December 13, 2010

Bee here now

Since around 2006, there has been concern over the loss of Bees in North America. Colony Collapse Disorder meet Smoking Gun. From the Pesticide Action Network of North America:
Beekeepers call for immediate ban on CCD-linked pesticide
On December 8, Pesticide Action Network and Beyond Pesticides joined beekeepers from around the country in calling on EPA to pull a neonicotinoid pesticide linked with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) off the market immediately. Our call is based on a leaked EPA memo that discloses a critically flawed scientific study, thus suggesting there may be imminent hazards to honeybees posed by continued use of clothianidin, the pesticide in question.

CCD is the name given to the mysterious decline of honeybee populations across the world beginning around 2006. Each winter since, one-third of the U.S. honeybee population has died off or disappeared. CCD is likely caused by a combination of pathogens, the stresses of industrial beekeeping, loss of habitat and more. But many scientists believe that sublethal pesticide exposures are a critical co-factor potentiating this mix. In the U.S., agencies are focused on research, trying to quantify these risks. In Germany, Italy and France, they decided they knew enough to take action years ago, banning suspect neonicotinoid pesticides. Bee colonies there are recovering and beekeepers here are outraged.

Several issues are at play: poorly conducted science, a broken regulatory system that puts chemicals on the market before testing them, lack of transparency and, most critically, the survival of honeybees and commercial beekeepers.
From Page 2 of the 101 page report(PDF):
Clothianidin´┐Żs major risk concern is to nontarget insects (that is, honey bees). Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid insecticide that is both persistent and systemic. Acute toxicity studies to honey bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis.
It is good to remember that the EPA is a political organization and not a scientific one. It masquerades as a scientific organization but job #1 is the preservation of the EPA and job #2 is the consolidation of power of the EPA. They were bought off by Bayer. Tom Philpott has an excellent article at Grist Magazine Posted by DaveH at December 13, 2010 9:08 AM