World’s No. 1 pesticide brings honeybees to their knees

Honeybees abandoning hives and dying due to pesticide use, research finds

A new study from Harvard implicates two neonicotinoid pesticides, imidacloprid and clothianidin, in the ongoing plague of honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder. Imidacloprid is the most widely used pesticide in the world, and both are approved by the EPA.

pesticide brings honeybees to their knees
Scientists found bees from six of the 12 neonicotinoid-treated colonies had left their hives and died.

A team of Harvard biologists has come closer to cracking the mystery of honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), eight years after its appearance.

CCD persists in transforming bee colonies around the world into ghost towns: by the end of each winter, some colonies wind up littered with dead bees and emptied of many more, with no signs of renewal.

“One of the defining symptomatic observations of CCD colonies is the emptiness of hives in which the amount of dead bees found inside the hives do not account for the total numbers of bees present prior to winter when they were alive,” states the report, published May 9 in the Bulletin of Insectology.

The exact mechanism behind these collapses remains dauntingly unclear, but they have been linked with pathogen infestation, malnutrition, and pesticide exposure. This week’s report strongly indicates that two neonicotinoid insecticides that are widely used on crops can decimate honeybee colonies’ winter survival rates, whether or not mites or parasites are present.

The two chemicals, imidacloprid and clothianidin, both block insects’ central nervous systems, killing them by paralysis. Imidacloprid is the world’s most widely-used insecticide, and has been registered for use in the US since the 1994; clothianidin was registered in 2003 by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which found that it had passed honeybee-specific toxicity tests.

See also: List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don’t Save the Bees

These scientists studied the health of 18 bee colonies in central Massachusetts over a six-month period spanning the winter of 2012-2013. Six of the colonies were fed sugar spiked with sub-lethal doses of imidacloprid, six had theirs laced with clothianidin, and six less-unfortunate control colonies ate clean sugar, starting in October.

All of the colonies went about their apian routines in good form throughout the fall. But by late January, six of the 12 poisoned colonies experienced collapses with CCD-like symptoms, like en-masse disappearance and the presence of un-hatched young. Of the six control hives, only one failed to survive the winter, seemingly due to an infestation by Nosema Ceranae parasites.

“The honey bee clusters in the six surviving neonicotinoid treated colonies were very small, and were either without queen bees or had no brood,” reports the study, suggesting the poisons harm the animals’ abilities to raise and train new young.

In contrast, the five surviving control hives replenished their populations quickly, as the winter gave way to spring.

According to the report, these results “reinforce the conclusion that sublethal exposure to neonicotinoids is likely the main culprit for the occurrence of CCD.”

The finding raises a large question for further study: Why do honeybees, who don’t normally abandon their hives during winter, do so when poisoned by neonicotinoids?

See also: EPA-approved GMO insecticide responsible for killing off bees, contaminating entire food chain

The finding may point to

“the impairment of honey bee neurological functions, specifically memory, cognition, or behavior, as the results from the chronic sublethal neonicotinoid exposure,” suggest the authors. ”

Although the failure to initiate brood rearing and the vanishing of the worker caste in the neonicotinoid-treated colonies might be governed by completely different mechanisms, they suggest the possible involvement of cascading events prior to the occurrence of CCD.”

The study comes amid a busy spring season for honey bee research. Last month a team of Kenyan biologists found that African honey bees seem be impervious to the pests, Varroa and Nosema, which plague honey bee populations in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

And earlier this week Brazilian scientists identified two substances in honeybees’ brains, that appear to vary as the insects move through space and time, guiding their age-related division of labor.

Source | CSMonitor

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels

A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in...

China Is Turning The Rainforest Into Cheap Furniture For The U.S.

Driven by American demand for cheap furniture, China has become the greatest importer of illegal timber. The...

History of life on Earth – Big Five mass extinction events

Although the Cretaceous-Tertiary (or K-T) extinction event is the most well-known because it wiped out the dinosaurs, a series of other mass extinction events...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Complete List of BANKS Owned/Controlled by the Rothschild Family

What’s the significance of having a central bank within a country and why should you concern yourself, your family and colleagues? Central banks are illegally...

France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels

A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in...

France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels

A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in...

The Benefits of a Simple Walk in Nature

I remember times when I was young where staying inside was not enough. I had to get outside. I had plenty of video games and...

Solar Activity Triggers Dangerous Lightning Strikes

Sun's activity triggers lightning strikes Streams of particles launched from the sun in the solar wind increase the number of lightning strikes on Earth by...

Portugal Just Went 4 Straight Days Running Completely On Renewable Energy

Generally speaking, renewable energy is clean and non-polluting, with many forms not emitting any greenhouse gases or toxic waste during the process of creating...

Circus Lion Freed From Cage Feels Earth Beneath His Paws for First Time

Lions are majestic and, sadly, exceedingly rare creatures. According to Defenders of Wildlife, their numbers have dropped by half since the 1950s, so that today...

Mayans Win Huge Battle to Ban GMO Soy Crops

Indigenous Mayans Win Huge Battle to Ban GMO Soy Beans in Mexico Mayans of the Campeche Region have just won a two-year legal battle to...

McDonalds To Close 500 More Stores In 2016 As Consumers Adopt Healthier Habits

To bolster profits in the years to come, McDonalds will be shutting down approximately 500 more stores from its super-sized global restaurant network. The Street...

In The Netherlands Sex Education Starts In Kindergarten: Here’s What They Tell Them & Why

The case for starting sex education in kindergarten “People often think we are starting right away to talk about sexual intercourse . Sexuality is so...