View Full Version : WikiLeaks Says EPA Is A Buzz Kill For Bee Colonies

David Guyatt
01-01-2011, 04:09 PM
I don't recall having seen this posted before:


WikiLeaks Says EPA Is A Buzz Kill For Bee Colonies

Dec. 20, 2010 – A memo leaked to a Colorado beekeeper indicates that the EPA was well-aware that the pesticide Clothianidin poses serious risks to honey bees, according to WikiLeaks. Yet the federal agency allowed Bayer to widely use the pesticide on corn, wheat and other staple food products, amounting to a $262 million cash crop for the Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and chemical company. Sickening? – Global Animal
Change.org, by Stephanie Feldstein
While the WikiLeaks media frenzy may have been focused on the release of tens of thousands of classified military and U.S. State Department documents, it’s a leaked Environmental Protection Agency document that has conservationists, environmentalists and beekeepers abuzz.
The November 2nd memo, leaked to a Colorado beekeeper, indicates that the EPA was well-aware that the pesticide Clothianidin posed some serious risks to honey bees. There have been concerns about this chemical from as far back as 2003, and it’s already been banned in Germany, France, Italy and Slovenia because of its toxicity. But the EPA chose to sweep all that under the rug to keep the pesticide on the market.
Clothianidin, marketed as “Poncho” by Bayer, is widely used on corn, as well as canola, soy, sugar beets, sunflowers and wheat. As if the $262 million cash crop from last year wasn’t enough, Bayer wants to keep expanding the pesticide’s use. And the company’s original registration was based on some seriously flawed science: they evaluated the wrong crop, with the wrong controls to assess the impact on bees.
This all adds up to some serious questions about the government contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder as they knowingly allowed Bayer to poison bees. And this is about a lot more than honey production … native habitats, and as much as one-third of America’s food supply, rely on the pollination provided by bees.
In light of the leaked memo, the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association, Beyond Pesticides, Pesticide Action Network North America, and Center for Biological Diversity sent a letter to the EPA requesting that the agency “take urgent action to stop the use of this toxic chemical.”
The letter goes on to point out that this new information indicates an overuse of the Office of Pesticide Program’s conditional registration program. This bee boondoggle “represents a failure that could and should have been avoided.” As a result, the coalition is calling for an immediate moratorium on these types of registration until the program is evaluated.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about Colony Collapse Disorder and the massive bee die-offs it’s been causing. One thing we do know is that bees are in trouble, and that’s not good news for all the animals (and humans) who rely on the plants these important insects sustain.
Join the call for the EPA to stop the sale of Poncho and conduct a thorough study into the pesticide’s impact on wildlife.
http://animals.change.org/blog/view/wikileaks_uncovers_government_bee_killing_conspira cy
Excerpt from leaked EPA memo:
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.
See entire pdf document here: http://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/Memo_Nov2010_Clothianidin.pdf

Peter Lemkin
01-01-2011, 04:45 PM
I don't recall having seen this posted before:


Still a mystery why honey bee die-off continues - Jun 4, 2010

It’s been nearly four years since beekeepers around the country began reporting unusually high losses of otherwise healthy hives. Adding to the mystery, the hives were abandoned, leaving behind honeycombs, immature bees, and occasionally a live queen.
Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, no single cause has yet been found. The most recent thinking is that it may be a combination of factors.
Meanwhile, the loss of hives continues to worsen. A report released by the United States Dept. Of Agriculture in April shows that 34 percent of managed hives were lost between October 2009 and April 2010. For the same period the previous year, a 29 percent loss was reported.
The implications of the problem go far beyond a threat to the honey supply. Nearly 80 percent of the fruits and vegetables Americans eat need to be pollinated. So far, the loss of hives hasn’t significantly impacted food production, other than a rise in the cost of bringing in bees to pollinate crops. That could change if the loss continues.
The USDA lists several possible reasons for the disorder.
The widespread use of pesticides has long been looked at as a prime suspect, but research on affected colonies hasn’t found a definite link for all cases. One possibility is that there may be an as-yet undiscovered consequence.
Commercial beekeeping operations may be creating stresses for the bees, caused by crowded conditions, the stress of being transported from one place to another, possibly poor nutrition from the plants they’re expected to pollinate.
There are also indications that some parasites are present, and they may cause more harm if the health of a colony is already compromised from other factors.
Last month, at the meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego, USDA researchers outlined a new possibility – that a fungus and a group of viruses may have joined forces causing the disorder.
“There may be a synergism between two very different pathogens,” said Jay Evans, one of the researchers. “When they show up together, there is a significant correlation with colony decline.”
By identifying possible causes, beekeepers can begin taking steps to protect their hives. In the meantime, beekeepers are being advised to keep their hives healthy by reducing some of the stress factors and trying to minimize exposure to pesticides.