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Studies Link Pesticides To Bee Colony Collapse Disorder 128

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-for-breaking-your-species dept.
T Murphy writes "Neonicotinoid pesticides, designed to attack insects such as beetles and aphids, have been shown to harm bees' ability to navigate back to the hive. While initially assumed safe in low enough, non-fatal doses for bees, two papers have shown that may not be the case. Although the studies don't directly study the Colony Collapse Disorder, the scientists believe these pesticides are likely a contributing factor."
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Studies Link Pesticides To Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

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  • Re:In Other words... (Score:5, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday March 30, 2012 @12:28PM (#39523907)
    Where the heck do you get "likely a contributing factor" == "everyone panic now! And give us more money."? This is how science works. These scientists are only publishing what their results will support and are not overstating the results. Other scientists will verify this work. Others (and possibly the same ones) will extend it if their conclusions have been shown to have validity.
  • From 2010 (Score:5, Informative)

    by bacon.frankfurter (2584789) <bacon.frankfurter@yahoo.com> on Friday March 30, 2012 @12:31PM (#39523953)
    In Italy:

    Following France and Germany, last year the Italian Agriculture Ministry suspended the use of a class of pesticides, nicotine-based neonicotinoids, as a "precautionary measure." The compelling results - restored bee populations - prompted the government to uphold the ban. Yesterday, copies of the film 'Nicotine Bees' were delivered to the US Congress explaining the pesticide's connection to Colony Collapse Disorder. Despite the evidence, why does CCD remain a 'mystery' in the US?

    http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/nicotine-bees-population-restored-with-neonicotinoids-ban.html [treehugger.com]

  • Considering the importance of bees to agriculture, I think the potential of any link between pesticides and colony collapses warrants both extreme concern and funding.

    Well, I don't think you read the article. There's a complicated situation here. It's not that the toxin is killing the bees directly but:

    “So far, they mostly require manufacturers to ensure that doses encountered on the field do not kill bees, but they basically ignore the consequences of doses that do not kill them but may cause behavioral difficulties,”

    So we have this situation where we believe a non-lethal dosage of this pesticide ruins the bee's ability to navigate back home which is a very serious problem. The real issue is that there's no way to quantify this and study it prior to releasing or approving a pesticide. So you have this situation where these folks are saying "we want to use technology to better our productivity in agriculture" and then you are levying unfathomable responsibility on the corporate giants who are developing said technologies. It's not as black and white as you make it out to be. I mean, how do you know that the pesticide doesn't make the bee a murderous backstabber in the colony years down the road?

    I'm hesitant to comment on anything like this anymore, it got pretty ugly last time I asked follow up questions [slashdot.org].

  • Re:In Other words... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Uncle_Meataxe (702474) on Friday March 30, 2012 @12:36PM (#39524021)

    > We have a hypothesis so we want people to panic and give us funding so we can actually see if there is a direct relationship
    > between Colony Collapse Disorder

    If you have been following the colony collapse story, you would already know that many entomologists suspect neonicotinoids as a possible part of the problem. Since pollination is a huge deal for agriculture, a lot of people really want to know the answer to CCD so it's not necessary to conjure up weird hypotheses to get funding. If you read any of the articles, you would also know that respected entomologists reviewing the papers thought they were well done.

  • by tomhath (637240) on Friday March 30, 2012 @12:44PM (#39524151)

    The food was modified by the owner (corporation) to produce the pesticide internally.

    Wrong. It's a systemic insecticide, not related to GMO. You seem to be confusing this with BT.

    Anyway, it's possible this is one of many factors involved in Colony Collapse. The scientists seemed careful to not repeat the "drinking 12 bottles of Hair Dye causes cancer in Canadian mice" study.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 30, 2012 @12:46PM (#39524179) Journal

    The food was modified by the owner (corporation) to produce the pesticide internally.

    False. These are water soluble pesticides [wikipedia.org] that are included in the watering of plants and are easily translocated into the plant tissue as it grows. Alternatively they are applied to the soil or doused on seeds.

    This is not the same as "roundup ready plants" which are GM plants that are resistant to roundup. You sound confused and appear to be bent on spreading fear about harm to humans who consume these plants.

  • by Omestes (471991) <omestes AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 30, 2012 @03:44PM (#39526993) Homepage Journal

    RoundUp, last I checked, was an herbicide, not a pesticide.

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