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Tue May 13, 2014, 02:13 AM

Pesticides, Not Mites, Cause Honeybee Colony Collapse

Researchers racing to find the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which has been killing off honeybees in much of the U.S. and Europe, are zeroing in on the culprit. And surprise mites are apparently no longer suspects. But cold winters may be accomplices to the crime.

Studying colonies of honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) at three locations in central Massachusetts during the 2012-13 winter, researchers found that two widely-used pesticides were directly responsible for the hive abandonment and death of several colonies. Comparing their results to previous research, the scientists noted that colder winters may aggravate the negative effects of the pesticides.

Pesticide Spread

For the study, appearing today in the Bulletin of Insectology, researchers monitored 18 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.


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Reply Pesticides, Not Mites, Cause Honeybee Colony Collapse (Original post)
pbmus May 2014 OP
Fridays Child May 2014 #1
Baitball Blogger May 2014 #2
longship May 2014 #3
pbmus May 2014 #4
longship May 2014 #5

Response to pbmus (Original post)

Tue May 13, 2014, 02:31 AM

1. The landscaper recommended using imidacloprid to get rid of the spider mites in my oleanders.

I'll try Cedarcide, instead. It worked to chase the scorpions out of my rocks, when I used it a few years ago and, as far as I know, it's environmentally harmless.

Thank you for posting this article!

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Response to pbmus (Original post)

Tue May 13, 2014, 07:55 AM

2. I did see a correlation.

Took me fifteen years to finally spot a honeybee in my yard. I worked at it each year, adding plants that bloomed. For two or three years there after, there was a great run. In one of those years I saw good number feasting on the blossoms of a hedgerow that had been allowed to blossom. But then came the pesticides and weed killers. The people who applied the stuff did it so heavily that they squirted the stuff ten feet into my yard. Didn't see the bees for two years afterwards, except for one little guy who was crawling on a leaf, too weak to fly.

This year, they're back again. Though the bees seem slightly larger. I suspect they may be the African bee variety.

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Response to pbmus (Original post)

Tue May 13, 2014, 08:00 AM

3. Not so fast.

This is a small study. There is a bit of "begging the question" in its design and implementation. The study design is not indicative of any plausible mechanism which would be analogous to what is happening in the wild to cause CCD (colony collapse disorder). There is no causal link established by this study to connect the pesticides used in the study with CCD. The researcher, given his previous research, seems to be ideologically biased.

Plus Australia, which uses the exact same kind of pesticides, has zero colony collapse disorder. There are also areas with colony collapse disorder which do not use those pesticides.

In other words, the neonicotinoid hypothesis is pretty damned thin, and likely falsified by other data. And this research is receiving negative review for all these reasons.

The prominent hypothesis is still a parasite or an infection of some sort. Whether it is amplified by pesticides or not has not been determined, and at any rate this study did not test that possibility.

Read about it here: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/study-claims-colony-collapse-disorder-caused-insecticides

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Response to longship (Reply #3)

Tue May 13, 2014, 11:27 AM

4. Enjoy your roundup . . .

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Response to pbmus (Reply #4)

Tue May 13, 2014, 11:53 AM

5. Enjoy your non sequitur.

On edit: this study has abso-fucking-lutely nothing to do with Roundup, nor is there any indication that CCD has anything to do with Roundup, let alone the pesticides tested. This is a bad study and is being appropriately ridiculed by experts in the appropriate fields.

For one thing, there is little plausibility for it. Australia has been using neonicotinoids for a long time, yet has no bee colony collapse disorder. This is highly suggestive that it is of a biological origin and not due to anything humans are doing with pesticides, especially neonicotinoids which are in common use Down Under. As Australia is an isolated continent, this data point is highly suggestive that CCD is biological, a parasite or disease.

Now one can run around blindfolded with fingers in ones ears screaming "Is not! Is not," all one wants. But the data points away from neonicotinoids as a direct cause of CCD. This study is flawed.

Click the link in my first respond and learn why it is being taken down hard.

One does not get to make shit up in science no matter how much one hates pesticides.

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