The threat of massive decline in bee populations and our food supply is a REAL fact.

It may be possible that he never said anything like that. After all, he was a physicist, not a biologist. However, the diversity of our plants is highly dependent on pollinators, mainly bees and some butterflies.

In 1976, SE McGregor, retired beekeeper, of the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ASR), wrote an article in 1976 titled “The Economics of Plant Pollination”. After mentioning that some plants are pollinated by wind or self pollination, McGregor said, “… it seems that one third of our total diet depends, directly or indirectly, on plants pollinated by insects. “

Bee populations

In his 1976 article, McGregor also points out, “Another value of pollination is its effect on the quality and efficiency of agricultural crops. Inadequate pollination can result not only in reduced yields, but also in delayed yield and a high percentage of lower fruit cells. In this regard, Gates (1917) warned the producer that … “without its pollinating agents, which are mainly bees, to transfer pollen from stamens to pistil blossoms, its harvest may fail.

Now we have completely messy colonies

It is well known that those who care about our future food supply know that bee populations are dying dramatically, and also some butterfly pollinators, especially Monarchs, are endangered.

Sometimes, the bees simply become confused and do not return to their hives, and sometimes they just die in their hives. It is known as Colony Collapse Syndrome (CCD), and is endemic in North America. Neonicotinoids are the most widely used pesticides in the world and are extremely toxic to bees and other pollinators.

European scientists have discovered that bee populations are declining mainly because of three insecticides: neonicotinoids, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam that were banned by the European Commission in 2013. Unfortunately, all three are still used massively in the United States. United and all over the world.

The Academic Advisory Council European Academies, an independent body made up of representatives from the National Academies of Science of the Member States of the European Union, has an increasing body of evidence proving that the widespread use of pesticides’ has serious effects on a wide range of organisms that provide ecosystems with services such as pollination and natural pest control, as well as biodiversity. “

The European ban is in place for this year’s review, and the Council report, based on the review of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles that have been published since the conclusion of the security agency , the food, was ready to provide the managers with recommendations on how to proceed. Let’s hope science trumps the political influence of agrochemical industries.

They noted that predatory and parasitic insects such as wasps and ladybugs generate annual benefits worth billions of dollars in the fight against insects, and that organisms such as earthworms contribute even more. to billions more for the improvement of soil productivity. All are also harmed by pesticides and herbicides. Using pesticides is like trying to put out a fire by firing firefighters on arrival.

You can include glyphosate herbicides as well. Dr. Donald Huber, a 55-year-old phytopathologist from the Government and Purdue University Professor Emeritus strongly suggests that glyphosate herbicides contribute to the confusion of pollinating bees, which makes them unable to return to their hives. That’s a part of the CCD, the other part is when whole colonies of the hive are dying in or near their hives.

Despite Huber’s strong track record and integrity, he was ignored and vilified for his attempts to warn the corrupt USDA and academia. They are all about the payroll of the GMO industry, directly or indirectly.

Perhaps mono-crop farmers are too ignorant of the old methods of controlling agro-ecology insects or perhaps their farms are too big or they are too lazy and greedy. Or maybe they are simply victims of a failing system with its handful of major distributors around the world and a speculative commodity trading system that affects the price of food.

The solution to a sustainable food supply has been determined by several international studies of agricultural experts not related to specific industries or biotechnology; the largest was assigned to international experts by the United Nations. Their proposed solution to world hunger is small organic agro-ecological farms that would provide food in their regions .

These studies received little or no publicity in mainstream media. And the practices they advocate do not receive any government subsidy. Instead, the strongest and most cited voices for solving world hunger are the companies producing GMOs.

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The massive decline of insects threatens agriculture

“I think I had to wake up in the mid-2000s. One day, as I was walking near my home in the scrubland, I wondered where the insects had gone, because it seemed to me that There was much less than before, says Maarten Bijleveld van Lexmond. And then I realized that there were also less glued on the windshield and the grille of my car. Almost more, actually. In July 2009, at his home in Notre-Dame-de-Londres (Hérault), the 77-year-old Dutch biologist brought together a dozen entomologists sharing the same concern.

All note an accelerated decline of all species of insects since the 1990s. According to them, the collapse of honey bees is only the visible part of this phenomenon with considerable consequences for all ecosystems.

“After a long day of discussions, we decided to examine everything that had been published in the scientific literature on systemic insecticides called” neonicotinoids “, he continues. This new generation of molecules, put on the market in the 1990s, seemed to us to be a decisive factor in explaining the situation. “

Still, it was necessary to support this suspicion. Over the months, the small group of researchers has become an international consortium – the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides (TFSP) – of about 50 scientists from 15 nationalities, mostly academics or academics. researchers in public organizations, all of whom joined the intuitu personae group of experts.


The result of their five years of work, to appear in the next edition of the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research, was to be released Tuesday, June 24. “The evidence is very clear,” says Jean-Marc Bonmatin (CNRS Center for Molecular Biophysics), a member of the TFSP. We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our agricultural and natural environment. Far from securing food production, the use of neonicotinoids endangers the pollinators that make it possible. “

In total, the TFSP experts reviewed some 800 published studies in the scholarly literature on these insecticides. They drew seven long thematic syntheses on their modes of action, their fate in the environment, their impacts on various organizations, and so on.

These molecules (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, but also fipronil) currently share about 40% of the world market for agricultural insecticides and represent a market of more than 2.6 billion dollars (1.9 billion euros). They are distinguished first from previous generations by their toxicity, 5,000 to 10,000 times that of the famous DDT, for example.

Their mode of application is also different. These products are indeed not only applied in spraying, but are also used in soil treatment and seed coating, as part of a systematic and preventive use.


However, an important part – up to more than 90% – of the quantities thus used is not absorbed by the plants during a single growing season. These products accumulate in soils where they persist from several months to several years. In addition, the researchers say, these molecules are highly soluble in water and can migrate and contaminate previously untreated areas.

According to the TFSP, “there is strong evidence that soils, streams and plants in urban or agricultural environments are contaminated, at varying concentrations, with mixtures of neonicotinoids, fipronil and their degradation products “. Among other examples, the TFSP experts note that imidacloprid was detected in 91% of 74 soil samples analyzed in France in 2005: only 15% of the sites had been treated …

The concentrations found do not generally lead to acute toxicity. But chronic exposure to these low doses weakens the populations of many species: reproductive disorders, reduced ability to survive, etc. This “large-scale contamination” of the environment is, according to the TFSP, a “determining factor” in the decline of bees and plays an “irrefutable” role in that of bumblebees. For butterflies, the trends identified are of the order of halving European populations in twenty years. For Bijleveld, the ongoing decline of the entire entomofauna is a “brutal collapse”.


Its magnitude is measured in particular at the higher levels of the food chain. “The decline of insects is also the decline of birds, more than half of which are insectivorous,” notes François Ramade (University Paris-Sud), one of the great figures of French ecotoxicology, co-founder of the TFSP. In fact, the ad hoc European monitoring program shows, for example, a loss of 52% of wild birds over the past three decades – however, the authors do not attribute this entire loss to systemic insecticides alone. other factors to be taken into account.

A variety of other important species for ecosystems is also affected by these substances. In particular, soil micro-organisms and earthworms, animals essential for maintaining soil fertility. All the information gathered by the TFSP has been published, but it remains to understand how effects of such a magnitude have been able to remain so long under the radar of the health authorities – with the exception of Europe, which began 2013, to take action. “Today, knowledge is fragmented, Judge Maarten Bijleveld. There are no more generalists. “

The diagnosis of François Ramade is more severe. “Research in agronomy is under the tutelage of the public authorities, who are generally anxious not to hinder economic activity and therefore employment,” he says. In addition, the health safety agencies have not paid much attention to this problem because these substances do not pose serious problems for humans. Nevertheless, they will eventually have a significant negative economic impact. “

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