Our Stand on Re-using/Re-running Stories - CCD

By Camilla Bee, Editor

I strive to not reprint too many articles available from other sources. After all, a search engine can find those for you. We want this publication to be much more than the results of a search engine and lots of links to other places. However, there’s some great information out there! Sometimes it seems to make more sense to point you to it rather than recreate it.

And other times, when it is key information, we’ll duplicate it here to be sure you have a chance to see it. A recent article on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is, we feel, such key information. In case you missed it elsewhere, we’re sharing important points here.

The adjacent article—Mystery of Disappearing Bees Solved—may be found in its entirety at http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/04/09/mystery-of-the-disappearing-bees-solved.

Mystery of Disappearing Bees Solved

For 15 years, dedicated researchers and scientists from around the world have been studying the mysterious disappearance of alarming numbers of honeybees. Evidence has been inconclusive, until recently.

According to the article “Mystery of the Disappearing Bees: Solved!” by Richard Schiffman, “three new studies point an accusing finger at a culprit that many have suspected all along, a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

In the U.S. alone, these pesticides, produced primarily by the German chemical giant Bayer and known as “neonics” for short, coat a massive 142 million acres of corn, wheat, soy and cotton seeds. They are also a common ingredient in home gardening products.

Research published in the prestigious journal Science shows that neonics are absorbed by the plants’ vascular system and contaminate the pollen and nectar that bees encounter on their rounds. They are a nerve poison that disorient their insect victims and appear to damage the homing ability of bees, which may help to account for their mysterious failure to make it back to the hive.

Another study published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science and Technology journal implicated neonic-containing dust released into the air at planting time with “lethal effects compatible with colony losses phenomena observed by beekeepers.”

Purdue University entomologists observed bees at infected hives exhibiting tremors, uncoordinated movement and convulsions, all signs of acute insecticide poisoning. And yet another study conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health actually re-created colony collapse disorder in several honeybee hives simply by administering small doses of a popular neonic, imidacloprid.

But scientists believe that exposure to toxic pesticides is only one factor that has led to the decline of honey bees in recent years. The destruction and fragmentation of bee habitats, as a result of land development and the spread of monoculture agriculture, deprives pollinators of their diverse natural food supply. This has already led to the extinction of a number of wild bee species. The planting of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops—some of which now contain toxic insecticides within their genetic structure—may also be responsible for poisoning bees and weakening their immune systems.

 

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