More Research Identifying Pesticides As Major Cause of CCD

Adam Taggart
By Adam Taggart on Fri, May 9, 2014 - 3:45pm

Here's a new report from the Harvard School of Public Health that provides additional evidence that pesticides, neonicotinoids in particular, are highly linked with colony collapse disorder (CCD):


Image REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

REUTERS/HEINZ-PETER BADER


Honeybees exposed to a certain class of insecticide are more likely to die from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the name given to whatever is causing a mass decline in the bee population over the past six years, according to a new study.

The report, which appears today in the Bulletin of Insectology, recreates a 2012 study which first linked the bee-killing disease with neonicotinoids. The same team of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health who conducted the 2012 study ran this later one, and their findings bolster their earlier findings. According to lead author Chensheng (Alex) Lu, "We demonstrated again in this study that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering CCD in honey bee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter." 

To perform the latest study, the researchers examined 18 bee colonies in three different locations in central Massachusetts. They split each colony into three groups — one treated with a neonicotinoid called imidacloprid, one with a neonicotinoid called clothianidin, and one left in pristine condition to serve as a control group. The scientists monitored the groups from October 2012 to April 2013 and found that, by the end of that period, half of the neonicotinoid colonies had been decimated, while only one of the control colonies was destroyed by a common intestinal parasite, Nosema cerenae. None of the bees were affected until winter, the authors write

We found honey bee colonies in both control and neonicotinoid-treated groups progressed almost identically, and observed no acute morbidity or mortality in either group until the arrival of winter... As temperatures began to decrease in late October 2012, we observed a steady decrease of bee cluster size in both control and neonicotinoid-treated hives continued to decline.

Read the full article here.

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7 Comments

Wildlife Tracker's picture
Wildlife Tracker
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 403
So, the good news is this

So, the good news is this sounds like the human race can fix this problem (ban the pesticide)

The bad news is we are not fixing this problem.

This must be an important pesticide. 

Tycer's picture
Tycer
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 26 2009
Posts: 609
Good article on Neonicotinoids

WT, I wish it were that easy. As a beekeeper, I tried to pay close attention to these things. The problem runs so deep I find it overwhelming. 

http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2180613/neon...

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 1180
good info

my bees lept forward in efficiency and survivability thru foundationless regression to natural cell size.

Wildlife Tracker's picture
Wildlife Tracker
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 403
Modern beekeeping = bad beekeeping

Just so the curious know what Robie is referring to.

It's common practice today to use pre-layed out foundations that contain ONE cell size which is not what honeybees do naturally. They have different cell sizes for work bee brood, drone brood, honey storage, slight variability for genetic viability, etc.. Also, the common cell size today is not a natural worker bee cell, but rather something larger. The idea is to make larger bees that would be more effective at making honey. In reality, and only proven in theory, is that larger honey bees are only more susceptible to disease and pests, as well as making them less efficient pollinators.

Plastic foundation is commonly used to make beekeeping more efficient. It allows the beekeeper to use this tool which separates the honey from the comb using centrifugal force. If you were to put natural comb in this tool the comb would not separate from the honey. It would only make a mess.

So the beekeeper is forced to decide between honey production and natural comb. Honey collection from natural comb requires either hand squeezing or processing through a "press" which usually has to be made by hand. So it's attractive to use foundation for this reason.

So on top of other poor beekeeping choices like hive proximity in large apiaries allowing the spread of disease, forced hive migration to pollinate monicultures, taking all of their honey in the fall and forcing them to survive on poorly nutritious sugar water and not nutritious honey from multiple food sources, and forcing honeybees into different climates and environments that their lineage is not acclimated, I am not surprised honeybee colonies are collapsing.

* I lost both my hives last year to mice, so I really should be listened to. I am just laying out the concerns and my opinion based on my education in ecology.

 

Wildlife Tracker's picture
Wildlife Tracker
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2012
Posts: 403
This year

I am trying foundationless medium-frame Langstroth designed hives again and I am confident I will do a better job this year.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/langstroth-top...

So far they are looking great!

 

Edit last post:

worker bee

so I really should NOT be listened to

 

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 1180
i'm foundationless

medium langs. it is worth noting that natural cell size has on average a shorter pupation lessening the need for verroa miticides.

earthwise's picture
earthwise
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 848
More on cell size from Michael Bush

Michael Bush lays it all out here: http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm  I'm overwhelmed by the info there.

Basically, he says, by allowing bees to create their own natural cell size instead of forcing their size by using plastic foundation, the time of cells' vulnerability to varroa is greatly diminished as the bees seal up the cells just a tad bit sooner. He also lays out how to regress cell size in great detail.

I'm only a beekeeping spectator at this point as other homestead infrastructure has taken priority. However, I have ordered and received plans for a Golden Mean Top Bar Hive that I hope to build and put into use soon. Probably not in time for this season, but next year for sure.

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