A very large study of neonicotinoid pesticides increases the growing appearance that these agricultural chemicals are actually affecting bee populations. Conducted at 33 sites in the UK, Germany and Hungary, the study found that exposure to neonicotinoids “leaves bee hives less likely to survive during the winter, while bees and bees are less likely to survive. solitaries produce fewer queens. “
Bayer and Syngenta, manufacturers of “neonic” pesticides that will reap massive profits if Europe lifts the neon prohibition, quickly challenged the researchers’ findings, even though they partially funded the study.
The authors note that this is the first experiment in the world demonstrating the direct causality between neonics and reduced bee populations , and it is fully in line with other discoveries.
A study showing that pesticides kill bees
According to the summary of the study:
“Oilseed rape seeded in winter has been grown commercially with seed coatings containing neonicotinoids (clothianidin or thiamethoxam) or without seed treatment (control). For bees, we found negative effects (Hungary and United Kingdom) and positive (Germany) during the flowering of crops. In Hungary, the negative effects on bees (associated with clothianidin) persisted during the winter and resulted in smaller colonies in the following spring (24% decrease). In wild bees (Bombus terrestris and Osmia bicornis), reproduction was negatively correlated with neonicotinoid residues. These results indicate that neonicotinoids cause a reduced ability of bee species to establish new populations within one year of exposure. “
Negative effects on bumblebees and solitary bees were observed in all three countries, where higher concentrations of neonicotinoid residues in hives resulted in fewer queens. Negative effects were observed on bees in the United Kingdom and Hungary, consistent with observations of high UK reindeer mortality and a 24% decrease in colonies in Hungary.
However, no harmful effects were found in winter bees in Germany. This relatively small subset of the study results was initiated by Bayer and Syngenta to claim that their products are safe for bees, or the results are inconclusive. Both companies use neonic pesticides in the study.
“We do not share the interpretation of the Center for Ecology and Hydrology that the adverse effects of seed treatments can be concluded from this study and we are convinced that neonicotinoids are safe when used and applied responsible, “said Dr. Richard Schmuck, director of environmental science at Bayer.
It would not be surprising if manufacturers of a billion dollar agricultural pesticide seized the smallest part of a study to sow doubt in the public mind. The scientists who actually did the study provide a different interpretation; one based on all the evidence .
” Our results are a serious concern ,” said study author Richard Pywell of the Oxfordshire Center for Ecology and Hydrology. ” We have shown for the first time the negative effects of neonicotinoid-coated seeds on bees and we have also shown similar negative effects in wild bees . This is important because many crops around the world are pollinated by insects and without pollinators, we would have a lot of trouble producing food. “
The data will be studied as part of an assessment in November at the EU, which will decide whether or not to maintain the neon prohibition. The BBC reports that the EU is “working on new draft proposals to extend the ban on neonicotinoids”.
To illustrate the complex nature of the problem, since neonics have been banned since 2013 , some European farmers are spraying larger quantities of other pesticides such as pyrthroids, which can harm bees and beneficial insects.
There is certainly a need for pest control in agriculture, but what is the cost of the chemical approach to the natural environment and honey bees that pollinate our food crops? The neonic evidence says that bees are very sensitive to these chemicals, but farmers also need alternative solutions.
To solve the problem, we must consider how we got here. Parasites have been introduced around the world by boarding human ships and other vehicles. Pests often find their new places devoid of natural predators that would normally keep them under control.
Agricultural practices aggressively pushed by chemical manufacturers and GMO companies have also increased pest problems. The corporate and patent agricultural model involves monocultural cultures dependent on high chemical inputs . This creates a positive feedback loop where weeds and insects become resistant to herbicides and pesticides, prompting companies to make other more toxic chemicals.
The chemical approach completely ignores thousands of years of human learning. The concept now known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (invasive practices such as polyculture, crop rotation, soil enrichment and native shrub borders) is an effective alternative to the chemical approach.
Holistic and non-toxic solutions face billions of dollars worth of companies like Bayer who will not hesitate to deny scientific conclusions, even studies funded by Bayer themselves.
Source a study showing that pesticides kill bees: The Free Thought Project And: //