Are Neonicotinoids killing bees?
DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT HERE:
ARE NEONICOTINOIDS KILLING BEES?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2012
Mace Vaughan, Pollinator Program Director, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; (503) 753-6000, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Black, Executive Director, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation; (503) 449-3792, email@example.com
ARE NEONICOTINOIDS KILLING BEES?
Report looks at the facts behind pesticide controversy
PORTLAND, Ore.--- A report released today by the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation details potential negative impacts of neonicotinoid insecticides to honey bees and other important agricultural pollinators.
Beekeepers and environmentalists have expressed growing concern about the impact of this class of insecticides. Those concerns are based on the fact that neonicotinoids are absorbed into plant tissue and can be present in pollen and nectar, making them toxic to pollinators.
A possible link between neonicotinoids and honey bee die-offs has led to controversy across the United States and Europe. Several European countries have reexamined the use of neonicotinoids in crops such as corn, canola and sunflower.
"This comprehensive report summarizes all of the peer reviewed research on the impact of these
pesticides on bees", said Jennifer Hopwood, Xerces Society Pollinator Specialist and co-author of the report. "We hope this information will allow for better informed decision making by those who regulate and use these insecticides."
Some of the major findings of the report include:
- Several of these insecticides are highly toxic to honey bees and bumblebees.
- Neonicotinoid residues are found in pollen and nectar consumed by pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The residues can reach lethal concentrations in some situations.
- Neonicotinoids can persist in soil for months or years after a single application. Measurable amounts of residues were found in woody plants up to six years after application.
- Untreated plants may absorb chemical residues left over in the soil from the previous year.
- Products approved for homeowners to use in gardens, lawns, and on ornamental trees have manufacturer-recommended application rates up to 120 times higher than rates approved for agricultural crops.
- There is no direct link demonstrated between neonicotinoids and the honey bee syndrome known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). However, recent research suggests that neonicotinoids may make honey bees more susceptible to parasites and pathogens, including the intestinal parasite Nosema, which has been implicated as one causative factor in CCD.
- Many neonicotinoid pesticides that are sold to homeowners for use on lawns and gardens do not have any mention of the risks of these products to bees, and the label guidance for products used in agriculture is not always clear or consistent.
The report also recommends that the US Environmental Protection Agency adopt a more cautious approach to approving all new pesticides, using a comprehensive assessment process that adequately addresses the risks to honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees in all life stages.
"The report shows that these insecticides are likely having a negative impact on honey bees, bumble bees and other agriculturally important pollinators," said Scott Hoffman Black, Executive Director of the Xerces Society and co-author of the report. "It is vital that regulators reassess the bee-safety of all neonicotinoid pesticide products, reexamine or suspend all conditional registrations until we understand how to manage risks, and require clear labels so that consumers know that these products kill bees and other pollinators.
Please visit www.xerces.org for a full copy of this report.
"We recommend a variety of risk assessment measures that will help us understand the real risk that bees and other pollinators face from new pesticides," said Mace Vaughan, Xerces Pollinator Program Director and report co-author. "We need better methods to assess risk for honey bees and new methods to include other important pollinator groups to ensure we do not negatively impact populations of these important animals."
ABOUT THE XERCES SOCIETY
The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Since 1971, the Society has been at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs. To learn more about our work or to donate to the Society, please visit www.xerces.org.
Re: Are Neonicotinoids killing bees?
Really now, how can insecticides, known to be toxic in the tinniest of trace amounts, and that do their work by permeating every part of the growing plant, including guttation water, nectar, and pollen - ever be harmful to honey bees? Of course, not considering that they will likely also be picked up by every other species of plant in the vicinity of the target crop.
If it were true that these insecticides; neonicotinoids, were so insidious, how could the highly educated and very wise men and women running the appropriate regulatory agencies ever approve their release into our environment? And, if the present research reports were true, how could these same people whom we trust with our very lives and the protection of our environment (and I might add, their own lives and environment), allow neonicotinoids to continue being used, as they still are?
Personally, I don't really appreciate that I'm probably ingesting some of these new synthetic neurotoxins with my every bite of food, but that's just me. After all aren't these neonicotinoids very low in toxicity to mammals? I'm sure that there are many toxins throughout our environment, which we are regularly exposed to that also have low toxicity, otherwise wouldn't we all be dead, already? And, of course, no one really gives much consideration to how these new toxins will interact with various organisms, the environment, or the plethora of previously existing chemical compounds, some of which are already known to be toxic, that already exist in the environment. The macabre game of "Russian Roulette" comes readily to mind. I'm glad I've already put fifty-five years behind me, and hope I get the chance to keep putting more years there too.
Re: Are Neonicotinoids killing bees?
Joseph agree with you 100%. Although of concern is the quality of reporting by the chemical industry and, as there is no precautionary principle the agencies can apply they have to work on the evidence provided.
In the past months, three separate studies—two of them just out in the prestigious journal Science—have added to a substantial body of literature linking widespread use of neonicotinoids to CCD. The latest research will renew pressure on the EPA to reconsider its registration of Bayer's products. The EPA green-lighted Bayer's products based largely on a study funded by the chemical giant itself—which was later discredited by the EPA's own scientists, as a leaked memo showed. Still how much damage has been caused while everyone plays catchup
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