Pesticides impair honey bee flying abilities

GR: More evidence on pesticide impact on bees. Pesticides are toxic to many more animals than bees. The economic importance of bees, however, has served us all by focusing attention on the dangers of pesticides. Perhaps Monsanto’s next genetic breakthrough (after herbicide resistant GMOs) will be self-pollinating crops. Thus, pesticide use expands, wildlife declines, and Earth becomes more of a biological wasteland of mile-long rows of corn and beans tended by GPS guided artificial intelligences. Where is the farmer? He’s in the shadows shielded from the intense radiation pouring through the ozone free atmosphere.

“The evidence keeps mounting that pesticides are the main driver of honey bee declines. In a new study, scientists with the University of California San Diego showed that a commonly used neonicotinoid pesticide (thiamethoxam) can significantly impair the ability of otherwise healthy honey bees to fly, raising concerns about how pesticides affect their capacity to pollinate and the long-term effects on the health of honey bee colonies.

“Previous research has shown that foraging honey bees that ingested neonicotinoid pesticides, crop insecticides that are commonly used in agriculture, were less likely to return to their home nest, leading to a decrease in foragers.

“Thiamethoxam is used in crops such as corn, soybeans and cotton. To test the hypothesis that the pesticide impairs flight ability, the researchers designed and constructed a flight mill (a bee flight-testing instrument) from scratch. This allowed them to fly bees under consistent and controlled conditions. The study was published April 26 in Scientific Reports.

“The testing showed that nonlethal levels of neonicotinoid exposure — which bees could experience when foraging on agricultural crops–but below lethal levels — resulted in substantial damage to the honey bee’s ability to fly.

“Our results provide the first demonstration that field-realistic exposure to this pesticide alone, in otherwise healthy colonies, can alter the ability of bees to fly, specifically impairing flight distance, duration and velocity” said Tosi. “Honey bee survival depends on its ability to fly, because that’s the only way they can collect food. Their flight ability is also crucial to guarantee crop and wild plant pollination.” –Staff Report, Summit County Citizens Voice (Pesticides impair honey bee flying abilities – Summit County Citizens Voice).

Bees Still Dying

Imrs phpIt appears that we are powerless against Monsanto and the USDA. Have we no one in government that can defend nature? I guess that’s a foolish question. We can’t even convince Walmart to take its employees off the public welfare system.

Earth Report

Honeybees Still Dying

Just last year, it seemed there was something to celebrate despite planet Earth’s ongoing honeybee apocalypse: Bee colony losses were down. Not by enough, but they were down.

“It’s better news than it could have been,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a University of Maryland entomology professor who led a survey of bee populations that reported a loss of 23 percent of bee colonies — less than 30 percent, the average from 2005 to 2013. “It’s not good news.”

Though scientists cited progress in battles against an Asian mite that has killed many an American bee, they had words of caution.

“One year does not make a trend,” Jeff Pettis, a co-author of the survey who heads the federal government’s bee research laboratory in Beltsville, Md., told the New York Times.

Turns out Pettis was right. VanEngelsdorp and other researchers at the Bee Informed Partnership, affiliated with the Department…

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Making Sacramento a haven for honeybees

Carpenter Bee on LarkspurSacramento is the latest city to become an official honeybee haven. More residents are interested in keeping their own hives. But how do you catch this buzz?  Source: www.sacbee.com

GR:  Here’s the link to put your honeybee haven on the map.  For other posts on bees, pollinators, and pesticides, enter “bees” in the search window.

Six solutions for transforming your balcony into a biodiversity sanctuary

Your balcony – a little corner of paradise…

Source: livingcircular.veolia.com

GR:  If you live in North America, here’s a good source for beekeeping information:  http://www.beeculture.com/directory/find-local-beekeeper/.  Beekeeping associations in other parts of the world are listed here: http://honeyo.com/org-International.shtml.  You can find more information through the one of the beekeeping forums.  Interested?  It takes about 30 minutes per hive per week, and 2 hours per hive twice a year to extract honey.