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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Major Report concludes: "Neonicotinoids are An Unnacceptable Danger to Bees"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/29/crop-pesticides-honeybee-decline?intcmp=239



The world's most widely used insecticides (Imidacloprid) has for the first time been officially labelled an "unacceptable danger to bees feeding on flowering crops". Environmental campaigners say the conclusion, by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), sounds the "death knell" for the insect nerve-agent.

The chemical's manufacturer, Bayer, claimed the report, released on Wednesday, did not alter existing risk assessments and warned against "over-interpretation of the precautionary principle".

The report comes just months after the UK government dismissed a fast-growing body of evidence of harm to bees as insufficient to justify banning the chemicals.

Bees and other pollinators are critical to one-third of all food, but two major studies in March 2012, and others since, have implicated neonicotinoid pesticides in the decline in the insects, alongside habitat loss and disease. In April, the European commission demanded a re-examination of the risks posed by the chemicals, including Bayer's widely used imidacloprid and two others.

Scientists at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), together with experts from across Europe, concluded on Wednesday that for imidacloprid "only uses on crops not attractive to honeybees were considered acceptable" because of exposure through nectar and pollen. Such crops include oil seed rape, corn and sunflowers. EFSA was asked to consider the acute and chronic effects on bee larvae, bee behaviour and the colony as a whole, and the risks posed by sub-lethal doses. But it found a widespread lack of information in many areas and had stated previously that current "simplistic" regulations contained "major weaknesses".

"This is a major turning point in the battle to save our bees," said Friends of the Earth's Andrew Pendleton: "EFSA have sounded the death knell for one of the chemicals most frequently linked to bee decline and cast serious doubt over the safety of the whole neonicotinoid family. Ministers must wake up to the fact that these chemicals come with an enormous sting in the tail by immediately suspending the use of these pesticides."

Prof David Goulson, at the University of Stirling and who led one of the key 2012 studies, said:
[B]"It is very pleasing that EFSA now acknowledge there are significant environmental risks associated with these chemicals. It begs the question of what was going on when these chemicals were first approved. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was 50 years ago but we have not learned the lessons."[/B]

However, Bayer's Julian Little told the Guardian:
"We do not believe the new EFSA reports alter the quality and validity of [existing] risk assessments and the underlying studies. [But] the company is ready to work with the European commission and member states to address the perceived data gaps. We believe it is very important that any political decision relating to registrations of neonicotinoid-containing products should be based on clear scientific evidence of adverse effects … and not on the basis of an over-interpretation of the precautionary principle."

The chemical industry funded a report published on Tuesday claiming that banning neonicotinoids would cost farmers £620m in lost food production. But Goulson said the report contained "not a shred" of serious evidence.

A spokesman for the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said:
[B]"This research will be examined by the independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides and their advice will be considered by ministers. If it is concluded that restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids are necessary, they will be brought in." The spokesman said the results of new government field studies were expected imminently.[/B]

EFSA concluded that another neonicotinoid, thiamethoxam, was an "acute risk" to bees through droplets of sugary sap exuded by maize seedlings. But Mike Bushell, at thiamethoxam manufacturer Syngenta, said:
[B]"EFSA has focused on highly theoretical risks to bees, ignoring years of independent monitoring that demonstrates the identified risks are being managed through established stewardship practices."[/B] He said Syngenta's interpretation of studies was that there was "no evidence whatsoever"[/B] of an impact on bee colonies from sap droplets.

The effect of neonicotinoids on pollinators is under investigation by the UK parliament and the Guardian has learned that Bayer's spokesman, Julian Little, is being recalled to explain "discrepancies" in his evidence.

[B]"Our inquiry has identified apparent flaws in the assessment of imidacloprid," said Joan Walley MP, chair of the environmental audit committee. "Despite data from field trials showing the pesticide could linger in the environment at dangerous levels, imidacloprid was approved for use in the EU. We have asked chemical giant Bayer to return to parliament to explain discrepancies in its evidence on the amount of time that imidacloprid remains in the environment."


Walley added:
"The evidence seen by the committee raises serious questions about the integrity, transparency and effectiveness of EU
pesticides regulation." EFSA is responsible for providing expert assessments on safety risks, while national governments and the European commission are responsible for taking action. Bans on some neonicotinoid uses have already been implemented in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, but not, to date, in the UK
.

Evidence submitted to Walley's inquiry cites a long list of failings in current regulations. They include that it is only the effects on honeybees that are considered, despite 90% of pollination being performed by different species, such as bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and others. Others are that the testing required is far too short to detect chronic or sublethal effects and that the regime was set up for pesticide sprays, not systemic chemicals like neonicotinoids that are used to treat seeds.

Even the National Farmers Union, which argues that there is no need for a change of approach to neonicotinoids, told MPs: "It is very well known that the current pesticide risk assessment systems for bees were not developed to assess systemic pesticides."

The National Farmers Union horticulture adviser Chris Hartfield, reacting to the EFSA report, said:
"Any decision to change the regulatory process, which in turn changes pesticide usage, will have an impact. It is essential that we fully understand all these impacts before taking action."
 

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Re: Major Report concludes: "Neonicotinoids are An Unnacceptable Danger to Bees"

And here in the US nothing will be done. A quote taken from the EPA's web site on neonicotinoids, "To EPA's knowledge, none of the incidents that led to suspensions (refering to France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia) have been associated with Colony Collapse Disorder."

http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/about/intheworks/ccd-european-ban.html
 

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Re: Major Report concludes: "Neonicotinoids are An Unnacceptable Danger to Bees"

This may well be a valid concern that warrants close study ... but it comes from the Guardian, a paper that seldom tells the truth, and it praises Rachel Carson who was proven wrong in almost everything she said. So I have to wonder. These days it is hard to figure out which set of pseudo-scientists is telling the truth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When you can't fault the facts, attack the messenger.

This may well be a valid concern that warrants close study ... but it comes from the Guardian, a paper that seldom tells the truth, and it praises Rachel Carson who was proven wrong in almost everything she said. So I have to wonder. These days it is hard to figure out which set of pseudo-scientists is telling the truth.
When people can't fault the facts, they turn to 'ad hominem' attacks - i.e. attack the messenger. Rachel Carson's singular achievement was she pointed out that DDT was a highly dangerous organochlorine that was killing birds by the millions - especially the raptors which were at the top of the food chain. Can you cite ANY paper which refutes those facts?

Secondly, the Guardian was merely reporting the publication of a report by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) - more or less the equivalent of the EPA, except that it serves the 27 countries of the European Union rather than the 51 (?) States of the USA. The Guardian did not carry out any of these studies - they did not write this report; they merely reported on the conclusions of the report by EFSA - which was written by dozens of scientists from every one of the 27 member countries of the EU. That's a lot of brain power and a lot of universities.

In fact, the report carries even more weight, because EFSA is known to be an 'industry-friendly' agency - and just like the EPA it has steadfastly denied any connection between neonics and bee deaths for the last 15 years. What has changed is that the weight of scientific papers which confirm the causal link between neonics and the deaths of bees, other pollinators and birds - is now so overwhelming that even EFSA cannot carry on ignoring it. Sadly the EPA IS still ignoring it, but that is because the American EPA is largely an industry-front organisation - led by political appointees who used to work for Monsanto until Bush handed the EPA to them tied up in a pink ribbon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Re: Major Report concludes: "Neonicotinoids are An Unnacceptable Danger to Bees"

Unfortunately bees are attracted to rapeseed/canola or is this a different plant.
Bees are attracted to canola, sunflowers, soya beans and cotton. But the real killer in the States is corn (maize). More than 92 million acres of American corn were treated with Clothianidion in 2010 and when you add in wheat, soya and canola the total acreage treated with neonicotinoids is well over 200 million acres.
Maize/ Corn produces vast amounts of pollen which is very attractive to bees - since in many midwestern areas corn will be the only 'pollen crop' available for weeks at a time. The pollen is contaminated with the neurotoxic pesticide (Imidacloprid/ Clothianidin/ Thiamethoxam) - at levels well above that which kills bees in the lab.

Clothianidin is about 7,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT was (official figures) and the EPA's own scientists recommended that it should NOT be given a license because it was:

  • Highly toxic to bees
  • Highly persistent in soil (up to 6,000 days / 19 years 'half life' on some clay soils)
  • Highly soluble and persistent in ground water - so danger of contaminating human drinking water.

Tragically, the EPA is not directed by its scientists but by political appointees - usually people who have worked for Monsanto or Bayer. The EPA looked at its scientists warnings and said "nah - that's OK - give it a license" - that was in 2003.

Since then, America has lost over 6 million bee colonies and untold billions of bumblebees, butterflies and other pollinators.

The Purdue Study on neonics measured the amount of Clothianidin used to coat a single corn seed at planting. This averaged 1.25mg per seed - which is enough poison to kill 200,000 bees - that's about 4 hives worth.

I recommend reading Michael Shacker's book 'A Spring Without Bees' - which tells the whole sad story. $10 on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Spring-without-Bees-Collapse-Endangered/dp/B005HKP058
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No problems in Canada - think again!

http://thecanadian.org/item/1413-the-bee%E2%80%99s-needs-pesticide-miranda-holmes

Every winter since 2006 when the term colony collapse disorder (CCD) was coined, commercial bee keepers in Canada have been losing an average of 30% of their bees. (Last winter, south and central Vancouver Island bee keepers lost 80% of their colonies
.) To stay in business they are now importing bees from New Zealand.

There is as yet no definitive scientific explanation for why the bees are dying – or simply disappearing – but there is a great body of evidence to suggest the culprit is a family of insecticides called neonicotinoids, which are now widely used in agriculture worldwide.

It’s been known since these chemicals came onto the market in 1995 that they were extremely toxic to bees. Tragically, as with so many of the highly toxic chemicals regulators have allowed to be chucked into our environment since the 1950s, it was only after the fact that independent scientific research began indicating quite how bad the problem is.

Long story short: It now seems likely that exposing bees to this family of insecticides compromises their immune systems and is roughly the equivalent of deliberately giving them AIDS.
How did Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and other regulatory agencies around the world allow this to happen?

Simple: The primary information considered by the PMRA is provided by the manufacturers who make millions of dollars from their patented chemical compounds. As if this process wasn’t suspect enough, even when the studies provided are deemed insufficient, PMRA may provide temporary or conditional registrations.

Research by Anne Sherrod of the Valhalla Wilderness Society reveals that increasing commercial use of products based on imidacloprid (a particularly worrying neonicotinoid) has been based, since 2001, on registrations deemed “temporary pending further studies”.

According to the PMRA, imidacloprid has been actively under re-evaluation since 2009. However, Access to Information Act requests to the agency have produced no evidence to support this claim. Meanwhile, imidacloprid and other neonicotinoid products continue to be widely used on vegetables, fruit, nuts and grain.

The PMRA points out that these lethal products must come with labels warning farmers not to apply the insecticide when plants are in flower or bees are nearby. This vacuous mitigation ignores the fact that these systemic insecticides are absorbed into every part of the plant, including the pollen and nectar. Despite their well-documented threat to bees, the PMRA justifies approving these products because of their “value” to human food production.
 

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Re: No problems in Canada - think again!

>The pollen is contaminated with the neurotoxic pesticide (Imidacloprid/ Clothianidin/ Thiamethoxam) - at levels well above that which kills bees in the lab.

bbm, can you give a a reference for this?
 

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Re: No problems in Canada - think again!

from a recent lecture by mark lynas, a well-respected environmentalist and countryman of yours:

"So my message to the anti-GM lobby, from the ranks of the British aristocrats and celebrity chefs to the US foodies to the peasant groups of India is this. You are entitled to your views. But you must know by now that they are not supported by science. We are coming to a crunch point, and for the sake of both people and the planet, now is the time for you to get out of the way and let the rest of us get on with feeding the world sustainably."

http://www.marklynas.org/2013/01/lecture-to-oxford-farming-conference-3-january-2013/
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Free Download of all Key Bees & Pesticides Reports

>The pollen is contaminated with the neurotoxic pesticide (Imidacloprid/ Clothianidin/ Thiamethoxam) - at levels well above that which kills bees in the lab.

bbm, can you give a a reference for this?
There is a new charity/ Not for profit called 'Small Blue Marble' which has placed all the key papers about the neonicotinoids / bees issue online for free, Please visit this link:

http://smallbluemarble.org.uk/research/

ONE crucial report from the USA which is highly relevant to anyone who keeps bees near corn fields - is the KRUPKE study from Indiana University.
Here:

http://smallbluemarble.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Krupke-2012.pdf

ABSTRACT:

Abstract
Populations of honey bees and other pollinators have declined worldwide in recent years. A variety of stressors have been
implicated as potential causes, including agricultural pesticides. Neonicotinoid insecticides, which are widely used and
highly toxic to honey bees, have been found in previous analyses of honey bee pollen and comb material. However, the
routes of exposure have remained largely undefined. We used LC/MS-MS to analyze samples of honey bees, pollen stored in
the hive and several potential exposure routes associated with plantings of neonicotinoid treated maize. Our results
demonstrate that bees are exposed to these compounds and several other agricultural pesticides in several ways
throughout the foraging period. During spring, extremely high levels of clothianidin and thiamethoxam were found in
planter exhaust material produced during the planting of treated maize seed. We also found neonicotinoids in the soil of
each field we sampled, including unplanted fields. Plants visited by foraging bees (dandelions) growing near these fields
were found to contain neonicotinoids as well. This indicates deposition of neonicotinoids on the flowers, uptake by the root
system, or both. Dead bees collected near hive entrances during the spring sampling period were found to contain
clothianidin as well, although whether exposure was oral (consuming pollen) or by contact (soil/planter dust) is unclear. We
also detected the insecticide clothianidin in pollen collected by bees and stored in the hive. When maize plants in our field
reached anthesis, maize pollen from treated seed was found to contain clothianidin and other pesticides; and honey bees in
our study readily collected maize pollen. These findings clarify some of the mechanisms by which honey bees may be
exposed to agricultural pesticides throughout the growing season. These results have implications for a wide range of largescale
annual cropping systems that utilize neonicotinoid seed treatments.
 

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Re: Free Download of all Key Bees & Pesticides Reports

i am familiar with the krupke et. al. study, and no where in it is your claim:

"The pollen is contaminated with the neurotoxic pesticide (Imidacloprid/ Clothianidin/ Thiamethoxam) - at levels well above that which kills bees in the lab."
 

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Re: Free Download of all Key Bees & Pesticides Reports

you are free to believe as you wish, i prefer to stick with the facts as they are presently understood, (and subject to change as new and valid information comes to light).

here is a recent review by someone whose understanding is based on science fact and not science fiction:

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/sic...llapse-revisited-genetically-modified-plants/
 

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Re: No problems in Canada - think again!

...the problem with the Lynus "confession" is that he also admitted to never having read a peer reviewed study on plant biology. It is easy for an ignorant person to change their mind. ...which is the real problem here. If one is willing to mislead (or lead out of ignorance) in order to cause others to take action, all they are really doing is creating a group of believers that are ripe to believe the next lie....and the next lie is bound to be more attractive.

Deknow
 

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Re: Free Download of all Key Bees & Pesticides Reports

You appear to be an industry insider??
:) i'll answer that when you provide me the reference for your claim:

"The pollen is contaminated with the neurotoxic pesticide (Imidacloprid/ Clothianidin/ Thiamethoxam) - at levels well above that which kills bees in the lab."
 

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Re: No problems in Canada - think again!

...the problem with the Lynus "confession" is that he also admitted to never having read a peer reviewed study on plant biology. It is easy for an ignorant person to change their mind. ...which is the real problem here. If one is willing to mislead (or lead out of ignorance) in order to cause others to take action, all they are really doing is creating a group of believers that are ripe to believe the next lie....and the next lie is bound to be more attractive.

Deknow
good morning dean. you are probably better read than i on gmo's, what's your take?
 

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Re: No problems in Canada - think again!

Wow….two of the most memorable and meaningful quotes I’ve seen on Beesource….and within two days of each other…..and from people with whom I often find myself in disagreement!

If one is willing to mislead (or lead out of ignorance) in order to cause others to take action, all they are really doing is creating a group of believers that are ripe to believe the next lie....and the next lie is bound to be more attractive.
"Lord, lead me into the company of those who seek the truth and protect me from those who have found it."--?
 
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