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New study shows neonicotinoid pesticides responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder


For the study, appearing today in the Bulletin of Insectology, researchers monitored 18 [Central MA] bee colonies — six in each location — from October 2012 through April 2013. A third of the colonies were exposed to low doses of the pesticide imidacloprid, while another third were exposed to the pesticide clothianidin. Both pesticides belong to the neonicotinoid class and are commonly used in agriculture. The remainder of the colonies were left untreated.

The numbers of bees declined in all 18 colonies with the onset of winter weather, which is the usual seasonal pattern.

In January, however, while the control colony populations began to increase as expected, the number of bees in the treated colonies continued to decline. By April, 50 percent of the treated colonies had been wiped out,* showing the hive abandonment pattern typical of CCD. ...

Although other studies have suggested that pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, cause bees to become more susceptible to mites or other parasites that then kill off the bees, today’s study found that bees in the CCD hives had the same levels of parasite infestation as the control colonies. This finding led researchers to conclude that pesticides themselves were directly responsible for causing an as-yet-unidentified but lethal danger to the bees.

The team also noted that, in their previous study on a possible link between imidacloprid and CCD in 2012, the mortality rate for treated colonies was significantly higher — 94 percent — with an earlier die-off. The researchers suggested that the unusually cold winter of 2010-11, during which they conducted the study, exacerbated the effects of the pesticide on the bee populations.

CCD threatens not only bees but entire economies and the world food supply. Honeybees pollinate about a third of crops worldwide and, according to some estimates, as much as 80 percent of U.S. crops.

It sounds to me like a clash between two forms of property system.

The bees are treated as private property and their hives are moved from place to place, concentrating toxins. And the fields and the fruit of the fields are treated as private property, and the owners spray pesticides (also private property) on the fields. But the pesticides get into common pool resources like air, water -- and pollen (making this issue similar to "pollen drift" with GMOs). And the destruction of the common pool resources turns out to the the destruction of private property as well, including everything conceived of and treated as private property, like the food we buy.

NOTE Makes you wonder what, if anything, pesticides are doing to the biota in our gut.

UPDATE Here's a list of the corporations selling these pesticides:

  • Advancements
  • ArborSystems
  • Arysta LifeScience
  • Bayer Advanced
  • Bayer Corporation
  • Bayer Environmental Science
  • Control Solutions, Inc.
  • Gro Tec, Inc.
  • Gulfstream Home and Garden
  • Lawn and Garden Products, Inc.
  • Nufarm Americas Inc.
  • OHP, Inc.
  • PBI/Gordon Corporation
  • Rainbow Treecare Scientific
  • Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC
  • The Scotts Company
  • Valent U.S.A. Corporation
  • Voluntary Purchasing Groups, Inc.

You can find a list of the products at the same link. Don't buy them, and discourage others from buying them!

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