Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Goodbye Bees

More bad news on bees:

Chelsea Harvey, May 13, 2016, More bad news for honeybees: Beekeepers lost nearly half their colonies in the past year. The Washington Post,

Thanks to what scientists believe is a combination of disease, parasites, pesticides and other environmental stressors, honeybee colonies have experienced significant losses over the past decade or so — a phenomenon that’s troubling to say the least, given the insect’s immense importance when it comes to pollinating food crops and other plants. But despite recent efforts to increase protections for the honeybee, new surveys suggest that the insect is still suffering — perhaps now more than ever.

A survey released this week by the Bee Informed Partnership, a collaborative organization of honeybee researchers around the country, revealed that beekeepers in the United States lost 44 percent of their colonies in the past year — the second highest annual loss reported in the past 10 years. Colony “losses” refer to colonies whose bees died from any number of possible reasons, such as disease. They do not necessarily refer to hives stricken by colony collapse disorder, which is a well-publicized but very specific phenomenon that occurs when a colony’s worker bees suddenly and mysteriously abandon the nest.

Notably, the survey indicated that bee losses during the summer were just as high as bee losses during the winter — an alarming finding, considering summer is the time of year when bees should be at their healthiest. 

Majia here: I've posted quite a bit in the past about media and governmental framing of the bee apocalypse. The focus has been on honey bees but everyone who pays attention to their environment can see that many varieties of bees have been impacted. For instance, I've not seen a bumble bee in many, many years.

The EPA has known that "Clothianidin" (see Wikipedia here for a full account) is toxic to bees, as illustrated in this official EPA Memorandum:  
Clothianidin’s major risk concern is to nontarget insects (that is, honey bees).Clothianidin is a neonicotinoid insecticide that is both persistent and systemic.Acute toxicity studies to honey bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis. Although EFED does not conduct RQ based risk assessments on non-target insects, information from standard tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoids insecticides (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects. An incident in Germany already illustrated the toxicity of clothianidin to honeybees when allowed to drift off-site from treated seed during planting. http://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/Memo_Nov2010_Clothianidin.pdf
In the past I have discussed biased representations of the bee apocalypse on my blog. One of my first posts explored New York Times coverage that described bee colony collapse exclusively in terms of a fungus and virus, with no meaningful discussion of pesticides because the lead researcher cited in the article received funding from Bayer Crop Science, which manufactures Clothianidin:

 Majia's Blog: EPA ALLOWS Bee Massacre

Here are more posts on bees, the canary in our industrial coal mine:

Majia's Blog: EPA ALLOWS Bee Massacre

Majia's Blog: Bee Colony Collapse and Dangerous Pesticides ...

Majia's Blog: Seals and Radiation; Bees and Pesticide: SAME PLOT ...

Majia's Blog: Wired: "Controversy Deepens Over Pesticides and Bee ...

Majia's Blog: North American Animal Decline Since Fukushima

Majia's Blog: Animal Anomalies: Is the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster a ...



  1. Here in Front Range Colorado no bumble bees or hummingbirds and rarely a bee. In the 1990's they were common place. Not many birds either or butterflies. This could be reversed but would cause distress to important corporations. America provides most toxic operations a Safe Space where they will not be offended.

    1. I agree with you that the rapid decline in animal life could be reverse, at least somewhat, if we would reframe our awareness and attitude!

  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonicotinoid

    Neonicotinoids are used on pets and prescribed by vets for long term pet flea control. Not so toxic to mammals. Can cost 30 to 50 dollars a month for pets. Extremely toxic to bee eggs, larva adult bees. Omnipresent in the environment because they are also used on termites in garden centers on crops. Finopril advantage with imadoclopid. Many others. Some pet flea guards do not have them. http://m.entirelypets.com/best-10-flea-medications-and-treatments.html

    There are newer generations that are more expensive at the vet. I am sure radionucleides like strontium and cesium are contributing too.

  3. Ya, stock here, seeing very few early season bees of any sort. Wisconsin.


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