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EPA: No Single Cause For Colony Collapse Disorder 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the couldn't-bee-easy dept.
alphatel writes "Citing a wide range of symptoms, a federal report (PDF) released yesterday has concluded that no single event, pesticide or virus can be held responsible for CCD in North American bee colonies. Meanwhile, Europe has moved towards banning neocotinids for two years. EPA's Jim Jones stated, 'There are non-trivial costs to society if we get this wrong. There are meaningful benefits from these pesticides to farmers and to consumers, as well as for affordable food.' May R. Berenbaum, head of the department of entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a participant in the study, said, 'There is no quick fix. Patching one hole in a boat that leaks everywhere is not going to keep it from sinking.'"
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EPA: No Single Cause For Colony Collapse Disorder

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  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday May 03, 2013 @06:13PM (#43625363)

    Monsanto does not produce neonicitinoids.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday May 03, 2013 @06:16PM (#43625381)

    'There is no quick fix. Patching one hole in a boat that leaks everywhere is not going to keep it from sinking.'"

    Hello, nirvana fallacy.

    For those who aren't familiar, the basic explanation of the nirvana fallacy is rejecting a solution because it isn't perfect/ideal. In this case: rejecting a ban on the pesticide because there are other additional causes of colony collapse disorder that wouldn't be affected by such a ban.

    Idiotic, and amazing that a scientist could utter it.

  • by Shavano (2541114) on Friday May 03, 2013 @06:53PM (#43625703)
    We're talking very marginally more expensive food if we ban a class of insecticides, as opposed to much more expensive food if crops fail because they were not pollinated. Soybeans, despite what you're read, will not be much affected by bee loss. They self-pollinate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, 2013 @07:24PM (#43625885)

    A little background info for aspiring entomologists. Neonicotinoids are an interesting class of insecticides. They are valued because they have relatively low mammalian toxicity but they are very effective against insects. Neonics are systemic insecticides, i.e., they get inside plants and are distributed into all plant tissues. Neonicotinoid residues found in pollen and nectar are consumed by flower-visiting insects such as bees. Concentrations of residues can reach lethal levels in some situations. Neonicotinoids can persist in soil for months or years after a single application. After plants absorb neonicotinoids, they slowly metabolize the compounds. Some of the breakdown products are as toxic or more toxic to honey bees than the original active ingredient. Honey bees exposed to sublethal levels of neonicotinoids can experience problems with flying and navigation, reduced taste sensitivity, and slower learning of new tasks, which all impact foraging ability. Keep in mind that neonicotinoids were on the market for about 10 years before colony collapse disorder was noticed.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Friday May 03, 2013 @07:38PM (#43625951) Homepage Journal

    Consider the facts surrounding this insecticide.

    First - it is DESIGNED to kill insects. That is it's purpose.
    Second - it was approved for use based on flawed research, conducted in Canada only, in an area that had no honey bee populations to be affected. Private research, conducted by Bayer - research that should never have been admitted as "science".
    Third - the colony collapses happen most frequently in areas that use this specific insecticide.
    Fourth - there is data that supports the ban - Steeltoe posted a link above: http://www.salon.com/2013/03/21/without_honeybees_we_may_cease_to_be/ [salon.com]

        "Additionally, it notes that after Italy temporarily banned neonicotinoids in several crops, reports of high honeybee mortality decreased from 185 to two."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, 2013 @09:23PM (#43626581)

    There is NO COUNTRY IN THE WORLD that has banned the use of DDT.

    DDT was not for crop spraying, it was for "surgical strike" and the abuse of the use of DDT meant that the population of mozzies were building an immunity.

    It was far cheaper and far far more effective to use nets and impregnate them with insecticides.

    That link can claim what the hell it likes, it's talking complete shite.

  • by icebike (68054) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @12:01AM (#43627211)

    I've heard of, even seen (on TV) places in China where there are no bees anymore. These are agricultural regions that were reliant upon bees to pollinate their crops.

    They went to manual pollination. No shit, actual farmers spend 2-3 weeks every year, hand pollinating their crops. It only works because the average income level is comparatively low there. And let's face it, the choice was do the job by hand or get out of farming. Without outside assistance there are many plants that cannot pollinate themselves, or only do so poorly.

    Not this again!!!

    They were hand pollinating long before they killed off the bees trying to eradicate a different pest.

    They were hand pollinating in situations there bees wouldn't have helped at all because in order to obtain high yield the crops required cross pollination between three related varieties of pears that flower at different times. They had been doing it for years to improve the crop.

    Only much later did they accidently eradicate the bees, trying to save these same pear crops from a different pest.
    But bringing in new bees wouldn't have helped due to the long time between the flowering of the three varieties.
    They had not been relying on bees at all for years.

    Read about it here. [beewatchers.com]

    Lets not get our stories mixed up, mKay?

    Hand pollination is also done in the US, especially when breeding new varieties of corn or apples, where its very important to know exactly what went into the mix. Its actually not that unusual.

  • by dryeo (100693) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @12:17AM (#43627269)

    Not this bullshit again. DDT was never banned for malaria prevention, just every other use and is still used for indoor treatment for malaria carrying mosquitoes though I doubt they make wallpaper out of it any more. Pesticides are like anti-biotics, use them only when needed as immunity is built up in the target population which is one of the main reasons that DDT isn't used as much for malaria prevention, just as penicillin isn't used much anymore for infections.
    The Stockholm convention banned DDT for all uses except malaria carrying mosquito control though they did discourage it. Currently the World Health Organization does encourage using DDT for indoor use to control mosquitoes in malaria infected areas. Press release, http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2006/pr50/en/ [who.int]
    And staying on topic, I had a pesticide application ticket many years ago. It was stressed to only use pesticides as a last resort, to use what was effective, and no more and one of the main dangers was how sensitive bees were to insecticides compared to most insects. Fish were also very sensitive to some insecticides and herbicides so you'd have chemicals with a low LD50 yet a high LC50 level. Toxicity can be very complex.

  • by dryeo (100693) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @12:27AM (#43627305)

    You're suggesting that the only way we will ever stop malaria is to poison mosquitoes into extinction?

    It works.

    No it doesn't (exception being smallpox) as almost always a resistant strain develops

    50 million lives were lost because they weren't "rich enough" to deserve our health care or research funding. It's as simple as that.

    Nonsense. The developed world doesn't have malaria now because they drove it to extinction in the wild via DDT and similar pesticides.

    Actually the important thing was mechanical. Draining swamps is very effective to control mosquitoes along with judicious usage of pesticides, ideally a variety to prevent immune strains.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson

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