Saturday 20th of April 2024

of food and honey...


picture by Gus

Possible Cause of Bee Die-Off Is Found


DENVER — It has been one of the great murder mysteries of horticulture: what is killing off the honeybees?

Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.

Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.

A fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem, according to a paper by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana in the online science journal PLoS One.

Exactly how that double-whammy kills bees remains uncertain, the scientists said — a subject for the next round of research. But there are solid clues: both the virus and the fungus proliferate in cool, damp weather, and both do their dirty work in the bee gut, suggesting that insect nutrition is somehow compromised.

Liaisons between the military and academia are nothing new, of course. World War II, perhaps the most profound example, ended in a nuclear strike on Japan in 1945 largely on the shoulders of scientist-soldiers in the Manhattan Project. And Dr. Bromenshenk’s group has researched bee-related applications for the military in the past — developing, for example, a way to use honeybees in detecting land mines.

But researchers on both sides say that colony collapse may be the first time that the defense machinery of the post-Sept. 11 Homeland Security Department and academia have teamed up to address a problem that both sides say they might never have solved on their own.

“Together we could look at things nobody else was looking at,” said Colin Henderson, an associate professor in the College of Technology at the University of Montana and a member of the Bee Alert team.


Meanwhile another source of MAJOR bee colony collapse has been identified...:

Varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite that attacks honey bees Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. The disease caused by the mites is called varroatosis.

Varroa destructor can only replicate in a honey bee colony. It attaches at the body of the bee and weakens the bee by sucking hemolymph. In this process the mite spreads RNA viruses like deformed wing virus (DWV) to the bee. A significant mite infestation will lead to the death of a honey bee colony, usually in the late autumn through early spring. The Varroa mite is the parasite with the most pronounced economic impact on the beekeeping industry. It may be a contributing factor to colony collapse disorder (CCD), as research shows it is the main factor for collapsed colonies in Ontario, Canada.[1]


If two-thirds of what you eat can be attributed to the pollination activity of honey bees, what are the implications of a pest capable of decimating their populations?

"Australia is the last major beekeeping country free from Varroa destructor or Varroa mites, the most serious pests of honey bees, which have now spread world-wide," said NSW DPI apiarist, Dr Doug Somerville.

"Once they arrive, they are extremely difficult to eradicate from a country - it’s never been done."

Varroa, the "foot and mouth" of the bee world, has had the most significant impact on production beekeeping in the 20th Century and has also wiped out wild bee populations.

Within two to three years, if left unattended, a colony will die from an initial infestation of one mite.

At risk within the ecological and food consumption chains - the estimated value of honey bees to the Australian economy, mainly through their value as pollination agents - $1.7 billion.


Honeybee Blues tells the story of the world’s disappearing honeybees and the efforts of Australian scientist Dr Denis Anderson to save them from annihilation.

Honeybee Blues tells the story of the world’s disappearing honeybees and the efforts of Australian scientist Dr Denis Anderson to save them from annihilation.

From the native bush and orchards of Australia to the industrial farmlands of the United States and the highlands of Papua New Guinea, Honeybee Blues is a scientific detective story that tells a 21st century cautionary tale.

The European honeybee, or Apis mellifera, is used for commercial honey production and by a global pollination industry worth up to $100 billion. Without it we would lose a third of the world’s food supply.


of beehives and honeycomb...

As I have mentioned earlier on this site somewhere, honey is well-known for its therapeutic qualities. Raw honey is far better than processed honey of course. It is a strong antiseptic agent, tastes excellent and is very nutritious. I always keep a small amount of raw honey in stock — apart from some processed variety. Honey is stable for many years.

Of course "insecticides" do affect bees like many other insects and the combination of various sources of stress will induce insect populations decline. Insecticides + Varroa + fungus = death of bees..


picture by Gus


human's sting on planet earth...

Nature's sting: The real cost of damaging Planet Earth

You don't have to be an environmentalist to care about the protection of the Earth's wildlife.

Just ask a Chinese fruit farmer who now has to pay people to pollinate apple trees because there are no longer enough bees to do the job.

And it's not just the number of bees that are rapidly dwindling. As a direct result of human activity, species are becoming extinct at a rate 1,000 times greater than the natural average.

The Earth's natural environment is also suffering.

In the past few decades alone, 20% of the Earth's coral reefs have been destroyed, with a further 20% badly degraded or under serious threat of collapse, while tropical forests equivalent in size to the UK are cut down every two years.

These statistics, and the many more just like them, impact on everyone, for the very simple reason that, in the end, we all end up footing the bill.

Costing nature

For the first time in history, we can now begin to quantify just how expensive degradation of nature really is.


Gus: well that last line is a bit glib... It's not the first time we can quantify the true cost of earthly degradation... It could be the first time newspapers and media orgs are paying greater attention than just a note on page 44... may be they will start to convince our captains of industry who are hell-bent on destroying anything in the path of profits that there is a brick wall at the end of their greedy quest...

the battles of the bees...

Beekeepers who say they are a vital part of Australia's agricultural sector are increasingly frustrated about losing access to native forests.

Apiarists in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania are demanding state governments provide scientific reasons for progressively shutting them out of parks and reserves.

Queensland Beekeeping Association president Trevor Weatherhead says like many on Queensland farms at the moment, beekeepers are currently doing it tough.

"I've had reports that there could be up to 1,000 hives that have been lost in the floods," he said.

"A couple of beekeepers have lost 400 each."

But rising water is merely the latest in a string of problems faced by Queensland beekeepers, who also face an infestation of Asian bees in Cairns.

Meanwhile, the industry continues to battle to retain access to native forests.

"Hopefully sense will prevail in the end when they realise how important the bees are to the economy, especially here in Queensland," Mr Weatherhead said.

"It's been estimated by the ... Department of Primary Industries that there is about $1 billion worth of crops in Queensland that rely on honey bees for pollination."

Australian Honeybees Association president Lindsay Bourke says the Queensland Government will lock beekeepers out of all public forests from 2024.

see image and article at top...

trashcorp killing bees...

The House of Commons is to debate the impact on bees and other insects of the new generation of pesticides that has been linked to bee mortality in several countries.

The Government will be called on to suspend all neonicotinoid pesticides approved in Britain, pending more exhaustive tests of their long-term effects on bees and other invertebrates. The subject will be raised in an adjournment debate in the Commons next Tuesday on a motion tabled by Martin Caton, the Labour MP for Gower.

Although the chemicals have been banned in several countries, including France, Germany and Italy, and the Co-op has prohibited their use in farms in Britain from which it sources fruit and vegetables, the British Government has refused calls for them to be suspended as a precaution. The food and farming minister, Jim Paice, will respond for the Government.

see pic at top...

trashcorp's killing fields...

Growing concern about the new generation of pesticides used on 2.5 million acres of UK farmland has led one of the Government’s most senior scientific advisers to order a review of the evidence used to justify their safety.

There are mounting fears around the world that the growing use of “neonicotinoid” pesticides, which work by poisoning the nervous system of insects, could explain why bees and other pollinating insects are in such dramatic decline in Britain, Europe and the United States, where the insecticide is widely used.

The official British government position has been that the insecticide is safe when used correctly – but Professor Robert Watson, the chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), has now initiated his own inquiry, The Independent can reveal, because of concerns about the alleged effects on bees.

see image at top and all articles on this line of blogs.

Manuka honey vs superbugs...

Manuka honey, the premium product found on fashionable breakfast tables, could play a role in the battle against antibiotic-resistant superbugs, scientists reported yesterday.

Honey is known to have antiseptic properties but the antibacterial potency of manuka honey, from New Zealand, is 10 to 50 times more powerful. It has been shown to stop the growth of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – the superbug that causes MRSA.

Manuka honey is derived from nectar collected by honey bees foraging on the manuka tree in New Zealand and is included in modern wound-care products such as dressings and ointments available on NHS prescription. However, its antimicrobial properties have not been fully exploited, according to researchers.

Laboratory studies by Professor Rose Cooper and colleagues at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, show that manuka honey interacts with three bacteria that commonly infect wounds – MRSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Group A streptococci. "Our findings suggest that manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues which is an essential step in the initiation of acute infections. Inhibiting attachment also blocks the formation of bio-films, which can protect bacteria from antibiotics and allow them to cause persistent infections," Professor Cooper said.

see stories at top... Note: for any honey to work well as an antiseptic it needs to be "raw". That is to say it should not have been heated above 40 degrees C in the "packaging" process.


european bees versus asian bees...

A new invader from the north could spread "like a cane toad with wings", seriously threatening two-thirds of Australia's food supply, experts have warned.

An Indonesian strain of the Asian bee, currently contained to the area around Cairns, could wipe out the European honeybee within years if left unchecked, an industry panel has heard.

Australian agriculture is heavily dependent on the European honeybee, which pollinates about 65 per cent of the nation's food crops, as well as clover and lucerne pastures which feed the meat and dairy industries.

In a decision that has incensed many in the honeybee industry, the federal government has decided to shift resources to containing rather than attempting to eradicate the Asian bee.

This amounted to “Winnie the Pooh thinking”, the experts warned. “I'll go on the record to say that one of the biggest threats to Australian food security is the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture,” Dr Max Whitten, a former CSIRO bee researcher, said at the industry panel held at the Australian Museum last month.

Read more:

small but fatal ways...


New research has begun to unravel the mystery of why bees are disappearing in alarming numbers worldwide: Some of the pesticides most commonly used by farmers appear to be changing bee behavior in small but fatal ways.

Two new studies found that honeybees and bumblebees had trouble foraging for food and returning with it to their hives after exposure to the class of insecticides, which is widely used to protect grains, cotton, beans, vegetables and many other crops.

Other insecticides such as ordinary household insecticides tend to have the same effect, in my humble observations... see picture and stories from top....


veroa "assisted suicide"

Scientists are to try to turn a honey bee parasite's natural defences against itself in a bid to beat the pest.

Aberdeen University researchers have won £250,000 to study how to subvert the varroa mite's immune system.

The blood-sucking varroa mite is endemic in many honey bee colonies and saps the vitality of a hive if present in large numbers.

Novel ways to tackle varroa are needed because mites are becoming resistant to existing chemical treatments.

The cash will be used to extend a completed study that showed how to target specific genes used by the mite.

Potential targets

So far, said Dr Alan Bowman of the University of Aberdeen who is leading the project, this "knock-down" approach has only been used to home in on non-lethal genes.

"The next step is to continue finding which are the best genes that will kill them quickly at very low doses and then we'll move on out to field trials in greenhouses," said Dr Bowman.

The knock-down technique attempts to trick part of the bug's immune system into thinking that one of its genes is a virus.


Quietly, globally, billions of bees are dying, threatening our crops and food. But if Bayer stops selling one group of pesticides, we could save bees from extinction.

Four European countries have begun banning these poisons, and some bee populations are already recovering. But Bayer, the largest producer of neonicotinoids, has lobbied hard to keep them on the market. Now, massive global pressure from Avaaz and others has forced them to consider the facts -- and in 24 hours, Bayer shareholders will vote on a motion that could stop these toxic chemicals. Let’s all act now and shame the shareholders to stop killing bees.

The pressure is working, and this is our best chance to save the bees. Sign the urgent petition and send this to everyone -- let's reach half a million signers and deliver it directly to shareholders tomorrow in Germany!

Bees don't just make honey, they are vital to life on earth, every year pollinating 90% of plants and crops -- with an estimated $40bn value, over one-third of the food supply in many countries. Without immediate action to save bees, many of our favourite fruits, vegetables, and nuts could vanish from our shelves.

Recent years have seen a steep and disturbing global decline in bee populations -- some bee species are already extinct and some US species are at just 4% of their previous numbers. Scientists have been scrambling for answers. Some studies claim the decline may be due to a combination of factors including disease, habitat loss and toxic chemicals. But increasingly, independent research has produced strong evidence blaming neonicotinoid pesticides. France, Italy, Slovenia and even Germany, where the main manufacturer Bayer is based, have banned one of these bee killers. But, Bayer continues to export its poison across the world.

This issue is now coming to the boil as major new studies have confirmed the scale of this problem. If we can get Bayer shareholders to act, we could shut down once and for all Bayer’s influence on policy-makers and scientists. The real experts -- the beekeepers and farmers -- want these deadly pesticides prohibited until and unless we have solid, independent studies that show they are safe. Let's support them now. Sign the urgent petition to Bayer shareholders now, then forward this email:

We can no longer leave our delicate food chain in the hands of research run by the chemical companies and the regulators that are in their pockets. Banning this pesticide will move us closer to a world safe for ourselves and the other species we care about and depend on.

the mite, the virus and the bee... and the insecticide...


The deadly link between the worldwide collapse of honeybee colonies and a bloodsucking parasite has been revealed by scientists. They have discovered that the mite has massively and permanently increased the global prevalence of a fatal bee virus.

The varroa mite's role means the virus is now one of the "most widely distributed and contagious insect viruses on the planet", the researchers warned. Furthermore, the new dominance of the killer virus poses an ongoing threat to colonies even after beekeepers have eradicated the mites from hives.

Varroa destructor has spread from Asia across the entire world over the past 50 years. It arrived in the UK in 1990 and has been implicated in the halving of bee numbers since then, alongside other factors including the destruction of flowery habitats in which bees feed and thewidespread use of pesticides on crops. Bees and other pollinators are vital in the production in up to a third of all the food we eat, but the role the mites played was unclear, as bacteria and fungi are also found in colonies along with the viruses.

But the mite's arrival in Hawaii in 2007 gave scientists a unique opportunity to track its deadly spread. "We were able to watch the emergence of the disease for the first time ever," said Stephen Martin, at the University of Sheffield, who led the new research published in the journal Science. Within a year of varroa arrival, 274 of 419 colonies on Oahu island (65%) were wiped out, with the mites going on to wreak destruction across Big Island the following year.


Let's also mention the decimation of bees by our use of insecticides... 


All the bees are dead!...



Hundreds of beehives on the NSW south coast have been sprayed with poison, with a major honey producer left devastated and a harvest ruined.
Police said about 750 beehives were poisoned on properties near Batemans Bay causing about $150,000 worth of damage.
Wendy Roberts from Australian Rainforest Honey at Sunshine Bay, which provides honey to Woolworths around the country, said about 240 of their 5000 hives had been sprayed, killing all the bees inside.
Mrs Roberts said her husband Pat discovered the poisoned hives at two of their sites yesterday morning.
The honey on some of the hives was ready to be harvested this week, but is now contaminated.
Mrs Roberts said she couldn't estimate how much this would cost the family company.
"All I know is they've been sprayed. All the bees are dead," Mrs Roberts said.
"They would have had to go in, I'd say they would have had to have a good knowledge of bees.
"I hate to say the amount of money that has been lost."
She said hives on two different sites in National Park land had been targeted.


Read more:


astonishing complacency...

Nerve-agent pesticides should not be banned in Britain despite four separate scientific studies strongly linking them to sharp declines in bees around the world, Government scientists have advised.

An internal review of recent research on neonicotinoids – pesticides that act on insects' central nervous systems and are increasingly blamed for problems with bee colonies – has concluded that no change is needed in British regulation.

The British position contrasts sharply with that of France, which in June banned one of the pesticides, thiamethoxam, made by the Swiss chemicals giant Syngenta. French scientists said it was impairing the abilities of honey-bees to find their way back to their nests. The Green MP Caroline Lucas described the British attitude as one of "astonishing complacency".

Concern is growing around the world that the chemicals may affect the ability of bees to pollinate crops, something that would have catastrophic consequences for agriculture. Bee pollination has been valued at £200m per year in Britain and £128bn worldwide.


see image at top and articles below it...

blue buzz...

Beekeepers in northeastern France are all abuzz after their bees started producing blue honey.

Since August beekeepers in the town of Ribeauville have witnessed their bees returning to the cluster of apiaries carrying unusually colorful substances - which turned their honey into unnatural colours.

But now the mystery has been solved.

It appears the enterprising bees have been eating the waste from a nearby biogas plant that has been processing the waste produced in the making of M&Ms.

Mars operates a chocolate factory near Strasbourg, around 100 km (62 miles) away from the affected apiaries.

The discovery was made after the beekeepers became determined to find the source of the blue honey.

terminated pollinators...

The United Nations has estimated that a third of all plant-based foods eaten by people depend on bee pollination and scientists have been baffled by plummeting numbers of bees, mainly in North America and Europe, in recent years.

Gill says previous studies have mostly examined the impact of pesticides on individual bees, but his study looked at the impact on bee colonies.

"Although field-level pesticide concentrations can have subtle or sublethal effects at the individual level, it is not known whether bee societies can buffer such effects or whether it results in a severe cumulative effect at the colony level," he and colleagues write.

Gill and colleagues exposed colonies of 40 bumblebees, which are bigger than the more common honeybee, to neonicotinoid and pyrethroid pesticides over four weeks at levels similar to those in fields.

Neonicotinoids are nicotine-like chemicals used to protect various crops from locusts, aphids and other pests.

Two-thirds of bees lost

The researchers found that the average number of bees lost in the experiment - both dead in the nesting box and failing to return - was about two-thirds of the total for bees exposed to a combination of the two pesticides against a third for a control, exposed to neither.

neonicotinoids kill bees...

The chemicals in question - imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianindin - belong to a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids.

The insecticides work by affecting the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death.

'Data shortcomings'

A report published by EFSA scientists in January identified a number of risks posed by the three insecticides.

It assessed the possible threats to the pollinators from exposure to residues in pollen and nectar, dust and guttation fluid (some plants exude sap in the form of droplets).

However, it added that in some cases it was "unable to finalise the assessments due to shortcomings in the available data".

Bee expert Prof David Goulson from the University of Stirling said he was disappointed that the proposals had not been adopted.

"The panel of independent experts at EFSA spent six months studying all the evidence before concluding that current use of neonicotinoids posed an unacceptable risk to bees," he observed.

However, Prof Lin Field, head of crop protection at Rothamsted Research, said she was pleased with the outcome of the vote.

"In my view there is still is not enough clear evidence supporting a ban on neonicotinoids," she explained.

poisoning for profit...

A landmark step in the campaign to ban a nerve-agent pesticide blamed for causing mass die-offs in bees could be reached on Monday following one of the most intensive environmental lobbying battles of recent years.

Months of furious argument which has pitched green groups, the chemical industry, farmers, scientists and politicians at bitter odds with each other will be decided in a crucial EU vote in Brussels.

Britain’s Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, has been criticised for failing to support a ban on three types of neonicotinoid pesticides which have been linked to a dramatic decline in the bee population.

Mr Paterson, who is backed by the Government’s new chief scientific adviser, the National Farmers’ Union, as well as some beekeepers, insists that there is insufficient evidence to support the two-year moratorium.

EU pressured by chemical companies to destroy bees...

Private letters reveal Syngenta and Bayer’s furious lobbying against EU measures to save bees

The crisis of dramatic bee population decline has been a top issue in media and political debate in Europe. A wide variety of culprits are under scrutiny, including certain parasites, viruses, pesticides and industrial agriculture. But new scientific evidence from British and French research institutions, published in Science in early 2012, suggests that neonicotinoids pesticides in particular might be one of the main drivers. Syngenta and Bayer, two companies producing these substances, are waging an all-out lobbying war against the proposed partial ban of these substances by the European Commission following EFSA’s (European Food Safetey Authority) opinion warning of the risk they pose to bees. Will the pesticide lobby succeed in convincing Member States to vote no to a ban?

New scientific evidence triggers EU concern

Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides that came onto the market in the mid 1990s and early 2000s. Many crops such as corn, soy, wheat or rapeseed are now treated with them. They are normally applied directly to seeds or in soil treatments, in an attempt to preserve seeds and plants from insect attacks at an early stage. As systemic pesticides, once in the seed, they enter the whole plant through its vascular system and are found in every plant tissue (leaves, flowers, pollen...); but they can also remain active in the soil for a long time (up to three years). Particularly controversial among the neonicotinoids are Thiametoxam, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, substances patented by biotech and pesticide companies Syngenta and Bayer.

The French scientific study reported the loss of honeybee foragers caused by exposure to low doses of Thiamethoxam (Syngenta). The British study reported that low doses of Imidacloprid (Bayer) affected the colonies of bumblebees, reducing their development and their reproduction, including a dramatic loss of queens. Authors stated that, “given the scale of use of neonicotinoids, we suggest that they may be having a considerable negative impact on wild bumble bee populations across the developed world.”

In March 2012 the European Commission mandated the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to deliver a scientific opinion on a report that led Italy to temporarily suspend the placing on the market of maize seeds treated with neonicotinoids. In April 2012 the Commission broadened its request to include the new scientific evidence published in Science. In addition to Italy, Slovenia and Germany had already applied protective measures, including temporary suspensions or bans in certain uses of neonicotinoids.

A furious lobbying campaign

In June 2012, the French Government announced its intention to withdraw the registration of Thiamethoxam. The pesticides industry immediately started putting pressure on the Commission. This was the beginning of a furious lobbying campaign; a series of letters sent by Syngenta, Bayer and the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA, the pesticides producers’ lobby whose members include Bayer, Monsanto, BASF, Dow, and DuPont / Syngenta) to the European Commission and EFSA, seen by CEO, have enabled us to reconstruct its story. Here are the main arguments used by these two companies:

  • It’s farmers’ fault. Bayer, in a letter addressed to Commissioner Dalli, claims that past incidents of pesticide poisoning that affected honey bees were the result of inappropriate use and/or lack of precaution in applying the substance, thus they offload responsibility onto farmers rather than the product itself.

  • Just a small group of activists and hobby beekeepers. Syngenta made the accusationthat some Member States, “driven by a small group of activists and hobby beekeepers” are lobbying to suspend, “their insecticide and all other neonicotinoids. And they urged the Commissioner to “resist this pressure” for the sake of the credibility of the EU’s regulatory process.

  • Me and my friend Obama. Syngenta’s CEO, Michael Mack, personally wrote to Commissioner Dalli to remind him that just two weeks before he had lunched at the G-8 summit with US President Obama, President of the European Council Van Rompuy, President of the European Commission Barroso and France’s President Hollande, discussing the contribution of the private sector to global food security and the money Syngenta was committed to spend in Africa.

  • Keep calm, and use neonicotinoids. In another letter sent in November to Commissioners Ciolos (Agriculture) and Geoghegan-Quinn (Research) in November, and to all EU Agriculture Ministers, Syngenta called for a comprehensive review, that they insisted was necessary to avoid “wrong conclusions from a rushed process that could have disastrous implications for agriculture and ironically for bee health”. This, added to the fact that it was only three neonicotinoids (including Syngenta’s Thiamethoxam) being singled out, was “desperately disappointing” for Syngenta.

  • “Independent” analysis show that Europe can’t survive without neonicotinoids.According to Syngenta, who didn’t provide any references to back up the claim, “the loss of this technology will cost farmers and consumers up to €1 billion and undermine the production of safe and affordable food”. In a letter they sent in November they stated that according to “independent analysis” there would be significant damage to European agriculture if their product was banned (more than €17 bn over the next five years) as well as the risk of relocation of corn production. In addition, ECPA claims potential yield losses of up to 10% in oilseed rape and cereals, 30% in sugarbeet and 50% in maize as a result of a potential ban.

    Another study promoted by industry was research carried by the Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture, that concluded that neonicotinoid pesticides make a significant socio-econonomic and environmental contribution to European agriculture and the wider economy. The support and partners of this Institute include BASF, Bayer CropScience, E.ON, KWS and Nestlé. The study was supported by Copa-Cogeca (the big farmers’ lobby group in Brussels), the European Seeds Association (mainly representing the largest companies in the seed industry) and the European Crop Protection Association, and financed by Bayer and Syngenta. This, however, was not mentioned in Syngenta and Bayer’s letters.

  • ‘Science’ is on my side. For decades, industry’s strategy has been to advocate for a science-based policy. But which science exactly? This particular lobbying campaign provides helpful insights into the sort of science industry favours, and the sort it doesn’t.

    Firstly, a comment can be made about the role of EFSA. Industry usually pushes for decisions to be made by scientists and experts rather than politicians, the latter having to justify themselves in front of voters; it was therefore not a surprise to read the pesticides lobby ECPA write to the Commission that “as an industry, we welcome the fact that EFSA is carrying out a detailed evaluation on the use of these seed treatments”. In the meantime, they lobbied the European Commission with scientific studies backing their commercial interests: Bayer explained to the Commission that neonicotinoids were not responsible for bee decline as other experts maintained that pathogens and parasites were the main problem. Meanwhile, Syngenta questioned the conditions in which the studies with critical findings were performed, claiming that the exposure in these studies significantly exceeded any real situation found in the field. According to them, France was taking decisions in the absence of “any validated science”. The company also delivered to the Commission a costly GLP (Good Laboratory Practice)-compliant study on bees exposed to corn treated with thiamethoxam it had sent to the private analysis lab Eurofins. This study concluded that “no effect in terms of mortality, honeybee activity and brood development and behaviour of the honeybees” could be observed1.

    However, EFSA’s opinion,published on 16th January, was not the one the companies had hoped for: it was very critical of the use of these pesticides, although the agency was not able to finalise the assessments in some cases due to shortcomings in the available data (remember: EFSA usually doesn’t do any research and merely assesses others’ work). EFSA and its scientific experts found risks to bees associated with neonicotinoids pesticide exposures from pollen and nectar contaminated with pesticide, from pesticide dust, and from exposure from guttation (plants exudating drops of sap on the tips or edges of their leaves).

    Bayer immediately counter-attacked: they commissioned another analysis of EFSA’s conclusion by “an independent panel of bee scientists”: in fact, the company Exponent®, which specialises in defending products from regulation. Exponent® came to the conclusion that “EFSA risk assessments use unrealistic exposure values, make inappropriate comparisons to toxicity threshold levels, fail to consider critical bee behaviour, and inappropriately discount monitoring and field studies”, and therefore “overstates the risks to honey bees”. Exponent®’s modus operandi is reanalysis of scientific studies detrimental to industry to cast doubt on their conclusions in order to prevent their use for regulatory purposes, but their production, tailored for litigation, has been described as “more legal pleadings than scientific papers”.2

  • You don’t like my science? You will hear from my lawyers. Syngenta had access to EFSA’s press release before its publication. They immediately sent an extremely aggressive letter to the agency, claiming that the press release was “incorrect in a major and highly relevant aspect but EFSA also moves out of its area of responsibility and mandate”. Syngenta even threatened to take legal action and set a deadline: “we ask you to formally confirm that you will rectify the press release by 11 o’clock. Otherwise you will appreciate that we will consider our legal options.”

    Syngenta’s anger increased when the press release was published without major changes. In several letters to EFSA they insisted that the press release is “inaccurate and contrary to the EFSA conclusion”. And the company requested access to documents such as all the draft versions of the press release, internal correspondence and the preparatory meeting notes that led to the draft.

    After analysing the documents provided by EFSA, they then targeted EFSA’s Director, accusing her of not including Syngenta’s comments on the draft press release in harsh terms: “you took the personal responsibility to overrule the internal EFSA proposal to rectify the incorrect press release”. Therefore, “Syngenta would appreciate further explanations from you” before “deciding on the legal options available to it and the identity of specific defendants in any possible court action”.

    Syngenta wanted to find culprits, and therefore requested more documents, including handwritten notes of internal EFSA meetings as well as all the correspondence regarding their attempts to change the draft press release.

  • Mr. Politician, please help me against these ignorant scientists. Threatening EFSA having proved ineffective, Syngenta and Bayer are now putting maximum pressure on the Commission and Member States, and publicly blaming EFSA. Syngenta for instance counterattacked that “EFSA has limited practical knowledge of agriculture” and that if this sort of risk assessment was repeated “it would be impossible to maintain the registration of any existing insecticides or to register any new ones”. According to Syngenta, the methodology used by EFSA to conduct the review was “questionable because it was based on a highly theoretical and extremely conservative scientific opinion”.

    Beyond direct pressures to politicians, Syngenta launched a fierce campaign in various national media to avoid Members States approving the proposal, claiming for example in the UK media that EFSA had been “nobbled”. The pesticides association ECPA has also been really active, promoting the Humboldt Institute study in the European and national media and scaremongering the public with the prospect of disaster should the proposal be approved.

  • I’ll solve the problem myself, no need to regulate. The two companies have launched a charm offensive to be seen as part of the solution rather than of the problem, and for this are launching an upgrade of Syngenta’s PR sting “Operation Pollinator”. This consists in paying a few farmers so that they grow flowers and other plants beneficial to bees on their farms. But how many farms exactly? No figures have been provided.
The battle for Member States’ vote

The battleground is now at the European Member State level. On 15th March, at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, the European Commission put to the vote a proposal that would restrict for two years the use of Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiametoxam to crops not attractive to bees and to winter cereals, starting 1st of July (meaning this year’s crops would not be affected). It would also prohibit the sale and use of these pesticides to “amateurs”. This proposal was limited and criticised by farmers group and beekeepers for not being ambitious enough, but still failed to reach a qualified majority. It was supported only by 13 member states (Slovenia, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Denmark, Cyprus, Belgium, Italy, Latvia and Malta), while nine countries (Slovakia, Romania, Czech Republic, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Lithuania, Ireland and Greece) rejected the proposal. The UK, Germany, Finland, Bulgaria and Estonia abstained.

The proposal will be retabled by Commissioner Borg at the Appeal Committee in the coming weeks, with a vote likely to occur probably on the 26th of April or the 2nd of May. If Member States again fail to reach a qualified majority supporting the proposal, the Commission would have the power to approve it. Meanwhile, the pesticides industry is lobbying Member States hard to try to reach a qualified majority to reject the proposal outright and thus block the ban. The coming weeks’ battle will be crucial: will industry interests prevail against bees’ survival?


Petition to be signed...

save the bees...


Imidacloprid effects on bees

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Imidacloprid is a nicotine-derived systemic insecticide, belonging to a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids. Although it is off patent, the primary producer of imidacloprid is the German chemical firm Bayer CropScience. The trade names for imidacloprid include Gaucho, Admire, Merit, Advantage, Confidor, Provado, and Winner. Imidacloprid is a neurotoxin that is selectively toxic to insects relative to vertebrates and most non-insect invertebrates.[1] It acts as an agonist on the postsynaptic nicotinic acetylcholine receptors of motor neurones in insects . This interaction results in convulsions, paralysis, and eventually death of the poisoned insect.[2][3] It is effective on contact and via stomach action.[4] Because imidacloprid binds much more strongly to insect neuron receptors than to mammal neuron receptors, this insecticide is selectively more toxic to insects than mammals.[5] As a systemic pesticide, imidacloprid translocates or moves readily in the xylem of plants from the soil into the leaves, fruit, flowers, pollen, nectar, and guttation fluid of plants. Bees may be exposed to imidacloprid when they feed on the nectar, pollen, and guttation fluid of imidacloprid-treated plants.[6]

Experts believe that imidacloprid is one of many possible causes of bee decline and the recent bee malady termed colony collapse disorder (CCD). In 2011, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, no single factor alone is responsible for the malady, however honey bees are thought to possibly be affected by neonicotinoid chemicals existing as residues in the nectar and pollen which bees forage on. The scientists studying CCD have tested samples of pollen and have indicated findings of a broad range of substances, including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. They note that while the doses taken up by bees are not lethal, they are concerned about possible chronic problems caused by long-term exposure.[7][8]

In January 2013, the European Food Safety Authority stated that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptably high risk to bees, and that the industry-sponsored science upon which regulatory agencies' claims of safety have relied may be flawed, concluding that, "A high acute risk to honey bees was identified from exposure via dust drift for the seed treatment uses in maize, oilseed rape and cereals. A high acute risk was also identified from exposure via residues in nectar and/or pollen."[9] An author of a Science study prompting the EESA review suggested that industry science pertaining to neonicotinoids may have been deliberately deceptive, and the UK Parlament has asked manufacturer Bayer Cropscience to explain discrepancies in evidence they have submitted to an investigation.[10]

April 2013 the EU decided to restrict thiamethoxam, clothianidin, along with imidacloprid.[11]


Gus: Presently the manufacturers of the banned chemicals are working to prove that their toxic material is not responsible for the collapse of bee colonies...

One of the problem is that in most cases there is not just one contributing factor but two or more contributing factors. Thus EXCLUSIVE studies with the poisons done separately may show a weakening of bee resistance, but not instant death. Like in many extinction cases, there is not one but a convergence of factors that contribute to the extinction. It is our moral and ethical duty to eliminate our poisoning of the environment with chemicals, the longevity of which will make them to combine their actions with other chemicals we have not invented yet... 

For example, Benzene is a commonly used product for manufacturing. It is also created when smoking tobacco. Yet benzene is highly cancerogenic and is associated with aggressive forms of leukaemia... Yet me mitigate the risks versus the benefits... Benzene may not act alone in inducting leukaemia  in healthy people but all that may need is a small trigger (say rogue enzymes) to start an irreversible process. 

Bees are affected by the neonicotinoids. We need to stop the usage of such poisons.


Write to the European Parliament to hold the bans of these insecticides forever not just for the two years moratorium since April 2013 while the chemical companies are preparing "arguments in their favour"... wink wink say no more.


Neonicotinoid pesticides and the decline of bees...

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".

The scientists say the threat to nature is the same as that once posed by the notorious chemical DDT.

Manufacturers say the pesticides are not harming bees or other species.

Neonicotinoids were introduced in the early 1990s as a replacement for older, more damaging chemicals.

Start Quote

Using them as prophylactics is absolute madness in that sense”

Prof Dave GoulsonUniversity of Sussex

They are a systemic insecticide, meaning that they are absorbed into every cell in a plant, making all parts poisonous to pests.

But some scientists have been concerned about their impact, almost since the moment they were introduced.

Much of the worry has surrounded their effects on bees.

There's been a well documented, global decline in these critical pollinators.

Many researchers believe that exposure to neonicotinoids has been an important destabilising factor for the species.


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killing bees with neonicotinoid sprays...


Scientists are answering calls from beekeepers across the world by researching the impact of an insecticide seed treatment used by canola farmers.

Australian apiarists have long been concerned the product, made of neonicotinoid chemicals, is killing off bees or causing them ill-health.

Their fear was only heightened when the United Kingdom announced a three-year moratorium on all neonicotinoid chemicals, citing the preservation of bees as reason.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority has already banned neonicotinoid foliar sprays because of the impact on bees, but canola producers can legally use it as a seed treatment.

The blanket ban overseas has had a huge impact on grain producers because they’ve lost their most effective tool in combating the vector of canola virus, Beet Western Yellows.

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See also:


the case for wild bees in europe...


More and more scientists think that wild bees, which provide reproduction and survival of more than 70% of flowering plants worldwide are declining rapidly - especially in France and in Europe.
One in ten flowering plant species are already on the road to extinction in France. A study made in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom also revealed that in only 20 years, twenty per cent of flowering plants that depend on insects for their reproduction and survival have simply disappeared in the studied sites.
It is still not clear whether this decline is due to the massive use of more and more toxic pesticides, to the increase in intensive agriculture, with the loss of biodiversity, monoculture, destruction of hedgerows and the accelerating decline of their natural habitat. Or in all these cases at the same time.
But what we know is that it is dangerous to continue to ignore the problem. We urgently need to provide an overview of wild bees populations that remain in Europe — and make an inventory of all the plants they depend on, taking all necessary measures for their conservation.

Gus Leonisky
(with the help of European bee protection societies...)


neonicotinoid pesticides and the death of bees...

Mike Ludwig from Truthout reports on the United States EPA's admission that neonicotinoid pesticides (widely used in the U.S. and Australia) pose a threat to bees. In the face of worldwide bee decline and a continent-wide ban in Europe, environmentalists hope this will lead to further restrictions on its use.

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) announced on Wednesday that a preliminary risk assessment of the pesticide imidacloprid shows that the chemical poses a threat to some pollinators, specifically honeybees.

Imidacloprid is one of four neonicotinoid pesticides that honey producers and environmentalists have long suspected to be linked to rapidly declining bee populations in North America and beyond, a phenomenon widely known as colony collapse disorder. The EPA is in the process of reviewing the class of chemicals to determine whether they pose an ecological threat to pollinators, starting with imidacloprid.

Neonictonoids are nicotine-like pesticides that attack the central nervous system of insects and are commonly used to protect seed stocks and kill unwanted foliage-eating bugs like aphids and beetles.

The EPA's preliminary risk assessment of imidacloprid found that the pesticide

'potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators,'

according to a press statement.

The agency found that residues of imidacloprid with a concentration of 25 parts per billion or higher on flowering plants and their nectar are likely to have a negative effect on beehive populations.

Data shows that flowering crops such as cotton and citrus are likely to have concentrations of the pesticide above the 25 parts per billion threshold, while other crops, such as corn and leafy vegetables, either do not produce nectar that attracts bees or typically have residue levels below the threshold.

The European Union banned the use of neonicotinoids in 2013 despite considerable pushback from pesticide manufacturers, and environmentalists have urged the EPA to take action to limit use of the chemicals for years.

In 2015, the EPA temporarily halted the approval of new outdoor uses of neonicotinoid pesticides until the risk assessments are complete. The agency also proposed a ban on the use of pesticides that are toxic to bees, including neonicotinoids, when crops are in bloom and bees are being used to pollinate them.

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useless pesticides...

In 2011, agrichemical giants Monsanto and Bayer CropScience joined forces to sell soybean seeds coated with (among other things) an insecticide of the neonicotinoid family. Neonics are so-called systematic pesticides—when the coated seeds sprout and grow, the resulting plants take up the bug-killing chemical, making them poisonous to crop-chomping pests like aphids. Monsanto rivals Syngenta and DuPont also market neonic-treated soybean seeds.

These products—buoyed by claims that the chemical protects soybean crops from early-season insect pests—have enjoyed great success in the marketplace. Soybeans are the second-most-planted US crop, covering about a quarter of US farmland—and at least a third of US soybean acres are grown with neonic-treated seeds. But two problems haunt this highly lucrative market: 1) The neonic soybean seeds might not do much at all to fight off pests, and 2) they appear to be harming bees and may also hurt other pollinators, birdsbutterflies, and water-borne invertebrates.

Doubts about neonic-treated soybean seeds' effectiveness aren't new. In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency released a blunt preliminary report finding that "neonicotinoid seed treatments likely provide $0 in benefits" to soybean growers. But the agrichemical industry likes to portray the EPA as an overzealous regulator that relies on questionable data, and it quickly issued a report vigorously disagreeing with the EPA's assessment.

Now the seed/agrichemical giants will have to open a new front in their battle to convince farmers to continue paying up for neonic-treated soybean seeds. In a recent publication directed to farmers, a coalition of the nation's most important Midwestern ag-research universities—Iowa State, Kansas State, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, North Dakota State, Michigan State, the University of Minnesota, the University of Missouri, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, South Dakota State, and the University of Wisconsin—argued plainly that "for typical field situations, independent research demonstrates that neonicotinoid seed treatments [for soybeans] do not provide a consistent return on investment."


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killing bees while killing mosquitoes...

On Sunday morning, the South Carolina honey bees began to die in massive numbers.

Death came suddenly to Dorchester County, S.C. Stressed insects tried to flee their nests, only to surrender in little clumps at hive entrances. The dead worker bees littering the farms suggested that colony collapse disorder was not the culprit — in that odd phenomenon, workers vanish as though raptured, leaving a living queen and young bees behind.

Instead, the dead heaps signaled the killer was less mysterious, but no less devastating. The pattern matched acute pesticide poisoning. By one estimate, at a single apiary — Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply, in Summerville — 46 hives died on the spot, totaling about 2.5 million bees.

Walking through the farm, one Summerville woman wrote on Facebook, was “like visiting a cemetery, pure sadness.”

A Clemson University scientist collected soil samples from Flowertown on Tuesday, according to WCBD-TV, to further investigate the cause of death. But to the bee farmers, the reason is already clear. Their bees had been poisoned by Dorchester’s own insecticide efforts, casualties in the war on disease-carrying mosquitoes.

On Sunday morning, parts of Dorchester County were sprayed with Naled, a common insecticide that kills mosquitoes on contact. The United States began using Naled in 1959, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which notes that the chemical dissipates so quickly it is not a hazard to people. That said, human exposure to Naled during spraying “should not occur.”

In parts of South Carolina, trucks trailing pesticide clouds are not an unusual sight, thanks to a mosquito-control program that also includes destroying larvae. Given the current concerns of West Nile virus and Zika — there are several dozen cases of travel-related Zika in South Carolina, though the state health department reports no one has yet acquired the disease from a local mosquito bite — Dorchester decided to try something different Sunday.

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an unsustainable "good news" fantastic story...

The largest commercial honey bee pollinator in one of Australia's key food bowls claims he can no longer base his 2,000 hive operation in the region because of chemical use by the emerging cotton industry.

Harold Saxvik's family has been keeping bees at Darlington Point in the New South Wales Riverina for more than 80 years.

In 2013, he lost 500 hives to insecticide spray drift which he believes came from nearby cotton farms.

Since then he has been moving his bees to avoid any risk but he said it had become unworkable.


Cotton Australia's chief executive officer Adam Kay said the industry had made huge reductions in chemical use and was recognised internationally for its environmental stewardship.

"It's a fantastic story," Mr Kay said.

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ten years of beehive blues...


Ten years ago, beekeepers in the United States raised the alarm that thousands of their hives were mysteriously empty of bees.

What followed was global concern over a new phenomenon: colony collapse disorder.

Since then we have realised that it was not just the US that was losing its honey bees; similar problems have manifested all over the world.

To make things worse, we are also losing many of our populations of wild bees.

Losing bees can have tragic consequences, for us as well as them.

Bees are pollinators for about one-third of the plants we eat, a service that has been valued at $US168 billion per year worldwide.

Ten years after the initial alarm, what is the current status of the world's bee populations, and how far have we come towards understanding what has happened?

The current status of bees worldwide

Since the alarm was first raised, many countries have created new monitoring methods to judge the status of their bee stocks.

As a result we have much more data on bee populations, although coverage is still patchy and differences in survey methods make it hard to compare between continents.

It is clear that bees in the United States are still struggling.

Beekeepers can tolerate up to 15 per cent losses of colonies over winter, but the US is massively above this threshold, having lost 28.1 per cent of colonies over the 2015-16 winter.

Canada, by contrast, reported 16.8 per cent losses.

This is better, but still above the level of losses at which beekeepers can easily restock.

Only recently have we had data from central Europe. There, honey bees seem to be doing better: 11.9 per cent losses in 2015-16.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand surveys only began in the last year and have reported winter loss of 10.7 per cent.

Australia does not yet have a countrywide survey of the state of bee colonies.

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neonicotinoids kill bees...


The most extensive study to date on neonicotinoid pesticides concludes that they harm both honeybees and wild bees.

Researchers said that exposure to the chemicals left honeybee hives less likely to survive over winter, while bumblebees and solitary bees produced fewer queens.

The study spanned 2,000 hectares across the UK, Germany and Hungary and was set up to establish the "real-world" impacts of the pesticides.

The results are published in Science.

Neonicotinoids were placed under a temporary ban in Europe in 2013 after concerns about their impact on bees. The European Commission told the BBC that it intends to put forward a new proposal to further restrict the use of the chemicals.

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See also:



Note: in extinction and mass killings such as bee colonies, more than one factor is often at the source of the problem. Neonicotinoids are only one major side of the problem.

criminal in the top end...

A Top End beekeeper says hundreds of thousands of his bees in 120 hives have died after being poisoned with the loss costing him up to $70,000.

The hives were 15 kilometres to the west of Katherine, and were believed to have been sprayed with an insecticide on Sunday or Monday.

Nathan Woods has notified NT Police about the loss of his bees and offered a $5,000 reward for anyone who has information that can lead to a conviction of those responsible.

He said there was a scene of "total devastation" when he checked the hives on Wednesday morning.

"I arrived and there was just carnage, dead bees everywhere," Mr Woods said.

"I opened the hives up and it was obvious they had been poisoned because all the bees were dead on the inside as well as outside.

"The only way that could happen is if someone sprayed in the hives."


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it's cotton...

On Christmas Day farmers around Walgett in north-west New South Wales noticed their infant cotton plants had begun to wither. Leaves began to curl and die, killing some plants and stressing others.

Within days, it was clear Walgett was facing a serious incident that had affected nearly 6,000 hectares (60 sq km) of cotton farms reaching as far as Burren Junction, and Rowena.

The culprit is believed to be a giant plume of 2-4,D, a herbicide that is used to kill broadleaf weeds in fallow fields and in some cereal crops. A few days earlier it had rained, which prompts the weeds to sprout and farmers began spraying – though who is responsible for the 2-4,D plume remains a mystery.

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Spraying insecticides and herbicided in the open can lead to devastatating concequences. This is why I am campaigning to ban those "outdoors automatic sprays" (or non-automatic for that matter) that suppose to keep bugs away and/or kill them... These plumes of insecticides can waft to your organic garden with the breeze and kill off all the good "pests" such as spiders and others. The use and manufacture of such "outdoor sprays" is irresponsible.

ban of the neonicotinoids...

On Friday, European regulators banned a widely-used class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, a move called a “huge win” and “groundbreaking” by campaigners.

"The EU's groundbreaking ban on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides is a huge win for pollinators, people, and the planet," said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, senior food futures campaigner for Friends of the Earth (FOE), Common Dreams reported. 

In addition, Lori Ann Burd, director of the European Center for Biological Diversity's environmental health program, called the move a win for "science-based regulation of pesticides."

According to a recent statement by the European Union, the three types of neonicotinoid pesticides — imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam — will only be allowed in permanent greenhouses that do not house any bees.

Multiple studies have shown links between neonicotinoid use and decreasing bee populations. The new regulations are to take effect by the end of this year.

"Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production, and the environment," Andriukaitis Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for health and food safety, told the Guardian. 


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Neonicotinoids and environmental pollution

The widespread and systematic use of pesticides in the neonicotinoid family, if they are used in a foliar way (aerial application) or systemic (coating of the seed) permanently pollute water and soil. They wreak havoc on non-target invertebrate populations (bees, ladybugs and beetles, fresh water mollusks, worms…) but are also a serious threat to mammals, fishes and birds, which if they don’t immediately die from the contact with neonicotinoids, suffer from impaired immunity, malnutrition, reproductive disorders and loss of cognitive capacity.

Only less than 20% of the substance coating the seed is absorbed by the plant, the remainder is dispersed in soil and aquatic environments, where it can remain between 200 and 1000 days and accumulate if the following crops also treated. If the following crops are not treated, they still develop high doses of neonicotinoids.

Neonicotinoids are soluble and travel very easily in water. We found them in groundwater, streams, ponds and rivers, canals… In California, 89% of the rivers studied contained traces of neonicotinoids. These pollutants pose a major threat to the ecosystem, and a serious threat to all organisms that ensure its balance.


Effects on invertebrates 


  • Earthworms that plow the earth naturally through their galleries are particularly affected. High doses kill them immediately, while lower doses decrease their body mass and affect their ability to dig tunnels. 
  • The presence of neonicotinoids in a waterbody causes a decrease in aquatic arthropods populations, which natural action is cleaning and treating waters. For example, after only 14 days of exposure to substances, freshwater shrimp are no longer able to move or to feed and eventually die.
  • The same population decline is noted in studied beetles, ladybugs and termites. The devastating effects on bees and wild pollinators (subject of another further study of Pollinis) are undeniable, and pose a significant threat to the future of agriculture...
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Read from top. And please note: neonicotinoids... ACT MOSTLY LIKE NERVE AGENTS.


Organophosphorus compounds such as nerve agents and pesticides will destroy the AChE enzyme. The elimination of AChE leads to a quick excess of neurotransmitters in the brain, overloading nerve signals, confusing these signals. leading to seizures and death. Various nerve agents act differently but basically they prevent AChE from “doing its job” of “ressetting the neutral position of neurons”.

ALERT !...

Lobbyists of the large agrochemical firms have succeeded with a master stroke which risks to push back the fight to save bees in Europe if we do not act immediately.

The announcement by the European Commission of a ban of three neonicotinoid bee-killing pesticides (clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and imidacloprid) published on Wednesday 30 May in Brussels is a large smokescreen already counteracted by large agrochemical companies — with the complicity of the authorities supposed to control them, to continue marketing their other old and new generation bee killers for years to come, to the detriment of pollinators (bees/insects), the environment, and food security!

The ban on three bee-killers announced by the European Commission is a scam by the agrochemical companies to lull citizens that the fate of bees and nature is "safe", while they continue to market different bee and pollinator killers.

Do not let them get away with it so easily: sign the petition launched by POLLINIS, and forward this email to alert your loved ones by informing as many people as possible of this scam: do not let your loved ones fall into the trap !

Exerting maximum pressure on the Commission and the European Parliament to show that we are not fooled, and demand the immediate removal of all the bee-killing pesticides in Europe!

What has happened in Brussels is deceiving — we have to go back to 2013 to understand why:

After years of mobilisation of citizens, beekeepers, associations, and the publication of more than fifty scientific studies incriminating a certain class of pesticides - the neonicotinoids - in the massive mortality of bees, the European Commission decided in May 2013 to implement place a partial moratorium on 3 of these substances.

Given the evidence against at the time, a clear and immediate ban of all neonics (seven substances in all) would have been the best solution to curb the destruction of pollinators, but the agrochemistry has mobilised professional lobbyists used many ways, from blackmail to offshoring, threats of agricultural destruction, biased "scientific" studies, to convince the European Commission to not prevent the marketing of other destructive products.

As a result, not only were they able to continue selling the substances not covered by the moratorium, but thanks to generous "exemptions" that the commission provided, the use of bee-killing neonicotinoids in the fields increased by 31% year-over-year.

Worse: to circumvent the planned ban of these disastrous substances for the environment, which represent a huge income for these multinationals — 40% of the world market of agricultural insecticides, they obtained, under questionable conditions, the authorisation to use two new bee killers, flupiradifurone and sulfoxaflor — despite the lack of testing for one, and EFSA's strong warnings about the 'risks to bees' for the other…


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The Trump administration has rescinded an Obama-era ban on the use of pesticides linked to declining bee populations and the cultivation of genetically modified crops in dozens of national wildlife refuges where farming is permitted. 

Environmentalists, who had sued to bring about the two-year-old ban, said on Friday that lifting the restriction poses a grave threat to pollinating insects and other sensitive creatures relying on toxic-free habitats afforded by wildlife refuges.

“Industrial agriculture has no place on refuges dedicated to wildlife conservation and protection of some of the most vital and vulnerable species,” said Jenny Keating, federal lands policy analyst for the group Defenders of Wildlife.

Limited agricultural activity is authorized on some refuges by law, including cooperative agreements in which farmers are permitted to grow certain crops to produce more food or improve habitat for the wildlife there.

The rollback, spelled out in a US Fish and Wildlife Service memo, ends a policy that had prohibited farmers on refuges from planting biotech crops – such as soybeans and corn – engineered to resist insect pests and weed-controlling herbicides.

That policy also had barred the use on wildlife refuges of neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics, in conjunction with GMO crops. Neonics are a class of insecticides tied by research to declining populations of wild bees and other pollinating insects around the world.


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another poisoned explanation by gus...

Insects around the world are in a crisis, according to a small but growing number of long-term studies showing dramatic declines in invertebrate populations. A new report suggests that the problem is more widespread than scientists realized. Huge numbers of bugs have been lost in a pristine national forest in Puerto Rico, the study found, and the forest’s insect-eating animals have gone missing, too.

In 2014, an international team of biologists estimated that, in the past 35 years, the abundance of invertebrates such as beetles and bees had decreased by 45 percent. In places where long-term insect data are available, mainly in Europe, insect numbers are plummeting. A study last year showed a 76 percent decrease in flying insects in the past few decades in German nature preserves.

The latest report, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that this startling loss of insect abundance extends to the Americas. The study’s authors implicate climate change in the loss of tropical invertebrates.


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Apart from global warming which is an important factor, a Gus explanation of insect population losses is that the amount of poisons, insecticides, herbicides and other brothercides, we have used for the past 60 years or so on this thin planet surface is staggering and slowly making a "delayed" impact. From DDT to household pests sprays and agent orange, we have poisoned this planet with pyriproxyfen (insect growth regulator), methomyl, imidacloprid+beta-cyfluthrin, neonicotinoid+pyrethroid, organophosphate and STUPIDITY...

Other human-made "toxic" products, which are not used as poisons against nature, are slowly entering the food chain and changing the metabolism of living creatures, including our own metabolism. Some of these products are used in the manufacture of plastics and such. 


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cutting down the tree of life...

Humanity’s ongoing annihilation of wildlife is cutting down the tree of life, including the branch we are sitting on, according to a stark new analysis.

More than 300 different mammal species have been eradicated by human activities. The new research calculates the total unique evolutionary history that has been lost as a result at a startling 2.5bn years.

Furthermore, even if the destruction of wild areas, poaching and pollution were ended within 50 years and extinction rates fell back to natural levels, it would still take 5-7 million years for the natural world to recover.

Many scientists think a sixth mass extinction of life on Earth has begun, propelled by human destruction of wildlife, and 83% of wild mammals have already gone. The new work puts this in the context of the evolution and extinction of species that occurred for billions of years before modern humans arrived.

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Meanwhile :


In 2015, India’s internal intelligence agency wrote a report that depicted various campaigners and groups as working against the national interest. The report singled out environmental activists and NGOs that had been protesting against state-corporate policies. Those largely undemocratic and unconstitutional policies were endangering rivers, forests and local ecologies, destroying and oppressing marginalised communities, entrenching the corporatisation of agriculture and usurping land rights.

These issues are not unique to India. Resistance against similar practices and injustices is happening across the world. And for their efforts, campaigners are being abused, incarcerated and murdered. Whether people are campaigning for the land rights of tribal communities in India or for the rights of peasant farmers in Latin America or are campaigning against the fracking industry in the UK or against pipelines in the US, there is a common thread: non-violent protest to help bring about a more just and environmentally sustainable world.

What is ultimately fuelling the push towards the relentless plunder of land, peoples and the environment is a strident globalised capitalism, euphemistically termed ‘globalisation’, which is underpinned by increasing state surveillance, paramilitary-type law enforcement and a US-backed push towards militarism.

The deregulation of international capital movement (financial liberalisation) effectively turned the world into a free-for-all for global capital. The ramping up of this militarism comes at the back end of a deregulating/pro-privatising neoliberal agenda that has sacked public budgets, depressed wages, expanded credit to consumers and to governments (to sustain spending and consumption) and unbridled financial speculation. In effect, spending on war is in part a desperate attempt to boost a stagnant US economy.

We may read the writings of the likes of John Perkins (economic hitmen), Michel Chossudovsky (the globalisation of poverty), Michael Hudson (treasury bond super-imperialism) or Paul Craig Roberts (the US’s descent into militarism and mass surveillance) to understand the machinations of billionaire capitalists and the economic system and massive levels of exploitation and suffering they preside over.

Food activists are very much part of the global pushback and the struggle for peace, equality and justice and in one form or another are campaigning against violence, corruption and cronyism. There is a determination to question and to hold to account those with wealth and power, namely transnational agribusiness corporations and their cronies who hold political office.

There is sufficient evidence for us to know that these companies lie and cover up truth. And we also know that their bought politicians, academics, journalists and right-wing neoliberal backers and front groups smear critics and attempt to marginalise alternative visions of food and agriculture.

They are first to man the barricades when their interests are threatened. Those interests are tied to corporate power, neoliberal capitalism and the roll out of food for profit. These companies and their cheerleaders would be the last to speak up about the human rights abuses faced by environmentalists in various places across the world. They have little to say about the injustices of a global food regime that creates and perpetuates food surpluses in rich countries and food deficits elsewhere, resulting in a billion people with insufficient food for their daily needs. Instead all they have to offer are clichés about the need for more corporate freedom and deregulation if we are to ‘feed the world’.

And they attempt to gloss over or just plain ignore the land grabs and the marginalisation of peasant farmers across the world, the agrarian crisis in India or the harm done by agrochemicals because it is all tied to the neoliberal globalisation agenda which fuels corporate profit, lavish salaries or research grants.


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the monsanto glory trap...

A Greenpeace investigation says Monsanto, the agrochemical giant, allegedly paid a lobbying firm to create fake pro-glyphosate farmers' movements in seven countries. Objective: to weigh on the European vote on this pesticide.

We know that the history of controversial giant agrochemical Monsanto is peppered with resounding scandals. But its last move to make glyphosate accepted — this pesticide suspected of being carcinogenic — could make you cry ... The firm would have paid a lobbying firm, Red Flag, to create a fake network of ghost farmers to value this controversial weed killer, while the European Union was debating its possible ban.

Fictional network and ghost farmers?

The investigative journalists of the environmental group Greenpeace, Unearthed, have claimed to have discovered the ploy of the American giant — revealing on October 17 the existence of pseudo-farmer movements present in seven European countries. In France, it would be the Twitter account of "Agriculture et Liberté" (Agriculture and Freedom), part of which publication sings the praises of glyphosate and claims its safety.


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Translation by Jules Letambour. Read from top.


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poisoning the planet...

In 2017, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, and UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics, Baskut Tuncak, produced a report that called for a comprehensive new global treaty to regulate and phase out the use of dangerous pesticides in farming and move towards sustainable agricultural practices.

In addition to the devastating impacts on human health, the two authors argued that the excessive use of pesticides contaminates soil and water sources, causing loss of biodiversity, the destruction of the natural enemies of pests and the reduction in the nutritional value of food. 

They drew attention to denials by the agroindustry of the hazards of certain pesticides and expressed concern about aggressive, unethical marketing tactics that remain unchallenged and the huge sums spent by the powerful chemical industry to influence policymakers and contest scientific evidence.

At the time, Elver said that agroecological approaches, which replace harmful chemicals, are capable of delivering sufficient yields to feed and nourish the entire world population, without undermining the rights of future generations to adequate food and health. 

The two authors added that it was time to overturn the myth that pesticides are necessary to feed the world and create a global process to transition toward safer and healthier food and agricultural production.

The authors were adamant that access to healthy, uncontaminated food is a human rights issue.

And this is not lost on environmental campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason who has just sent a detailed open letter/report to Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) in the UK – Open Letter to the National Farmers Union About Fraud in Europe and the UK. Mason’s report contains a good deal of information about pesticides, health and the environment.

Health impacts aside, Mason decided to write to Batters because it is increasingly clear that pesticides are responsible for declines in insects and wildlife, something which the NFU has consistently denied.

In 2017, the Soil Association obtained figures from FERA Science Ltd under a freedom of information request. Using data extracted for the first time from the records of FERA Science Ltd, which holds UK Government data on pesticide use in farming, it was found that pesticide active ingredients applied to three British crops have increased markedly. The data covered British staples wheat, potatoes and onions. Far from a 50% cut – which the NFU had claimed – the increase in active ingredients applied to these crops range from 480% to 1,700% over the last 40-odd years.


Mason’s aim is to make Batters aware that chemical-dependent, industrial agriculture is a major cause of an ongoing public health crisis and is largely responsible for an unfolding, catastrophic ecological collapse in the UK and globally. Mason places agrochemicals at the centre of her argument, especially globally ubiquitous glyphosate-based herbicides, the use of which have spiralled over the last few decades.

Batters is given information about important studies that suggest glyphosate causes epigenetic changes in humans and animals (diseases skip a generation before appearing) and that it is a major cause of severe obesity in children in the UK, not least because of its impact on the gut microbiome. As a result, Mason says, we are facing a global metabolic health crisis that places glyphosate at the heart of the matter.

And yet glyphosate may be on the market because of fraud. Mason points out that a new study has revealed the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology (LPT) in Hamburg has committed fraud in a series of regulatory tests, several of which had been carried out as part of the glyphosate re-approval process in 2017. At least 14% of new regulatory studies submitted for the re-approval of glyphosate were conducted by LPT Hamburg. The number could be higher, as this information in the dossiers often remains undisclosed to the public.

In light of this, Angeliki Lyssimachou, environmental toxicologist at Pesticide Action Network Europe, says:

The vast majority of studies leading to the approval of a pesticide are carried out by the pesticide industry itself, either directly or via contract laboratories such as LPT Hamburg… Our 140+ NGO coalition ‘Citizens for Science in Pesticide Regulation’ regularly calls on the (European) Commission to quit this scandalous process: tests must be carried out by independent laboratories under public scrutiny, while the financing of studies should be supported by industry.”

Mason then outlines the state of public health in the UK. A report, ‘The Health of the Nation: A Strategy for Healthier Longer Lives’, written by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Longevity found that women in the UK are living for 29 years in poor health and men for 23 years: an increase of 50% for women and 42% for men on previous estimates based on self-reported data.

In 2035, there will be around 16 million cases of dementia, arthritis, type 2 diabetes and cancers in people aged 65 and over in the UK – twice as many as in 2015. In 10 years, there will be 5.5 million people with type 2 diabetes while 70% of people aged 55+ will have at least one obesity-related disease.

The report found that the number of major illnesses suffered by older people will increase by 85% between 2015 and 2035.


Batters is also made aware that there is an insect apocalypse due to pesticides – numerous studies have indicated catastrophic declines. Mason mentions two scientific studies of the number of insects splattered by cars that have revealed a huge decline in abundance at European sites in two decades.

The research adds to growing evidence of what some scientists have called an “insect apocalypse”, which is threatening a collapse in the natural world that sustains humans and all life on Earth. A third study which Mason mentions shows plummeting numbers of aquatic insects in streams.

The survey of insects hitting car windscreens in rural Denmark used data collected every summer from 1997 to 2017 and found an 80% decline in abundance. It also found a parallel decline in the number of swallows and martins, birds that live on insects.

Matt Shardlow, the chief executive of the charity Buglife, says:

These new studies reinforce our understanding of the dangerously rapid disappearance of insect life in both the air and water… It is essential we create more joined up space for insects that is safe from pesticides, climate change and other harm.”

Of course, it is not just insects that have been affected. Mason provides disturbing evidence of the decline in British wildlife in general.


Mason argues that the public are being hoodwinked by officials who dance to the tune of the agrochemical conglomerates. For instance, she argues that Cancer Research UK (CRUK) has been hijacked by the agrochemical industry: David Cameron appointed Michael Pragnell, founder of Syngenta to the board of CRUK in 2010 and he became Chairman in 2011.

She asserts that CRUK invented causes of cancer and put the blame on the people for lifestyle choices:

“A red-herring fabricated by industry and ‘top’ doctors in Britain: alcohol was claimed to be linked to seven forms of cancer: this ‘alleged fact’ was endlessly reinforced by the UK media until people in the UK were brainwashed.”

By 2018, CRUK was also claiming that obesity caused 13 different cancers and that obesity was due to ‘lifestyle choice’.

Each year there are steady increases in the numbers of new cancers in the UK and increases in deaths from the same cancers. Mason says that treatments are having no impact on the numbers.

She argues that the Francis Crick Institute in London with its ‘world class resources’ is failing to improve people’s lives with its treatments and is merely strengthening the pesticides and pharmaceutical industries. The institute is analysing people’s genetic profile with what Mason says is an “empty promise” that one day they could tailor therapy to the individual patient. Mason adds that CRUK is a major funder of the Crick Institute.

The public is being conned, according to Mason, by contributing to ‘cancer research’ with the fraudulent promise of ‘cures’ based on highly profitable drugs manufactured by pharmaceutical companies whose links to the agrochemical sector are clear. 

CRUK’s research is funded entirely by the public, whose donations support over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses across the UK. Several hundred of these scientists worked at CRUK’s London Research Institute at Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Clare Hall (LRI), which became part of the Crick institute in 2015.

Mason notes that recent research involving the Crick Institute that has claimed ‘breakthroughs’ in discoveries about the genome and cancer genetics are misleading. The work was carried out as part of the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes project, which claims to be the most comprehensive study of cancer genetics to date. The emphasis is on mapping genetic changes and early diagnosis

However, Mason says such research misses the point – most cancers are not inherited. She says:

The genetic damage is caused by mutations secondary to a lifetimes’ exposure to thousands of synthetic chemicals that contaminate the blood and urine of nearly every person tested – a global mass poisoning.”

And she supports her claim by citing research by Lisa Gross and Linda Birnbaum which argues that in the US 60,000-plus chemicals already in use were grandfathered into the law on the assumption that they were safe. Moreover, the EPA faced numerous hurdles, including pushback from the chemical industry, that undermined its ability to implement the law. 

Today, hundreds of industrial chemicals contaminate the blood and urine of nearly every person tested – in the US and beyond.

Mason refers to another study by Maricel V Maffini, Thomas G Neltner and Sarah Vogel which notes that thousands of chemicals have entered the food system, but their long-term, chronic effects have been woefully understudied and their health risks inadequately assessed. 

As if to underline this, recent media reports have focused on Jeremy Bentham, a well-respected CEO of an asset management company, who argued that infertility caused by endocrine-disrupting chemicals will wipe out humans.

Mason argues that glyphosate-based Roundup has caused a 50% decrease in sperm count in males: Roundup disrupts male reproductive functions by triggering calcium-mediated cell death in rat testis and Sertoli cells. She also notes that Roundup causes infertility – based on studies that were carried out in South America and which were ignored by regulators in Europe when relicensing glyphosate.


Mason draws on a good deal of important (recent) research and media reports to produce a convincing narrative. But what she outlines is not specific to Britain. For instance, the human and environmental costs of pesticides in Argentina have been well documented and in India Punjab has become a ‘cancer capital’ due to pesticide contamination.

UN Special Rapporteurs Elver and Tuncak argue that while scientific research confirms the adverse effects of pesticides, proving a definitive link between exposure and human diseases or conditions or harm to the ecosystem presents a considerable challenge, especially given the systematic denial by the pesticide and agro-industry of the magnitude of the damage inflicted by these chemicals.

In the meantime, we are told that many diseases and illnesses are the result of personal choice or lifestyle behaviour. It has become highly convenient for public officials and industry mouthpieces to place the blame on ordinary people, while fraudulent science, regulatory delinquency and institutional corruption allows toxic food to enter the marketplace and the agrochemical industry to rake in massive profits.

Health outcomes are merely regarded as the result of individual choices, rather than the outcome of fraudulent activities which have become embedded in political structures and macro-economic ‘free’ market policies. In the brave new world of neoliberalism and ‘consumer choice’, it suits industry and its crony politicians and representatives to convince ordinary people to internalise notions of personal responsibility and self-blame.


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fighting varroa, "from mars"...

Australia's biosecurity regime is about to get a timely technological boost from an unlikely alliance. 


Key points:
  • Australia is the only inhabited continent still free of Varroa destructor
  • Researchers have trained AI to count bees and detect the mites inside a purple box attached to the front of the hive
  • Apiarists hope the technology will help keep their industry safe


Some young tech-savvy aerospace engineers have joined forces with one of Australia's largest dairy companies. 

They've created the Purple Hive Project, which is aimed at safeguarding Australia's bee and honey industry from invasive and destructive pests. 

Number one on the least-wanted list is Varroa destructor, a pinhead-sized, blood-sucking mite that has devastated hives around the globe. 

Australia is the only inhabited continent still free of the pest. It's in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.



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sticky library...

Scientists are collecting thousands of honey samples from across Australia for a new national 'honey library' in order to develop the industry's first hive-to-shelf traceability system.

Key points:

  • Researchers are collecting thousands of honey samples to develop a new national honey library
  • The project is aimed at increasing supply chain transparency by developing a new hive-to-shelf traceability system
  • The industry says it's important it has the tools to prove the authenticity of its honey following the 2018 adulteration scandal

The samples are being selected from unique flora regions across Australia, and are being used to establish a central chemistry database, while other information including GPS locations and seasonal data is also being captured.

The initiative is being led by the Cooperative Research Centre in partnership with industry body B-Qual Australia, and is aimed at increasing supply chain transparency for consumers and producers.

"You need to have a set of samples and information about the chemistry to know what honey fits in where," project lead Liz Barbour said.

"Developing a honey library gives you that data and a reference point."

Dr Barbour said people had done testing in the past, but it was not known where the samples came from.


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distracting the sciences...

Asbestos, climate change, 5G, coronavirus - the public is caught in a battle for the truth. Science is being manipulated and undermined to sway opinion and create doubt. What are the mechanisms behind it all?


Never has scientific knowledge seemed so vast, detailed and widely shared. And yet it appears to be increasingly challenged. It’s no longer surprising to see private corporations put strategies in place to confuse public debate and paralyze political decision-making. Why did it take decades to classify tobacco as harmful? Why do people still deny human involvement in climate change? Overwhelmed by an excess of information, how can we, as citizens, sort out fact from fiction? One by one, this film dismantles the machinations that aim to turn science against itself.


With the help of declassified archives and testimonies from experts, lobbyists and politicians, this investigation plunges us into the science of doubt. Along with a team of experts, including philosophers, economists, cognitive scientists, politicians, and scholars, we explore concrete examples of how doubt can be sown, and try to understand the process.


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Read from top. See how the chemical industries have "distracted" the scientific evidence focus away from the nefarious effects of their products...


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killing bees in NSW…...

More than 15 million bees have been euthanised across 31 infected premises in NSW as the fight to contain the varroa mite continues.

Bees from 1533 hives have been destroyed between the NSW central and mid-north coasts as well as at Narrabri in the state’s northwest, NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders says.

“It’s a significant number of bees,” he told AAP on Thursday.

Each hive contains anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 bees, which means between 15 million and 45 million bees have been euthanised in an attempt to control the parasite since it was first detected near the Port of Newcastle on June 22.

“(Bees) do breed up again very quickly but it’s about making sure you’ve got all of the people still wanting to stay in the industry after it’s been decimated like this,” the minister said.

A ban restricting the movement of bees remains in place in NSW, with almond industry representatives calling for hives to be moved in time for pollination in August.

Mr Saunders said he was confident there would be a way of moving the hives eventually, but the lockdown remained in place for now.

“It’s about making sure that we’re not risking moving a devastating disease into an area that it isn’t currently,” he said.

“If we can have a good way of identifying where hives might come from to be part of the pollination, and if everyone feels safe around how that can work, then fantastic.”

The minister was still optimistic the deadly mite could be contained, but said continuing co-operation from beekeepers was key.

“Everything we are doing is still working. We’re finding more infected premises, as was expected. They are all linked, which is the good news part of it.

“We haven’t seen an unexpected outbreak somewhere. We’ve just seen everything connected to a previous case, and that’s important.”

Experts from New Zealand arrive this week to give advice after the varroa mite infected that country 21 years ago.

“The plan was to get a few key people … to give a bit of advice … on whether there are other things we haven’t thought of,” Mr Saunders told AAP.