A widely used family of pesticides may cause bees to lose their homing instincts and hinder the survival of their colonies, European researchers reported Thursday, suggesting that governments should re-examine their use.
A French study used tiny radiotransmitters to track honeybees as they left and returned to their hives and found that many of them failed to return after being exposed to non-lethal amounts of one pesticide.
British researchers, meanwhile, found that bumblebee colonies exposed to common levels of another pesticide from the same family grew more slowly and produced nearly 85% fewer queens than non-exposed colonies, "which clearly could have very strong implications for bumblebee populations in the wild," co-author Dave Goulson said Thursday in Paris.
"I would suggest that there is a need to urgently re-evaluate the use of these pesticides on flowering crops," said Goulson, a biology professor at the University of Stirling in Scotland.
The studies released Thursday are the latest to point to neonicotinoid insecticides, which are often used to treat seeds for cereals and some flowering crops like corn, as a factor in plunging bee populations. The chemicals mimic the effect of the tobacco ingredient nicotine, which is used as a natural insecticide, and pose less risk to humans and other mammals.
Both papers are being published in this week's edition of the peer-reviewed journal Science.
The research is an attempt to understand the phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder, in which beehives fail to survive. Bees pollinate about a third of U.S. food crops, so the sharp die-offs that beekeepers began to report in 2006 pose a high risk to farmers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Mikael Henry, a researcher at France's National Institute for Agricultural Research, said honeybees exposed to a non-lethal amount of the pesticide thiamethoxam "had a probability to disappear away from their nests in much greater proportions than non-intoxicated honeybees."
"Honeybees intoxicated with small doses will just get lost and are not able to find their way back home," Henry said. When he and his colleagues used a mathematical model to project the loss rates, they found that colonies would undergo "a marked decline within several weeks," he said.
That leaves the hives vulnerable to collapsing "if there are other stresses in the environment, such as parasites or climate changes or a loss of natural food resources," Henry said.
Thursday’s papers mark the third time research has tied bee deaths to neonicotinoids in the past month. An Italian study published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science and Technology suggested that particles thrown off by seed drilling machines can expose bees to high levels of neonicotinoids, while a study led by Indiana’s Purdue University found the insecticides in pollen collected by bees from corn and other plants.
Regulators in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia have imposed tighter rules on the neonicotinoids in recent years. The USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency say chemical pesticides are one of several possible suspects behind colony collapse disorder, but the EPA says it is in the process of re-evaluating all neonicotinoids.
“We believe that developing revised risk assessment methods will improve our understanding and strengthen the scientific and regulatory process to protect honeybees and other pollinators,” the agency said in a statement to CNN. “EPA is also engaged in national and international efforts to address the potential impact of pesticides on pollinators.”
Thursday’s studies will be part of that review, the EPA said.
Attempts to contact the manufacturers of the two pesticides used in Thursday’s studies - Bayer’s imidacloprid in the British research and Syngenta’s thiamethoxam in the French paper - were unsuccessful Thursday.
I say we need to stop using nicotine pesticides, give the bees little nicoderm patches and let nature take over. If we don't we'll soon have them trying to bum smokes, maybe moving on to hard drugs, it could be havoc.... Yeah I know, stupid. Like us messing with what's been happening naturally for millenia.
Do your bit. Stop using pesticides and herbicides, use organic alternatives if you really need to. Plant a bed with insect freindly plants. Provide shelter and food sources. Without bees there is a good likelyhood we all starve.
As a beekeeper myslef, have been saying this for years.............bayer corp science and all the rest of them have known about it all along. Remember when DDT was the latest and greatest and perfectly safe?
Ask any responsible gardener and they will tell you to NEVER use pesticides. Most pesticides are designed to hit the neuro center of the bug and essentially they stroke out and die. It doesn't matter if it is sprayed directly on the bugs or if they land on a dry treated leaf. Everything that touches it will die. One such product (and not the only product) is called Safer. It is sold as a "safer" alternative to pesticides. Safer as it a human can eat the fruit/veg by just washing it off whereas bugs die by droves. It was never designed to be safe with the environment. Sadly, this is a small potato compared to the chemicals used in the farm and fruit orchard situations. Here's the really bad part... We grow such genetically modified plants that they have less protection from bugs yet yield like crazy. Gardeners, save our earth. Go back to planting grandma's heirloom plants and combat pest infestations with beneficial "pests". Aphids? Go to your local gardening store and buy some lady bugs and let them loose. Oh the carnage... That and they are native to most if not all of the US thereby not upsetting the balance nor introducing a non-native pest that in turn can cause bigger problems. Go heirloom and go organic.
The problem in America...those men who think they are God, figure we are too stupid to appreciate pesticides and pink slime so why tell us about it? This is what is driving our country into 3rd world status. Why can't there be 1000 meat packing companies instead of 10? Cause Regan said it cost too much to employee Americans to work for the USDA we should let them work on the honor system. There isn't a chicken God made that has a breast big enough to slap someone with, so why mess with them when no one eats it. Go buy a bad of tyson chix breast and cook it, any way you please, its going to be rubbary and chewy. But go to your local farmer and buy one, its the best tasting chicken ever. No instead of America being divided on race which is why the media keeps it going, so you don't pay attention to who is really to be feared.
Fear corporate "people", they don't have your good health or interest in mind. Just the bottom line and the bonus check.
Maybe plants from genetically modified seed are killing off the bees – they know the difference.
every domestic animal is genetically modified. whether under a microscope or blind by mixing gametes in a chosen mating. much of the fruit you eat is created by hybridizing plant species. man has been doing this for thousands of years. ever seen a wild nectarine? they don't exist.
fanaticism and conspiracy theories are hurting the environmental cause.
GMOs are not killing the bees. the chemicals put on them are—Round-up Ready soybeans are benign, the Round-up sprayed on them is toxic. ban the round-up, and forget the bean.. focus on the real and provable dangers rather than wild conspiracies.
the idea of creating a plant that you can dump poison on is a bad idea. not because of the plant, but because of the poison. the plant is harmless, the poison is poison.
It was britain that let us know our chicken nuggets were made of pink slime. France and Britain are telling us why our bees are dying. This is because the US is controlled by corporations, you don't really know what your eating here.
buy Organic, buy local. Your money talks, its the only influence you have right now.
don't be such a fanatic. it does your cause more harm than good.
hives have been collapsing in Europe as well. in fact it was first noticed there. it was French scientists who discovered the link to systemic pesticides made by Bayer. Bayer is a German company not an American.
the unfortunate part is the situation pits the growers against the bee keepers. if the pesticides are banned there is billions lost in production due to pests and if not, bees die and billions are lost in production due to lack of pollenation. lose, lose.
environment first is my opinion, but the moment you try to make a blanket conspiracy, you hurt the just cause.
yes, everyone that disagrees with you is a fanatic. Even if they just point out the obvious. No conspiracies mentioned that i've seen.
Carry on Mr. Monsanto
Idiocracy is right. We should be buying local and organic. In all honesty, we should be trying to grow as much of our own food as we can in our back yards, but some can't (like me, I live in an apartment) So try to buy from local farmers. Go to farmers markets. It's not only better for your health but it will work America toward a better economy that isn't run by the corporations, but by to the people.
Pink slime is in beef, NOT chicken. But great job trying to scare all the moms!
I agree. The Agri- Industry is doing a lot of things for big money when they don't really understand all the consequences. Buy local, buy organic whenever possible.
well according to the movie "The Happening" is the cause from an act of nature we will never fully understand. hahahaha nonsense
I live in Australia, where we have no CCD, but have been using neonictinoids for decades – we also don't have varroa mite, which is what has been shown to kill the bees (I've had it explained that it's like flying around with a parasite the size of a dinner plate attached to your back!) I don't know if the chemicals have lowered the bees' resistance to varroa, but they banned neonicotinoid use in France 8 years ago & they still have CCD (& varroa.) So the evidence on CCD & neonicotinoids is not clear at all.
The key is to not spray them when bees are around – these are insecticides & bees are insects – all this study proves is that insectidies affect insects. Duh!
We need to look after our bees through careful use of insecticides, even "friendly" ones such as pyrethrum, as they will all kill bees.
Commonly used pesticides are not just fatal to bees. They hurt people too.
Noticed dozens of bumble bees in my garden today but not a single honey bee. I do not believe that it is the insecticides.
While insecticides does kill insects, agriculture has significantly decreased within the last twenty years. This problem seems to be exclusively for the honey bee at a time when less insecticides are being used compared to twenty or more years ago when there was plenty of honey bees and bumble bees.
TIME TO MAKE IT MANDATORY FOR USELESS WORLD LEADERS AND THE MASSES TO READ RACHEL CARSON'S BOOK–"THE SILENT SPRING". Once the bees are all killed off by these poisons -We are next! Bees pollinate crops so without them we don't EAT!!!! WAKE UP STUPID HUMANITY!!!
i have been saying that for years!
first heard of this problem over 5 years ago!
Silent Spring is nothing more than liberal alarmism. Do your homework on DDT. It has saved millions. Hell, our GI's lathered themselves in it. Judge Edmund Sweeney found DDT posed no carcinogenic hazard to man, nor pose a risk to fish, birds, or other wildlife.
In case you hadn't noticed, times have changed in the 40+ years ago since Sweeney gave what he then believed was an informed decision. There's been more research. More data collected. As a result, there now *is* evidence that DDT causes both liver and pancreatic cancer. And, yes, while DDT is extremely effective against mosquitoes carrying malaria...they quickly develop a resistance to it, so it makes far more sense to not be entirely dependent on it.
As far as troops slathering themselves in DDT...that was then, when they didn't know any better. Hard to use that example as a basis for...well, for what? Doing something they now know can be hazardous to their health? Since the hazards include a major negative impact on male fertility, I'll bet our GIs would think twice about bathing in DDT nowadays 🙂
If you want to look at the REAL problem facing humanity and our planet... it boils down to this:
#1. Overpopulation. There are just *too* many babies being born. Our planet can *not* sustain the food needs *AND* the chemical waste (pollution, etc.) being generated by us, while at the same time rampant deforestation, etc.
We need to limit people's breeding. Once you have one child, anywhere on the planet, you are sterilized. Period. Generations will start halving, and eventually we'll get down to a good population again (like, 1 million humans, tops).
I certainly agree with you that the world's most serious problem is overpopulation. Ironically, the more intelligent breed less which guarantees nothing can reverse the self-destruct course that the human race is on.
Completely true but it goes against governments need for a tax base. The less people there are the less tax revenue politicians have to do things like, fund studies that dispute obvious fact. Plus the corporations that sell us useless mass produced crap have less people buying their products. It is the catch-22, lower population does not equal economic growth but over population equals a really big mess called the collapse of civilization. Tough call but I agree there are too many people on the Earth.
The idea that 1 *million* people max is an ideal global population is just plain bizarre! I mean, the population of New York City alone is over 8 million! Are you seriously suggesting that the entire globe is optimally populated by the number of people living in Cleveland????
Surely you meant 1 billion, not 1 million.
Our food supply is in peril! Our crops need polination!!! Had to drill a deeper well cuz county zoning says water closer to surface is full of nitrates from fertilizers and unfit for humans.
If you ask me, governments *want* to destroy the honeybee. You kill off the honeybee in the wild, and you control all the flowering food sources in the world.
this looks like an indirect pro Monsanto article
Uh, duh, the GOP will tell you the Markets will work this out.
People are stupid with chemicals. Most pesticides are neurotoxins and can cause health problems in people too.
We are a wonderful beings us humans. European scientists have proven it but the US government will never agree with the results. The job of the US government is to deny the truth and keep on preaching economic growth. Studies that reveal the truth can always be denied by a hired professional. At some point one US government sponsored dick will say the results are not correct. Then the US government will be able to keep all that tax money for more important things like, guns, bombs, democracy building and of course pensions and health care for politicians and their families.
Absolutely right. The corporate crooks who own and operate our country would rather see their grandchildren live in a desolate wasteland than lose a buck from the filthy crud they sell for a living.
Organic plant foods requires pollination by bees. The "natural" fertilizers or crop losses from insects, plant diseases, and poor growth due to drought or cold/hot weather are poor excuses for using "organic" farming practices. The bee problems are not solved and food shortages are created by using old and outdated agriculture methods. Organic makes about as much sense as killing off 80% of the human population and going back to a rural farm based agricultural society with no cities using horses and mules for transportation and to pull farm machinery like the 1850's.
I believe the article is trying to say that pesticides are linked to a declining bee population. Pesticides are not used in organic foods. Therefore, if you buy organic, you'll increase demand on farms that use less pesticides, thus solving the declining bee population. I believe that's what lori rose was trying to say. I don't know what your point is, but I don't see a reason why we can't lose select at least 50% of world's population and still enjoy the same comforts of living that we currently experience.
Indeed. Would be nice if some organic items cost a little less, like milk...
Funny... Castille Soap works just fine at keeping pests away and it doesn't kill honeybees. Do they use it? NOOOOOOO! Why would they? It's better to spray chemicals all over everything and poison us all! The rise in Autism cases probably has nothing to do with chemicals being sprayed either. **sigh**
The more kids everyone keeps overpopulating with mean more pollution from chemicals or otherwise. We are begging for a famine! Want to see your kids starve? Just keep having 3-6 kid families like there will be no consequences. These same kids are the ones that will ultimately suffer the most from parental selfishness and refusal to limit family size. If you want more than 1 or at the most, 2 kids, then adopt them! If you don't truly want any, there is nothing wrong with that, in fact the reverse is true nowadays.
YUP! Even worse... religion has deemed birth control a "sin". We are all pretty much doomed and it is no fault but our own because almost every single one of us are living in a dream world. One of these days, mother nature (i.e. the planet) is going to shake us all off like a dog does fleas.
1st the honey bee, next is the food supply. WaitAndSEE.
It took them this long to study it? Can we speed up the process please? This is urgent!
So not true! Pesticides are a tiny problem compared to African bees & mite infestations.
You are wrong. The research about the mites and fungus was funded by tobacco companies. The researcher never looked at the effects of pesticides. Newer research indicates that even minute amounts of these particular pesticides lowers resistance in bees, making them susceptible to those fungi and mites, which have always been in existence but have never before caused a problem. These nicotine-based pesticides are somewhat new, however, and very profitable for tobacco companies.
Uh, do you really think tobacco companies make thiamethoxam based pesticides? Really? Where did you you get your toxicology degree? Your biochemistry degree? Please read a book.
Africanized bees aren't so much of a problem. People are learning to work with them; their hybridizing into less aggressive bees. They're getting along better than people.
How much is Monsanto paying you?
If the bees were Africanized then they would be producing way more offspring than the colony can afford and the queen would have get the legislature to pass CAP Colony Assistance Progam to hand out free pollen to those who can go out and find their own.
Honeybees stay away from high-voltage lines, I wonder if cell phone towers have an effect on them
Just look up!!! The skies are being sprayed with all kinds of chemicals for geo-engineering our planet. Stuff like silver, barium and other deadly chemicals are being sprayed (without our consent) everyday, everywhere. What goes up, must come down. Do research on chem trails instead of pesticides which have been regulated for years and no bee depopulation. sooooo sad! They are even making money in Chicago now via weather modification companies! Wake up Sheeple!!!
You need to seek professional psychological help.
In other news: Water is wet. Really? It took them this long to figure this out? I have a small veggie garden, and though I'm not totally organic since I will use occasional chemical fertilizers, I am *very* cautious about any pesticides I use as most of them are non-specific (BT being a notable exception, but it's more of an organic control.)
Really! Some people have KNOWN this for years. I heard this from Linda Moulton Howe and I typed it up on the Gardening chat thing on Craig's List. Some idiots completely roasted and ridiculed me for saying this exact thing. The tobacco companies got into pesticides to offset their dropping profits due to people quitting smoking (and dying). They funded the research for the guy who said Colony Collapse Disorder was due to a fungus or something. They are just evil and don't give a damn about anything but their own money.
Laura, bless your heart, please name a tobacco company in the neonicotinoid market.
Everything in nature is interconnected. Muck with one thing and everything else is affected in someway, shape or form. When will we ever learn this???
well, if the climate change deniers have their way....never.
Oh please, the climate has fluctuated before humans were ever around. That's not to say that I don't agree with this study, however. I do love nature and hate all the pollution from humans, but you also have to use common sense and not just jump on a bandwagon without doing your research.
yin and yang; to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction
Newton's third law.
Please God, save us from ourselves!
I totally agree 2tired.....we are going to implode!!
The problem with relating these pesticides to CCD is that CCD has been occurring sporadically for over 100 year, predating the use of synthetic nicotines. It's still somewhat interesting, because natural nicotine was in use as an insecticide that long ago, but the correlation with CCD doesn't seem to hold up well.
The studies are both unchallenged after peer review. And prove a direct causal link between these chemicals and honeybee and bumblebee behaviour in realistic life scale experiments. There may be other causes of global declines in bee populations but this is likely to be a contributor.
I'm sure Monsanto pays you nicely.
You're confused. Using plain nicotine is totally different from using the NEW as in NEO-nicotine, systemic nicotine pesticides (think, how long have we had Frontline for dogs vs. using flea collars). It is systemic, it remains in the system. It is new, not 100 years old.
Ok, how about this ... why not put a five year moratorium on the chemicals and see if the CCD diminishes ... I'm betting it does. Or we could continue to prolong action ... as usual. There is not one major corporation that cares about YOU ... only you as the Product.Plenty of replacements available.
We're just at the tip of the iceberg here. The constant use of pesticides, insecticides and now genetically engineered seeds/plants that actually produce toxins to drive away insects is going to kill this planet. It's already adversely affecting our food supply and likely a huge contributor to the recent increases in neurological disorders in humans.
Not the planet. Just us.
" Hey farmer, farmer. Put away that DDT ( & those neonicotinoids) now. Give me spots on my apples (or little worms on my corn), but leave me the birds and the bees.....Please. Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell.
DDT was banned in the US in 1972, and was banned world side for agricultural use in 2004. It is still approved for malaria control, but its use is much much lower now than it was in the past.
Pollinating insects are vital to the survival of our species. So we should really pay more attention to this kind of research.
"Well the bees are disappearing." "They're not disappearing, they're just going home!" "Are you saying bees are aliens?" "Don't be daft! Not all of them."
*sigh* This is about the 20th different thing that one study or another has found to be responsible for the decline of bees.
What are some of the other 20 that you have heard about?
These studies are pretty conclusive and follow on from earlier smaller studies.
Hey LowIQ, if Monsanto tries to blame the collapse on cell towers again, are you really going to believe them?
@Jeff – Good one. LowIQ is right! People just don't get what it means when three independent scientific studies in three different parts of the world come to the same conclusion. I have believed all along that this would come down to pesticides. Monsanto is going to be the death of us all with their cursed sterile seeds, systemic pesticides, and GM crops.
I am shocked and amazed. Who knew human activities would have something to do with it?
its always stupid arrogant self proclaimed intelligent.....humans
Some um... it took several years and countless studies to determine that big killer is bad for bugs? Wow. Well um... good job guys.
What a shocker....
Sadly, common sense is like a super power now.