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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Edinburgh, UK

    Default Guilt and responsibility in mass bee deaths in france

    If you are 'seriously' interested the fifteen year long Scientific debate behind the European ban on neonics, please read the full document at the link below. Those of you who are not interested - just don't bother; it requires some effort.

    I have abstracted the crucial section on the TIMELINE of how this poison got onto the market; how and why 1 million French bee colonies died as a result - and why the French government then banned Imidacloprid after considering more than 120 Peer -Reviewed Scientific Papers. The main evidence however, came from the beekeepers

    The abstract below shows that Bayer's strategy - in terms of the Four Dog Defense, was as follows:

    1994 - Deny that the pesticide presents ANY risk to bees at all - because it is biologically impossible for it ever to appear in the flowers. That got them the license.

    1995-97 - Admit that they were wrong - it DOES come out in the flowers, but only in tiny, tiny amounts that could never harm a bee - and the million colonies which died among the sunflowers treated with the poison - COINCIDENCE!

    1998-1999 Bayer said its scientists could not find, or could not quantify 'how much' imidacloprid came out in the flowers.
    Independent researchers had no problem finding it and quantifying it.

    1997-2002 Bayer admits that imidacloprid is present in pollen and nectar at 1.9 ro 3.3 ppb - but claim that no toxic effect was seen until the dose reached 5000 ppb - so it was still safe. Independent research shows bees were intoxicated and died at just 5ppb - one thousand times less than Bayer claimed.

    . . . it just goes on and on. See for yourself.
    The truth is that we are trying to retrospectively prove something is safe or not safe 20 years after it was first licensed - and ten million dead bee colonies later. You are supposed to verify that pesticides are safe BEFORE they are unleashed on the world.


    Bayer claimed that imidacloprid applied on seeds
    cannot be present in flowers, because it disappears
    before the treated plants flower
    The consistent association between
    the use of Gaucho® in treating sunflowers and the
    appearance of intoxication symptoms in bees during sunflower
    foraging, however, led beekeepers to suspect
    the presence of the substance in those parts of the
    plant utilized by honeybees.

    All of Bayer's studies concluded that Gaucho® used
    in sunflower seed-dressing is harmless for honeybees
    However, the
    significant lack of quality in Bayer's studies was
    repeatedly demonstrated by independent scientists.
    Beekeepers and local/departmental state services also
    carried out field studies and showed the occurrence of
    bee symptoms in areas of extended monocultures seed-dressed
    with Gaucho®, and the absence of other
    potential causes

    The studies undertaken by Bayer during this period
    either could not detect imidacloprid or detected it,
    but could not quantify it (GVA, 2006; SCT, 2003).
    One exception was a laboratory study that quantified
    the substance (imidacloprid) in sunflowers treated with Gaucho® to
    be 3.3 ppb in pollen and 1.9 ppb in nectar (Stork,1999)

    The first independent
    research program (INRA, CNRS and AFSSA, 1998)
    identified the presence of imidacloprid in plants
    during flowering and abnormal honeybee behavior
    at both treated and control sites. This last finding led
    the researchers to address the problem of imidaclo-
    prid's persistence in soils and its presence in
    untreated crops cultivated in soils previously used
    for treated crops (Bonmatin et al., 2000).

    Bayer received precise results during this period
    (3.3 ppb in sunflower pollen and 1.9 ppb in nectar
    (Stork, 1999, in SCT, 2003)). Nevertheless, the
    company reported “an exposure between 0 and
    5 ppb” The value of 5 ppb is the quantification limit declared by Bayer
    for the dosage of imidacloprid in Gaucho®-treated
    sunflowers and maize. We, however, showed that
    Bayer had already obtained lower measurements
    (using radioactivity-based methods). In view of the
    relevancy of the existing knowledge, this ‘semantic
    slip’ blurs the message by strategically selecting
    among the measurements available.

    Moreover, independent research had already
    reported (two years before) available quantification
    and detection limits well below those used by Bayer:
    quantification limit at 1 ppb (pollen and nectar) and a
    detection limit at 0.3 ppb for pollen (Bonmatin,
    2001, in SCT, 2003) and 0.8 for nectar (Lagarde,
    2000, in SCT, 2003). Imidacloprid was measured in
    the pollen of sunflowers and maize in concentrations
    between 2 and 4 ppb.

    Recently published results of a survey initiated in French apiaries to
    monitor the weakness of honeybee colonies showed
    that imidacloprid had become a common contaminant
    of the environment (the most frequently found
    residue was imidacloprid: in 49.4% of the samples)
    (Chauzat et al., 2006).

    3.3. The lowest effect concentration
    In 1997, Bayer declared that the first biological
    effects (only appear in bees) at 5000 ppb. Two years later,
    however, the LOEC (lowest observed effect concentration)
    value identified by a Bayer study was
    well below this value: 0.5 to 7 ng/honeybee (20 ppb)
    (Kirchner, 1999, in SCT, 2003).

    In 2000, sublethal effects were identified at very low doses (0.075–
    0.21 ng/honeybee, i.e., 3 ppb in a solution containing imidacloprid)
    by scientists working in independent
    (Colin and Bonmatin, 2000, in SCT, 2003).

    Beekeepers continued to present the results of
    independent research, emphasizing that doses as
    low as 3 ppb and 6 ppb affect honeybees (GVA,

    Bayer claimed that the lowest effect dose is 20 ppb,
    but failed to mention that this result was obtained
    during an open-field study. Thus, the company stated
    that for the studies “made on complete colonies in the
    open field… the first negative effects are not observed
    at 20 ppb. The first observed effect of imidacloprid is
    a refusal to feed from the contaminated source and
    thus the end of foraging”

    This claim inadequately reflects the results of
    the respective study (Kirchner, 1999, 2000, in SCT,
    2003), in which the effects observed in the open field,
    and caused by 0.5–1.4 ng/honeybee (20 ppb), were
    not the refusal of feeding, but a decrease in the
    frequency of wagging dances
    (which is correlated to
    recruitment in the colony for a food source), a change
    in dance precision (concerning the direction), and the
    occurrence of trembling dances (which is an inhibiting
    behavior for foraging recruitment and often
    observed in intoxicated bees) (Kirchner, 1999,
    2000, in SCT, 2003).

    Based on the results produced by independent
    research, the beekeepers supplied arguments in
    support of their demand to ban the use of Gaucho®.
    Three of the available results for the effect dose of
    imidacloprid were validated in 2002 by the Commission
    for Toxic Products and ranged from 0.15 ng/
    honeybee (laboratory) to 7 ng/honeybee (open field).

    3.5. Impacts on non-target organisms and on the environment

    Bayer judged the risks that imidacloprid forms for the
    environment to be either 'non-existent' or ‘acceptable’
    (Bayer, 2001).

    Available scientific knowledge, however,
    indicated negative effects on other insects (including
    pollinators), birds, and aquatic organisms.

    Both researchers and beekeepers insist that the honeybee, in
    this case, represents a bio-indicator for the state of the
    environment. The Minister of Ecology also held
    imidacloprid responsible for the bird intoxication
    observed in France after 1995 (GVA, 2006). Imidaclo-
    prid authorization data in several countries has shown
    different toxicity levels for birds, pollinating insects
    (particularly honeybees), fish and other aquatic organisms,
    and mammals (pesticides authorization registers
    for Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Canada, and the United
    States, websites visited in January 2006).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.

    Default Re: Guilt and responsibility in mass bee deaths in france

    Yet another screed by borderbeeman that is mostly devoid of any real data or supporting facts, and so embellished as to be intentionally misleading, for example baldly claiming that 10,000,000 hives have been killed by neonics.

    Such posts do not advance any reasonable discussion about any facet of beekeeping, and in fact are nothing more than political rants driven by a personal vendetta.

    Borderbeeman is turning this discussion forum into his personal political soapbox.

    Perhaps the Moderators would consider creating a new category for purely political posts and move these and any other political posts there?
    Last edited by shinbone; 05-01-2013 at 07:17 PM.
    (6th year, 15 hives, Zone 5b, 5500')

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    New Cumberland, PA

    Default Re: Guilt and responsibility in mass bee deaths in france

    Borderbeeman, please keep posting -- Not all of us are interested in suppression.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Edinburgh, UK

    Default Re: Guilt and responsibility in mass bee deaths in france

    Thanks - there are so many pro-pesticide attack-dogs on this forum that it is hard to see the wood for the trees.
    I have decided to add a FIFTH strategy to the FOUR DOG DEFENSE - which is:

    SUPPRESSION OF THE TRUTH: Attack, bully, harass and defame anyone who dares to try and put the message out about the truth on pesticides. The shills carrying out the attacks will of course deny that they are paid by industry, but the vehemence and persistence of their constant attacks reveals the truth. The more they attack, the more they try to suppress the truth - the more we realise we are hitting the pesticide nerve where it hurts.

    As the good book says:

    "By their actions ye shall know them"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Edinburgh, UK

    Default Re: Guilt and responsibility in mass bee deaths in france

    Shinbone now applies the FIFTH strategy in the FOUR DOG DEFENSE:
    SUPPRESS THE TRUTH AT ALL COSTS: This is often done on forums by first diverting any discussion about pesticides to a specific part of the Forum. The second move is to make that part of the Forum 'invisible' to public viewing, so that only people signed-in can see it. It is usually invisible to Google searches as well.
    The third part of the strategy is to suggest that an even smaller discussion-ghetto be created where anything the shill doesn't approve of can be 'quarantined'.

    So they take the discussion out of the public arena - the beekeepers discussion space. They put it into a small side-room with 'private' on the door. Then they move it to the basement, and apply full body searches to anyone who wants to go in there.

    Shinbone employs the other tactic: dinsinformation, distraction and obfuscation here:

    " mostly devoid of any real data or supporting facts, and so embellished as to be intentionally misleading, for example baldly claiming that 10,000,000 hives have been killed by neonics. "
    Here is the link to the recent Washington Examiner Article on the scale of bee deaths in the USA:

    Washington Secrets
    Honey bee deaths hit 40%, losses $1.6 billion

    As the Environmental Protection Agency nears approval of another deadly new pesticide, the honey industry is revealing that the mysterious disease snuffing out bees, blamed in part on advanced pesticides, killed 40 percent of the nation's hives last year, bringing the total lost to at least $1.61 billion over the last six years.

    Industry officials told the EPA this week that honey bee operators who travel the country pollinating the nation's vegetable, nut and fruit crops like apples orchards from Winchester, Va., to Thurmont, Md., are on the verge of extinction and that the further use of new insecticides in the neonicotinoid class could be their end.

    "We have to conserve bees, we have to value them," pleaded Bret Adee, the nation's largest bee keeper at an EPA pollinator summit this week. Adee, who lost 60 percent of his hives last year, added, "If we were talking about cows, this would be all over the news."

    Adee revealed that the industry has lost 5,650,000 hives over the past seven years (since 2006). Each hive cost about $200, putting the loss at $1.13 billion. Add in the lost honey production from those hives, and the loss grows to $1.61 billion. "The problem is pretty large," said Adee, co-owner of Adee Honey Farms in Bruce, S.D.

    SO . . . Neonics were introduced in America around 1996 - and bee losses grew from that point. They really ramped up in 2003 when Clothianidin was 'illegally' licensed by the EPA using the 'conditional license' scam (without carrying out life cycle or sub-lethal studies).

    America lost around 4 million hives between 1996 and 2003 - and the EPA official figures from Bret Adee above are another 5,650,000 - so - in America alone, we are talking 10,000,000 colonies.

    France lost at least a million colonies before they banned neonics in 2000. Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Holland and the UK have lost at least a million and Argentina - lost over 2 million. Nobody has actually bothered to do the strict math, but maybe someone will find time. It's a bit like being in the middle of the battle of Stalingrad and someone is shouting to Von Paulus : "Exaktly how many Panzers hav ve lost now??" - the German general shouts back: "I'll get back to you on that after the Russkies stop attacking!"
    Last edited by borderbeeman; 05-02-2013 at 02:48 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Tucson, Arizona, USA

    Default Re: Guilt and responsibility in mass bee deaths in france

    I'm not quite sure I understand how any beekeeper, could advocate, for, any pesticide that was, even potentially so toxic to insects that just applying it to seed at planting time, protected the entire plant from insect attack (systemic) for its entire lifespan.

    I guess it's not too far a stretch to go from applying miticides directly into honey bee colonies, to allowing systemic insecticides to be applied to the crops used by the honey bees as their only food source. If the stuff is so tough on the "target pest insects", why would any beekeeper think it would be easy on honey bees? They're consuming massive quantities of plant produced poisoned tainted substances. Even if most of the honey bee food contamination is minimal, why would any beekeeper be okay with that?

    I've heard the rational, that other insecticides are more problematic for bees and beekeepers. How is that? Many of the earlier pesticides used, were not systemic, so, unless directly applied where nectar and pollen were contaminated, they weren't getting in the bees food. Also, some of them would degrade more quickly and have lesser acute effects on bees.

    As a beekeeper, I'd dearly love to have neonicotinoid insecticides be extremely lethal or that they would make crops unpalatable to harmful insects, while being harmless to honey bees. But, unless honey bees were so different from other insects, that the neonicotinoids were entirely harmless to them, I can't see how that might work.

    I am even concerned that neonicotinoids might contaminate crop sources I use as supplemental feeds for my bees. I certainly hope that never happens, but I don't really know that it isn't happening already. Neonicotinoids, when present, don't make their presence known by flashing in neon colors, or beeping audibly, and I can't afford a mass spectrometer, or HPLC machine, or even to have someone else test every bite of food my bees would eat, to ensure it is safe.

    There are more than enough problems for my bees, without we humans adding to them.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni


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