A new Harvard University study published this month in the Bulletin of Inscectology says that “sub-lethal exposure of neonicotinoids, imidacloprid or clothianidin” causes Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is responsible for wiping out millions of pollinators vital to the reproduction of crops and other plants.
Here’s two articles detailing that recent Harvard study: Discover online / Christian Science Monitor
Recently on Iowa Public Radio, Iowa State University entomologist Donald Lewis told host Charity Nebbe that Iowa has lost about 70 percent of its bees due to bad weather and other factors.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are manufactured by Bayer CropScience, Inc. An article published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune says Bayer disputes the findings that their products are harmful to bees.
European Union nations have already banned, for two years beginning December 2013, the use of neonicotinoids on their crops.
Here’s a link to the EU press release regarding the ban.
Do you remember way back in 2007 when 60 Minutes reported that honey bees, perhaps the farmer’s most valuable partner, were dying off at alarming rates? Here’s a link to that story. This week Iowa Public Radio and other news sources reported that a group of environmentalists and beekeepers are suing the Environmental Protection Agency over bee deaths. The plaintiffs want the EPA to ban the use of certain pesticides known as neonicotinoids or neonics for short. (A European blog also explored the idea that neonics might be killing the bees in 2012. There are many other websites devoted to this topic as well.)
Why do bees matter? Let’s go back to what we learned about the food chain in elementary school. Bees are the primary pollinators of many plants, fruits, and flowers we eat and enjoy. They also pollinate many plants animals need to survive. Without bees, who work for free, human beings would have to figure out a way to transport trillions of tiny bits of pollen from one plant to another. Every orange starts from an orange blossom that has to be pollinated. Every pumpkin for pumpkin pie starts as a pumpkin flower. That cup of coffee you might have had this morning? That beverage came from a coffee bean and that coffee bean started out as a coffee blossom which was probably pollinated by bees.
Thanks to Iowa Public Radio for the link to this document. 2013-03-21NeonicsBeesComplaint
4/30/13 Related article from the Los Angeles Times: Honey May Hold the Sticky Solution to Bee Colony Collapse