Decline in bee population
SOME FACTS about BEEs DYING, pesticides and crop pollination.
In Sweden the average winter loss is 1 in 10 bee societies. More than 14% of England’s honeybee colonies died over the winter 2013-14. In America there is now a total yearly loss of 30-50% an unsustainable death rate! In the BeeZone we only lost 1 out of 54 bee societies last winter and we note too, our annual queen breading projects have been much more successful since we started using organic sugar (not treated with neonicotinoids).
In 1960 there were 6 million managed hives in the U.S. and approximately the same number of wild (feral) hives. 2014 there are only 3.2 million managed hives and almost ZERO wild hives in the U.S. (sorry, only have these figures from the U.S.) In the period between 1961 and 2007, managed colonies decreased in both Europe (26.5%) and North America (49.5%).
Since the introduction of systemic pesticides in 2003 (Systemic pesticides are present in all parts of the plant) the U.S. are losing 30-50% bee societies per year. This is NOT sustainable. These pesticides [Neonicotinoids] were introduced by Monsanto, Bayer, Shell etc.
Note that 2004 was the beginning of Colony Collapse Disorder. CAUSE & EFFECT!!
We know that in U.S., Europe, China & Russia all “wild pollinators” are in major decline from habitat destruction and pesticide use. In parts of China, they have begun using humans to hand pollinate. There are not enough surviving “wild” insects to pollinate the food plants.
All cereal grains are self pollinating, vegetables, nuts and fruits ARE NOT Self Pollination.
France in 2013 banned the use of these pesticides and for the first time since 2004 we see an increase of 50% IN SURVIVING hives.
It is URGENTLY NEEDED that these pesticides are banned!
Also Wax Moth, Tracheal Mite, Varroa Destructor Mite, Small Hive Beetle with new viruses – Israel Wing Deformity, European Foul Brood, American Foul Brood, Nosema, Chalk Brood – are taking a toll on the European, U.S., Asiatic and African Honey Bees.
There is not only declining numbers of honey bees around the world, also the mere cost of keeping them alive in today’s world is becoming prohibitive. Replacing 40% of bee societies is extremely costly and time consuming. How many businesses would survive having to replace 40% of its workers annually?
With climate warming the flowers are producing less nectar and for a shorter period of time. Beekeepers are now being forced to feed honey bees when there is a lack of nectar. In the 1960’s bees did not need supplemental feeding they took care of themselves. 2014 – late spring and early summer feeding is now the norm.
LINKS TO ARTICLES ABOUT BEE EXTINCTION AND THE EFFECT ON HUMAN FOOD SUPPLY
- Einstein was right – honey bee collapse threatens global food security The telegraph
- Why Bee Extinction Would Mean the End of Humanity
- Bees, and Survival of the Human Race.
HOW CAN I HELP BEES: Other links about saving bees.
Bees, and Survival of the Human Race
A dramatic rise in the number of annual beehive losses has spurred interest in factors potentially affecting bee health. When first introduced, neonicotinoids were thought to have low toxicity to many insects, but recent research has suggested a potential toxicity to honey bees and other beneficial insects even with low levels of contact. Neonicotinoids may impact bees’ ability to forage, learn and remember navigation routes to and from food sources. Separate from lethal and sublethal effects solely due to neonicotinoid exposure, neonicotinoids are also being explored with a combination with other factors, such as mites and pathogens, as potential causes of colony collapse disorder. Neonicotinoids may be responsible for detrimental effects on bumble bee colony growth and queen production.
A 2012 study showed the presence of thiamethoxam and clothianidin in bees found dead in and around hives situated near agricultural fields. Other bees at the hives exhibited tremors, uncoordinated movement and convulsions, all signs of insecticide poisoning. The insecticides were also consistently found at low levels in soil up to two years after treated seed was planted and on nearby dandelion flowers and in corn pollen gathered by the bees. Insecticide-treated seeds are covered with a sticky substance to control its release into the environment, however they are then coated with talc to facilitate machine planting. This talc may be released into the environment in large amounts. The study found that the exhausted talc showed up to about 700,000 times the lethal insecticide dose for a bee. Exhausted talc containing the insecticides is concentrated enough that even small amounts on flowering plants can kill foragers or be transported to the hive in contaminated pollen. Tests also showed that the corn pollen that bees were bringing back to hives tested positive for neonicotinoids at levels roughly below 100 parts per billion, an amount not acutely toxic, but enough to kill bees if sufficient amounts are consumed.
A 2013 review concluded that neonicotinoids as they are typically used harm bees and that safer alternatives are urgently needed. An October 2013 study by Italian researchers demonstrated that neonicotinoids disrupt bees’ immune systems, making them susceptible to viral infections to which the bees are normally resistant.
In April 2015 EASAC conducted a study of the potential effects on organisms providing a range of ecosystem services like pollination and natural pest control which are critical to sustainable agriculture. The resulting report concludes “there is an increasing body of evidence that the widespread prophylactic use of neonicotinoids has severe negative effects on non-target organisms that provide ecosystem services including pollination and natural pest control.” Two studies published in Nature provided further evidence of the deleterious effect of neonicontinoids on bees, although the further research is needed to corroborate the findings: Oilseed rape seed coated with a combination of clothianidin and a pyrethroid “reduced wild bee density, solitary bee nesting, and bumblebee colony growth and reproduction under field conditions”.
Bees in Decline Greenpeace Research Laboratories Technical Report
Conclusions and recommendations
Honeybees and wild pollinators play a crucial role in agriculture and food production. However the current industrial chemical-intensive farming model is threatening both, and putting European food at risk. As this report shows, there is strong scientific evidence proving that neonicotinoids and other pesticides play an important role in the current bee decline. As a consequence, policy makers should:
1) Ban the use of bee-harming pesticides, starting with the top-ranked most dangerous pesticides currently authorised for use in the EU, i.e. the seven priority bee-harming chemicals imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, fipronil, chlorpyriphos, cypermethrin and deltamethrin.
2) Through the adoption of pollinators’ national action plans, support and promote agricultural practices that benefit pollination services within agricultural systems, such as crop rotation, ecological focus areas at farm level, and organic farming.
3) Improve conservation of natural and semi-natural habitats around agricultural landscapes, as well as enhance biodiversity within agricultural fields.
4) Increase funding for research and development on ecological farming practices that move away from reliance on chemical pest control towards biodiversity-based tools to control pests and enhance ecosystem health. EU policy makers shoulddirect more funding for ecological agriculture solutions research under the auspices of the CAP (direct payments) and Horizon 2020 (EU research framework).