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View Diary: Biotech Bayer Does Face Plant (20 comments)

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  •  Pollinator mortality is an extremely complex (3+ / 0-)

    issue that is the result of a many different causes. I'm not saying that neonicotinoids are not part of the problem OTOH eliminating them will not come close to solving this issue either. The rush to focus on neonicotinoids runs the risk of distracting attention away from other serious causes which should also be investigated.

    This peer reviewed article indicates commercial beekeepers may be a bigger part of the problem. An analysis of in-hive chemical residues shows miticides and fungicides commonly used by beekeepers are by far the most common residues detected. Shorter version: efforts to protect the hive from varroa mite stress may be playing a role in Colony Collapse Disorder, CCD. Moreover contamination of hive materials, particularly foundation wax, appear to contain chemical residues that are possibly decades old. This indicates there is a significant lag time before chemical residues can be cleared from a hive.

    Evidence indicates that the interactions between pesticides, mite stresses and diseases including the newly identified Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus IAPV, are likely contributing factors, and support an emerging hypothesis that no one factor alone is responsible for the dramatic losses of honey bees in general or for CCD specifically.

    Our pollinators are hurting and there's little reason to remain optimistic that this story ends well.

    "Life is tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid." --John Wayne

    by Sonofasailor on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 08:52:54 PM PST

    •  Our pollinators are indeed hurting and, (4+ / 0-)

      unfortunately, there are probably multiple causes. All the more reason to test any pesticides we use extensively, over a long enough time to understand the real problems and their real causes.

      Then, what are the real solutions? Is adding more poison to an already-toxic soup perhaps not the answer after all? We need to know before continuing to rush in making a bad situation worse.

      •  Exactly, RiveroftheWest! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, ladybug53

        Too many times, we have seen agrochemical corporations push their products and deny harm when it is not true. We cannot trust our natural communities of soil and living beings to their avowed avarice.

        If we do not practice good stewardship of the Earth and its creatures which sustain life, humanity will die.

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 07:31:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you for your nuanced response (4+ / 0-)

      The problem is certainly complex with many problems; however, the vested interests in pesticides would take their products off the table as a probable cause, hence Bayer's tour which downplays the role of pesticides in this. Nothing--including the accumulated pesticide load coupled with the newer neonicotinoids--should be discounted.

      Evidence supporting complexity is not really all that new. What is new is the emerging evidence of sub-lethal effects of these products such as that described by Dr. Sagili in the above news account.

      Bayer is correct on one thing and that is the vital importance of our pollinators. Rachel Carson's Silent Spring came out when I was in high school. We were able to step back from DDT but it remains in the soil still. My problem is with an economic model which still rushes products to market without true independent process under which older harmful products became widespread.

      I know beekeepers and they are unlikely to use dirty practices which could harm their hives upon which they depend. I have heard criticism of beekeepers held up as a major cause of CCD but find it disingenuous at best.

      Our pollinators are of such importance that we cannot afford to be wrong again for the sake of short term profits for a few. Climate Change and pollution have written a deadline for the world to step back from unsustainable agrochemical industrial farming to a new model of sustainable stewardship of our natural systems or we will face the collapse of our food system.

      Oregonians have been enlivened by the largest bumblebee die-off in US history due to pesticides. That is incontrovertible. Our ODA's response was lukewarm such that citizens tried to pursue stricter management of these substances; however, the bill has undergone replacement and is no longer the bill that many diverse groups--both pro and con--hammered out.

      Citizens do what they can, and they can weigh in on this subject if for nothing else than the industry's checkered past in forcing chemicals on our agricultural lands and gardens which later turned out to be quite harmful.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 10:49:32 PM PST

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      •  We can't afford more mistakes. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        occupystephanie, ladybug53

        Corporations have billions in $$$ backing them up; I don't. As a (very small) new farmer I can't afford to hand-pollinate crops. I need those hard-working bees and other insects as part of my "crew" to bring my fruit and vegetables to market. Not years from now, but this season and next year and the year after. A year or so of failure means the end of our Farm.

        •  I wish you all the luck in the world with your (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, ladybug53

          new farm! Hardest job in the world but likely one of the most satisfying.

          I had a chance to read the linked article that sonofasailor left as evidence backing an assertion that beekeepers themselves were the major contributor to colony collapse disorder. You'd really have to creatively twist yourself around that one to glean that result.

          I feel a diary coming on...

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 01:12:20 PM PST

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          •  Hard to believe that beekeepers who've invested (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            occupystephanie, ladybug53

            years of time, work and money into their hives would risk it all with shoddy practices. Of course, beginners might make errors due to lack of experience and thereby contribute to their own problems, but I find it unlikely that sudden widespread colony collapse is all the fault of beekeepers. Sounds like "blame the victims" to me.

            •  Sure does (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest, ladybug53

              Biotech apologists often fault those who take great exception to their products, calling them "uninformed".

              Basically, this recommended paper was a survey of hives which found residues of well over 200 pesticides residual in the beewswax and other products.

              Pesticide apologist grabbed this one sentence out of the paper and inferred that beekeepers were to blame:

              Beeswax is the resource of the hive that is least renewable and is thus where persistent pesticides can provide a “toxic-house” syndrome for the bees. The uniform high levels of these miticides present in foundation (Table 5) is particularly disturbing, since replacement of comb is currently recommended to reduce pesticide contaminants.
              It's like piping your sewage into your neighbor's well then blaming him for his children's die-off from cholera.

              We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

              by occupystephanie on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 03:49:37 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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