Bee collecting pollen

Bee collecting pollen

The Fight for the Bees

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Bees have made their way into conversations more times in the last few months than in years past, and there’s a reason. The bees are dying, not by the hundreds or thousands, but by the critical millions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency the leading cause of this crisis is pesticide use.

When the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture found Asian citrus psyllids this past March in Summerland, Santa Barbara County turned to pesticides as a solution, even though the disease carried by the psyllid, Huanglongbing, was not found. The disease is deadly to citrus trees, and the state worries it will wipe out citrus groves in California as it has in Florida. The problem with the pesticide solution, says the National Pesticide Information Center, is that the active ingredient, imidacloprid, is highly toxic to bees. Imidacloprid is considered so deadly to bees that the European Union has banned it.

In Summerland, 44 percent of homeowners opted out of the spray, thanks to a public information campaign by the Santa Barbara Beekeeper’s Association, but the spraying still took place.

This is not the first time bees close to home took a heavy hit. In fall 2012, 16 bee colonies in Montecito were found with an estimated 750,000 bees dead, all within a 1.5-mile radius. After screening by Penn State University, the culprit was determined to be pesticides.

In Alameda County, on Tuesday, July 8, environmental and food safety groups brought a challenge to California’s practice of approving new agricultural uses for neonicotinoid pesticides — of which imidacloprid is one — despite mounting evidence that the pesticides are killing honeybees. Pesticide Action Network, Center for Food Safety, and Beyond Pesticides joined together to file a lawsuit in the Superior Court for the County of Alameda against the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). This lawsuit specifically challenges DPR’s June 13, 2014, decision to expand the use of two harmful neonicotinoid insecticides — Venom Insecticide and Dinotefuran 20SG, both of which have yet to be fully reviewed for impact on pollinators. “Unless halted, the use of these pesticides threatens not only the very survival of our pollinators, but the fate of whole ecosystems. Scientists have consistently documented widespread environmental contamination from neonicotinoids as they build up in our soil and waterways, especially in California. The DPR has a responsibility to step in and say no,” commented Andrew Kimbrell, executive Director of Center for Food Safety in a Beyond Pesticides press release.

What does this mean for the bees of Santa Barbara? The result from this case could affect all other counties where the pesticide use and other facts are the same or even similar. That being said, the decision made in this case could affect future cases and possibly propel groups in Santa Barbara to file a legal challenge against the use of such pesticides here.

In the last month, President Obama created a task force of various agencies to address the rapid loss of honey bees and other pollinators. His budget for next year recommends about $50 million for multiple agencies to boost research, increase the number of acres dedicated to pollinator conservation programs, and boost funding for research on pollinator loss.

Bee pollination is directly responsible for more than $15 billion in crop values each year, and one in three mouthfuls in our diet are benefitted by the honeybee. Discouraged with the lack of a clear timeline for evaluating the harms of the pesticides, California legislators are advancing a bill (AB 1789) that would pressure DPR to finish its review of neonicotinoids within the next two years.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

In context, Obama's $15 billion project sounds more like Obama PR than an attempt to solve a long-term problem. The report to the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture below is dated March 29, 2007. Obama's secret Trans Pacific Partnership prohibits a ban on imports based on national environmental law.
There are many reports of the disappearance of many species of insects since national governments and the international banker cabal (Rothschild family members own both a geoengineering corporation and the Weather Channel) began dumping megatons of toxins on land around the world.

"It's not just the bees that are dying. Butterfly and bird populations are in decline, too. And it's not just the neonicotinoids that are to blame. Other herbicides and pesticides, especially Monsanto's Roundup, used to grow GMO crops-and also used to contain (kill) weeds in cities and home gardens-are decimating pollinators, fish and wildlife, and some would argue, humans, too."

The UN's sustainability policy, based on GM and GE corporate uni-crop agriculture, is corporate welfare at the expense of life. It's a policy endorsed by Obama and promoted by the silence of the US media on the issue, and it's a critical issue in global food production.


14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 11:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Has the recent increase in hive rape by the pious "natural foods" honey-eating crowd exhausted the bees, who made the stuff for themselves but now have to make double the amount just to stay even. Stop hive rape and see if the bees come back.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 4 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No, I'm pretty sure it's pesticides.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 4:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"the recent increase in hive rape by the pious "natural foods" honey-eating crowd..." JarvisJarvis


loonpt (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 4:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A quick google scholar search nets the following research:

“An overview of the environmental risks posed by neonicotinoid insecticides,” Journal of Applied Ecology 2013
Concentrations of neonicotinoids in nectar and pollen in crops are sufficient to impact colony reproduction in bumblebees.
Consumption of small numbers of dressed seeds offers a route to direct mortality in birds and mammals.
Current use of neonicotinoids is likely to be impacting on a broad range of non-target taxa including pollinators and soil and aquatic invertebrates and hence threatens a range of ecosystem services.”

“Combined pesticide exposure severely affects individual- and colony-level traits in bees” Nature 2012:
“chronic exposure of bumblebees to two pesticides (neonicotinoid and pyrethroid) at concentrations that could approximate field-level exposure impairs natural foraging behaviour and increases worker mortality leading to significant reductions in brood development and colony success.”

“Declines in insectivorous birds are associated with high neonicotinoid concentrations” Nature 2014
“Our results suggest that the impact of neonicotinoids on the natural environment is even more substantial than has recently been reported and is reminiscent of the effects of persistent insecticides in the past. Future legislation should take into account the potential cascading effects of neonicotinoids on ecosystems.”

valleyfarmer (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Rather than parse out your proffered proof, give me an idea how you rank this article's authority to support your conclusion pesticides are responsible for the declining bee populations. Scale 1-10 - lowest to highest authority ranking.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 6:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The first four comments are a waste of space. I read nothing about the UN in the link about GMOs or in the house hearing report. So the UN remark is spurious, unproven data. I am sure corporations in this country have more clout than the UN which is not regarded highly by most of the right. So how the UN "sustainability" program would get any consideration by mostly right farmers, boggles the mind. Profit and Wall Street dividends are probably the most overriding concern.

And since the first poster could not even get the amount of money correct, further comments have no credibility. "His budget for next year recommends about $50 million " not $50 billion. The $50 billion is what bees make for farmers.

JJ, you appear to have little reading ability - bees are far more important to the production of other foods that we eat (to the tune of billions of dollars) than honey. When I go to TJs or Vons or Tri-County, etc, the vegetable and fruit produce occupies a large amount of space - not so honey, which occupies half a shelf if that. Almond milk and almond nuts takes up more space than jars of honey.

Observe much?

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 6:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Read this link for studies on pesticides and bees.

A March 2012 study[8] conducted in Europe, in which minuscule electronic localization devices were fixed on bees, has shown that, even with very low levels of pesticide in the bee's diet, a high proportion of bees (more than one third) suffers form orientation disorder and is unable to come back to the hive. The pesticide concentration was order of magnitudes smaller than the lethal dose used in the pesticide's current use. The pesticide under study, brand-named "Cruiser" in Europe (thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid insecticide), although allowed in France by annually renewed exceptional authorization, could be banned in the coming years by the European Commission.

April 2013 the EU decided to restrict thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and imidacloprid.[9]

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 6:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"The last two weeks the Pollinator Stewardship Council has received reports of bee kills at the end of the almond bloom. A meeting with EPA was held by Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, and the American Beekeeping Federation, Monday, March 24 in Los Banos, California to discuss the pollinator losses during almond pollination. More than seventy beekeepers attended in person and on a conference call.

Bees were released from almond pollination, and beekeepers began to see the effects of a tank mix that caused dead adult bees, and dead, dying, and deformed brood. A poll taken of the seventy-five beekeepers at the meeting showed 80,000 colonies damaged: 75% of them severely damaged. Additional reports place an average loss of 60% of hives in almonds were impacted. Of that 60%, 40% lost adult bees and had dying brood, 20% of the hives were dead completely. These losses were experienced by beekeepers who wintered in California, as well as those who brought their bees into almonds from southern states.

The meeting addressed the bee kills in almonds, and the new label language for foliar applications of clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and the two new products tolfenpyrad and cyantraniliprole. The majority of the meeting addressed the damages beekeepers suffered from a tank mix that included an insect growth regulator (IGR) and a fungicide. The tank mix was applied “per the label.” However, the IGR has decimated the ability of beekeepers to make splits for the next crop pollination, to breed queens, or to make packages of bees. Many beekeepers expressed grave concern that the tank mix was applied in one area, but honey bees from other orchards, under another grower’s pollination contract received damaged due to drift, and foraging range. Some of the bee damage was not evident until truckloads of bees returned to their southern homes. The effects of fungicides and IGRs were delayed just enough beekeepers did not realize the impact until their hives were released from pollinating almonds. Research has shown fungicides are detrimental to pollinators.

"A poll taken of the seventy-five beekeepers at the meeting showed 80,000 colonies damaged: 75% of them severely damaged. " That is 80,000 colonies not 80,000 bees.

Interesting fact: there is no organic honey in California. That is because bees fly wherever they want.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 6:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As Einstein is said to have remarked, "Mankind has four years left when the last bee dies."

SFGiants (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 8:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Those were non sequitor responses, tabatha. You outdid even your own standards for inconsequential irrelevance. You leave me with nothing more to say except eat less honey and save a bee.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 29, 2014 at 10:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why do non-Whites prefer to live in areas where there are lots of bees?

A: Because they don't feel comfortable in W.A.S.P. neighborhoods.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 5:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I have bee hives to pollinate my garden. In 2010, all of the local bees had died from CCD and nothing in the garden was produced. One cucumber. The next year with one hive I picked 500 cucumbers and hundreds of squash, zuchinni, etc. Over $3,000 in food for our family with one hive. This spring I had reached 3 hives to have backup. In March the local Orange grove operator put the pesticides into the fertilizer spray and killed off one hive located next to the grove in one day. The grove was in full bloom and all of the bees were working that grove. That hive was 3 years old with twice the normal compliment of bees. They had 6 deep frames of pollen, 6 deep frames of brood, and 12 frames of honey. All lost. The European ban was the result of a test in which the entire country of France banned the NeoNics for over 2 years and their bee industry recovered from near destruction. The European commissioner was in favor of the pesticide manufacturer however the test results were completely overwhelming. He had no choice but ban them. So the USA became the next marketing target. 30% of our food is produced by bees. Do you want to feed your children? Commercial bee keepers are only keeping things going through superhuman effort at breeding replacement Queens. Their children have already quit the business. When they quit, who will replace them? The wild bees are also decimated.

jw20000 (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 8:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Really? Penn State Univ had to make the determination that pesticides killed bees in S.B.? UCSB isn't interested in what's happening in its own watershed? Shameful.

Pagurus (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 9:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

UC Riverside and UCDavis are dedicated to agricultural research in this state.

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 9:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

UC Davis Honeybee research center:

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 9:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

UC Riverside honey bee research:

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 9:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

It is important to under the complete list of accumulated causes for CCD. Colony Collapse Disorder. The Nicotine based pesticides are one major element. Moving bees every 2-6 weeks from crop to crop is another causing colony exhaustion. The Varoa Destructor blood sucking mite is a major problem. Trachial mites are another. The new viruses and bacteria are others. They all add up to one BIG word. STRESS. My hives are immune to all but the NeoNic's. I accidentally discovered a medicinal flowering bush that causes the mites to die and their ability to infect the bees with bacteria and viruses. African Blue Basil with 23 percent camphor oil nectar that bloom 10 months per year. I don't move my hives. I have not treated my bees with chemicals to kill mites since 2012. My hives are typically 2 or 3 times larger than normal hives occupying 3 to 4 deep boxes. They produce twice as much honey. They rarely swarm away in the Spring. Maybe one per year. The pesticides are licensed to agricultural operations only if they agree to never spray when Bees are in the field. They are lethal.

jw20000 (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 10:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

JarvisJarvis, tabatha's comment was a wordbath to distract from the fact that Obama's Trans Pacific Partnership oulaws bans on the import of environmentally hazardous substances restricted by environmental protection laws, a disinformation technique with long-term use by tabatha. It's essential to divert attention from Obama's environmentally destructive corporate welfare legislation; what options does a paid internet troll have, since Obama's and the UN's support for GM crops is a policy for increased pesticide use and increasing the death of bees.
The Guardian article on UNDP's support for GM crops was written in 2001.

Obama's "Monsanto Protection Act" was passed in 2013.
"On March 21st, Congress passed The Monsanto Protection Act that was slipped into a short term budget resolution. This dangerous rider found in Section 735 of the bill would create a precedent-setting limitation on judicial review of genetically-engineered crops, allowing them to be planted without federal safeguards in place that protect our environment, family farmers and citizens."

Pesticide Use Proliferating With GMO Crops, Study Warns
Posted: 10/04/2012 1:27 pm Updated: 10/18/2012


UN agency backs GM food crops
Grassroots groups angered by conclusion that the poor and the hungry will benefit
John Vidal, and John Aglionby, South-east Asia correspondent The Guardian, Tuesday 10 July 2001

"The real crisis is the neglect of research and investment in the development of sustainable and ecological agriculture technologies. The UNDP has reduced its support for traditional agriculture and is now insisting on GM crops as a means of 'helping humanity'."

GMO Crops increase pesticide use

Greenpeace Denounces UN Support for GM Crops in Mexico

I'm very fortunate to have healthy bees making fennel honey in my yard, and healthy birds eating healthy bugs in my vegetable garden. Nicotinamide pesticides are extremely toxic, and commonly used on eugenia hedges in Santa Barbara, and I'm glad that a former neighbor who sprayed his hedges has moved.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 12:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The governments of the UK and Germany have acknowledged aerial chemical spraying (chemtrails), Obama hasn't.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 12:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Minority Staff Report:

How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA July 30, 2014

was released today and is a great resource in understanding the difference between Monsanto "green" and what's good for bees. (I don't know if Monsanto or GE is mentioned - haven't finished reading this.)

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2014 at 2:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

April 26, 2012
Obama administration extends attacks on farmers by confiscating bank accounts
On April 23rd however, the stakes got much higher for the individual farmer as the FDA is now using the terrorist based "Bank Secrecy Act" as justification to invade, investigate, and even confiscate the bank accounts of Americans in the agricultural business.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2014 at 1:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

jw 20000 - It's good to hear your encouraging news - African Blue Basil sounds great.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2014 at 9:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This article was posted today. Control of agriculture to prevent the use of pesticides and GE crops is essential to the health of bees and other pollinators. Missouri is trying to amend its state constitution to maintain this right. California needs to do this, but it would probably require a ballot initiative; our democratic representatives support Obama/UN fascist control of agriculture and anti-environment corporate policies.

Missouri to Vote on Right to Farm Amendment

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2014 at 9:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Before jumping to any conclusons about "pesticides" stay current with the FDA bee research, who is monitoring all aspects of this issue and is also noting a recent increase in bee populations:

No, it is not just "pesticides".

JarvisJarvis (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2014 at 10:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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