• Bees Won’t Die

    Aww, look – The Guardian has a fear-mongering note about how not banning pesticides will kill bees.

    It looks like they’re quite pissed off.

    The world’s most widely used insecticides, linked to serious harm in bees, will not be banned across Europe. The European commission proposed a two-year suspension after the European Food Safety Authority deemed the use of the neonicotinoids an unacceptable risk, but major nations – including UK and Germany – failed to back the plan in a vote on Friday.

    The result leaves environmental campaigners, scientists and some politicians bitterly disappointed. “Britain and Germany have caved in to the industry lobby and refused to ban bee-killing pesticides,” said Iain Keith, at campaign group Avaaz. “Today’s vote flies in the face of science and public opinion and maintains the disastrous chemical armageddon on bees, which are critical for the future of our food.” He said Avaaz and other groups would now consider a legal challenge.

    Well, sorry guys, but that’s just not true:

    For despite what both sides of the argument say, the link between bee declines and neonicotinoids is far from clear.

    The assertion that a ban on neonicotinoids in Europe will save bees from extinction is absurd. There are bee species around the world in genuine danger of extinction, such as the once-common rusty-patched bumblebee in the United States, which has vanished from 87% of its historic range since the early 1990s. Diseases, rather than pesticides, are suspected of driving that decline. And although there have been dramatic falls in the numbers of managed honey bee Apis mellifera colonies in some countries, it remains a widespread and common bee, not in imminent danger of extinction.

    Look, I’m all for the environment, but that means having evidence-based public policy regarding this issue (like with any other issue) .

    I don’t like being lied to in the push for an agenda, or the media appealing to my fears. And here’s a funny fact: nicotinoids are allowed in organic farming and they’re are as bad as neonicotinoids.

    By the way, maybe we shouldn’t save all species.

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    Article by: Ðavid A. Osorio S

    Skeptic | Blogger | Fact-checker
    • An interesting comment from one of the commenters on the article linked:

      “Honeybees forage for water, nectar, aphid honeydew, pollen and sap. All are possible exposure routes. Water from damp areas of newly planted fields actually attracts bees due to the fact it is slightly warm from the sun. Honeybees have a 5 km radius of foraging activity around their colony. Studies have shown that as little as one tenth of a part per billion( Neonicotinoids) can affect the survival of a colony. Also, according to Henk Tennekes, since the effect of clothianidin is cumulative and irreversible, there is no safe dose. Farmers rotate crops. Neonicotinoids are highly persistent (years),cumulative and water soluble. One treated corn seed contains enough poison to kill 50,000 bees. The link between bee declines and neonicotinoids is very clear.”

      i know it is controversial on both sides, but it is not helped when the manufacturers seems to give out inaccurate information:

      “The effect of neonicotinoids on pollinators is under investigation by the UK parliament and the Guardian has learned that Bayer’s spokesman, Little, is being recalled to explain “discrepancies” in his evidence. “Our inquiry has identified apparent flaws in the assessment of imidacloprid,” said Joan Walley MP, chair of the environmental audit committee. “Despite data from field trials showing the pesticide could linger in the environment at dangerous levels, imidacloprid was approved for use in the EU. We have asked chemical giant Bayer to return to parliament to explain discrepancies in its evidence on the amount of time that imidacloprid remains in the environment.””

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/16/insecticide-unacceptable-danger-bees

      Sure, there is confirmation bias and misinformation on both parts, but even at best, the evidence is not 100% clear. There is something to be said for erring on the side of caution, no?

      • Thanks mate! Indeed, interesting!

    • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-27980344

      “Neonicotinoid pesticides are causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial species and are a key factor in the decline of bees, say scientists.

      Researchers, who have carried out a four-year review of the literature, say the evidence of damage is now “conclusive”.”

      • Well, that’s the BBC… I’d love to see the study upon which they make such claims.

        Because here’s the EPA and USDA study: http://www.usda.gov/documents/ReportHoneyBeeHealth.pdf

        According to this report, the primary cause of CCD is a parasitic mite that harms bees directly and indirectly by transmitting viruses that infect bees. Other factors it cites increase honeybee vulnerability to the mite and viruses; those factors include bacterial diseases, low genetic diversity in U.S. honey-bee populations, the way modern bees are bred, poor nutrition in areas where bees must forage long distances to find nectar and pollen and use of some insecticides.

        And scientific study beats news report.