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British researchers, meanwhile, found that bumblebee colonies exposed to common levels of another pesticide from the same family grew more slowly and produced nearly 85% fewer queens than non-exposed colonies, "which clearly could have very strong implications for bumblebee populations in the wild," co-author Dave Goulson said Thursday in Paris.
"I would suggest that there is a need to urgently re-evaluate the use of these pesticides on flowering crops," said Goulson, a biology professor at the University of Stirling in Scotland.
The studies released Thursday are the latest to point to neonicotinoid insecticides, which are often used to treat seeds for cereals and some flowering crops like corn, as a factor in plunging bee populations. The chemicals mimic the effect of the tobacco ingredient nicotine, which is used as a natural insecticide, and pose less risk to humans and other mammals.
Originally posted by Rockpuck
Monsanto happens to be the largest producer of neonicotinoid insecticides
The American study ... has demonstrated that the insects’ vulnerability to infection is increased by the presence of imidacloprid, even at the most microscopic doses. Dr. Pettis and his team found that increased disease infection happened even when the levels of the insecticide were so tiny that they could not subsequently be detected in the bees, although the researchers knew that they had been dosed with it.
the lead researcher at the USDA’s very own Bee Research Laboratory completed research two years ago suggesting that even extremely low levels of exposure to neonicotinoids makes bees more vulnerable to harm from common pathogens.
So why on earth are they still in use on million of acres of American farmland?
Honey bee and pollinator decline indicates a “sixth major extinction” of biological diversity is currently underway, caused by habitat loss, pollution, pest invasion, and disease, leading to ecosystem havoc vital to human livelihood.
Current evidence demonstrates that a sixth major extinction of biological diversity
event is underway.
1. The Earth is losing between one and ten percent of biodiversity
2, mostly due to habitat loss, pest invasion, pollution, over-harvesting and
3. Certain natural ecosystem services are vital for human societies.
Many fruit, nut, vegetable, legume, and seed crops depend on pollination.
Pollination services are provided both by wild, free-living organisms (mainly bees,
but also to name a few many butterflies, moths and flies), and by commercially
managed bee species. Bees are the predominant and most economically important
group of pollinators in most geographical regions.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)4 estimates that
out of some 100 crop species which provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 of these
In Europe alone, 84% of the 264 crop species are animalpollinated
and 4 000 vegetable varieties exist thanks to pollination by bees5. The
production value of one tonne of pollinator-dependent crop is approximately five
times higher than one of those crop categories that do not depend on insects.