Monday, April 02, 2012

Hives Decaying, Bees Dying, Pesticide Blues

The Problem of Bees

Neonicotinoid insecticides are commonly used since the 1990s. These pesticides may also be a primary cause of the dying off of two bee populations. Two new studies in Science found that even small doses of these pesticides, which effect the insect's central nervous system, impact bee behavior and, ultimately, their survival.

Research and Theories

. . . exposed colonies of the bumble bee Bombus terrestris in the lab to field-realistic levels of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, then allowed them to develop naturally under field conditions. Treated colonies had a significantly reduced growth rate and suffered an 85% reduction in production of new queen.
The second study published in Science found similar effects on wild bumblebees. Their hives grew more slowly and produced far fewer queens when exposed to a neonicotinoid. 
 Given the scale of use of neonicotinoids, we suggest that they may be having a considerable negative impact on wild bumble bee populations across the developed world.
In one study, researchers glued tiny microchips to the backs of honeybees. Then, they fed the bees sugar water with a low dose of a neonicotinoid. Lead author MickaĆ«l Henry from the French national agriculture research institute, INRA, says the bees "basically get drunk and cannot find heir way back home.”
If colony collapse syndrome continues at the current rate, managed honey bees will disappear by 2035.  Neonicotinoid insecticides have been implicated in these studies. Declines at trace levels in the nectar and pollen of crop plants also demonstrate the problem caused by neonicotinoida.  Seeds are now covered with insecticide before sowing. There is no way to separate or wash out the poison.


Why Should You Care?

Below are a list of foods fertilized by bees:  Okra, kiwifruit, bucket orchid, onion, cashew, custard apple, celery, strawberry tree, American pawpaw, star fruit, brazil nut, beet, mustard, rapeseed (canola), broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, Chinese cabbage, Canola turnip, pigion peas, chile pepper, red pepper, bell pepper, green pepper, papaya, safflower, caraway, chestnut, star apple, watermelon, tangerine, tangelo, coconut, coffee arabica, coffee canephora, colar nut, coriander, crownvetch, hazelnut, azarole, cantoloupe, melon, cucumber, squash, pumpkin, goard, marrow, zuchini, guar bean, goa bean, quince, lemon, lime, carrot, syacnith bean, longan, persimmon, durian, oil palm, cardamom, loquat, buckwheat, Feijoa, fig, fennel, strawberry, soybeans, stanhopea, cotton, siunflower, walnut, flax, lychee, lupines, macadamia, acerola, apple, mammee, mango, sapodilla, alfalfa, rambuitan, prickly pear cactus, sainfoin, passion fruit, avocado, lima bean, kidney bean, haricot bean, adzuki bean, mungo bean, stringbean, scarlet runner bean, allspice, apricot, sweet cherry, sour cherry, plum, almond, peach, nectarine, guava, pomegranate, pear, black currant, red currant, rose hips, boysenberry, raspberry, blackberry, elderberry, sesame, eggplant, naranjillo, rowanberry, service tree, hog plum, tamarind, cocoa, clover (not all), blueberry, cranberry, vanilla, tung tree, broad bean, vetch, cowpea, blackeyed pea, karite, tomato, grape, jujube

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