In the last few years, New Zealand has seen a massive decline in honey bees. In my little garden in summer a few years ago, when all the flowers would be at their peak, there would be many more honey bees than bumblebees and german wasps; but no longer. This year the number of honey bees I sighted all summer, I could count on two hands.
“Uncontaminated ” research- ie not funded by chemical companies, has established clear correlations between CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) and pesticides called neonicotinoids; chemically similar to nicotine . The most common of these is a pesticide called imidacloprid. Two others are clothianidin and thiamethoxam.
However the correlations are not precise; it appears to require cumulative poisoning over months and perhaps years for the effects of the neonicotinoids to wreak their havoc on bees. And as with other poisoning effects , the impacts on the bees may lead to a lack of resistance to other diseases which can not be directly attributable to the neonicotinoids. The EU has recommended a two year ban on the use of neonicotinoids in specific circumstances, but that may go nowhere to identify or address the issues of CCD. Nature is by definition messy and complex, while man’s actions are linear and relatively unsophisticated. We may not be absolutely sure of the correlations-yet the results are very very clear and disastrous for us all.
As Jill Richardson, in her How We Could Prevent Massive Bee Deaths and Save Our Food article notes at Alternet, Although there’s little private citizens can do, beyond submitting comments to the EPA about these pesticides, contacting your representatives, and perhaps even getting your own beehive, you might be surprised to find out that these toxic pesticides are widely available for home use. Bayer sells imidacloprid in products sold for use on roses, flowers, shrubs, trees (even fruit and nut trees!), and lawns. Even the flea treatment Advantage sold for your pet contains it!
Once again we see the power of corporates to distort research, government agency decision-making, and the truth; even while knowing that the results of their actions are environmentally disastrous for us all.
Repeatedly, throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, we have seen the power of money over-ride the intrinsic value and beauty of this world’s environment,. our co-habiting species and even homo sapiens’ wellbeing. Like the cumulative destructive power of neonicotinoids, we are seeing the cumulative destruction of our planet for corporate greed beginning to descend on us at ever-increasing speed.
Read a further article on Activist Post by Heather Callaghan entitled, ‘Noid Rage & Angry Birds: EPA Sued over Declining Bees, Called on to Stop Bird Deaths
A coalition of interest groups, activists and beekeepers took the issue into their own hands on Thursday to slash the use of bee-killing pesticides in an effort to protect them and the future of food. Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides and four beekeepers are among the team who want bees safe from the chemicals that include clothianidin and thiamethoxam. Even if it takes suing the government. How are they able to bring a case against the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for this problem?
A further article on this issue by By Rebecca Morelle Science reporter, BBC World Service entitled Neonicotinoid pesticides ‘damage brains of bees’ or http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21958547 ,which beautifully articulates the hypocrisy and deliberate attempts to obfuscate by the chemical sellers.