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Earth Science

Colony Collapse Disorder Linked To Pesticide, High-Fructose Corn Syrup 398

Posted by timothy
from the eat-your-vegetables-honey dept.
hondo77 writes "Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health '...have re-created the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder in several honeybee hives simply by giving them small doses of a popular pesticide, imidacloprid.' This follows recently-reported studies also linked the disorder to neonicotinoid pesticides. What is really interesting is the link to when the disorder started appearing, 2006. 'That mechanism? High-fructose corn syrup. Many bee-keepers have turned to high-fructose corn syrup to feed their bees, which the researchers say did not imperil bees until U.S. corn began to be sprayed with imidacloprid in 2004-2005. A year later was the first outbreak of Colony Collapse Disorder.'"
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Colony Collapse Disorder Linked To Pesticide, High-Fructose Corn Syrup

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:32PM (#39607015)

    - Big Corn

  • While the pesticide stuff is pretty obvious, I'm more skeptical about the HFCS link, especially if they're claiming its Monstanto GMO corn causing it. Or something silly. Yes, sugar is a poison, and HFCS is vile, but it's going to take another few studies to convince me.
    • by epiphani (254981) <epiphani AT dal DOT net> on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:37PM (#39607043)

      Do you have any experience in this field that would justify your position? Is there something in the paper that makes you think that this link is not correct? Have you a better idea of what may have caused this?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:57PM (#39607211)

        My guess is that he's a Ruby on Rails programmer. That clearly makes him qualified to hold an authoritative opinion on any matter in any field.

      • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @03:32PM (#39608195) Homepage

        Do you have any experience in this field that would justify your position?

        I stopped reading at "sugar is a poison".

        Without sugar you wouldn't be reading this.

        • by Raenex (947668) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @07:09PM (#39609415)

          I stopped reading at "sugar is a poison".

          It is, in the same way that alcohol is a poison. Alcohol can be burned for energy, and in moderation it even has health benefits, but it has to be processed by the liver as a poison.

          Sugar consists of glucose and fructose. Fructose is processed by the liver much like alcohol, but the brain isn't affected by fructose so you don't feel the same effects.

          Before modern agriculture made sugar so cheap, we primarily got fructose from fruit, which also contained fiber to fill us up and other nutrients. Now sugar is cheap and abundant, and the amount Americans eat per year is staggering, and it almost certainly is the cause of the twin epidemics of diabetes and obesity.

          Is Sugar Toxic? [nytimes.com]

          • by guises (2423402) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @11:04PM (#39610297)
            No, don't do this. Robert Lustig's claims are as yet unsubstantiated. He himself admits this. He makes a compelling case for his theory and there's no reason why you shouldn't follow his advice, but you should not just assume him to be correct and above all you must not pass this on to other people as though it were fact.

            This is exactly the danger in reporting unpublished papers and why Lustig is the only one making the television circuit, despite being in a pretty broad field.
            • by Raenex (947668)

              Robert Lustig's claims are as yet unsubstantiated. He himself admits this.

              Do you have a reference where he says that? Because I highly doubt he would use that word, as there is ample evidence that sugar is the problem.

              If you mean not yet accepted in mainstream medicine as proven, then I would agree with you, but it's a rather sad state of affairs since there is now much more evidence than there ever was when the medical establishment went on the anti-fat crusade decades ago, back when Yudkin [wikipedia.org] was saying no, it's not the fat, it's the sugar. Americans changed their diet and to low-

        • by Swampash (1131503)

          Oxygen is a poison.

      • by tmosley (996283) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @03:35PM (#39608219)
        People need justification to be skeptical of answers that don't make a lot of sense (or even those that do--as even the sensical answer is often the WRONG one) pending repeats of the study? Come the fuck on.
      • by Joe Tie. (567096) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @04:35PM (#39608577)
        In general, it should be a default position to never accept anything based on a single study. Being able to reproduce results is one of the cornerstones of proper science. There's always room for unseen elements within a single study that are factored out by further research.
    • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:39PM (#39607059) Journal

      While the pesticide stuff is pretty obvious, I'm more skeptical about the HFCS link

      I know this is Slashdot but if you read the article the explanation becomes very clear. Some bees are fed with HFCS and the syrup itself is derived from crops treated with the pesticide and so it is present in low levels in the syrup and apparently only very low levels are needed to generate CCD.

      • by tomhath (637240) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:58PM (#39607227)
        And even more interesting, in all three studies the pesticide was intentionally fed to the bees in the sugar water; it wasn't collected by the bees. The Harvard study also points out the bee keepers feed their colonies HFCS, which apparently started containing trace amounts of the pesticide about the time they noticed colony collapse become a problem. Kind of sounds like they need to stop feeding HFCS.
        • by BasilBrush (643681) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:22PM (#39607357)

          And stop using those two pesticides.

          • by Rei (128717)

            Here's the problem. Neonicotinoids went into wide use starting in the 1990s to replace other pesticide families such as organophosphates, which are generally much more indiscriminate in what they hurt and more hazardous to human health. Organophosphates are the same family of chemicals that include VX and sarin. Neonicotinoids are in the same family as nicotine and are analogous to the old technique of spraying plants with tobacco juice to kill insects.

            And also, just to make clear, we're not talking abo

        • by russotto (537200) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @02:05PM (#39607641) Journal

          And even more interesting, in all three studies the pesticide was intentionally fed to the bees in the sugar water; it wasn't collected by the bees. The Harvard study also points out the bee keepers feed their colonies HFCS, which apparently started containing trace amounts of the pesticide about the time they noticed colony collapse become a problem. Kind of sounds like they need to stop feeding HFCS.

          Which would be a very neat conclusion... if it weren't for the fact that non-HFCS fed bees have also been hit by CCD. It doesn't let the insecticide or even tainted HFCS off the hook, but it does suggest that that it's not so simple as "stop feeding HFCS, bees survive".

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Could you provide some reference regarding non-HFCS fed bees being hit by CCD? I didn't see any mention of that particular detail in the linked article. Of all that *is* mentioned in the article, the description of the mortality profile of affected bees in the experiment suggests a stronger correlation than you suggest. From the article:

            The characteristics of the dead hives were consistent with CCD, said Lu; the hives were empty except for food stores, some pollen, and young bees, with few dead bees nearby. When other conditions cause hive collapse—such as disease or pests—many dead bees are typically found inside and outside the affected hives.

        • by icebike (68054) * on Saturday April 07, 2012 @02:16PM (#39607733)

          And even more interesting, in all three studies the pesticide was intentionally fed to the bees in the sugar water; it wasn't collected by the bees. The Harvard study also points out the bee keepers feed their colonies HFCS, which apparently started containing trace amounts of the pesticide about the time they noticed colony collapse become a problem. Kind of sounds like they need to stop feeding HFCS.

          But was this food grade HFCS?

          Is the FDA on board with pesticide being passed thru at detectable levels in a supposedly simple processed food product?

          • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Saturday April 07, 2012 @04:03PM (#39608411)

            But was this food grade HFCS?

            Is the FDA on board with pesticide being passed thru at detectable levels in a supposedly simple processed food product?

            Welp, farmers are definitely the sort of folks that try to make the best use of anything. "Ah hell, well this batch isn't any good for selling, but I guess I could feed it to the bees..."

            • by ktappe (747125) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:20PM (#39609195)

              But was this food grade HFCS?

              Is the FDA on board with pesticide being passed thru at detectable levels in a supposedly simple processed food product?

              Welp, farmers are definitely the sort of folks that try to make the best use of anything. "Ah hell, well this batch isn't any good for selling, but I guess I could feed it to the bees..."

              The much more likely scenario would be that the maker of the pesticide lobbied the FDA to make it "acceptable" for the pesticide to appear in non-zero amounts in HFCS. That's how things work in this country.

          • Is the FDA on board with pesticide being passed thru at detectable levels in a supposedly simple processed food product?

            Very likely yes. This article [wikipedia.org] lays out the european limits for it in food as ranging from 0.02 mg/kg in eggs to 3.0 mg/kg in hops. While this is not proof that the US FDA has a non-zero limit usually Europe tends to be more conservative with food regulations (at least they are with things like growth hormones).

    • by ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:41PM (#39607073)

      From the summary it sounds like the pesticide is piggybacking on the HFCS produced. The first article is more clear in this, that the problem is the pesticide, not the corn syrup itself.

      Monsanto's corn, however, is designed to be pesticide resistant, so farmers can use more pesticide on their corn. It's possible that at low enough dosages colony collapse disorder doesn't occur, but Monsanto's corn allows a much higher dose to be tolerated by the corn.

      All in all, this is a pretty reasonable conclusion I think.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by haruchai (17472)
        Looks like Fred Singer, Steven Milloy and the CEI / Heartland folks will have something to distract them from denying global warming for a bit.
      • by digsbo (1292334)
        Yeah, but they're using HFCS because ordinary cane sugar's price has been artificially propped up by setting tariffs on foreign sugar producers. So in a way, the sugar tariff is ALSO helping cement Monsanto's corn monopoly.
        • by Artifakt (700173) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:38PM (#39607457)

          The sugar tariffs result from Cuba being a major sugar cane producer. The same right wing that wants no trade at all with Castro wants Cuban sugar that passes through other Carribean nations to be so expensive nobody in the US wants to import any, just to prevent those other Carribean states from even possibly serving as pass throughs for any funds getting through to Cuba.

          So in the US we have a right wing that will oppose any science finding that colony collapse has anything to do with ADM, Monsanto, or other Megacorps. Now you point out that the root causes include other right wing policies. That's not going to cause them to rethink their position. THEY can't be the ones responsible for anything bad, so they'll have to double down on blaiming "acts of God", or the Gay Liberal Bees, or something.

          • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @03:31PM (#39608191) Homepage

            Isn't it time to forgive Cuba? I mean, yes they were nasty to us in the 60s but that was ages ago. This embargo is doing more harm than good at this point.

            This grudge the US has against them is ridiculous at this point. And we can't even use the excuse "but they're COMMIES!!!" because so are the Chinese and we trade plenty with them!

          • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @10:02PM (#39610089)
            Current U.S. sugar tariffs go back to the 1930s and have nothing to do with the Castro regime in Cuba. U.S. sugar tariffs are, as they always have been, about protecting U.S. sugar producers. If you look closely, you will find almost no support for sugar tariffs amongst the rank and file conservatives. What you will find is that sugar tariffs have a minimal negative impact on a large number of people so that it is not an important issue for them. However, they have a large positive impact on a small group that very aggressively campaigns to maintain them. This group is well aware that if this issue were to become well publicized, their position would be wildly unpopular, so they maintain a very low profile only allowing it to become high profile when they are in a position to spin the story to be about "American jobs".
            This is an issue that if you want to actually make a difference on, you should avoid trying to make it a left vs right issue because it isn't. There are just as many left wing politicians who have supported the sugar tariffs as there are right wing politicians who have done so.
      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:19PM (#39607341)

        Monsanto's corn, however, is designed to be pesticide resistant, so farmers can use more pesticide on their corn.

        No. Monsanto's corn is designed to be herbicide resistant.

      • by Znork (31774) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:34PM (#39607433)

        Much as I think humanity would be better off with Monsanto collectively put to rot in prison, to be fair the gengineered plants are usually gengineered to be herbicide resistant, not insecticide resistant (which, as insects and plants are very different, they tend to be anyway). Gengineering for insect control tends to be along the avenue of making the plants themselves create toxins (bt corn), which doesn't include neonicotinids yet.

        So in this particular case they might not be guilty (unlike other cases of bribery, illegal dumping of toxic waste, etc, etc).

      • by jfengel (409917) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:34PM (#39607437) Homepage Journal

        If you want to blame Big Agriculture, the culprit this time is Bayer, not Monsanto. They're the ones who make imidacloprid. There are plenty of other things to lay at Monsanto's feet without having to point the finger at them this time.

      • I stand corrected in that Monsanto's corn is herbicide, not pesticide resistant. I really wish /. had editing so I could add this to my "insightful" post. It looks like blame falls squarely on over-use of pesticides then.

        • by dryeo (100693)

          Herbicide is a subset of pesticide so you're kind of right, just getting mixed up between different types of pesticide. The correct way to state it would be "Monsanto's corn is resistant to some types of herbicide, not insecticides"

    • by LikwidCirkel (1542097) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:42PM (#39607081)
      It's not about HFCS directly. It's the fact that is has trace amounts of a pesticide in it - pesticide that's intended to kill insects!

      Now, I admit that I didn't fully read the article, but I'm pretty sure you're missing something fundamental. Monsanto GMO is not directly a problem. The problem is dumping pesticide on things because the crops have been given GMO resistance.

      Gee - feed something with trace amounts of bug killer to bugs and it kills bugs. How did no one think of this earlier???
      • by dryeo (100693) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @03:14PM (#39608113)

        It's not about HFCS directly. It's the fact that is has trace amounts of a pesticide in it - pesticide that's intended to kill insects!

        To be more exact, the type of pesticide is insecticide. Pesticides also include herbicides, fungicides, avacides (birds), rodenticides, nematodacides, bactericides amongst others. (spelling may be slighty off as it's been over 30 years since I studied this and SeaMonkey's spell checker doesn't know most of these terms).
        Unfortunately bees are quite sensitive to many insecticides so an amount of insecticide that is needed to be effective against insects that have been developing resistance for many generations is very likely to be toxic to bees.

    • by c0lo (1497653) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:43PM (#39607089)

      While the pesticide stuff is pretty obvious, I'm more skeptical about the HFCS link, especially if they're claiming its Monstanto GMO corn causing it. Or something silly. Yes, sugar is a poison, and HFCS is vile, but it's going to take another few studies to convince me.

      RTFA, there's nothing about Monsanto. In short, it says: "LD50 is no longer enough to assess the toxicity of a substance... neonicotinoid pesticides were found to impact the bees homing ability, so they get lost and die of exhaustion".

      • by dryeo (100693)

        LD50 has never been a very good method of judging toxicity. LD50 is traditionally measured by feeding rats the chemical until 50% die. Edge cases include where 45% die at low doses but the other 55% take a lot higher dose to kill and cases where the majority get sick at a low dose but don't actually die until the dose is increased by a large amount.
        Then there is LC50, chemicals that barely affect mammals but are quite toxic to fish. In this case LC means liquid concentration. Amphibians are also often much

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:45PM (#39607111)

      What is so difficult to grasp? These are systemic pesticides. They permeate the plant. You cannot wash them off. These exist in the flowers. In the corn. In the roots. In the stalk. The "industry" selling this poisons keep repeating that they do not get into the nectar, they do not get into the eatable bits. Well, this proves they lied - bees are the canary in the coal mine.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insecticide [wikipedia.org]

      Systemic insecticides are incorporated by treated plants. Insects ingest the insecticide while feeding on the plants.

      Just remember. Whatever is killing the bees, you are also eating. With old school pesticides I used to wash the produce with some soap (pesticides were stuck on plants with a type of a glue, so you need detergent to wash it off), but now with systemics, all I can do is move to organic only food.

      PS. It is rather quite ironic in a sad way that these pesticides, aimed at increasing food production, are actually causing a decrease (no bees, and yields drop)

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:36PM (#39607447)

        Yes, you can switch to organic food. Note, however, that these are neonicotinoids -- they act on insects in the same way as nicotine (which used to be widely used as an insecticide, and is still used by organic farmers), but are designed to lower acute toxicity in mammals. So, assuming you're a mammal, rather than a honeybee, you might actually be choosing the more dangerous option. (Of course, with any pesticide, the levels of application are kept such that the amount in the final product shouldn't be harmful to humans, so the risk to you eating the produce is vanishingly small either way -- nicotine toxicity is more an issue for the farm workers applying the concentrated product.)

        The FDA and EPA do a reasonably good job of making sure pesticides for food crops are pretty safe for humans, both acutely and chronically, because that's what they do. They don't test everything so thoroughly for honeybees, which is why it was assumed that if levels were kept below acute toxicity levels, there'd be no problem. It doesn't follow that it's a problem for humans.

        • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @02:00PM (#39607613) Homepage

          Yes, you can switch to organic food. Note, however, that these are neonicotinoids -- they act on insects in the same way as nicotine (which used to be widely used as an insecticide, and is still used by organic farmers), but are designed to lower acute toxicity in mammals. So, assuming you're a mammal, rather than a honeybee, you might actually be choosing the more dangerous option. (Of course, with any pesticide, the levels of application are kept such that the amount in the final product shouldn't be harmful to humans, so the risk to you eating the produce is vanishingly small either way -- nicotine toxicity is more an issue for the farm workers applying the concentrated product.)

          The FDA and EPA do a reasonably good job of making sure pesticides for food crops are pretty safe for humans, both acutely and chronically, because that's what they do. They don't test everything so thoroughly for honeybees, which is why it was assumed that if levels were kept below acute toxicity levels, there'd be no problem. It doesn't follow that it's a problem for humans.

          The problem is that the FDA doesn't really do much in the way of studies of long term, low level exposure. They would be awfully difficult to do. Since we don't have very good proxy measures for this sort of effect (unless Colony Collapse Disorder turns out to be such a proxy), it would take long periods of time and many people. Millions and millions of dollars. All we can say is very low level exposure to the neonicontinoids isn't acutely dangerous for humans. Everything else is up for grabs.

          • by steelfood (895457)

            All we can say is very low level exposure to the neonicontinoids isn't acutely dangerous for humans. Everything else is up for grabs.

            You can say that about everything. That risk is the cost of progress.

            To study effects over a long term, you need to do it over generations. And they need to be sufficiently isolated to prevent data contamination.

            In this day and age, when progress doubles in 18 months, that kind of time frame not even on the same level of existence, much less inside the ballpark.

        • Yes, you can switch to organic food. Note, however, that these are neonicotinoids -- they act on insects in the same way as nicotine (which used to be widely used as an insecticide, and is still used by organic farmers), but are designed to lower acute toxicity in mammals. So, assuming you're a mammal, rather than a honeybee, you might actually be choosing the more dangerous option. (Of course, with any pesticide, the levels of application are kept such that the amount in the final product shouldn't be harmful to humans, so the risk to you eating the produce is vanishingly small either way -- nicotine toxicity is more an issue for the farm workers applying the concentrated product.)

          The FDA and EPA do a reasonably good job of making sure pesticides for food crops are pretty safe for humans, both acutely and chronically, because that's what they do. They don't test everything so thoroughly for honeybees, which is why it was assumed that if levels were kept below acute toxicity levels, there'd be no problem. It doesn't follow that it's a problem for humans.

          Somebody mod this AC up, hes 100% spot on. Who modded the parent up anyway, its a wikipedia link from someone with an obvious paranoid bias. I mean he thinks corn is pollinated by bees for God`s sake (its wind pollinated).

          If these studies are confirmed (and there are various critiques rolling in, so we'll see) they will tell us that the amount of neonicotinoid present in the kernel, a number so small as to be considered zero for the sake of human consumption, is just enough to essentially get bees drunk i

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @02:05PM (#39607635)

        Just remember. Whatever is killing the bees, you are also eating.

        And chocolate kills dogs, but I'll continue eating it. Caffeine really messes up spiders, but I'll continue drinking soda.

        We don't react the same way as every other life form on earth to chemicals. Even if these pesticides are harmful to us, and they probably can be, there's dosage to consider. What is enough to kill a bee is most likely not enough to do a damn thing to someone of your size and weight. Even proportionally speaking (yes, I know you consume more than the bees).

    • Assuming they used proper testing methods, this sounds like pretty conclusive proof.

    • by oneiron (716313) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:51PM (#39607159)
      Normally, I would tell you to RTFA. In this case, however, it seems you didn't even read the summary:

      Many bee-keepers have turned to high-fructose corn syrup to feed their bees, which the researchers say did not imperil bees until U.S. corn began to be sprayed with imidacloprid in 2004-2005

      This quote from the summary implies that, rather than GMO corn causing it, it's the pesticide (imidacloprid) that farmers spray on GMO corn because the corn is engineered to resist it. You're right. The pesticide stuff is pretty obvious...if you read it.
    • by doston (2372830)

      While the pesticide stuff is pretty obvious, I'm more skeptical about the HFCS link, especially if they're claiming its Monstanto GMO corn causing it. Or something silly. Yes, sugar is a poison, and HFCS is vile, but it's going to take another few studies to convince me.

      The story didn't say anything about GMO corn, it said that imidacloprid has gotten into HFCS because it's being sprayed on corn crops. Why bother commenting if you're only going to skim the article...the article recap at that? ADD much?

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:02PM (#39607253) Journal
      It's not a problem of Monsanto corn, or even corn. The problem is the pesticide, not the corn.

      The pesticide is transferred to the bees via corn. Corn without the pesticide is fine. Apparently bees are extremely sensitive to this particular pesticide. Apparently bees are extremely sensitive to this stuff. It only takes 20 parts per billion to kill the colony within six months.

      To put that in perspective, arsenic is allowed in drinking water at a level of 10 ppb. Cyanide is allowed at 200 ppb.
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Pesticide is sprayed on corn, corn gets processed, pesticide gets into HFCS, HFCS with pesticide gets into bees....sounds pretty straightforward to me. Anybody whose done any farming knows no matter how powerful your cleaning methods are you will never gets a vegetable or fruit 100% clean which is why we didn't use pesticides on our small family plots, you can wash until hell freezes over but it gets down into the plant, no way around it.

      I personally think all these GMOs and pesticides is probably why we

  • Tangential Jab (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:36PM (#39607033)

    The summary should be: "CCD Linked to Pesticide"

    I get the feeling including HFCS so prominently in the story is more about triggering an emotional response in readers.

    • For the benefit of those of us unaware of any controversy, what kind of emotional response could be triggered by mentioning high-fructose corn syrup?

      • Re:Tangential Jab (Score:5, Informative)

        by bunratty (545641) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:47PM (#39607123)
        People have been claiming that HFCS is one of the root causes of the obestiy epidemic. Is fructose bad for you? [harvard.edu]
        • That was an interesting read. Thank you.

      • The way the summary was written, I first thought the bees were getting too fat off the HFCS to get off the ground... Then I RTFA
    • Re:Tangential Jab (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nebosuke (1012041) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:14PM (#39607307)

      No, if you RTFA, you can see that the link to HFCS is prominently featured because it explains the lag between imidacloprid introduction (1990s) to widespread observance of CCD (2006) because feeding hives with HFCS was not a widespread practice until then. Because the corn from which it is produced is often sprayed with imidacloprid, the HFCS contains trace amounts of imidacloprid well below safe limits for humans, and even below LD50 for the bees, but apparently sufficient to incur CCD over time. A related study described in the second linked article suggests that the class of pesticides to which imidacloprid belongs (neonicotinoids) interfere with the bees' homing ability, which explains the characteristic lack of dead adults in a colony that has suffered CCD--the adults apparently get lost while foraging and can't find their way back to the hive.

      What I find most striking is that CCD did not seem to be much of a problem in the 90s when imidacloprid was introduced, which implies that bees are fine with it being sprayed on crops, but cannot tolerate even minute (measured in double digit parts per billion) traces when it is fed to them (in this case, via HFCS).

    • by canajin56 (660655)
      So you think the interesting part is that insecticide kills insects, and the fact that HFCS contains various insecticides in significant amounts is both obvious and beside the point?
  • by Hatta (162192) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:49PM (#39607135) Journal

    I thought it was fungus [sciencedaily.com].

    • Re:But... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bunratty (545641) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @12:53PM (#39607177)
      That study shows correlation, not causation:

      "At this stage, the study is showing an association of death rates of the bees with the virus and fungus present," Bilimoria said. "Our contribution to this study confirms association. But even that doesn't prove cause and effect. Not just yet."

      The study in this article shows evidence of causation:

      "Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health '...have re-created the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder in several honeybee hives simply by giving them small doses of a popular pesticide, imidacloprid.'"

      It's easy to regurgitate that "correlation is not causation", but most people don't seem to quite understand what that sentence means.

    • I thought it was fungus [sciencedaily.com].

      I think this is the third cause discovered in the past month.

    • by tomhath (637240)
      Why? Nothing in any of the studies links this to Monsanto or GMO crops.
  • by Culture20 (968837) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @01:23PM (#39607367)
    The bees can tell the difference!
  • by IonOtter (629215) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @04:13PM (#39608469) Homepage

    Okay, so we've learned that HFCS that is derived from corn treated with a pesticide is responsible for causing CCD. And from the articles, it appears that bees that aren't fed HFCS (laced or not) don't seem to be collecting enough of the pesticide via their natural habits.

    Great! Great news. Yay! Whoo-hoo, and all that jazz.

    So why are we feeding the bees HFCS or sugar water?

    A former beekeeper pointed out that they're fed HFCS and sugar water in late winter when the hives run out of honey. (In case you didn't know, bees don't make honey just for human benefit. It's supposed to be their food.)

    So the next logical question would be, "Why are they running out of honey in late winter?"

    Answer: Keepers are taking too much.

    So! CCD isn't necessarily caused by a pesticide, it's caused by HUMAN GREED when idiot bee keepers harvest too much honey for a quick profit, and then try to keep their bees limping along on garbage. If they weren't stealing the winter food supply, and restrained themselves to taking only the summer surplus, then CCD would most likely never have happened. (Using sugar water USED to be a last-gasp, keeper-has-shit-the-bed-and-has-to-fix-it method of helping your bees survive your lack of proper planning? But now it's become canon.)

    Once again, the cause of the problem is human greed and stupidity.

    • by dr2chase (653338) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @05:53PM (#39609053) Homepage

      It's not just "human greed". If you want to keep bees someplace that it gets good-N-cold, feeding them can help them get through the winter. I had bees, a new batch. I took NO honey the first year. We had a nasty winter (not this one just past, but the previous year). Bees did not survive, partly because I did not feed them. Another way to feed them (not sure how much HFCS is in this, but I will check) that a beekeeper friend recommended was to get bulk fondant icing, smear it on wax paper, and just stick that in the top (?) of the hive.

      When I was a kid, we kept bees in Florida. That was pretty much dead easy, compared to beekeeping in the Northeast.

      • by IonOtter (629215) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @07:52PM (#39609583) Homepage

        Ooooh, ouch. I'm sorry, losing a hive is terrible. A friend of my dad's used to cry for days if he lost a hive, but those were the "good old days".

        Putting in a new colony is an exceptional event, and supplemental feeding is most certainly understandable. It takes time to get a colony firmly and safely established.

        It is generally accepted that a healthy, well-established hive will require approximately 60lbs of honey to survive a typical "northern" winter. Some of the permaculture-minded documentation suggests that a keeper should go even further, and refrain from harvesting during the summer or fall, and wait until the spring when new flowers are coming out. That way, they can be absolutely certain that whatever honey is left over is truly "surplus".

        But that's not what we're doing.

        I would actually go so far as to suggest that "mobile hives", the ones that are freighted across the country from field to grove to field, shouldn't have *any* honey harvested from them at all. That way, they would have the very best food available to them when they arrive, as they work, and when they're in transport.

        Heh. You might have guessed, but I don't see bees as "workers", but partners.

  • by idji (984038) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @04:20PM (#39608503)
    ...in which bees are fed glucose instead of going foraging. They are not going out and pollinating the environment and bringing back bio-rich foodstuffs. They are being fed an effectively sterile product from a monoculture, that enhances a monoculture world - bio-feedback with a bad outcome.

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