.
    I am still struggling with the implications of that last sentence:

    one of the most troubling finds of our work is that the newly emerged bees that were exposed to Nosema had undetectable levels of imidacloprid but the nurse bees from the colonies had detectable levels.


    I would be grateful for any insights you could offer as to what Pettis might be pointing to in this statement.

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