Tag Archives: colony collapse disorder

What’s killing the bees? Bee researchers raise more warning flags about neonicotinoid pesticides

honey bee photoA special report by the CBC (Canadian News) shows neonic pesticides appear to play a key role in killing off the bee population according to study’s by Europeans and the newest study by Harvard University researcher and two Massachusetts’ beekeepers published this month in the Bulletin of Insectology journal.

The studies support a link between pesticides used on crops with bee colony collapse disorder (CCD). Neonicotinoids are used for coating seeds. A major source of contamination comes during sowing when bees are exposed to dust  dispersed in the air from neonicotinoid-coated seeds. Madeleine Chagnon –20 years of bee research “While we wait, the bees are dying”

Italy banned banned neonicotinoids when they are used for coating seeds, although it is still permitted to spray the compounds on the leaves. A sharp drop in mortality of bees was observed around the maize fields in the spring when sowing takes place. Europe banned the use of neonic pesticides last year.

Italy banned neonicotinoids when they are used for coating seeds, although it is still permitted to spray the compounds on the leaves. A sharp drop in mortality of bees was observed around the maize fields in the spring when sowing takes place. Europe banned the use of neonic pesticides last year.

In southwest China wild bees have been eradicated by excessive pesticide use and loss of natural habitat. In recent years, farmers in China have to hand-pollinate their trees, the apple and pear orchards in southwest China, they carry pots of pollen and paintbrushes to individually pollinate every flower.

The evidence linking these neonicotinoids to CCD is significant but not yet conclusive, critics have  voiced concerns that the study sample size is too small, that the study’s did not control for other potential reasons for CCD.

Online:  CBCNews SPECIAL REPORT: Bee researchers raise more warning flags about neonicotinoid pesticides
Bulletin of Insectology: Study by a Harvard University researcher and two Massachusetts’ beekeepers (pdf)
ChinaDialogue:  Decline of bees forces China’s apple farmers to pollinate by hand
Lessons from the Italian ban on pesticides

Photo by R.H.Sumon™