Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?
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  1. #1
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    Default Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    Hi everyone!

    Well, just read this article and it was kinda heart breaking.

    http://www.foxnews.com/science/2018/...-suggests.html

    https://news.utexas.edu/2018/09/24/c...-to-bee-deaths

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/09/18/1803880115

    The research originated from University of Texas and I have a high respect for them. Article was originally published in
    the National Academy of Sciences.

    We live on a ranch/farm and often use glyphosate out of necessity. We also just experienced a full 30% loss of our bees this summer.

    Ok, my million dollar question:

    I would like to know how we can determine if this article is based upon genuine scientific research and data.

    How can we know if the facts presented in this article are for real and based upon truth?

    Dang, UoT and PNAS appear to be fairly BIG NAMES in releasing accurate scientific research and data...

    After reading the article, I am concerned it may be spot on and perhaps we need to stop using glyphosate at our ranch and especially near our honey bee yards [we spray under our honeybee stands 2-3 times per year].

    Thanks,

    Soar
    Last edited by soarwitheagles; 09-25-2018 at 11:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    The ut article did not even mention varroa when speaking about other causes for bee decline which is suspect in my mind. I live along the gulf coast of Texas my friends are farmers they spray tons of it and I’ve caught many swarms around them. I know of several thriving hives that have been established for years.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    For anyone who's interested in this paper, a .pdf copy of the article can be downloaded from:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/ear...80115.full.pdf
    and a copy of the methods used:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/sup...80115.sapp.pdf

    I would like to know how we can determine if this article is based upon genuine scientific research and data.

    How can we know if the facts presented in this article are for real and based upon truth?
    There is no obvious prima facie reason (imo) to doubt the authors findings - bearing in mind that this is a laboratory experiment. Whether it has 'real-world' validity or not is quite another matter.

    "Facts" and "Truth" play no part in scientific research - it's about observation, evidence, and conclusions which may then drawn from them, etc.

    Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide, and so tends not to be sprayed onto non-GM flowering crops - as doing so is guaranteed to kill them ! Glyphosate is used pre-sowing to clear weeds, and pre-harvest to dessicate crops, but at neither time should there be an abundance of 'weeds' in flower.

    The issue with this paper promises to be whether or not the scenario they tested is indeed realistic. Monsanto will undoubtedly disagree, as you'd expect.

    Spraying glyphosate around hive bases (especially after flying has finished for the day) is certainly a practice I'll be continuing with. If your losses are around 30%, then I'd recommend looking around for other causes ...
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    I honestly have no idea if roundup/glyphosate is THE cause of the problems bees are facing.
    I do however think it is a contributing factor, along with all the other chemicals that are used-other herbicides,fungicides,pesticides,insecticides,arti ficial fertilizers,foliar sprays like copper on fruit trees.

    I have been told that, while studies have been done to insure these chemicals are safe to use, no study has been done on the effects of these when they combine, either on plants or in the soil.
    I pointed this out to the manager of a pine forestry nursery I worked at up until last year. the result was that he severely cut back on artificial ferts and spray within the nursery and outlying fields,including slow release ferts used in bed preparation for the next season.
    On top of that he also started applying bought in compost materials.
    My timeline is not quite straight here cos after I spoke to him about this, he also did a trial that showed areas that nothing was applied resulted in the best productivity for that year-last year.

    What I think people miss is that environmental health starts with the soil and the organisms that live in work in it.
    Plants have evolved to grow in, what I call a living soil- one that has the whole range of lifeforms in it.
    In that soil are a huge amount of different lifeforms-bacteria, molds, yeasts, fungus, insects-worms all need organic matter not people made fertilizers.
    Even the different layers of soil have different types compared to other layers.
    It wasnt that long ago, that you would spot wild mushrooms growing in fields, now there just aren't any.

    It is not just the bees that are starting to fail health-wise; its us too. There are now pages of different auto-immune disorders that people are now having to deal with.
    I used to think our species was a lot more tolerant of chemical overloads than others, I now think it has just taken longer to see the same devastating results.

    Its a hard call when you have land that you need to deal with pests, be they weeds or insect infestations, especially when your livelihood depends on a good harvest.
    The best I can advise, is to choose one spot where you can 'go organic'-either leave it to it own devises/use a less toxic remedy/choose a different crop.
    If time is not pressing,try to learn of other alternatives but also recognise that it does take time to get an local ecosystem back in balance and that it may appear to be worse off in the early stages before it gets better.
    So one small area to start off with, so you dont go broke 'trying to fix the world'.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    Quote Originally Posted by soarwitheagles View Post
    Hi everyone!

    I would like to know how we can determine if this article is based upon genuine scientific research and data.
    post your question on bee-l and maybe Randy O or one of the other people that know more about it can give you an accurate answer.

    seems someone beat you to it. here is Jerry Bromenshanks(sp) comments.

    >Nice high school
    science project, but hardly robust, and how does glyphosate compare with
    other herbicide choices?<

    Am I the only one who shudders every time I see an article that starts with the phrase 'field-realistic doses' in the title? Jerry
    mike syracuse ny
    Whatever you subsidize you get more of. Ronald Reagan

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    I'm a microbiologist/immunologist by profession, work in a department with people who study bee microbiota, and have some microbiotia/probiotic research ongoing in my lab (relating to heart disease, not bees), so perhaps I can shed some light.

    TLDR: The results are interesting, but at best, the only concussion the data reasonably supports is that bees which never have been exposed previously to glyphosate may have a short-term increased risk of dying from bacterial infection after their first glyphosate exposure.

    Long version:
    The study used standard microbiota-measuring methods, but otherwise have some serious flaws in their study design and interpretation. There are also some red flags suggesting that some of their results are spurious (e.g. statistical noise).

    Methods
    1. The dose of glyphosate used is high - they tested two doses - one at the high-end of what the studies they quoted as realistic field exposures, and the other exceeded the maximum reasonable estimate of field exposure by 33%. So they basically tested the worst-case-scenario and something far worse than the worst-case-scenario.
    2. Their study duration was short. In most long-term studies, microbiota are astoundingly resilient, with most microbiota-changing insults only producing a temporary change. In most cases, the microbiota return pretty quickly to normal after an insult. They only looked at days 0, 3 and 5 - far too short a time to allow for any recovery or adaptation of the microbiota to glyphosate.
    3. The pathogen used to test for an effect was an odd choice, as was the infection method; Serratia is a relatively rare pathogen of bees, and they hatched sterile bees (i.e. bees without normal microbiota development) for these experiments. I don't know the bee immune system very well, but birthing mammals sterilely profoundly impairs their immune system.


    Results
    The results have a number of red flags. I've not yet found a good way to explain this in lay language, so my apologies if this is not clear. There are a number of changes that are observed that are problematic - four in particular are especially concerning:
    1. Whole-microbiota stats are lacking; stats were only performed on individual species
    2. There are several cases where there is a lack of dose-dependence - i.e. the lower dose causes a larger change in the microbiota composition than the higher dose, or only the lower dose causes a change.
    3. These changes occur in samples which show high variability
    4. Similar bacterial species do not respond to glyphosate in a similar manner.

    These all point to a serious flaw in their analysis which throws a lot of the data into question. Here's where things get hard to explain...The way microbiota analysis is conducted is called "multi-variate analysis" (multiple variable analysis), with the abundance of each species representing a separate variable. The very first step in these analyses are that you run a statistical test which asks "is there a statistically significant difference between the net change in the microbiota between my treatment groups" - i.e. you test to see if the combined changes across all species together is different between the doses of glyphosate.

    If the answer to that question is 'yes', then you go on and do sub-group analyses - i.e. you ask which specific species are changing in response to glyphosate.

    If the answer to that question is 'no', then your analysis is done. By definition there are no differences to be found, so performing a subgroup analysis is irrational.

    This paper didn't perform that first test, and jumped straight into subgroup analysis. And the results of those sub-group analyses are exactly what you would expect to see if you perform a subgroup analysis when the result of the first test is 'no differences in the microbiota'. The lack of a dose-response and randomness of where significant changes are observed (e.g. related species which should behave similarly, are observed to behave differently), are all hallmarks of the kinds of spurious associations you expect to see when subgroup analyses are performed improperly.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    There is some pretty knowledgeable discussion about this research on Bee L.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    We can beat around the bush a lot.

    Chem companies will make more money.
    Lab people will get more grants (including from the chem companies).
    Average American Joe will keep looking for a magic, quick-fix pill from every bug, weed and sickness under the sun (the pill that does not exist anyway - so stop looking and stop killing everything still left alive).
    Chem companies will make more money (because, hey, Joe keeps wanting those magic pills; supply meets demand).
    Lab people will keep arguing and get more grants (including from the chem companies).

    Meanwhile, it is really very simple - don't put stuff into the nature that does not belong.
    Crap does not belong there - don't put it out.
    Round-up does not belong.
    Ditch the crap.
    That simple and common sense.
    What is there not to see?
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    That simple and common sense.
    What is there not to see?
    "What is there not to see"...apparently you are blind to your own biases and lack of knowledge. Without chemicals like roundup billions will die - there is no way without modern farming methods to feed the earths 7 billion people. The choice isn't chemicals versus nature; the choice is chemicals versus massive human starvation and death. And, given the alternatives, round-up is as good as its going to get. The alternatives are far more toxic and far more damaging to the environment.

    As for your implication that scientists like myself are all corrupt and interested in nothing more than grant money - you're talking from a position of absolute and total ignorance that is so far removed from reality to be laughable...or it would be laughable if there wren't people out there dumb enough to
    believe opinions like yours.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    This has been widely known for at least a DECADE, nothing new here.

    Exposure to sublethal doses of pesticides and systemics does not kill individual bees, but impacts colony health as a whole leading to eventual collapse. Manufacturers are not required to perform extensive studies by a third party - they test themselves and submit whatever results they want to EPA. They test individual bee mortality, not colony health and vitality.

    Europe figured it out in early 2000s. We have figured out in 2012 (Harvard Study). Here we are in 2018 still acting surprised, blaming pests, genetics and seasonality without addressing the root cause. Unless enough people make enough noise to make EPA do a 180 in current political climate of anti-environment posture, nothing will change.

    Until then, all you can do is make a personal decision to garden organic and educate your family, friends and neighbors.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    Quote Originally Posted by SuiGeneris View Post
    I'm a microbiologist/immunologist by profession, work in a department with people who study bee microbiota, and have some microbiotia/probiotic research ongoing in my lab (relating to heart disease, not bees), so perhaps I can shed some light.

    TLDR: The results are interesting, but at best, the only concussion the data reasonably supports is that bees which never have been exposed previously to glyphosate may have a short-term increased risk of dying from bacterial infection after their first glyphosate exposure.

    Long version:
    The study used standard microbiota-measuring methods, but otherwise have some serious flaws in their study design and interpretation. There are also some red flags suggesting that some of their results are spurious (e.g. statistical noise).

    Methods
    1. The dose of glyphosate used is high - they tested two doses - one at the high-end of what the studies they quoted as realistic field exposures, and the other exceeded the maximum reasonable estimate of field exposure by 33%. So they basically tested the worst-case-scenario and something far worse than the worst-case-scenario.
    2. Their study duration was short. In most long-term studies, microbiota are astoundingly resilient, with most microbiota-changing insults only producing a temporary change. In most cases, the microbiota return pretty quickly to normal after an insult. They only looked at days 0, 3 and 5 - far too short a time to allow for any recovery or adaptation of the microbiota to glyphosate.
    3. The pathogen used to test for an effect was an odd choice, as was the infection method; Serratia is a relatively rare pathogen of bees, and they hatched sterile bees (i.e. bees without normal microbiota development) for these experiments. I don't know the bee immune system very well, but birthing mammals sterilely profoundly impairs their immune system.


    Results
    The results have a number of red flags. I've not yet found a good way to explain this in lay language, so my apologies if this is not clear. There are a number of changes that are observed that are problematic - four in particular are especially concerning:
    1. Whole-microbiota stats are lacking; stats were only performed on individual species
    2. There are several cases where there is a lack of dose-dependence - i.e. the lower dose causes a larger change in the microbiota composition than the higher dose, or only the lower dose causes a change.
    3. These changes occur in samples which show high variability
    4. Similar bacterial species do not respond to glyphosate in a similar manner.

    These all point to a serious flaw in their analysis which throws a lot of the data into question. Here's where things get hard to explain...The way microbiota analysis is conducted is called "multi-variate analysis" (multiple variable analysis), with the abundance of each species representing a separate variable. The very first step in these analyses are that you run a statistical test which asks "is there a statistically significant difference between the net change in the microbiota between my treatment groups" - i.e. you test to see if the combined changes across all species together is different between the doses of glyphosate.

    If the answer to that question is 'yes', then you go on and do sub-group analyses - i.e. you ask which specific species are changing in response to glyphosate.

    If the answer to that question is 'no', then your analysis is done. By definition there are no differences to be found, so performing a subgroup analysis is irrational.

    This paper didn't perform that first test, and jumped straight into subgroup analysis. And the results of those sub-group analyses are exactly what you would expect to see if you perform a subgroup analysis when the result of the first test is 'no differences in the microbiota'. The lack of a dose-response and randomness of where significant changes are observed (e.g. related species which should behave similarly, are observed to behave differently), are all hallmarks of the kinds of spurious associations you expect to see when subgroup analyses are performed improperly.
    Thank you for this post SuiGeneris. I hope everyone reads it. Twice.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    Why should glyphosate be a problem to bees fed with artificial pollen patties ( hopefully organic source) and sugar syrup ( probably organic sugar too)?

    Itīs the wild insects which lack nourishment in such an environment. Or the natural beekeeper`s bees.

    Iīm not speaking about the humans consuming glyphosate now whose children and grandchildren will have the long term results of today`s managements. So why should this generation care? We will be gone and leave behind a poisoned earth.

  13. #13
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    Default

    Hold on you are saying round up is a good thing? You do understand it is man made not something nature intended right?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhoyt View Post
    Hold on you are saying round up is a good thing? You do understand it is man made not something nature intended right?
    I cannot tell if this is sarcasm or not.

    I'm going to assume it is...us silly humans doing things nature didn't intend. Like having most of our kids live past childhood, not suffering life-long and debilitating infections, and the most unnatural of unnatural - cheese.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhoyt View Post
    Hold on you are saying round up is a good thing? You do understand it is man made not something nature intended right?
    Yes, I would say Roundup is a good thing. In the old days (not so long ago) farmers planted clover in the fields to add nitrogen and keep other weeds limited. The problem is that all that clover takes nutrients from the crops and uses plenty of water. The nutrients could be boosted with fertilizer and the water could be replaced with irrigation. Which was fine until the water in the aquifers started disappearing. Now, there is not enough water for all the crops so either we had to plant fewer crops or get rid of the clover. Thus the clover had to go. With the clover gone, the weeds take over and take more water and nutrients than the clover did. Which is where Roundup comes in. Using Roundup, the fields have few weeds and use way less water and way less fertilizer. That is a pretty good deal. Unfortunately, there is a cost to using it too. There is potential for lost bees, water and soil pollution and apparently, cancer. We can stop using Roundup and reduce crop yields but increase water and fertilizer use, until the water completely runs out. We could also hire a bunch of people to manually weed the fields and get $4.00 an ear corn (an exaggeration I am sure). Neither of those options is a really good one. Thus, Roundup is a pretty good thing. Am I happy it is a good thing? No I am not. If I had my way, we would not need it at all.

  16. #16
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    SulGeneris - thank you for your posts. It’s nice to have someone so knowledgeable in how these types of studies are done and analyzed to explain this to an ignoramus like myself. There is just way too much jumping to conclusions out there in regards to so many topics, when studies (not knowing their limitations or flaws) are published, taken as gospel, and perpetuated by the uninformed or the ignorant to support their view.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Really bad honeybee vs. round up news [glyphosate]. Can this article be trusted?

    There are alternatives.
    Thankfully we donīt have to depend on chemicals alone contaminating the ground and water. But it needs some time and a new generation of young enthusiastic scientists who are interested in preserving nature as it was and still partly is.
    Weeding Robots will be a part of it.
    Many new inventions:

    https://www.youtube.com/user/FiBLFilm

    Even Bayer takes part and wants to use less pesticides and preserves the earth

    https://www.cropscience.bayer.de/de-...landwirtschaft

    https://beecare.bayer.com/bilder/upl...alj9e659vl.pdf
    Last edited by 1102009; 09-29-2018 at 07:55 AM.

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