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Copied from a Post on bee-L. Originally Posted by Peter Loring Borst.

"Why the Buzz About a Bee-Pocalypse Is a Honey Trap
by Henry I. Miller
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On June 20 the White House issued a presidential memorandum creating a Pollinator Health Task Force and ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to "assess the effect of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, on bee and other pollinator health and take action, as appropriate."

Why the fuss over bees? Is the U.S. in the midst of a bee-pocalypse? The science says no. Bee populations in the U.S. and Europe remain at healthy levels for reproduction and the critical pollination of food crops and trees. But during much of the past decade we have seen higher-than-average overwinter bee-colony losses in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as cases of bees abruptly abandoning their hives, a phenomenon known as "colony collapse disorder."

Citing this disorder, antipesticide activists and some voluble beekeepers want to ban the most widely used pesticides in modern agriculture—neonicotinoids ("neonics" for short)—that account for 20% of pesticide sales world-wide. This would have disastrous effects on modern farming and food prices.

What are neonics? Crafted to target pests that destroy crops, while minimizing toxicity to other species, neonics are much safer for humans and other vertebrates than previous pesticides. But citing supposed threats to honeybee populations, the European Union imposed a two-year ban in December 2013, and activists are trying to convince regulators in Canada and the U.S. to follow suit.

Yet there is only circumstantial or flawed experimental evidence of harm to bees by neonics. Often-cited experiments include one conducted by Chensheng Lu of the Harvard School of Public Health that exposed the insects to 30-100 times their usual exposure in the field. That does poison bees, but it doesn't replicate real-world colony collapse disorder, which in any case seems now to be declining. According to University of Maryland entomologist Dennis vanEngelsdorp, no cases have been reported from the field in three years.

The reality is that honeybee populations are not declining. According to U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization statistics, the world's honeybee population rose to 80 million colonies in 2011 from 50 million in 1960. In the U.S. and Europe, honeybee populations have been stable—or slightly rising in the last couple of years—during the two decades since neonics were introduced, U.N. and USDA data show. Statistics Canada reports an increase to 672,000 honeybee colonies in Canada, up from 501,000, over the same two decades.

In February, the Australian government issued a report on bee health from the only continent unaffected by the Varroa destructor mite, a pathogen of bees. It found that, "Australian honeybee populations are not in decline, despite the increased use of [neonicotinoids] in agriculture and horticulture since the mid-1990s."

In April the EU released the first Continent-wide epidemiological study of bee health in Europe, covering 2012-13 (before the EU's neonic ban went into effect). Seventy-five percent of the EU's bee population (located in 11 of the countries surveyed) experienced overwinter losses of 15% a year or less—levels considered normal in the U.S. Only 5% of the EU's bee population (located in six northern countries) experienced losses over 20%, after a long, severe winter.

A ban on neonics would not benefit bees, because they are not the chief source of bee health problems today. Varroa mites are, along with the lethal viruses they vector into bee colonies. If neonics were dangerous, how to explain that in Canada, Saskatchewan's $19 billion canola industry depends on neonics to prevent predation by the ravenous flea beetle—and those neonic-treated canola fields support such thriving honeybee populations that they've been dubbed the "pastures for pollinators."

A neonic ban would, however, devastate North American agriculture and the communities that depend on it. Neonics are the last line of defense for Florida's citrus industry against the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that spreads a devastating disease of citrus trees called huanglongbing, or HLB. They're also the first line of defense in Texas and California, where HLB is beginning. Without neonic protection, tomatoes in Florida and vegetable crops in Arizona, California and the Pacific Northwest would be imperiled. If whitefly infestations weren't kept in check with neonics, much of the U.S. winter vegetable production would be lost.

Grape-growing in California and the Pacific Northwest could be devastated by the viral scourges of leaf-roll and red blotch without neonic pesticides to control the leafhoppers that spread them. Without neonic protection against thrips in cotton, water weevil in rice and grape colaspis in soybeans, yields in the mid-South could be so damaged that farmers would either go out of business or turn to already abundant crops like corn.

The knock-on effect wouldn't stop there. The production of citrus and tomatoes in Florida and rice and cotton in the mid-South and elsewhere is tied to processing plants, refrigerated warehouses, packing houses, cotton gins, rice mills, and a transportation and shipping infrastructure that supports agriculture. If the crops processed by these support industries were to become economically nonviable without crop protection, rural counties across the southeastern U.S. would be decimated.

All this would be painful for consumers, who would see their food costs rise significantly. And by making farm exports more expensive and less competitive, it would damage the U.S. economy. All reasons to worry about unleashing the EPA in a fight in which activists who have the ear of regulators constantly misrepresent the science.

Dr. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He was the founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology.

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What's your point WLC?

If you're trying to convince us that some folks are working assiduously to obscure the true issues facing us, mission accomplished.

You should be ashamed of yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I Posted the above copied Post for the benefit of those who might not have access to it. I did not comment on it. Maybe by my Posting it you would assume advocacy, but you shouldn't.

It cuts both ways. You would have people swallow your rhetoric hook, line, and sinker, w/out question. I merely want more of the story. Not just your pov.

Why should I put the words of someone who signs his work below someone who can't for what I take from him as good reason?

Besides, what are you going to replace neonics with, organophosphates? I don't think I have ever heard that answer. Or haven't heard it often enough or loudly enough for it to have gotten through. What's the alternative?
 

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sqkcrk:

If you posted excerpts from Mao's little red book, I would assume that you're a comrade. :)

Miller lied about what science is showing about the issues facing pollinators both managed and native.

Why spread the lie?

As for another lie, I've already stated my belief that RNAi is a good replacement technology for neonics, etc. .
 

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The argument that neonics' wide use as proof of their need is bogus.

First of all, neonic-coated seeds are the default. Many seed suppliers don't offer any non-treated seeds, or only offer a limited choice of non-treated seeds. Therefore, a lot of people who don't want them are forced to buy them. All those pesticide sales are effectively theft of the farmers, whom are forced to buy a product they don't want. So all of those dollars that are attributed to neonics could instead be in farmers' pockets.

Secondly, of those who actually want the product, most do not need it. Field trials have shown than in 90% of cases, neonic seed treatment offered no statistically significant yield effect. In some trial plots, it decreased yields. So, "what are we going to replace neonics with?" is a common question that is hollow. In 90% of cases, you don't need to replace it with anything. The product is utterly useless.

Third of all, if neonics were so darn important, then why it is being used in a way as to favor the appearance of resistance? Prophylactic pesticide use is one of the main causes of pesticide resistance. What's going to happen then, when this miraculous much-needed pesticide stops being effective?

Neonics didn't save agriculture. And in places where neonics were banned, agriculture didn't crash. Neonics aren't a miracle chemical, and they certainly do not need to continue to be abusively used as they are today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
sqkcrk:

If you posted excerpts from Mao's little red book, I would assume that you're a comrade. :)

Miller lied about what science is showing about the issues facing pollinators both managed and native.

Why spread the lie?

As for another lie, I've already stated my belief that RNAi is a good replacement technology for neonics, etc. .
And Dr. Liu? Did he lie too? Not saying he did, but did he?

Okay, RNAi is a partial answer. Can it completely replace neonics? Why hasn't that been published and widely distributed as an alternative?

Oh, and, yeah, Mao was right about some things. Not that I can quote what those things are. But there must be something in his Little Red Book that is right and true. All lies, like comedy, are based in truth. But I imagine, since you brought Mao's book up, that you know more about its contents than I do.
 

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Sums up the argument very clearly. I've already forwarded it on to some relatives who were asking about CCD, insecticides and the health of my bee colonies. It explains it better than I ever could.
 

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> Okay, RNAi is a partial answer.


RNAi may be a partial answer.
Even WLC knows that RNAi is not available ...

Currently, we're still waiting for the regulatory framework for the application of RNAi technology to be put in place.
Given the speed at which wheels of government turn these days, we may all be dead before RNAi is a viable, approved technology and is available in the marketplace. :pinch:



... and what could possibly go wrong:eek: with RNAi anyway? ... :p
 

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All those pesticide sales are effectively theft of the farmers, whom are forced to buy a product they don't want. So all of those dollars that are attributed to neonics could instead be in farmers' pockets.
neonics are not just used as coatings. They are routinely sprayed. Are you suggesting that farmers don't have a choice in what they spray? At least around here, the use of coated seeds isn't enough to prevent farmers from spraying. The seed coating have, according to a conversation I had last week with a farmer, substantially reduced the frequency of spraying, but not eliminated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
> Okay, RNAi is a partial answer.


RNAi may be a partial answer.
Even WLC has agreed that RNAi is not currently available ...



Given the speed at which wheels of government turn these days, we may all be dead before RNAi is a viable, approved technology and is available in the marketplace. :eek:
About the only thing certain is that we will all be dead, someday.
 

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I think it's important to realize that there are multiple factors involved in the issues around colony collapse disorder and the loss of hives. The article is correct about Varroa mites as the chief issue. What the author fails to acknowledge is that neonicitinoids are systemic pesticides and even if they do not kill, they weaken. So the foraging bees bring back the neonics to the hive and they end up in the wax. Whole generations of bees are born and raised in contaminated wax and have systemic pesticides in their systems.

At best, this will weaken the colony and make it more susceptible to other stresses, which weakens colonies further resulting in more susceptibility to even more stresses. At worst, the neonics will destroy a colony within a few months.

Beekeepers are faced with some serious management issues with systemic pesticides being a reality that won't be going away any time soon. How long do you keep brood comb in a hive before swapping it out for fresher comb? Should you rotate that wax out more often? What about finding out which pesticides are in common use around your apiary?
 

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I'm not saying you're wrong but I do want to see the scientifically accepted/repeatable evidence of your theory. There are tons of theories but until there is scientifically accepted/repeatable proof they stay as theories. Acting on theories as though they are fact is inviting trouble

Case in point, evolution. While I do support it, it's still called the "theory of evolution" because it's not been proven. It shall and should continue to be called that until it's proven.
 

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I'm not saying you're wrong but I do want to see the scientifically accepted/repeatable evidence of your theory. There are tons of theories but until there is scientifically accepted/repeatable proof they stay as theories. Acting on theories as though they are fact is inviting trouble

Case in point, evolution. While I do support it, it's still called the "theory of evolution" because it's not been proven. It shall and should continue to be called that until it's proven.
The word theory means two different things. To a scientist theory means some idea that has stood every test thrown at it and fits all available data better than any other hypothesis anyone has dreamed up to that date. Theories are never ever proven. Science can not even prove that 1+1 = 2. There always remains a chance another possible hypothesis that could fit the data even better. Theory does mean that the hypothesis is accepted by the vast majority of scientists. To a layman it probably means proven to the 99.9% confidence limit or some such.

To a layman like you who obviously has never had any real science training the word theory means some idea someone thought up that may not even have a shred of evidence to back it up and for sure has so little supporting evidence in your mind that this idea should be looked at with a great deal of doubt. It is simply an idea. To a scientist this is not a theory in any sense. This is an initial or starting hypothesis for designing experiments and which the scientist expects to change and improve as he gains more data.

If you look the word up in the dictionary you will find both meanings listed as valid.

So, when you say "The theory of evolution" you are saying evolution is proven so well that nearly every scientist accepts it as fact and it has passed every single test that has been thrown at it with flying colors. Which it has by the way. But, it will never be proven.

Dick
 

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What the author fails to acknowledge is that neonicitinoids are systemic pesticides and even if they do not kill, they weaken. So the foraging bees bring back the neonics to the hive and they end up in the wax. Whole generations of bees are born and raised in contaminated wax and have systemic pesticides in their systems.
Funny, that hasn't happened in the Canadian canola fields or in Australia where there is no varroa to vector virus.
 

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I'm not saying you're wrong but I do want to see the scientifically accepted/repeatable evidence of your theory. There are tons of theories but until there is scientifically accepted/repeatable proof they stay as theories. Acting on theories as though they are fact is inviting trouble

Case in point, evolution. While I do support it, it's still called the "theory of evolution" because it's not been proven. It shall and should continue to be called that until it's proven.
Just so we're not confused, what theory are you referring to?
 

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Funny, that hasn't happened in the Canadian canola fields or in Australia where there is no varroa to vector virus.
Why don't we play a game? We go in a cave, and I grind and spray giant hogweed all over you.

But hey, don't go outside, the sun is dangerous. People who are exposed to the sun come back with all kinds of chemical burns.

The giant hogweed? That has nothing to do with it. Everyone sprayed with giant hogweed who remained in the cave was unaffected. Giant hogweed is thus obviously totally safe.

Are you beginning to see the flaw in your logic?

Neonics amplify the harm caused by a variety of other agents. You can't outlaw nosema. Or varroa. Or viruses. But you can regulate the chemicals that make them more deadly.
 

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Why don't we play a game? We go in a cave, and I grind and spray giant hogweed all over you.

But hey, don't go outside, the sun is dangerous. People who are exposed to the sun come back with all kinds of chemical burns.

The giant hogweed? That has nothing to do with it. Everyone sprayed with giant hogweed who remained in the cave was unaffected. Giant hogweed is thus obviously totally safe.

Are you beginning to see the flaw in your logic?

Neonics amplify the harm caused by a variety of other agents. You can't outlaw nosema. Or varroa. Or viruses. But you can regulate the chemicals that make them more deadly.
Exactly the point I was making. :)

Every stress on the colony adds up, and any pesticide, fungicide, or herbicide can add stress on the hive even in very small levels. When you combine those stresses with Varroa, nosema, hive beetles, and a host of other colony stresses, you're just taking a stressful situation and making it worse.
 
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