From Wildlife Extra:
December 2010. In a leaked memo US government scientists warn that bees and other non-target invertebrates are at risk from a new neonicotinoid pesticide licence and that tests in the approval process are unable to detect environmental damage. This has reignited concerns raised in a 2009 scientific report by UK charity Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust.
Risk to bees and aquatic insects
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists flagged up the risks to honey-bees and aquatic insects that would result if the US Government approved the request from Bayer to expand the use of the neonicotinoid clothianidin to include cotton and mustard. Click here to read the report.
Neonicotinoids are highly toxic to bees and other non-target insects, the biggest concerns are that, being systemic they end up in the pollen and nectar in the flowers of treated crops, and hence could poison pollinators, and that being persistent and mobile they could wash into streams, ponds and rivers and destroy aquatic life.
“We rely on bees and other insects to pollinate our crops and keep our rivers healthy. This leak is yet another warning that the use of neonicotinoid pesticides could be contributing to the current decline in wildlife. We have again asked Government to take protective action,” said Matt Shardlow, Chief Executive of Buglife.
In the leaked memo the EPA scientists state that “information from standard tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoids insecticides (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long-term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects” and they criticise existing approvals research as deficient and request additional tests “for additional chronic testing on bee hive activity (e.g., effects to queen, larvae, etc.).” This reflects the conclusions of the 2009 Buglife report that highlighted inadequate testing in the European approvals process and asked the UK Government to: review existing neonicotinoid and fipronil products authorised for outdoor use, with a precautionary suspension of products until the reviews are completed. To-date the UK Government has failed to act on these specific asks, despite the growing body of scientific evidence.
A recent scientific paper stressed the high toxicity of neonicotinoids at very low concentrations, noting that these low-level, long-term effects would not be detected by current test methods for pesticides.
The timing is bad for the UK Government as last week its response to the new EU Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides was accused of being weak, ‘business friendly’ and of failing to take the opportunity to provide improved protection to the public or the environment.
Britain’s beekeepers are at war over their association’s endorsement for money of four insecticides, all of them fatal to bees, made by major chemical companies: here.
The House of Commons is to debate the impact on bees and other insects of the new generation of pesticides that has been linked to bee mortality in several countries: here.
A new generation of pesticides is implicated in the widespread deaths of bees and other pollinators and should be suspended in Britain while the Government reviews new scientific evidence about their effects, MPs were told yesterday: here.
Scientists are investigating a possible link between tiny particles of pollution found in diesel fumes and the global collapse of honey bee colonies: here.
Honeybee Deaths Linked to Seed Insecticide Exposure: here.
Dipping tongues allow bees to drink the sweetest nectar: here.
March 2011: Environmental charities are increasingly concerned that government inaction means that controversial neonicotinoid pesticides are continuing to damage bees and other wildlife; this is despite a newly released government report claiming that field studies show “no gross effects” on honeybees: here.
Bee Apocalypse Continues: Bumblebees in Dangerous Decline, too: here.
The flight of the bumble bee: Why are they disappearing? Here.
Britain: April 2011: A new project aiming to increasing the number nectar sources for bees and other insects has been welcomed – although it has also prompted warnings that even more help to save and create meadows is needed: here.
How do honeybees control their flight speed to avoid obstacles? Here.
Bee farming not only a source of employment but a viable long-term solution for addressing the food crisis in Ethiopia: here.
A study published in Nature found that royalactin, a protein found in royal jelly, is responsible for many of the physical differences that distinguish queens from the hoi polloi of the hive—and, surprisingly, that royalactin can even cause fruit flies to develop queen bee-like traits. This finding also shines light on how, at a cellular level, royal jelly turns bees into queens: here.
How wasps win fights with ants: here.
Amazing World of Insect-Wing Color Discovered: here.
16 new taxa (insects) described in Zootaxa 2733 published today: here.
Brown marmorated stink bug population exploding in U.S. Stink bug killing wasp may be introduced to fight them: here.
- Bayer confesses bee-killing (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- Canada not ready to ban pesticides believed responsible for honey bee deaths (vancouversun.com)
- Bee Deaths Create Crisis for Crops (foodrenegade.com)
- Honey bees under threat: a political pollinator crisis | Daniel Lee Kleinman and Sainath Suryanarayanan (guardian.co.uk)
- One-Third of U.S. Honeybee colonies died last winter, threatening food supply (ascendingstarseed.wordpress.com)
- Honey can Help Honey Bees against Colony Collapse Disorder (natureworldnews.com)
- ‘Beemageddon’ threatens US with food disaster (rt.com)
- EPA Approves New Pesticide Highly Toxic to Bees (ecowatch.com)
- Why are bees dying? Europe suspects pesticides, the US isn’t sure (bangordailynews.com)