Pesticides, Not Mites, Cause Honeybee Colony Collapse

By Gemma Tarlach | May 9, 2014 8:00 am

honeybee

Researchers racing to find the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which has been killing off honeybees in much of the U.S. and Europe, are zeroing in on the culprit. And — surprise — mites are apparently no longer suspects. But cold winters may be accomplices to the crime.

Studying colonies of honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) at three locations in central Massachusetts during the 2012-13 winter, researchers found that two widely-used pesticides were directly responsible for the hive abandonment and death of several colonies. Comparing their results to previous research, the scientists noted that colder winters may aggravate the negative effects of the pesticides.

Pesticide Spread

For the study, appearing today in the Bulletin of Insectology, researchers monitored 18 bee colonies — six in each location — from October 2012 through April 2013. A third of the colonies were exposed to low doses of the pesticide imidacloprid, while another third were exposed to the pesticide clothianidin. Both pesticides belong to the neonicotinoid class and are commonly used in agriculture. The remainder of the colonies were left untreated.

The numbers of bees declined in all 18 colonies with the onset of winter weather, which is the usual seasonal pattern.

In January, however, while the control colony populations began to increase as expected, the number of bees in the treated colonies continued to decline. By April, 50 percent of the treated colonies had been wiped out, showing the hive abandonment pattern typical of CCD.

Parasites Absolved

Researchers noted that one of the control colonies also was lost, but its thousands of dead bees were found inside their hive, showing symptoms of Nosema ceranae, an intestinal parasite. When CCD first emerged in honeybee colonies in the mid 2000s, N. ceranae was put forward as a possible cause. Subsequent research in Europe, however, has suggested N. ceranae was widespread in many areas before CCD and is not associated with the phenomenon.

Although other studies have suggested that pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, cause bees to become more susceptible to mites or other parasites that then kill off the bees, today’s study found that bees in the CCD hives had the same levels of parasite infestation as the control colonies. This finding led researchers to conclude that pesticides themselves were directly responsible for causing an as-yet-unidentified but lethal danger to the bees.

The team also noted that, in their previous study on a possible link between imidacloprid and CCD in 2012, the mortality rate for treated colonies was significantly higher — 94 percent — with an earlier die-off. The researchers suggested that the unusually cold winter of 2010-11, during which they conducted the study, exacerbated the effects of the pesticide on the bee populations.

CCD threatens not only bees but entire economies and the world food supply. Honeybees pollinate about a third of crops worldwide and, according to some estimates, as much as 80 percent of U.S. crops.

 

Image by mady70 / Shutterstock

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, top posts
MORE ABOUT: ecology
  • Rhi

    Pesticides are killing bees, and causing us cancer. Can we ban these toxic chemicals from our food supply? Or would Monsanto and whatever other multi-billion dollar companies affected have a hissy fit?
    Considering they’re in the business of making money, and not in the business of protecting people and the only environment we have.

    • Kurlee Locks

      All businesses are in the business of making money. Stop trying to demonize them for it. If you’re employed, where do you think your paycheck comes from? Do you honestly believe that if it is proven that Monsanto’s pesticides are what is killing off bee colonies that they would continue producing them and having them used where they would continue to kill bees? You people never seem to think it through–Monsanto’s people eat the same food you and I do, have families like you and I do, etc. You think they are all suicidal? Or, can you admit that you just need to have some ogre to blame because it feels good.

      • Nas

        Even if they eat the same food that isn’t proof. Some people that work(ed) for tobacco companies smoke(d) even when they knew(know) the consequences. Although, if there is good evidence that CCD is actually causing harm to bees I would trust Monsanto to do the research and find another alternative.

        • Sheryl McCumsey

          Do you trust your children with a pedophile? If that pedophile has children of his/her own that would mean they should be trusted? You trust the company to do what is right because??

          • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas

            Not comparable. I don’t trust companies to do what is right inherently but I do trust them to change their ways when it would undercut their bottom line.

      • Rhi

        It’s been proven that pesticides cause cancer, I have learned that in a university class.
        Farmers in India working for Monsanto have actually killed themselves, you can look that one up.
        I also suggest you watch a video by Jamie Oliver, showing the process of making “pink slime” meat- something that is allowed in at least 15% of all ground beef and sold by many fast food companies.
        Also, Europe has much stricter food laws than North America, banning many ingredients that we deem safe. Why the difference?
        I am down to discuss these things, but please don’t talk down to me. I have learned in different classes, and through my own research that there are serious problems with our food industry and it is contributing to our sickness and many environmental problems. My thoughts on the matter are not coming from ignorance and there is no need to be like that.

        • Nas

          Nothing has been proven to cause cancer, only increase the chance or the disposition to develop cancer. That said, there are problems in the food industry.

          • Rhi

            True, should have worded that more correctly.
            PS Nas, I have enjoyed all of your responses to people including myself. You are really knowledgeable and respectful!

          • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas

            Thank you Rhi, I really appreciate that…made my day :)

        • Spamihazit

          It depends on what types of pesticides you are talking about. Most ones we use in today’s agriculture have not been shown to cause/promote cancer or birth defects.
          And of course insecticides can kill bees…. they are insects!!!!!!!!!! The issue here is legal and responsible pesticide use. If you use a soil drench application of imidicloprid when bees are resting in hives, you will likely not have any effect on bees, yet plant sucking pests will be reduced. This is in contrast to a folilar applications while bees are foraging.
          No one WANTS to kill bees. But the labels are changing to protect bees, which is a good thing. The pesticide label is a federal law. to not follow every instruction on it is a crime and can be punishable.

          • tetra

            You keep missing the “non-lethal” doses part of the story – the neonics killed bees when used as directed, and not in a manner predicted by “proper” use. Its the class of chemical that’s to blame, not “legal and responsible” use.

          • Spamihazit

            They were applied directly to the hive. In no agricultural setting would this occur. I might have missed it, but I didn’t read where they came up with the dose they gave the bees comparing it to what bees are likely to pick up in a normal time of foraging. Sub-lethal doses are generally more dangerous to social insects because it builds up in the hive, so it isn’t surprising (its the main strategy of ant control). I just found it strange they didn’t compare the dose they gave to the hives to what bees could pick up in a treated field.

          • tetra

            (1) the neonics were added to a food source in dosages promoted as “safe”, not “applied” (2) this experiment was a refinement of a 2012 experiment; the current experiment uses lower dosages. (3) a huge part of the problem is defining how low an exposure can cause CCD. This experiment advances that goal. Note that the researchers did suggest that a cold winter compounded the effect.

          • Sharon Overton

            As a commercial beekeeper, my husband and I last year started the season with 412 hives.
            This spring we are reduced to150 and dropping, the PMRA has taken samples from our hives and the fields surrounding them. Our worst yard, with only 6 VERY WEAK hives left out of 22, has 128 parts per billion in the soil of the field 50 feet in front of it. By the pesticide company’s own testing the amount required to immediately kill 50% of bees is only 30 parts per billion, and it is now known that FAR les like in the percentages of parts per billion will cause irreparable damage to the bees’ nervous systems. This is not from a lab test, I repeat this is NOT from a lab test. The only beeyards doing not too badly are not near cash crop farming. These yards were in these locations 40 years ago and did fabulously before the neonic seed treatments were started.
            For a true picture, a poor crop for us would be around 40 / 45 gallon barrels of honey. LAST YEAR WE FINISHED WITH 12. We are one of the largest producers of pollen in Ontario, and normally we harvest 2500 to 3000 pounds. LAST YEAR WE HARVESTED 900.
            Would you like to buy our business?
            In the 60 odd years our family has been keeping bees, this is the single most catastrophic year we have ever had.
            We are not alone, Large beekeepers who normally earn their living from pollination are so scared of losing their income they have moved in to the area near Owen Sound where there are not nearly as many cash croppers. Now the smaller beekeepers already there who rely on honey for their income will not have an income because near their yards, of probably 16 -24 hives, there have been moved yards of 100’s. The big guys don’t care if they get honey, they just want their bees alive to be sent to the east coast for pollination this spring. They feed their bees syrup when they are yarded.
            Nobody wins. The fallout will continue as more and more of this stuff collects in the environment and people panic and try to save their businesses.

      • LeoK711

        If you – you singular – want to completely negate the effects of whatever argument or point you are trying to make; if you don’t really want to change a person’s mind; if you want to come across as a crank – and etc – there are few better ways of doing it than referring to whoever you’re addressing as “you people.”

        • Kurlee Locks

          OK, well then, I would ask those who repeat the same mantra would back up their generalities with specifics and not just more accusations against some imagined demon, and then there wouldn’t be any “you people” to comment to.

      • Kelly A

        did you really just ask that question? seriously, how old are you? so by that same logic why did we build nuclear weapons? they can be used to destroy the earth. why do humans consume so much drugs when we can easily die from them? you are not a smart person. grow up.

    • Nas

      When I’ve worked on organic farms in countries with lower economic norms the knowledge for how to work the land has been lost so switching off pesticides isn’t so easy. For the amount of food that is produced in the world we can give some thanks to pesticides. Before we ban something as important as pesticides we need a viable alternative. Some of the problem of switching over isn’t just alternatives, but price, and at this point a lot of education problems.

    • Kurlee Locks

      BTW, Rhi, Nas, LeoK711, please note that Monsanto doesn’t even make imidacloprid.

      • Spamihazit

        Thanks, I was going to point this out just to be a pain ;) You saved me the need!

      • tetra

        However, Monsanto is the largest single purchaser and redistributor of neonics.

        • Harry

          Thanks for that.

      • Harry

        OK Monsanto doesn’t make neonics but it does sell seeds treated with neonics. As the plant grows the toxin is distributed through every cell in the plant, including the nectar and pollen. Monsanto is not an outsider in this debacle.

    • idontknowyou

      Absolutely – let’s ban all pesticides from our food chain. Sure, millions will die due to decreased food production but hey, won’t we all be better off in the long run?

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Longmire

        Sad but true.

      • Rhi

        We need safe alternatives first that’s for sure, and less expensive ones as well.
        Everyone should have access to not just food but healthy food as well…. but it’s not a perfect world.

      • Sheryl McCumsey

        citations please?

        • idontknowyou

          Are you actually requesting citations to support the statement “the use of pesticides increases yield in crops”? No, I’m not going to indulge that sort of nonsense. That’s like asking for someone to provide citations for the statement “if you jump in a lake you’ll get wet”.

          • Sheryl McCumsey

            Citations? No, so we are supposed to believe you because you say so. Right.

          • idontknowyou

            No, this is literally as basic as “airflow over a wing creates lift”. Insects have been destroying crops since farmers started cultivating and planting. The population of the planet expands at a rate of 200,000 per day (150K deaths, 350K births) – to harvest enough crops to feed the world we have to eliminate as many of the threats to the crop harvest as possible. When insects destroy crops (which they do when we don’t use pesticides) there is less yield. Less yield eventually means people don’t eat. If you don’t eat, you’ll die. If you don’t believe me Google it – or take a course in agriculture, since you seem to possess such a strong interest in it. They’ll cover this in the first class you take.

          • Sheryl McCumsey

            This article was about bees. Bees pollinate our crops. Have you heard of that?

    • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas
  • Nas

    When did CCD start being massively used? I ask because the recent bee problems should have started happening sooner if CCDs have been used for a long time. I still believe that some of their uncertainty in this matter is because no one cause alone is enough to threaten bees so much, and as such having bee friendly pesticide might go a long way to bees recovering.

    • GemmaTarlach

      Hi Nas, and thanks for your comment. Please note CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder, is the actual syndrome, not a pesticide. Researchers saw it emerge in 2005/6.

      • Nas

        Ah, I misunderstood this…that is an important fact. Thank you for correcting me. Let me change my comment a bit then.

        • emma852

          My Uncle Jacob got a year 2013 Audi TT RS
          Coupe by working part time online. imp source F­i­s­c­a­l­P­o­s­t­.­ℂ­o­m

      • hyperzombie

        Researchers saw it emerge in 2005/6.

        You mean “Re emerge in 2005/6.”

        CCD has been observed since the 1860s.

        • tetra

          Citation to CCD observed since 1860s? With this study we have proof that neonics trigger CCD.

          • hyperzombie

            search for

            Robyn M. Underwood1
            and Dennis vanEngelsdorp

            Colony Collapse Disorder: Have We Seen
            This Before?

            The Pennsylvania State University
            Department of Entomology

          • tetra

            Fair citation, but all of the cases specified were localized, while the “current” CCD is nearly global.

          • hyperzombie

            Localized in the 1860, who would have thought? You know with globalization and international air travel being big factors in the 1860s.

          • hyperzombie

            tetra, sorry if I seem rude, coffee maker is broken and I am sick, anyway enough with my problems. I will look up some more references later for you about the history of CCD, and some new research papers on the probable cause. :-)

          • hyperzombie

            With this study we have proof that neonics trigger CCD.

            Who is “we”?
            And this study provides no proof of anything except insecticides kill bees.

          • Vasillios

            CCD is just a term fabricated by the chemical industry to muddy
            the waters and create a distraction to point everyone away from the real problem which is the decimation of honeybees by the use of these Neonicotinoid neurotoxins.
            The Varroa and virus distraction game that was well played by Bayer and Syngenta is just about over!

          • hyperzombie

            CCD has been around and documented since the 1860s, name one chemical company that has been around that long,

          • Vasillios

            Funny you should ask. Bayer was founded in 1863. DuPont
            founded in 1802. BASF founded in 1865. Should I keep going?

          • hyperzombie

            well with the exception of DuPont they were all founded after CCD, so did DuPont cause CCD?

          • Connie Kuramoto

            A disorder can occur in small populations for a long time. It is when it becomes epidemic that it becomes a problem! Your position is extremely weak.

          • hyperzombie

            Connie, I do appreciate your concern for the bees, I too care deeply about the health and welfare of our bees. That is why we must get the cause of CCD scientifically pinned down, and shoddy studies like this one are not helping. If there was any scientifically valid studies linking CCD to Neonicotinoids I would be the first one screaming for the elimination of this product. If you truly care about the bees we need to focus on the true cause and not overreact to a shoddy study and demand that a effective safe insecticide gets banned. Banning Neonicotinoids most likely will lead to even more dangerous insecticides being used, the end result will be even more bee deaths.

            A disorder can occur in small populations for a long time. It is when it becomes epidemic that it becomes a problem!

            So you think it is a virus or bacterial infection?

            Connie please keep advocating for bee health and only continue if you truly love the bees, not because you hate insecticides.

          • tetra

            Note that this experiment was a lower dose variation on a 2012 experiment, so I’d say the scientifc method employed and results are sound and reproduceable.

          • hyperzombie

            Great, now it has been verified, Insecticides kill bees, Big whoop. We already knew that.

          • hyperzombie

            are you referring to Lu, Chensheng et al (13 March 2012) In situ replication of honey bee colony collapse disorder?

          • Sheryl McCumsey

            This guy wears a helmet…I’m not sure that he is protecting a brain under it! Don’t waste your time. He isn’t interested really in science. He’s a troll.

          • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas

            You shouldn’t resort to name calling, even if it is the Internet.

          • hyperzombie

            BTW, great job on the research. :-)

          • tetra

            still waiting on that citation

          • hyperzombie

            No links are allowed so once again do a search for:

            Robyn M. Underwood
            and Dennis vanEngelsdorp

            Colony Collapse Disorder: Have We Seen
            This Before?

            The Pennsylvania State University
            Department of Entomology

          • tetra

            The CCD you reference since 1860 has only been localized, not international and multi-year.

          • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas

            Nature! Joking :)

          • tetra

            “We” would be this thing called sometimes called “society.” You might want to investigate it.

        • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas

          Since 1860s! That would mean Bees have been having issues naturally, but the point of this pesticide article is that the pesticide isn’t helping.

          • hyperzombie

            The real question is “Is this pesticide making things worse?”, and according to the research, no one really knows. Poorly constructed studies like this one only lead to more confusion. If this pesticide was really the culprit, why is there no CCD in Australia, and why is it very rare in western Canada, both heavy users of this toxin?

          • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas

            From an earlier post of mine: “I still believe that some of their uncertainty in this matter is because no one cause alone is enough to threaten bees so much, and as such having bee friendly pesticide might go a long way to bees recovering.” Usually one study doesn’t settle things, nor does this one study at hand, but I find it unlikely pesticides are helping to prevent CCD. I don’t mean to bump heads with you, just making my opinion clear on the matter.

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Longmire

        Has anyone ever considered the possibility of the absence of weeds actually contributing to the problem of CCD. It makes sense to me that the bees would be more susceptible to the pesticides, mites, and cold weather in general, if they only had one source of pollen to eat. Surely a diverse diet is needed in insects as well other creatures.

    • http://nativebeeranching.com/ Pam Phillips

      IIRC, Imidacloprid and clothianidid began to be widely used in North America around 2003 to 2006. Other studies have shown that they cause disorientation, twitching, immune suppression, and larval deformities. Whether you want to call that CCD or not is beside the point. These insecticides kill bees and they do so for a long time.

      • hyperzombie

        Wow, insecticides kill insects, who would have guessed.

      • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas

        From what you described, it seems the likely issue is imidacloprid, and clothianidid, so they should switch back to what they were using before, until they find a better solution.

    • Sheryl McCumsey

      Like many poisons just because it doesn’t show up immediately doesn’t mean it is not an issue. GMO’s are part of the problem as well…smoking doesn’t kill you right away. Some scientists say it is like the death of a thousand cuts. This is one big part of the picture.

    • Sharon Overton

      Imidocloprid is not the only neonicotinoid pesticide. if you google neonicotinoid pesticide and types of formulation you will come up with lists for the many different forms, what they are designed to do, and what they are used on. Each kind of neonic is licensed under several different names, making it difficult for users to know they even have a neonic in the formulation.
      They don’t break down in the soil, some for as long as 20 years, so each year they are used, the burden gets worse.
      the fields in front of only 3 out of our 20 yards were sampled by the PMRA and one showed 54 parts per billion in October, and another showed 128 parts per billion. That is an enormous load for a water soluble compound meaning it will travel through the soil with the water and contaminate whatever it encounters down stream, be it ground water, wells or just the weeds our bees pasture on at the field edges. Since percentages of parts per billion are damaging permanenty, every time a bee is exposed, the damage worsens on its nervous system until it dies. The lethal dose recorded on the pesticide label is what is required to kill 50% of bees in one exposure. only now is research finding that the effects of sub lethal exposure are cumulative. Our bees are proving that with 70% losses this spring and rising.

      • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas

        Imidocloprid might not be the only neonicotinoid pesticide but it is one of two implicated in CCD. There would need to be more studies before jumping to conclusion about all pesticides. On the whole, I do worry about bioaccumulation of chemicals. You see it with mercury in sea animals. as for “Since percentages of parts per billion are damaging permanenty” what makes you think the damage is permanent? I won’t say that it is certain that the bee would heal but it depends on the degree. I still think, usually one study doesn’t settle things, nor does this one study at hand, but I find it unlikely pesticides are helping to prevent CCD but I don’t think they are the lone factor. I don’t mean to bump heads with you, just making my opinion clear on the matter.

        • Sharon Overton

          The permanence of damage is of course relative, since individual bees only live for a few weeks during gathering season, however when enough of the bees in a hive are damaged, the hives’ ability to survive is compromised,since it is a communal type of entity.
          Thiamethoxam, imidocloprid, clothianidin, are all problematical.
          Have you seen the studies by Christie Morrissey of the University of Saskatchewan? She is studying the effects of environmental contamination on the peripheral wildlife, and has found that it is extensive and catastrophic. Her study can be found by googling.
          As for my husband and I, we ere hit by imidocloprid spray during the 90’s, and what we have been seeing over the last year is shadowing that experience.
          It makes things very difficult that the Government labs claim they can’t test for levels in percentages of parts per billion, since mostly what our bees are displaying is the sub lethal effects.
          However the fact that the yards most affected show shocking levels of residual neonicotinoids in the soil in October when they were on the seed in May is indicative that this is the source of the problem when the behavior of the bees falls in with what is shown to happen with sub lethal exposure.
          Dr Nieh and his associate have shown these effects in their tests.
          I can’t supply a link since they are not allowed on this site, but the research is easily found. Also Dr Nieh shared his drop box with us to access many studies that are also showing the problems with neonicotinid exposure. If I could send you an invitation to share my drop box you could access the research papers for yourself, saving a lot of hunting time.

          • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas

            Thiamethoxam wasn’t mentioned in this study, but assuming it is also a problem it could be replaced. I still think, usually one study or a few studies by the same thing doesn’t settle this, because I have also read many studies that point to food sources, paristates, weather cycles, and others as being a factor. If the pesticide is a large enough factor that its removal would allow bees not to be 100% but at survival levels, then it should be easy to show with having bee populations in sheltered areas. I don’t know how easy it would be to create areas large enough that are free of the 3 mentioned pesticides but I am sure it can be done. I hope they get to the bottom of this sooner rather than later or we might end up needing robot bees to fertilize many of our plants.

          • Nope

            Nas you seem to be at the intellectual equivalent of a 4 5 year old, very inquisitive but adding nothing to the discussion. Stop replying to every post.

          • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas

            While you are insulting, which is not very helpful, I add to the conversation and maybe it isn’t always the best possible addition, it is better than trolling or insulting people.

          • http://hardkhora.blogspot.com/ Nas
  • http://www.enviroequipment.com Enviro Equipment, Inc.

    Thank God for global warming or these pesticides that have totally wiped out Bee colonies in the US and Europe.

  • hyperzombie

    All this study proves is that if you poison bees with insecticides they will die. These so called scientists should be charged with deliberately poisoning bees. Feeding bees 20% of a deadly dose of insecticide daily for months is kind of cruel in my opinion, I am amazed that the bees didn’t die earlier.

    • tetra

      Ah, but by “standards” the scientists DID NOT poison the bees – the doses were supposed to be “sub lethal.” What this study proved is that neonics trigger CCD.

      • hyperzombie

        No this study proved, if you feed bees high doses of insecticides they will die in a similar manner as CCD. No bees in nature would be exposed to this high of a dose of neonics in a single day let alone be exposed to it for over a month.
        Look the LD50 for cyanide is 10mg/kg, If I fed you the sub lethal dose of 2 mg/kg for 2 months do you really think that you would be happy and healthy and the end of my 2 month experiment?

        • Spamihazit

          This study also had a sample size of….6? My thesis had a sample size of 60 and I was still hassled for it being too small.

          • hyperzombie

            6…..way to go team science.
            They should change the title of their study to: Hey all ya Folks, Bees Die when Fed Insecticides

          • Will Panos

            “Ya Folks, Bees Die when Fed Insecticides” But if the bees
            collect the pesticide on their own from pollen, nectar contaminated water not to mention corn guttation fluid than the pesticide has no affect. You expect anyone to actually buy in to this BS?

          • hyperzombie

            Will, Toxins are dose dependant, if you can provide me with any credible scientific evidence that bees are harmed by the tiny doses of Neonicotinoids I am willing to change my mind. This issue has been studied over and over, and 0, zip, nada evidence has ever been published linking small amounts of exposure to bee deaths. I love bees and I am also concerned about their health, but banning a safe and effective insecticide will most likely cause even more health problems for bees.

          • Will Panos

            There is no such thing as a safe dose level for bees when it
            comes to these toxins. Is there a safe amount of cigarettes you can smoke through your life and be safe? No there isn’t!

          • hyperzombie

            There is no such thing as a safe dose level for bees when it
            comes to these toxins.

            Yes there is, just like all toxins there is a safe amount. Even the most toxic substance known to man has a safe dose, old ladies get it injected into their faces all the time.

            Is there a safe amount of cigarettes you can smoke through your life and be safe? No there isn’t!

            Yes there is, Don’t be stupid. I smoked about 14 cigs in my life, and there will be 0 health effects.

          • Will Panos

            So is 14 cigarettes the maximum allowable dose for someone or
            is it 20 or maybe 33 or 5000, the point is no one really knows.

          • hyperzombie

            Yeah they kind of do, You have to smoke over 1 pack of cigarettes per week for over 5 years to have any health effects. According to the scientific lit.

        • Vasillios

          “If I fed you the sub lethal dose of 2 mg/kg for 2 months do you really think that you would be happy and healthy and the end of my 2 month experiment?” So this means you agree that the sub lethal doses the bees are bringing in to the hive month after month from Neonicotinoid contaminated water, nectar and pollen eventually kills the whole colony. If you don’t agree then you are telling me that Neonicotinoids are never detected in collapsed colonies or honeybees have super powers.

          • hyperzombie

            So this means you agree that the sub lethal doses the bees are bringing in to the hive month after month from Neonicotinoid contaminated water, nectar and pollen eventually kills the whole colony.

            No, I never said any such thing. Bees in the wild are only exposed to the toxin for a few days Max. the amount of Neonicotinoids that wild bees are exposed to are orders of magnitudes less than in this study.

      • Junk 14850

        I think you don’t understand the meaning of LD50. It signifies a dose that, on average, will kill 50%. It does NOT mean that a lower dose is safe. In fact, a dose that is 20% of LD50 is almost guaranteed to kill some. Each time you give it. So give it day after day, and you are killing your subjects day after day.

  • msguate

    Monsanto doesn’t necessarily have to be the manufacturer of imidacloprid. Monsanto performs business with lots of companies that manufacture pesticides/chemicals like Bayer and Syngenta, Dow, DuPont etc. Read about the history of Monsanto and all the different products that they use or manufacturer for years and years harmful to humans, animals and the environment.

  • 1FredsGirl1

    You can argue all you like about what part pesticides play in CCD, the simple facts are, without bees mankind in this country face starvation in four years. Who did the math on that – Einstein.

    Bees are lovely little creatures and don’t deserve to die in the awful way that they do when contaminated with pesticides. And while companies deserve to make a profit, they don’t deserve to make it off the backs of dead people. Too many poor products and harmful chemicals are overlook for the sake of profit, and the argument that profit is what fills our pay packets is all hollow. What good is a paycheck if our health is wreaked and our children’s stomachs empty.

    • booksaremyfriends

      Actually, Einstein is never documented as saying that.

  • peterlborst

    Hi all
    This is an example of the shabbiest sort of work. These researchers take their theory: neonics cause CCD, and try to make a case by poisoning bee hives. The symptoms they produce are consistent with bee poisoning, but not actual CCD. In the field, CCD appears to be contagious, like a virus.

    Meanwhile, researchers in Israel studied actual collapsing colonies in the field and found very high levels of a particular virus, IAPV. This virus was also consistently found in colonies in the USA that collapse with CCD symptoms.

    Furthermore, in Canada, the number one honey crop is Canola. Beekeepers move millions of colonies into Canola and produce billions of pounds of top grade honey; the colonies thrive despite the fact that canola is treated with neonicotinoid insecticides.

    Dr. Lu et al are trying to make a case by poisoning bees. There are innumerable ways to poison bees, but that does not indicate that these are the causes of bee collapse in the real world.

    Finally, a significant fact that most news reports fail to note: There have been hardly any verifiable cases of CCD in the past few years, CCD has never been widespread, and the number of bee colonies in the US is actually rising.

    • peterlborst

      Meanwhile, scientists are working with colonies actually collapsing in the field. Note their tempered conclusions, IAPV levels “may determine survival”.

      > The determinants of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a particular case of collapse of honey bee colonies, are still unresolved. Viruses including the Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) were associated with CCD. We found an apiary with colonies showing typical CCD characteristics that bore high loads of IAPV, recovered some colonies from collapse and tested the hypothesis if IAPV was actively replicating in them and infectious to healthy bees.

      > We found that IAPV was the dominant pathogen and it replicated actively in the colonies: viral titers decreased from April to September and increased from September to December. IAPV extracted from infected bees was highly infectious to healthy pupae: they showed several-fold amplification of the viral genome and synthesis of the virion protein VP3. The health of recovered colonies was seriously compromised.

      > Interestingly, a rise of IAPV genomic copies in two colonies coincided with their subsequent collapse. Our results do not imply IAPV as the cause of CCD but indicate that once acquired and induced to replication it acts as an infectious factor that affects the health of the colonies and may determine their survival. This is the first follow up outside the US of CCD-colonies bearing IAPV under natural conditions.

      Dynamics of the Presence of Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus in Honey Bee Colonies with Colony Collapse Disorder
      Viruses 2014, 6(5), 2012-2027; doi:10.3390/v6052012

    • hyperzombie

      billions of pounds of top grade honey

      You mean Millions, or more accurately about 50- 75 million pounds.

    • Will Panos

      If you are trying to convince us you need to get your facts straight. Canada operates around 600,000 colonies and produces around 75
      million pounds of honey.

      • http://peterloringborst.com/ Peter Loring Borst

        I am not trying to convince you of anything other than to think for yourself. Right on.

  • Suzanne Moran

    The bottom line is, if we kill the bees we kill our self. So could we PLEASE put mother nature a head of the bottom line.Poisons should not be used!

    • hyperzombie

      And which poisons would you like banned?

  • Redrider07

    Pesticides, monsano, responsible for CCD. What a novel idea! The fact that many european counties outlawed these pesticides years ago, and the bees seem to be recovering is very unscientific, and should be poobah’d.

    • hyperzombie

      Europe has the same problem as NA, do some research before commenting.

    • Sheryl McCumsey

      Where pesticides AND GMO’s are banned they are recovering….insecticides kill bees. Bees are an insect. Very novel.

    • booksaremyfriends

      Yeah, but Canada and Australia use GMOs and the same classes of pesticides as we do but have not had the same massive problem with CCD. If it was just GMO’s/pesticides, the problem would be widespread in every country that uses them.

  • Sharon Overton

    Just for the record, Imidocloprid is not the only neonicotinoid pesticide out there. The list is extensive above 20 types and each type is used under many brand names, making it very difficult for useers to realize what is in the compounds they are using. Look up “neonicotinoid pesticide types or varieties” on google and there will be lists of the different names and what they have been developed for. They are used on garden plants, sod, trees, field crops etc. They are pervasive and impossible for a beekeeper to avoid entirely.
    Bees don’t have to be killed out right to be eventually killed, the effect of low level doses ( even in the percentages of parts per billion will eventually result in hive death, and possibly contamination of the boxes and frames for the future. We just don’t know all the routes of damage the neonics take) will eventually kill a hive if nothing else because if the field bees are killed everytime they exit the hive, it will starve the hive out as no nectar or pollen will be brought in for food.
    Yes, imagine that, hives have been dying for as long as bees have been around, that doesn’t mean that this epidemic of CCD in the last 15 years is not due to the ongoing proliferation and build up of neonicotinlids in our environment.
    Through these last years, the use of neonics has been enlarged until now virtually every seed planted is treaded, even the seeds bought for your home garden. Box plants from most nurseries will be treated in the soil to ensure you don’t lose them to insects in your home garden, circumventing the laws forbidding the home use of pesticides.
    The first tie our bees were damaged by neonics was in the 1990’s, when a potato crop was planted in front of one of our yards. The outer rows were sprayed to kill potato beetle, and we came in on a bright summer day when they should have been flying like crazy bringing in nectar and pollen. There was absolutely not one bee flying, but when we opened the hives they were normal inside. The field bees had been killed or incapacitated when they flew through the outer rows of the potato field as the left the hives, they just never came back.
    The condition of the hives has gradually deteriorated since then, with it difficult to determine the problem. The PMRA does not have the lab facilities to test for neonic contamination at levels below the parts per billion. We now know that PERCENTAGES of parts per billion will damage the nervous system of the bees that the accumulation of damage eventually kills the bee, and thus the hive. It operates by permanently blocking the receptors on the ends of the nerves, causing the affected nerves to non-stop firing at the worst causing seizures, and at the least causing what ever purpose that nerve served to be damaged. Since every function of life is governed by our nervous system, that means we are in trouble.
    Because the neonics have only started being used on seed in the last 10 years, and therefore with a much grater chance of pervading the environment, the damage has been gradually increasing over that time as more and more of it is being applied to more and more types of seeds, the background level rises, and the contact with foraging bees gets worse. Non target plants around the verges of fields take up the neonicotinoids and express it in their flowers and pass on to the bees foraging there. Gradually levels build up to the point where they are concentrated enough to cause perceptible damage and later to kill.
    Some neonicotinoids persist in the soils for as long as 20 years. That means that every year they are used the burden in the environment grows. Since they are water soluble the rain carries them through the ground to locations not intended including our waterways and wells.
    This spring after the harsh winter on top of much damage to our bees last year by neonics, the damage was exacerbated by the cold resulting in losses of around 70% of our bee hives. This is NOT a sustainable level of loss(compare to the normal winter loss of 15%).
    Can our environment sustain insect losses at this level?

    • hyperzombie

      What a bunch of bunk, I mean come on. This story is not even a bit realistic.

      • Sharon Overton

        Hyperzombie…interesting that you don’t chose to use your real name. Do you have anything to do with bees or are you just some fool with an opinion not based on fact or experience?
        I am a beekeeper , and have the test results from the PMRA to show the contamination of plants and soil, and water around our beeyard locations to prove it. My husband’s family has kept bees for three generations, very successfully. In fact my father in law used to be a bee inspector. We as most beekeepers who have been at it for along time, know when there is something out of the ordinary going on, and last year got the PMRA to run tests.
        As I stated we are looking at better than 70% losses due to the damage from the sub lethal effects of neonics last year coupled with a cold winter which exacerbates the effects of the neonics. I don’t see where you have any stake in the situation other than mouthing your opinion. Can you back up your comments with facts? Or are you simply trying to cloud the issues and deflect interest from the issue of neonics in our environment?
        You are welcome to come out to the honey festival and meet with a lot of the people being put out of business by the neonics. I’m sure if you ask nicely someone could take you to a beeyard and let you see the damage for yourself

  • booksaremyfriends

    I found it really interesting that this blogger did not mention that countries like Canada and Australia, both whom use the same classes of pesticides as the US have not seen the massive CCD effects we have.

  • Graeme Peterson

    It takes so long to get these poisons recognized for the harm they are doing, and removed from the market. In the meantime, new ones just keep getting approved. There is something very wrong with that model. Guilty until proven innocent should apply here as well.

  • Sharon Overton

    If anyone is interested, google Dr. Nieh in the US, he and an Italian associate have some very disturbing results from tests on neonicotinoids, One being that bees exposed to sub lethal doses become “fussy” about low concentrations of sugars in solution. Read they become less able to detect those lower concentrations as food so they ignore them. Also 2 of the neonics are more toxic at low temperatures than at high summer temps. This means that nectar and pollen collected at 30 celcius and stored become much more toxic and can kill a hive when they consume it at late fall temperatures. All this is in a talk on youtube recorded at a beekeepers’ meeting in I believe San Diego. It can be found on you tube with a search.
    Also go to youtube and search “message from the bees”. this is a documentary from Japan with a solid message for not only bee health but human health as well.
    Don’t take my word for it do your own research, results are out there from doctors and scientists all over the world.

  • Dr. Jo

    This is an awfully small study to be able to make the claim that neonicotinoids “cause” CCD.

  • Jane Peters

    No surprise. Poison is a terrible thing. It’s crazy. Because bees do a lot of good for humans. And here we are killing them off.

  • amandaeallen

    Save the Bees!

  • Alan

    We are increasingly dumping huge quantities of poisons into our environment, chemicals designed specifically to kill plants and animals. And then we are wondering why, specifically, bees are dying off? The planet is dying, for God’s (and humanity’s) sake! It is just common sense to any doctor that when a patient ingests poison, or some new “medicines”, and gets really sick, you stop it!
    BTW, my bee hive just died. Not surprising considering that all my neighbors spray pesticides and herbacides. Go to the “gardening” department of Home Depot and you will see that nearly all the chemicals are designed to kill something “the easy way”, without the work of weeding or cleaning harmful parasites off plants with nonharmful soaps and oils. Humans have become greedy and lazy, relying on chemicals to do our work for us. We will rationalize away any solution that requires us to give up our magic chemicals.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

D-brief

Briefing you on the must-know news and trending topics in science and technology today.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »