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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Honey Bee Extinction Means Eventual Human Extinction. Significant & Real Problem.

BACK IN 2007 THERE WAS AN ARTICLE THAT WAS INTERESTING REGARDING BEE EXTINCTION AND HOW IT RELATES TO HUMANS.  FOLLOWING THAT ARTICLE, WHICH I WILL SHARE HERE, THERE IS AN ARTICLE SHOWING THAT PESTICIDES MAY BE A FACTOR IN THE POSSIBLE CRASHING OF BEE POPULATIONS AROUND THE GLOBE.  


WHAT DO YOU THINK?




Honey bees in US facing extinction

Albert Einstein once predicted that if bees were to disappear, man would follow only a few years later.
That hypothesis could soon be put to the test, as a mysterious condition that has wiped half of the honey bee population the United States over the last 35 years appears to be repeating itself in Europe.
Experts are at a loss to explain the fall in honey bee populations in America, with fears of that a new disease, the effects of pollution or the increased use of pesticides could be to blame for "colony collapse disorder". From 1971 to 2006 approximately one half of the US honey bee colonies have vanished.
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The depopulation of bees could have a huge impact on the environment, which is reliant on the insects for pollination. If taken to the extreme, crops, fodder - and therefore livestock - could die off if there are no pollinating insects left.
In France in 2004, the government banned the pesticide Fipronil after beekeepers in the south-west blamed it for huge losses of hives. The manufacturers denied their products were harmful to bees....
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Dennis van Engelsdorp, of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, said: "Preliminary work has identified several likely factors that could be causing or contributing to CCD. Among them are mites and associated diseases, some unknown pathogenic disease and pesticide contamination or poisoning."
I...
"It is not a sudden problem, I has been happening for a few years now. Five years ago in Germany there were a million hives, now there are less than 800,000. If that continues there will eventually be no bees."
"Bees are not only working for our welfare, they are also perfect indicators of the state of the environment. We should take note."

SOURCE: UK TELEGRAPH



Neonicotinoid pesticides tied to crashing bee populations, 2 studies find

AAAS / Science
A bee with a transmitter glued to its back was one of the specimens in a study that used the radio technology to track what happened to bee colonies exposed to a widely used pesticide.
A widely used farm pesticide first introduced in the 1990s has caused significant changes to bee colonies and removing it could be the key factor in restoring nature's army of pollinators, according to two studies released Thursday.


The scientists behind the studies in Europe called for regulators to consider banning the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoid insecticides. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency told msnbc.com that the studies would be incorporated into a review that's currently under way. 

A pesticide trade group questioned the data, saying the levels of pesticide used were unrealistically high, while the researchers said the levels used were typical of what bees would find on farms. 


"Our study raises important issues regarding pesticide authorization procedures," stated Mikael Henry, co-author of a study on honey bees. "So far, they mostly require manufacturers to ensure that doses encountered on the field do not kill bees, but they basically ignore the consequences of doses that do not kill them but may cause behavioral difficulties." 


"There is an urgent need to develop alternatives to the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops wherever possible," added the authors of the second study on bumble bees.

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Honey bee populations have been crashing around the world in recent years, and pesticides have been suspected, along with other potential factors such as parasites, disease and habitat loss, in what's known as Colony Collapse Disorder. In the U.S., some beekeepers in 2006 began reporting losses of 30-90 percent of their hives, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

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In the bumble bee study, researchers concluded that colonies treated with nonlethal levels of the pesticide "had a significantly reduced growth rate and suffered an 85% reduction in production of new queens" compared to colonies without the pesticide. 


"It was quite massive," researcher Penelope Whitehorn said of the reduction at a press conference Thursday. (Click here for audio of the news conference.) 


"Bumble bees have an annual life cycle and it is only new queens that survive the winter to found colonies in the spring," the authors noted. "Our results suggest that trace levels of neonicotinoid pesticides can have strong negative consequence for queen production by bumble bee colonies under realistic field conditions, and this is likely to have a substantial population-level impact." 


In the honey bee study, radio transmitters were attached to the back of bees to see how they foraged in conditions with and without the pesticide. 


The pesticide, the researchers concluded, impaired the homing ability of bees and exposed bees were two to three times more likely to die while away from the hive. 


That "high mortality ... could put a colony at risk of collapse" within a few weeks of exposure, especially in combination with other stressors, they noted. 


"We were actually quite surprised by the magnitude," Henry told reporters. 



...
The prevailing view among most scientists and regulators is that "complex interactions among multiple stressors" are to blame, the EPA stated. "While our understanding of the potential role of pesticides in pollinator health declines is still progressing, we continue to seek to learn what regulatory changes, if any, may be effective."



SOURCE:  MSNBC

1 comment:

dahlia said...

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