Tuesday 16th of August 2022

save the bees...

bees pollinating a lime tree flower

A contentious French ban on a popular type of pesticide that is decimating bee populations goes into effect on September 1, as new findings are published showing bumblebees get addicted to the harmful chemical.

Neonicotinoids were once hailed as the future of pesticides. Billed in the 1990s as less harmful than traditional poisons, the lab-created, nicotine-based chemical produced by Bayer Monsanto and Syngenta gets absorbed by plants instead of sitting on the surface, and attacks the central nervous system of insects that land or prey upon them. They quickly became among the most popular pesticides, being applied to all manner of flowering crops, Channel News Asia noted.


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Picture of bee above by Gus Leoniksy

slow maturation and decreased longevity...

POLLINIS is concerned about the lack of regulatory studies regarding the cocktail effects of pesticides on pollinating insects. Now, a new article, just published in the journal Royal Society, reveals the devastating impact of mixtures between neonicotinoid pesticides and fungicides on solitary bees.

The study - entitled Combined exposure to sublethal concentrations of an insecticide and a fungicide affecting feeding, and the development and longevity in a solitary bee conducted under the direction of Dr. Fabio Sgolastra, University of Bologna, Italy - reveals the effect synergistic between a neonicotinoid insecticide, clothianidin, and a fungicide, propiconazole. This pesticide cocktail affects fertility (delaying ovarian development) and the lifespan of solitary bees exposed to mixing, even at low doses.

However, current legislation does not require testing of pesticide mixtures prior to authorization. Plant protection products are studied individually but never in combination. However, in the field, pollinating insects are well exposed to pesticide mixtures, not to a particular product. That's the whole system of risk assessment and pesticide registration that needs to be reviewed.

This study shows the devastating impact of pesticides on wild bees. However, the current tests only concern honeybees. POLLINIS therefore requests tests on several species of pollinating insects and not only on honeybees, which can not be representative of all pollinating species.


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Bees in trouble


france bans all five pesticides...

France will take a radical step towards protecting its dwindling bee population on Saturday by becoming the first country in Europe to ban all five pesticides researchers believe are killing off the insects. 

The move to ban the five so-called neonicotinoids has been hailed by beekeepers and environmentalists, but cereal and sugar beet farmers warn it could leave them all but defenceless in protecting valuable crops against other harmful insects.

By enforcing the blanket ban, France is going further than the European Union, which voted to outlaw the use of three neonicotinoids - clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam - in crop fields starting on December 19.

France has banned these three, along with thiacloprid and acetamiprid, not only outdoors but in greenhouses too.

Initially opposed, Britain now backs the less comprehensive EU bandue to evidence supporting claims the chemicals contribute to “colony collapse disorder”, a mysterious phenomenon that has seen bee populations plummet by up to 90 per cent in some cases. Other potential causes are mites, viruses and fungi.


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fake honey...

Australia's biggest listed honey company and some of the country's largest supermarket chains face accusations of unwittingly selling "fake" honey.

Testing at a leading international scientific lab that specialises in honey fraud detection has found that almost half the honey samples selected from supermarket shelves were "adulterated", meaning it has been mixed with something other than nectar from bees.

The adulterated samples were all products that blend local and imported honey.

ASX-listed Capilano's Allowrie-branded Mixed Blossom Honey, which sources honey from Australia and overseas, and markets itself as 100 per cent honey, showed up as "adulterated" in the majority of samples tested.

Capilano strongly denied any issues with its products and criticised the type of test — known as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) — used to detect the impurities, pointing out that it differed from the official Australian test.

There is no suggestion that Capilano's eponymous brand of Australian-sourced honey has any issue or that Capilano or other brands were aware of the adulteration.

Phil McCabe, the president of the International Federation of Beekeepers' Association (Apimondia), believes the NMR test is the most accurate available and thinks consumers are not getting what they paid for.

"Adulterated honey isn't honey at all," he told 7.30.


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macron is a bee killer...

During the night of September 14 to 15, The "Macron" deputies refused to include a law banning the controversial glyphosate herbicide. The political reaction on the left heavily criticised the "macronites" on this issue.

The debate was long and heated inside the French National Assembly to once more discuss a draft law on agriculture and food. It was only in the early morning that the deputies, mostly from The Republic on the Move (LREM — Macronites), decided to reject all the amendments that included clauses for the president to commit to ban glyphosate, the controversial herbicide, "At the latest within three years".

In May, during the first reading of the text, parliamentarians, including some protesters, had already pleaded unsuccessfully to secure a ban on glyphosate, in law. They did not have the support of former Minister of Ecological Transition, Nicolas Hulot, either. This spring, the Minister of Agriculture Stéphane Travert opposed, during the new debate on this subject, anti-glyphosate amendments. He wished to put forward "his own method" to ban it within three years: "Empowerment of actors (manufacturers and users) plus research on alternative solutions rather than prohibition by law."


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Be sarcastic... Read from top. Stéphane Travert's "idea" will not work and he knows it.

weed killer kills bees...

Locals said they were concerned the bees may have been poisoned, as they say a council worker from the District Council of Peterborough spraying weed killer.

"It's a possibility someone might have poisoned them," Ms Reid said.

She said she had been in touch with the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) about the situation.

"The guy that I spoke to said that he wants members of the community to get containers and fill them with bees," Ms Reid said.

Jason O'Connell, a Peterborough local of 13 years, said he had never seen anything like this before.

"At the moment, you might sit out there and there might be a dozen or two dozen bees instead of the normal two hundred bees out in the yard," Mr O'Connell said.

"It could be due to the council having sprayed weeds recently, especially since now the weeds are flowering.

"If they're spraying them the bees get a direct dose of [weedkiller], or it could be colony collapse."


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The use of weed killers is a lazy DANGEROUS way to eliminate weeds...

hanging about around...

A study published in the journal Science found bees exposed to an insecticide called imidacloprid were less likely to feed and care for their larvae, and spent more time hanging out around the edges of the nest.

According to study lead author and Harvard University biologist James Crall, the most surprising and puzzling finding was that the effect on bee behaviour was strongest at night.

"If you look overnight, it's totally striking," Dr Crall said.

"Oftentimes the majority or all of a colony [affected by imidaclorprid] will be immobile — which you never see in healthy colonies.

"That means less nursing overnight." 

Imidacloprid belongs to a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids (also called "neonics", which is a lot easier to say).

Chemically similar to nicotine, these are highly effective insecticides that interfere with an insect's nervous system.

There has been an ongoing and bitter dispute over the evidence that neonic use affects bees badly in the field.

This year the European Union announced it would ban the outdoor use of three insecticides in this class, including imidacloprid.

Bee barcodes

For their study, Dr Crall and team filmed the behaviour of 12 colonies of the Bombus impatiens species of bumblebee in the lab, each for five minutes, 12 times a day for two weeks.


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less honey, honey...

Translated from French by Jules Letambour.



The world today is facing tremendous changes in agriculture and food. Natural phenomena and human activity weaken ecosystems and threaten certain animal and plant species that are essential for the survival of our species. The excess mortality of bees must be a wake-up call for all of us. As rightly said Martin Gray, who lived a large part of his life on the hills of Cannes, in his book entitled In the name of all men. Abel and Cain (Editions du Rocher, 2004): "And one day the bees will die. And honey, that old friend of Abel, will disappear. It will be the announcement of the end of the human history of men. This pollinator is a major player in the environment and agriculture and its conservation must be a national goal.

The winter of 2017-2018 saw a significant collapse in the number of bees in France. The survey conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food reported a colony mortality rate of almost 30%, which is a disastrous figure. It's not just a local problem. Since the late 1990s, beekeepers around the world have been trying to alert the authorities to the risks associated with the disappearance of this vital link in the food chain. Since then, they have noticed an unusual decline in colonies.

We have all been aware of the role of bees in the ecosystem. They are not only important because they produce honey, they play a major role in the production of our food. They promote not only the pollination of wild plants but also cultivated. A third of our food crops are pollinated by insects. Without their intervention, our agricultural productivity would be well diminished and up to 75% of our crops would suffer a decline in yield. Of the 100 plant species that provide 90% of the world's food, 71 depend on bees and their pollination. In Europe, 4,000 varieties of vegetables grown, as well as certain forage plants indispensable to livestock, would not exist without the labor of bees. In France, honey production increased from 35,000 tonnes in the mid-1990s to 9,000 tonnes in 2016, a drop of three-quarters of production.


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tasmanian starving bees due to "climate change"...

Tasmanian honey producers are preparing to hold a crisis meeting, after experiencing their worst season in decades.

Key points:
  • The Tasmanian Beekeepers Association says honey producers have been affected by a downturn
  • An industry crisis meeting will be held on March 29 to discuss the future
  • Bushfires and dry conditions have destroyed prime honey harvesting areas


One of the state's biggest producers has started laying off staff, with leatherwood honey production at that company down 90 per cent.

Dry conditions are mostly to blame, with many bees now starving to death due to wilting leatherwood flowers and a lack of pollen. 

Recent Tasmanian bushfires have also impacted, destroying prime bee honey harvesting areas.

Shirley Stephens, who has been working at one of Tasmania's oldest honey producers, R. Stephens Apiarists, in the state's north-west for more than 60 years, said this year was the worst she had seen.

"Even last year we produced 280 tonnes of [honey] and this year we'll be lucky to get 20 tonnes," she said. 

"That's a huge loss." 

Beekeepers are now trying to keep starving bees alive with sugar water.

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Global warming (aka "climate change") is stressing habitats. Add insecticides, viruses, herbicides and other poisons to the mix — and a catastrophe becomes a ten-fold reality.

another poison that had gone under the radar...

Succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors (SDHIs) are now widely used worldwide as fungicides to limit the proliferation of molds in cereal crops, or to better preserve fruits, vegetables, and seeds from these molds, as well as to facilitate the lawn care for public spaces and golf courses. According to the companies that produce them, the SDHIs quite specifically inhibit the activity of the succinate dehydrogenase in the molds. We here establish that these inhibitors readily inhibit the earthworm and the human enzyme, raising a new concern on the danger of their large scale utilization in agriculture. This is all the more worrying as we know that the loss of function, partial or total, of the SDH activity caused by genetic variants causes severe human neurological diseases, or leads to the development of tumors and/or cancers.


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Note this article has not been peer reviewed but other sources strongly coalesce. Read from top.

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Utilisés massivement en agriculture depuis 2014, les SDHI bloquent la respiration cellulaire des champignons, mais aussi de tous les êtres vivants. Chez l’Homme, les perturbations de la SDH peuvent provoquer des atteintes neurologiques gravissimes, des cardiopathies sévères, des tumeurs de la tête et du cou, des cancers rénaux et gastriques.

Translation not available. Jules (Letambour) is not contactable.




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death of 10 million bees in april...

A chemical used to control pests in agricultural crops and termites in buildings has been blamed for the death of up to 10 million bees in southern New South Wales.

Key points:
  • A bee poisoning is estimated to have cost apiarists up to $170,000, with fears it could impact horticultural producers
  • An EPA investigation found the presence of Fipronil was likely to have contributed to the deaths
  • A commercial beekeeper says bee poisonings are becoming more common, especially for those operating in agricultural areas


Five apiarists lost the bees from 340 hives in April after they were poisoned by the pesticide Fipronil near Griffith.

Ian Carter, a small-scale commercial apiarist providing pollination services to local farmers, said his business had been devastated by the loss of three quarters of his hives.

"One drop of this poison from one bee that takes it back to the hive will then kill the whole hive," Mr Carter said.


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sick bees...

Large areas of central and southern Russia have seen a major decline in their bee populations in recent months. 

The head of the Russian beekeepers' union, Arnold Butov, said 20 regions had reported mass bee deaths. 

The affected regions include Bryansk and Kursk, south of Moscow, and Saratov and Ulyanovsk on the Volga River. 

Mr Butov, quoted by Russian media, said the crisis might mean 20% less honey being harvested. Some officials blamed poorly regulated pesticide use.

Yulia Melano, at the rural inspection service Rosselkhoznadzor, complained that her agency had lost most of its powers to control pesticide use since 2011.

Russia produces about 100,000 tonnes of honey annually. Mr Butov said the union's members were collecting data on bee losses, so that by 1 August a detailed report could be submitted to the Russian government.



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It is an open secret that bees play a highly important role in our life, even though we may not even notice that. Bees take part in the pollination of crops that give mankind a third of all food resources. Other insects take part in the pollination as well, but bees are responsible for up to 90 percent of the process. Albert Einstein said once: "If the bee disappeared off the face of Earth, man would only have four years left to live."

The crops that bring us most of our food provide for 35 percent of calorie intake, as well as for most minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Nuts, melons and berries will not grow without pollinating insects. Bees also pollinate citrus fruits, apples, onions, broccoli cabbage, zucchini, beans, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, coffee, cocoa, avocados and coconuts. The production of these crops belongs to most valuable segments of the global food industry. Thus, the disappearance of bees from our planet will at first trigger a major food crisis that humanity has never seen before. 

Scientists started registering the process of the mass extinction of bees all over the world in 2006. In the USA, up to 30 percent of bee colonies die every winter. Over the past 50 years, the production of bee-dependent agricultural products has quadrupled, but the number of bee colonies has halved.  The quantity of bees per hectare has decreased by 90 percent.

The phenomenon became known as Colony Collapse Disorder or "bee flu." Europe loses 20 percent  of bee colonies every year, and once can observe a similar trend in the USA and Asia. As for Russia, the Russian Ministry for Agriculture reported that bees die out massively in several regions of the country.

Representatives of the Ministry for Agriculture of the Russian Federation said that due to the high bee mortality in a number of regions of the country, the beekeeping industry suffered a significant material damage. The scale of the disaster is still difficult to assess. The cause of the death of insects remains unclear too. 

Over the past ten years, the number of bee colonies in Russia has decreased by almost 20 percent. The problem is not about financial losses that beekeepers incur - the problem is about the possible food crisis that may strike the whole world. 

In the summer of 2019 in Russia, mass bee mortality was recorded in the Tatarstan republic, in the republic of Bashkortostan, in Bryansk, Voronezh, Lipetsk, Kursk, Ulyanovsk, Moscow, Tula, Nizhny Novgorod, Ryazan, Rostov, Saratov, Smolensk regions, in Mordovia, Udmurtia, Mari El, Krasnodar, Altai, Stavropol and other regions.

Specialists started looking into the problem, but the research will take months. However, scientists already say that bees die on a massive scale because of the use of pesticides and herbicides on agricultural fields. To make matters worse, authorities do not inform beekeepers about the time, place and peculiarities of the chemical treatment of crops.

Over the recent years, scientists have recorded a rapid decline in the number of domestic and wild bees, as well as many other insects, including butterflies, on all inhabited continents. Over the past five-ten years, the population of wild bees has decreased by 25-30 percent, whereas the quantity of domestic bees in the United States halved in 2015.

Читайте больше на http://www.pravdareport.com/science/142507-bees/




Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are often in the headlines. Typically insects only feature in these stories by virtue of their role as disease vectors, for example the transmission of Zica, Dengue and West Nile viruses by mosquitoes. Indeed mosquitoes are vectors for perhaps the biggest killer in human history – the parasitic organisms that cause Malaria. Of course insects are not only vectors for human diseases, but also those that impact many other animals and plants. As just one example, the peach-potato aphid (Myzus persicae) is one of the most economically important plant pests globally, infesting more than 700 plant species and transmitting well over 100 viruses to major crops.

But what impact do these viruses/diseases have on the insect? The answer is complex. For years it was thought little or no effect, because the insects typically showed no obvious symptoms. However, upon closer inspection it is apparent that insects do initiate an immune response (with many similarities to the human response), and there are several examples of viruses having negative effects, such as a reduced life span in mosquitoes carrying Malaria. However, some viruses are transmitted to eggs (i.e. can perpetuate across insect generations) with apparently no adverse effects. And some viruses can even be beneficial to the insect, for example plant viruses can alter insect biology allowing them to feed on diseased plants.

Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) that directly kill insects have comparatively received very little attention. Yet we ignore these at our peril, given that insects represent well over 50% of all known species on earth and are critical to the functioning of all terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. They provide fundamental services such as nutrient cycling, food (including for humans), control of pests (biocontrol), and of course pollination. It is this latter service that has received ever increasing attention over recent years because of continued concern about pollinator decline (especially bees), and the direct impact this has on our food security.

Insect diseases are certainly implicated in this decline, in combination with parasites (such as the Varroa mite), pesticide use, habitat loss and climate change.

We are right to be concerned, as insect pollination has an estimated value to global agriculture well in excess of £100 billion per year, not to mention an ecological value beyond agriculture which is far harder to quantify. This service is provided predominantly by ‘wild’ pollinator species (bees, hover flies, butterflies etc), although ‘managed’ pollinators (honey bees, bumble bees and several solitary bee species) also play a very important role. In fact, for many intensive crop systems managed pollinators are now essential, which, combined with honey production, means that pollinator husbandry is big business and undertaken on an industrial scale.

Just as factory farming in birds has been implicated in the spread of avian flu, the same is true of viruses in managed bees. The parallels are obvious, yet the lessons not learnt (or ignored) – i.e. that intensive production in crowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions provides the perfect breeding ground for a mutating virus (as well as other pathogens and parasites).

For several years it has been known that honey bee diseases can be transmitted to other species in the insect grouping, known as an Order, called Hymenoptera (this contains all bees, wasps and ants). However it wasn’t known if they could be transmitted to pollinators in other insect Orders such as Diptera (which includes all flies).

Very recent evidence has found three bee viruses in hover flies – and this should certainly raise alarm bells, as hover flies are very important pollinators (and also eat aphids). While it remains unclear whether these viruses can actively replicate in flies –the warnings from history are again there. Hymenoptera split from Diptera around 320 million years ago – coincidentally around the same time mammals and birds are thought to have last had a common ancestor. The ability of ‘bird’ flu to mutate and infect humans is all too clear – so it perhaps shouldn’t be surprising that bee viruses can also mutate to infect many other insect groups. Where this happens the viruses may well be lethal, especially in immune-compromised individuals (as with humans). This brings us back to the many other problems that insects face, all of which contribute to a reduced capacity to fight infection – pesticides, climate change and habitat loss etc.

Thus insects definitely do get sick, and emerging infectious diseases are clearly an increasing concern, however they shouldn’t be studied in isolation.


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As we all (we should all) know, the combination of negative factors have an effect on survival. for bees, bee flu and insecticides are bad in their own right — but the combo is devastating. And we have a ccount for other factors including the bee mites Varroa.



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bad for bees...

It’s bad for bees.  In South Australia, honey production is down 70%. Bee populations are down in Siberia, and central and southern Russia. In the US, death rates are 3 times normal, with bees seen responding to nerve poisons, shaking to death. Bees and all insects are responding badly to extreme heat and longer and widespread bushfires. We should be concerned as 75% of our food crops are pollinated by bees. Reese halter reports on bad times for bees.


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poisoning the planet...



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