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3 Studies Link Common Pesticides to Bee Decline (Slideshow)

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(3) Widely-used Pesticide Imidacloprid Linked to Colony Collapse Disorder


In an study published in the April issue of the Bulletin of Insectology, Alex Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard University, focused on one neonicotinoid that was introduced in the 1990s, imidacloprid.  Bees can be exposed to this chemical either through nectar from plants or from high-fructose corn syrup that beekeepers use to feed their bees. Most corn in the U.S.  is treated with imidacloprid, so it is found in corn syrup.

For 23 weeks, the scientists monitored bees in four different bee yards, each of which had been treated with different levels of imidacloprid, and one control hive. All the bees were alive after 12 weeks of imidacloprid dosing. After 23 weeks, 15 of the 16 imidacloprid-treated hives had perished and those exposed to the highest levels of the pesticide were the first to die.

The dead hives showed the characteristics of colony collapse: empty hives with food stores, some pollen and young bees, and only a few dead bees nearby. Had a virus or pest caused hive collapse, there would have been many dead bees inside the hive.

Lu says that his study offers “convincing evidence” connecting imidacloprid to colony collapse disorder. He suggests removing all neonicotinoids from use across the globe for a period of five to six years; if the bee population increases afterwards, neonicotinoids can be clearly pointed to as a culprit.

As Carrington writes, there is no need for testing to see if pesticides harm bees. Even “sub-lethal doses” cause them “serious harm,” and the significance of bees to agriculture and to the global ecosytem is inestimable. What we need is a global ban on imidacloprid, before it is too late.

Photo by weegeebored via Flickr

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Photo by No Minds Vision via Flickr

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4:00PM PST on Feb 20, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

3:41PM PST on Dec 29, 2012


10:02PM PDT on Apr 27, 2012

wow took a genius to figure that out eh. Look at the back of any pesticides and it says harmful to bees.

9:32PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Unless we want to view our food supply as a pest, maybe we should start rethinking non-organic pesticide procedures...

11:17AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

WHAT are GMOs doing to the bees?

10:49AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Tell the students this is already known. So what is going to be done about it? You kill off the bees and you're as good as dead yourself. I tell you, wherever man goes, death and destruction follow.

9:09AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

This should scare the hell out of every living being. I scares me. Their fate is our fate folks.
No bees = no life. It's as simple and as complicated as that.

Are YOU scared? You SHOULD be................................

9:35PM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

Why is it that in today's world we have all of this crap? We/ve gone centuries without these life destroying chemicals, It makes me sick to go and buy fresh vegetables and fruits wondering what has been sprayed or added to their soil. In my own garden, I have seen less bees coming around for the past three years. It sadden me. I try to grow lots of flowers to bring them around to help pollen my vegetables and fruit plants. I have been signing all sorts of petitions to put a stop it it. I hope they do, before they kill us all. Thanks Kristina

5:59PM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

We have known for years that pesticides kill the bees. Lets have more ACTION......ban pesticides!! What effect are pesticides having on birds and even us humanes??

5:49PM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

There is the potential for a huge worldwide famine in the next few decades that promises to affect America as well as every other country. And human activity is central to this possibility. Climate change is negatively altering the growing cycles of agriculture around the world. Super fires, floods, and other disasters destroy crops. Farm land is becoming more and more salty dues to irrigation practices. Genetic modification of crops promise the creation of foods that have increasingly toxic effects on consumers. We are over fishing our oceans and many species are on the verge of extinction. The oceans are becoming more acidic during this same time. Population numbers are now over 7 billion people and climbing. Add to this colony collapse syndrome, and we have all the elements for a huge decline in food production leading very quickly to worldwide famine. We simply do NOT have the luxury of waiting for further research on the devastating effects of these types of insecticides.

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