The whole story is available here:
What caught my eye is the inclusion of a Bumble Bee Study in France.
I have said for a while now that Because NeoNicotinoids persist in the soil, that they would also be damaging directly to ground dwelling bees such as Bumble Bees. And that direct in-soil contact would be in addition to other forms of sublethal contact and ingestion via contaminated pollen, nectar and guttation.
In the bumble bee study, researchers concluded that colonies treated with nonlethal levels of the pesticide "had a significantly reduced growth rate and suffered an 85% reduction in production of new queens" compared to colonies without the pesticide.Honey bees (Apis Mellifera) are the main, domestic pollinator we use for agriculture because they also produce honey.
But other bees are used as well such as Mason Bees, and Bumble Bees. Both of which have been domesticated to some degree. You can buy starts, cocoons and boxes/nests to keep these insects in your yard or greenhouse.
In addition those those domesticated bees, we also have indigenous bees. Their presence and competition has bee shown to increase the pollination of Honey bees.
But back to the Bumble Bees:
"Bumble bees have an annual life cycle and it is only new queens that survive the winter to found colonies in the spring," the authors noted. "Our results suggest that trace levels of neonicotinoid pesticides can have strong negative consequence for queen production by bumble bee colonies under realistic field conditions, and this is likely to have a substantial population-level impact."Consider now that a new pesticide is being created that interrupts the diapause in insects that hibernate.
Scientists have designed agents that interfere with the protective dormancy period of the corn earworm, a species that infests more than 100 types of plants and costs American farmers an estimated $2 billion a year in losses and control costs. http://www.sciencedaily.com/...
Diapause is the delay in development in response to regularly and recurring periods of adverse environmental conditions. It is considered to be a physiological state of dormancy with very specific initiating and inhibiting conditions. Diapause is a mechanism used as a means to survive predictable, unfavorable environmental conditions, such as temperature extremes, drought or reduced food availability. Diapause is most often observed in arthropods, especially insects, and in the embryos of many of the oviparous species of fish in the order Cyprinodontiformes. (Diapause does not occur in embryos of the viviparous and ovoviviparous species of Cyprinodontiformes.)http://en.wikipedia.org/...This is a survival tactic of many butteflies and indigenous bees. Some who can go dormant during extreme weather events. If we add this new chemical to the neonics, it would not be a good thing for our food web.
But back to the MSNBC story:
In the honey bee study, radio transmitters were attached to the back of bees to see how they foraged in conditions with and without the pesticide.You can go back and read my timeline of NeoNicotinoids. Bee Keepers reported that their bees acted drunk just before succumbing to poisoning. http://www.dailykos.com/...
The pesticide, the researchers concluded, impaired the homing ability of bees and exposed bees were two to three times more likely to die while away from the hive. That "high mortality ... could put a colony at risk of collapse" within a few weeks of exposure, especially in combination with other stressors, they noted.
"We were actually quite surprised by the magnitude," Henry told reporters.
There were arguments between researchers regarding dosage in the studies. However, a decade of Colony Collapse Disorder, coupled with Bumble Bee crashes and even some extinctions are enough to convince me that this shit has to go!
However, given that bees are getting direct contact with contaminated TALC during spring and fall planting of corn fields, perhaps cotton and soy too--I question the veracity of the criticisms regarding dosages used in these studies.
Seeds of most annual crops are coated in neonicotinoid insecticides for protection after planting. All corn seed and about half of all soybean seed is treated. The coatings are sticky, and in order to keep seeds flowing freely in the vacuum systems used in planters, they are mixed with talc. Excess talc used in the process is released during planting and routine planter cleaning procedures...the exhausted talc showed extremely high levels of the insecticides -- up to about 700,000 times the lethal contact dose for a bee.The EPA is looking into it, in slow motion of course.
"Whatever was on the seed was being exhausted into the environment," Krupke said. "This material is so concentrated that even small amounts landing on flowering plants around a field can kill foragers or be transported to the hive in contaminated pollen. This might be why we found these insecticides in pollen that the bees had collected and brought back to their hives."
The EPA, contacted by msnbc.com, said it has "begun reviewing the two studies ... and they will be considered" as part of an ongoing process that reviews chemicals. Non-EPA scientists will weigh in at a special meeting in the fall, it added. (MSNBC)Yea, EPA, don't take too long. I like to do this thing, I call growing and eating food. And I like to keep my bees. ALL OF THEM!
Here are other entries on this subject:
Things you can do on your own property to help conserve Pollinators:
This story discusses the Honey Bee and Bumble Bee Collapses, and mentioned specifically certain Bumble Bee Extinctions!
More Studies Results! Be sure and read this story too!
"Wild honey bees normally line their hives with propolis, a mixture of plant resins and wax that has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Domesticated honey bees also use propolis, to fill in cracks in their hives. However, researchers found that, when faced with a fungal threat, bees bring in significantly more propolis -- 45 percent more, on average. The bees also physically removed infected larvae that had been parasitized by the fungus and were being used to create fungal spores."