Bat Appreciation Day, April 17th 2015


This video is called Secrets and Mysteries of Bats – Nature Documentary.

From Save the Bats in the USA:

As a part of ‪#‎BatAppreciationDay2015‬ on April 17th, we’re asking all our friends to sign our pledge to limit pesticide use in their own homes! This is an easy way for everyone to help not only bats, but birds, bees, and butterflies too! Spread the word, SIGN the pledge, and SHARE it with your friends! ‪#‎SaveTheBats‬

Sign the pledge here.

Save bees from Dow Chemical pesticide, petition


From Earthjustice in the USA:

Earthjustice - Take Action Today
TAKE ACTION! Save Bees from a Highly Toxic Pesticide Take Action
Bees pollinating. (Puupulk / Shutterstock)

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering expanding the use of a highly toxic bee-killing pesticide.

Tell the EPA to protect bees and suspend the use of sulfoxaflor now!

Bee populations are plummeting! Yet the Environmental Protection Agency recently sided with Dow AgroSciences to approve a new, highly toxic bee-killing pesticide called sulfoxaflor.

And now the EPA is considering expanding the number of crops this pesticide can be sprayed on to include corn, alfalfa, oats, and several other significant and widely grown crops.

Will you help us fight back?

Tell the EPA to deny Dow AgroScience’s application to expand the registration of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor now.

Nearly one-third of our crops—including many vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds—depend on bees for pollination. But bees in our country are dying at unprecedented rates, and scientists are pointing to pesticides like sulfoxaflor as a cause.

A world without bees is unimaginable. Earthjustice is doing everything we can to fight back, using the law and the power of the courts. But we need your help to stop this latest proposal.

Help us ensure that sulfoxaflor does not become the final straw for bees.

Take action now to save bees!

Thank you for all that you do,

Greg Loarie picture

Greg Loarie
Attorney

Take Action

A honeybee pollinating a flower. (Klagyivik Viktor / Shutterstock)
©2014 Earthjustice | 50 California Street, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94111 | 415-217-2000 | action@earthjustice.org

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 Photo Credits:   Top: Bees pollinating. (Puupulk / Shutterstock)
Bottom: A honeybee pollinating a flower. (Klagyivik Viktor / Shutterstock)

Neonicotinoids mean more crop-eating slugs, new study


This video says about itself:

Pollinators go silent!

22 November 2012

A decline in pollinators including unmanaged pollinators, such as wild bees, hoverflies, butterflies, as well as managed honeybees, has been reported throughout Europe. This awareness-raising video clip aims at informing the general public about the problem of pollinator loss.

From Wildlife Extra:

Use of pesticides causes harmful rise in destructive slugs

The calls for a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in the UK, by many organisations and individuals, have been strengthened following a new field study by Penn State and the University of South Florida.

The study has revealed that a neonicotinoid pesticide used to protect crops from insect damage can actually reduce crop yield by providing an environment in which slugs thrive.

The researchers found that slugs were not affected by eating thiamethoxam that was used to treat soya crops.

However, when the poisoned live slugs were eaten by their natural predators, ground beetles, over 60 per cent of the beetles died or were incapacitated.

With these important predators gone, the number of slugs exploded and with many more of them eating more of the soya, yields were reduced by 5 per cent.

Slugs are a particular risk in no-till agriculture that leaves stubble on the fields when the next year’s crop is planted. No-till farming has increased rapidly in the UK in the last decade.

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, Buglife‘s Campaigns Officer says, “Whilst thiamethoxam isn’t supposed to control slugs, it’s concerning that a pesticide can actually cause an increase of other pests.

“Putting food on the table depends on crop pollinators and crop predators – the natural pesticide – and this alarming result indicates that we must take the effects of artificial pesticides on all types of beneficial insect into account before we allow their use.”

Thiamethoxam is one of three neonicotinoids that were restricted last year by the EU due to their impact on pollinating insects such as honeybees.

However, neonicotinoids continue to be very widely used on wheat and other crops, despite mounting fears from organisations such as Birdlife that they can have severely negative effects on aquatic life, birds and crop predators.

Matt Shardlow, Buglife CEO says, “This is a horror story, neonicotinoids have been sold to farmers as an ‘insurance policy’, but in a no-till system predators are imperative to keeping pest populations low.

“We must understand how these chemicals came to be so widely used when their benefits are elusive.”

Buglife also wants the Government to ask the Competition and Markets Authority to undertake a review of the extent of commission based selling in the pesticides sector, the vulnerability of the market to distortion and restricted consumer choice, the prevalence of miss-selling and the effects on vulnerable farmers and the environment.

Neonicotinoids are harmful, new research: here.

Stop bee-killing pesticides, petition


This video shows a demonstration in Germany at Bayer corporation’s shareowners’ meeting against Bayer‘s bee-killing pesticides.

From the League of Conservation Voters in the USA:

League of Conservation Voters
Stop the Bee-pocalypse! Take action now to save our nation’s honeybeesDear Activist,

Protect honeybees

Tell Congress to save our nation’s number one food security guard >>

Could you imagine a fall without fresh apples? Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie? Chips without guacamole? It’s hard to picture, but this could be our not-so-distant future if we don’t take action now to save our number one food security guard — the honeybee.

In recent years, nearly one third of commercial bee colonies in the U.S. have been dying over the winter. In Oregon last year we saw the biggest mass killing ever, as 50,000 bumblebees dropped dead after coming in contact with a pesticide used purely for aesthetic purposes. The situation is so bad that people have started to dub it the “Bee-pocalypse.”

Why is this a big deal? Because one third of the food produced in North America, including nearly 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables like apples, pumpkins, cranberries, and avocados, rely on honeybees for pollination.

If we want to save the bees, we need Congress to act now to ban the pesticides that are killing them off. Speak out now!

Losing our bees wouldn’t just leave us without delicious guacamole and apple pie, it would be a crushing blow to our economy. We could lose more than $15 billion a year in agricultural production in the U.S.

The good news is that Congress has finally started to take notice. Just last week, a bill (H.R. 2692) to save honeybees by temporarily banning certain pesticides reached 71 co-sponsors.

This is the closest we’ve ever gotten to actual legislation to protect our bees, so we need your help to spread the word and keep the momentum going. If enough of us speak out, we can get more members of Congress to support this bill and make saving our bees a reality.

Tell your member of Congress to support H.R. 2692 and save our honeybees!

The mass death of our honeybees is not a natural phenomenon. Europe is seeing huge population declines as well. The difference is that the European Union is working to reverse this trend with a two-year ban in place on neonicotinoids, the pesticides linked to mass bee deaths. We need your help to get the United States to follow suit.

This bill would temporarily halt certain pesticides while safer pesticides are being developed. And get this — we may already have the key to a safer pesticide. Researchers in England have been investigating the venom of one of the world’s most deadly spiders, the Australian funnel web spider. The spider’s venom creates a bio-pesticide that is still fatal to common farm pests, but appears to have absolutely no effect on bees.

We have a very real shot at saving the bees, but only if we stop the use of dangerous pesticides and develop new, safer alternatives. But we have to act now to convince Congress to do something about it. There are 65 members supporting the bill so far — will you help us get even more on our side?

Tell Congress to save our honeybees and halt the use of deadly pesticides >>

There’s no simple solution to the bee crisis, but we do know about some steps we can take now to move us in the right direction and the first one is passing this bill. The success of our crops and security of our nation’s food supply hinges on whether or not we can protect our bees. So thank you for telling Congress to take action today.

We can do this. Be a part of history and sign today.

Thanks,

Kristin Brown
Director of Digital Strategy
League of Conservation Voters

After the results of government-run tests reveal that crops treated with neonics were responsible for the mass poisoning of wild bees, conservation organisation Buglife conclude that to ensure the safety of pollinators, all neonic seed treatment use must be suspended in the UK: here.

Bayer’s neonicotinoids kill birds, video


This video from SOVON ornithologists in the Netherlands says about itself:

Starlings and swallows disappear in areas with high levels of neonicotinoids (Nature)

9 July 2014

Populations of common insectivorous birds are declining in farmland areas with high levels of the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid. This is shown by an analysis of detailed data on local bird population trends and environmental factors, including imidacloprid concentrations in surface water. The scientific journal Nature published the study, written by biologists at Radboud University Nijmegen and the Sovon Centre for Field Ornithology, on June 9, 2014.

Many farmland bird species are in decline already for years. But there are unexplained local differences in the decreases. Biologists from Nijmegen, the Netherlands, have explained these differences by the amounts of neonicotinoids in the surface water in relation to other factors, i.e. land use features.

Field data

“We decided to look at commonly occurring insectivores, such as the starling and the barn swallow“, says Ruud Foppen from the Sovon Centre for Field Ornithology, an organisation that organises and analyses bird counts. “In many parts of the Netherlands breeding birds are counted annually and there are sufficient data available on a number of insectivores for us to analyse trends in their numbers in farmland areas. Most of these birds forage around ditches, the edges of fields, hedgerows and other similar places.” The Dutch bird monitoring network is one of the world’s densest.

In this study, the researchers used measures of water quality taken by District Water Boards. Many insects that are important for birds spend part of their life cycle in water. The biologists compared these data sets with a database that records changes in land use.

Clear trend

The researchers found a clear trend: the higher the concentrations of imidacloprid in the surface water the greater the decline in bird numbers. For the fifteen included bird species in the study, numbers decreased on average with 3.5 percent per year in areas with more than 20 nanograms of imidacloprid per litre. This concentration is exceeded by far in many regions in the Netherlands.

This is the first study that correlates imidacloprid to possible indirect harmful effects, via the food chain, for vertebrates. Imidacloprid is an insecticide that belongs to a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids. It is the most widely used insecticide in agriculture around the world.

“We looked very thoroughly for other possible factors that might relate to these birds’ decline. Our analysis shows that, based on our data, imidacloprid was by far the best explanatory factor for differences in the trends between areas”, says Professor Hans de Kroon, who supervised the study. This is the first study that demonstrates a correlation between the decline in populations of vertebrate species and imidacloprid concentrations in surface water.” The research was conducted at the Institute for Water and Wetland Research at Radboud University Nijmegen.

The biologists combined the data from the District Water Boards with systematic bird counts taken before and after the introduction of Imidacloprid in 1995. ‘We see that the decline of farmland bird species started before 1995, but the local differences in decline that we have established after the introduction of imidacloprid are not present in the counts before that time,” Ruud Foppen from Sovon says.

Commonly used agricultural pesticide

Imidacloprid is used in agriculture and horticulture to treat seeds and bulbs, and as a crop spray in greenhouses and in the open. It affects insects’ central nervous systems, so that they become disorientated and paralysed, and then die. It has also been linked to a decline in bee numbers, and other invertebrates.

Lack of food?

The researchers do not yet know precisely what causes the decline. Among the possible explanations are a lack of food (insects), eating contaminated insects, or a combination of both. For a few species, eating insecticide coated seeds cannot be excluded as an explanation. It is not clear whether the breeding success is declining or mortality is increasing.
“Neonicotinoids were always regarded as selective toxins. But our results suggest that they may, in fact, influence the entire ecosystem. This study shows the importance of collecting good sets of field data and subsequent rigorous analysis. Thanks to our partnership with organisations such as Sovon, we can discover ecological effects that would otherwise be overlooked,” says De Kroon.

Neonics are being ingested by free-ranging animals. University of Guelph researchers found residues of the insecticides in the livers of wild turkeys, providing evidence that this common agrochemical is being ingested by free-ranging animals: here.

Bayer’s neonicotinoids kill birds, new research


This video says about itself:

Bees Dying Off, Colony Collapse

29 aug. 2010

Imagine a world without bees..

Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world and Bayer´s best-selling pesticide (2009 sales: €606 million). The substance is often used as seed-dressing, especially for maize, sunflower and rapeseed. The beginning of the marketing of imidacloprid coincided with the occurrence of large bee deaths, first in France, later on also in many other European countries, Canada, the US and Brazil.

After huge bee mortality in Germany in 2008 which was shown to be caused by neonicotinoid pesticides the Coalition against Bayer Dangers accused the Bayer management of downplaying the risks of imidacloprid, submitting deficient studies to authorities and thereby accepting huge losses of honey bees in many parts of the world. At the same time, German authorities imposed a ban on the use of imidacloprid and its successor product, clothianidin, on maize. Italy and Slovenia imposed a similar ban.

In France imidacloprid has been banned as a seed dressing for sunflowers (since 1999) and maize (since 2004). In 2003 the Comité Scientifique et Technique, convened by the French government, declared that the treatment of seeds with imidacloprid leads to “significant risks for bees”. The consumption of contaminated pollen can cause an increased mortality of care-taking-bees. When individual bees were exposed to sublethal doses their foraging activity decreased and they became disorientated, which researchers concluded “can in the course of time damage the entire colony”. Clothianidin was never approved in France.

Music: ‘Through Time and Space’ by Elixirion.

From Nature:

Declines in insectivorous birds are associated with high neonicotinoid concentrations

Caspar A. Hallmann, Ruud P. B. Foppen, Chris A. M. van Turnhout, Hans de Kroon & Eelke Jongejans

09 July 2014

Recent studies have shown that neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects on non-target invertebrate species1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Invertebrates constitute a substantial part of the diet of many bird species during the breeding season and are indispensable for raising offspring7.

We investigated the hypothesis that the most widely used neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid,

a Bayer corporation product

has a negative impact on insectivorous bird populations. Here we show that, in the Netherlands, local population trends were significantly more negative in areas with higher surface-water concentrations of imidacloprid. At imidacloprid concentrations of more than 20 nanograms per litre, bird populations tended to decline by 3.5 per cent on average annually.

Additional analyses revealed that this spatial pattern of decline appeared only after the introduction of imidacloprid to the Netherlands, in the mid-1990s. We further show that the recent negative relationship remains after correcting for spatial differences in land-use changes that are known to affect bird populations in farmland. Our results suggest that the impact of neonicotinoids on the natural environment is even more substantial than has recently been reported and is reminiscent of the effects of persistent insecticides in the past. Future legislation should take into account the potential cascading effects of neonicotinoids on ecosystems.

Neonicotinoids kill bees, new research


This video from Britain says about itself:

Pesticides (neonicotinoids) and Bee Behaviour

3 August 2013

A science experiment showing the effect of pesticides (neonicotinoids) on bee behaviour. From the BBC Horizon documentary titled What’s Killing Our Bees?

From Wildlife Extra:

Neonicotinoids do cause significant damage to ecosystem

For the first time scientists say they are able to provide conclusive evidence that the systemic pesticides neonicotinoids and fipronil (neonics) have caused significant damage to a wide range of invertebrates, including bees.

The IUCN Task Force Systemic Pesticides (a group of global, independent scientists) analysed 800 peer-reviewed reports.

They found that there is clear evidence of a serious risk to honeybees and other pollinators such as butterflies and to a wide range of other invertebrates such as earthworms and vertebrates including birds.

“The evidence is very clear. We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment equivalent to that posed by organophosphates or DDT,” said lead author Dr Jean-Marc Bonmatin of The National Centre for Scientific Research in France.

The most affected groups appeared to be terrestrial invertebrates such as earthworms which are exposed at high levels in soil and plants.

The next most affected group is insect pollinators such as bees and butterflies which are exposed to high contamination through air and plants and medium exposure levels through water.

Bird populations are also at risk from eating crop seeds treated with systemic insecticides, and reptile numbers have declined due to depletion of their insect prey.

“The findings of the WIA are gravely worrying,” said Maarten Bijleveld van Lexmond, Chair of the Task Force.

“We can now clearly see that neonics and fipronil pose a risk to ecosystem functioning and services which go far beyond concerns around one species and which really must warrant government and regulatory attention.”

Bee-killing neonicotinoids and the British government


This video from the USA says about itself:

Science Bulletins: Bee Deaths Linked to Common Pesticides

May 2, 2012

Several recent studies have questioned whether exposure to common pesticides might be impairing bee performance and contributing to the observed population declines. Neonicotinoids are a family of pesticides chemically related to nicotine, and are widely used in both large-scale agriculture as well as in home gardening products. This type of pesticide circulates through flowering plants and collects in nectar and pollen. Recent studies conducted by several research groups have shown that even low doses of neonicotinoid pesticides can impair bees’ navigation abilities and reduce the growth of bee colonies. Insects, particularly bees, are the dominant pollinators in temperate regions worldwide. Declines of honey, bumble, and solitary bees may lead to serious repercussions, not only for crop plant production but for the reproductive success of wild flowering plants, as well.

This latest Bio Bulletin from the American Museum of Natural History‘s Science Bulletins program is on display in the Hall of Biodiversity until June 6, 2012.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History.

From Wildlife Extra, about Britain:

Buglife questions Defra Minister’s TV statements about Neonicotinoids and bees

Defra Minister David Heath on ITV

July 2013. On Thursday 18th July ITV’s Tonight programme investigated the current bee and wild pollinator crisis which threatens food security. Defra Minister David Heath appeared on the programme and made a number of statements about neonicotinoid pesticides that are highly questionable.

Discounting the conclusions of over a hundred studies by independent scientists which show that neonicotinoids are an environmental risk, David Heath stated “There’s abundant evidence that this is a substance which is toxic in the laboratory…What we have not been able to demonstrate yet is there’s any linkage between that and what you see in field conditions where you have much lower dosages than were applied in the laboratory tests”.

Contradicted the opinion of the Government’s own scientific advisory group

This statement contradicts the opinion of the Government’s own scientific advisory group, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP). In the January 2013 meeting “Members commented that the laboratory and semi-laboratory studies reported in the literature represent sound science. The main questions raised were about whether the nature of the exposure was realistic, and information to date suggests the exposures were reasonable”.

David Heath also stated that “Wouldn’t you expect there to be some evidence after all of these trials, somebody to have gone on and said “What’s actually happening in the field?” but they haven’t”.

Again the ACP advice contradicts this statement. In January the committee discussed the Government’s flawed neonicotinoid study on bumblebees and noted that there were actually statistically significant links between levels of neonicotinoids and bumblebee health in the field. This link was ‘modified’ in the final report was published by removing data. The European Food Standards Authority expressed concerns about “inconsistencies and contradictory statements” and questioned how the report “elaborated and interpreted the study results to reach their conclusions”.

David Heath blamed the flaws in the study on it being rushed through because of action taken by the European Commission. “Because we were doing it against a deadline set, not by any scientific research, not by any idea of do we find out the actual facts about this, but by a politically imposed timetable, which I’m afraid I think was quite wrong”. However, in 2009 Buglife produced a scientific review that clearly identified a credible risk to wild pollinators from neonicotinoids and submitted the report to the Prime Minister’s Chief Environmental Advisor at 10 Downing Street. However successive administrations were complacent and failed to respond to the issues raised in Buglife’s report.

Finally David Heath stated that “The risk is by banning neonicotinoids you actually encourage farmers to use other, perhaps slightly outdated technologies in terms of insecticides, pesticides which could be far worse for the bees”. Buglife is not aware of the scientific basis for these claims and will be asking the Government to clarify which insecticides it is referring to and to set out the evidence that indicates that they are more damaging to the environment than neonicotinoids.

Matt Shardlow, Buglife CEO, said “There have been profound concerns about the impact of neonicotinoids on wild bees, moths, hoverflies and aquatic life since 2009. Successive governments did not take the science seriously and appeared complacent. Now that the high risk that has been scientifically proven and a partial EU wide ban put in place the unwillingness of the UK Government to take regulatory action or to investigate impacts on soil and river ecology appears to go considerably further than complacency”.

To find out more about the Buglife campaign, visit Buglife.org.uk/neonics.

Neonicotinoids cause stress in bees which leads to colony collapse: here.

Pesticide kills Indian children


This video says about itself:

The story of Anan, a peasant farmer in southern India caught up in the vicious cycle of pesticide-dependent cotton growing.

From Al Jazeera:

Pesticide found in deadly India school meal

Initial forensic report confirms that free lunch that killed 23 children in Bihar state was contaminated with pesticide.

Last Modified: 21 Jul 2013 08:56

An initial forensic report has confirmed that the free school lunch that killed 23 children this week in India’s eastern state of Bihar was contaminated with a pesticide, a senior police official has said.

The report found the meal was prepared with cooking oil that contained monocrotophos, an organophosphorus compound that is used as an agricultural pesticide, Ravindra Kumar, a senior police official, said on Saturday.

“It is highly poisonous, it’s highly toxic, and, therefore, it has to be diluted when used as commercial pesticides,” said district magistrate Abhijit Sinha.

“Typically it has to be diluted five times. So one litre of monocrotophos is mixed with five litres of water.”

The children fell ill within minutes of eating a meal of rice and potato curry in their one-room school on Tuesday, vomiting and convulsing with stomach cramps.

The deaths sparked protests in Bihar and highlighted the negligence of authorities.

The lunch was part of India’s Mid-Day Meal Scheme that covers 120 million children and aims to tackle malnutrition and encourage school attendance.

Complaints about the bad quality of food are widespread, and students in remote parts of India say the food itself is not the only problem.

Poor infrastructure has marred the scheme in some schools, which do not have a proper kitchens for cooking the meals and sanitary locations for children to eat.

Police said on Friday they suspected the oil was kept in a container previously used to store the pesticide.

They are still looking for the headmistress of the school, who fled after the deaths.

The World Health Organisation describes monocrotophos as highly hazardous.

July 2013. Pesticides commonly used in California’s Central Valley, one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, have been found in remote frog species miles from farmland. Writing in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, researchers demonstrate the contamination of Pacific Tree Fogs in remote mountain areas, including national parks; supporting past research on the potential transport of pesticides by the elements: here.

Big business is attempting to exert its influence in the run-up to India‘s elections, writes COLIN TODHUNTER: here.

British beekeepers demonstrate against neonicotinoids


This video is called Beekeepers March; Action Urged Over Pesticides.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Beekeepers swarm to Parliament

Friday 26 April 2013

Beekeepers and their supporters swarmed to Parliament Square today urging the government to support an EU-wide ban on certain pesticides.

Campaigners in bee costumers joined keepers donned in their protective gear.

The demonstration came ahead of a vote in Brussels on Monday which will decide whether Europe introduces a two-year moratorium on various neonicotinoid pesticides.

Buglife chief executive Matt Shardlow said 73 per cent of the public supported a ban on the insecticides and the government should follow suit.