Bees Essential For Human Species Survival

Bees and Pesticides

Honey Bees Crisis | Colony Collapse Disorder

bees in bee movie

Bee Movie by Jerry Seinfeld highlights what could happen if bees become extinct

Who would have thought that the issue of bees and pesticides would make its way to national news thanks to Dan Rather.  Bees are a necessity to the survival of our planet, whether you would like to think that or not.  Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie was about the crisis we would face as a planet if bees were ever wiped out from the face of the earth.  Seinfeld took a more gentle approach towards the extinction of bees by pretending like they just went on strike, however in the end the bees were able to come back and save the day.

When it comes to the conversation on pesticides and bees, we all know that chemicals provide a permanent solution to the problem.  But are bees really a problem?  I get it, bee’s sting people.  What is so terrifying about bees, that individuals feel the need to exterminate them from the face of this planet?  Dan Rather looked into bees into 2006 and what we have come to know as the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  Well now Dan Rather, host of Dan Rather Reports, says that its five years later and there has still not been any progress on behalf of Congress or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) towards solving the drastic decline in the bee population, specifically honey bees.

Colony Collapse Disorder was a term given to describe the mysterious decline of the honeybee populations across the world beginning around 2006 according to the  After the winter of 2005-2006 beekeepers in the United States have been losing up to 1/3 of their bees.  Back in 2006 Dan Rather and his investigative team approached the subject of bees and pesticides thanks to the alarming truth that one in every three bites of food are dependent on pollination.  After releasing his piece on Colony Collapse Disorder the EPA promised to find a solution to the problem, but so far the companies have failed to provide evidence that pesticides are not part of the cause.

Dan Rather mentions in his article on the Huffington Post that systemic pesticides are prime suspect right now.  Google the chemical clothianidin, on the front page of the return search you will find the May 30th, 2003 release of an EPA factsheet on the pesticide that many say are killing off the bees.

Bees pesticides

EPA admits that clothiniadin may harm bees

The EPA released an article in July of 2008 regarding the drastic decline in Germany’s honeybee population.  The EPA denied claims that the chemical clothianidin was the cause for the decrease in Germany’s bees however it contradicts what beekeepers and scientists both say about the issue of CCD, as well as their own records on the chemical.    It comes as no surprise that what the EPA had to say about bees and clothianidin in 2003 is completely opposite of what they would say when confronted by individuals like Dan Rather, scientists and beekeepers 5 years later.

How does the pesticide clothianidin affect bees, specifically honey bees across the globe?  Categorized by the EPA as an insecticide, clothianindin is known to be effective in combating the corn rootworm.  Moreover the chemical is marked in the EPA’s toxic category III, (slightly toxic, slightly irritating).

Honey Bees EPA

EPA file from May 2003 detailing clothianidin

But what does the chemical mean to the issue of CCD and bees?  Clothianidin belongs to the family of nicotinoids, which are also known as systemic pesticides. Systemic pesticides are effective because rather than covering the plant, the chemical is absorbed, working from the inside out, resulting in the entire plant becoming toxic. Even though corn is not a plant that needs to be pollinated, we have been taught in education for years that the act of cross-pollination can also occur with wind.  When the bees go to pollinate they run the risk of absorbing the pesticides and than bringing it back to the hive where it affects the adults, young bees and larvae.

With the EPA and Congress ignoring a potentially global issue, the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Beyond Pesticides decided that something had to be done in the United States as Germany, Italy and France had banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides such as clothianidin.  Teaming up with beekeepers and scientists across the United States Why?  Well the EPA listed it they in their fact sheet, claiming that clothianidin could in fact affect the honey bees:

Creating a fact sheet covered the chemical clothianidin and CCD.  How the EPA can stand behind it is beyond me.  Something needs to be done regarding pesticides and bees.  Bee Movie may not have been created to describe the crisis behind the extinction of bees, however it certainly fits the role just fine.  Scientists, beekeepers and Dan Rather are urging that the EPA needs to take a better look at pesticides and honey bees before its too late.

Honey Bees and Pesticides

2 Responses to Bees Essential For Human Species Survival

  1. gardiner mulford says:

    WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460
    Office of Chemical Safety and
    Pollution Prevention
    PC Code: 044309
    Date: November 2nd, 2010
    DP Barcodes: 378994, 377955
    SUBJECT: Clothianidin Registration of Prosper T400 Seed Treatment on Mustard Seed
    (Oilseed and Condiment) and Poncho/Votivo Seed Treatment on Cotton.
    FROM: Joseph DeCant, Ecologist
    Michael Barrett, Chemist
    Environmental Risk Branch V
    Environmental Fate and Effects Division (7507P)
    THROUGH: Mah T. Shamim, Branch Chief
    Environmental Risk Branch V
    Environmental Fate and Effects Division (7507P)
    TO: Kable Davis, Risk Manager Reviewer
    Venus Eagle, Risk Manager
    Meredith Laws, Branch Chief
    Insecticide-Rodenticide Branch
    Registration Division (7505P)
    This memo summarizes the Environmental Fate and Effects Division’s (EFED) screening-level
    Environmental Risk Assessment for clothianidin. The registrant, Bayer CropScience, is
    submitting a request for registration of clothianidin to be used as a seed treatment on cotton and
    mustard (oilseed and condiment). The major risk concerns are with aquatic free-swimming and
    benthic invertebrates, terrestrial invertebrates, birds, and mammals.
    The proposed use on cotton poses an acute and chronic risk to freshwater and estuarine/marine
    free-swimming invertebrates, but the risk in some cases depends on the incorporation method
    and the region of the U.S. where the crops are grown. The proposed use on mustard only shows
    a risk concern on a chronic basis to estuarine/marine free-swimming invertebrates with a low
    efficiency incorporation method. The proposed uses result in acute risk to freshwater and
    estuarine/marine benthic invertebrates, but incorporation and region have minimal impact on the
    risk conclusions. Chronic risk was only present for estuarine/marine benthic invertebrates but
    was independent of incorporation efficiency and region.
    Clothianidin’s 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. Although EFED
    does not conduct RQ based risk assessments on non-target insects, information from standard
    tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoids insecticides
    (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long term toxic risk to honey bees and other
    beneficial insects. An incident in Germany already illustrated the toxicity of clothianidin to
    honeybees when allowed to drift off-site from treated seed during planting.
    A previous field study (MRID 46907801/46907802) investigated the effects of clothianidin on
    whole hive parameters and was classified as acceptable. However, after another review of this
    field study in light of additional information, deficiencies were identified that render the study
    supplemental. It does not satisfy the guideline 850.3040, and another field study is needed to
    evaluate the effects of clothianidin on bees through contaminated pollen and nectar. Exposure
    through contaminated pollen and nectar and potential toxic effects therefore remain an
    uncertainty for pollinators.
    EFED expects adverse effects to bees if clothianidin is allowed to drift from seed planting

  2. Sachiko Mancil says:

    Bee stings differ from insect bites, and the venom or toxin of stinging insects is quite different. Therefore, the body’s reaction to a bee sting may differ significantly from one species to another.`:“

    Most recent posting on our personal web blog

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