I’m not a farmer, but I would think bee colony collapse would have a negative impact on crop production. The ongoing drought in California, the brutally cold winter and this bee situation sounds like a recipe for higher food prices. Higher worldwide food prices lead to discontent and revolution. Starving people have nothing to lose, so they lose it.

Via The Guardian

Honeybees abandoning hives and dying due to insecticide use, research finds

Harvard study shows neonicotionoids are devastating colonies by triggerring colony collapse disorder
Damian Carrington

Impact of pesticide on bees and beehive

Scientists found bees from six of the 12 neonicotinoid-treated colonies had left their hives and died. Photograph: Rex Features

The mysterious vanishing of honeybees from hives can be directly linked to insectcide use, according to new research from Harvard University. The scientists showed that exposure to two neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used class of insecticide, lead to half the colonies studied dying, while none of the untreated colonies saw their bees disappear.

“We demonstrated that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering ‘colony collapse disorder’ in honeybee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter,” said Chensheng Lu, an expert on environmental exposure biology at Harvard School of Public Health and who led the work.

The loss of honeybees in many countries in the last decade has caused widespread concern because about three-quarters of the world’s food crops require pollination. The decline has been linked to loss of habitat, disease and pesticide use. In December 2013, the European Union banned the use of three neonicotinoids for two years.

In the new Harvard study, published in the Bulletin of Insectology, the scientists studied the health of 18 bee colonies in three locations in central Massachusetts from October 2012 till April 2013. At each location, two colonies were treated with realistic doses of imidacloprid, two with clothianidin, and two were untreated control hives.

“Bees from six of the 12 neonicotinoid-treated colonies had abandoned their hives and were eventually dead with symptoms resembling CCD,” the team wrote. “However, we observed a complete opposite phenomenon in the control colonies.” Only one control colony was lost, the result of infection by the parasitic fungus Nosema and in this case the dead bees remained in the hive.

Previously, scientists had suggested that neonicotinoids can lead to CCD by damaging the immune systems of bees, making them more vulnerable to parasites and disease. However, the new research undermines this theory by finding that all the colonies had near-identical levels of pathogen infestation.

“It is striking and perplexing to observe the empty neonicotinoid-treated colonies because honey bees normally do not abandon their hives during the winter,” the scientists wrote. “This observation may suggest the impairment of honey bee neurological functions, specifically memory, cognition, or behaviour, as the results from the chronic sub-lethal neonicotinoid exposure.” Earlier research showed neonicotinoid exposure can damage the renowned ability of bees to navigate home.

The new research follows similar previous work by the same group and comparison of the two studies shows that cold winters appear to exacerbate the effects of neonicotinoids on the bees. In the cold winter of 2010-11, 94% of the insecticide-exposed colonies suffered CCD compared to 50% in the new study.

“Sudden deaths of entire honey bee colonies is a persistent concern in North America,” said Paul de Zylva, Friends of the Earth’s senior nature campaigner. “Comprehensive research into the role pesticides play in bee decline is urgently required – including how they may compound other pressures, such as a lack of food and loss of habitat.” Lu agreed: “Future research could help elucidate the biological mechanism that is responsible for linking sub-lethal neonicotinoid exposures to CCD. Hopefully we can reverse the continuing trend of honeybee loss.”

In April, a landmark European study revealed the UK is suffering one of the worst rates of honeybee colony deaths in Europe. “The UK government [which opposed the EU’s neonicotinoid ban] has accepted the need for a national action plan to reverse bee and pollinator decline,” said de Zylva. “But its draft plan is dangerously complacent on pesticides, placing far too much trust in chemical firms and flawed procedures.”



  1. When all the bees have gone, we can get the free shit army to run thru the fields wearing fuzzy clothes in order to pollinate the crops. Getting them to return to the hives could be a problem tho.

  2. LLPOH-Getting them anywhere near work, let alone a farm field, will be nigh on impossible. They’ll just call you a racist for suggesting it. Then again, Monsanto probably doesn’t mind us killing all the pollinators off-they’re just eliminating the competition. It’s the American Way!

  3. At least it isn’t cell phones. I was afraid I would have to change my lifestyle to please some stupid bugs. I couldn’t live without my smarty phone! Next, they’ll be trying to tell us WiFi is bad for our health…

  4. gilberts says:

    ” I was afraid I would have to change my lifestyle…”

    The horror, at least you don’t live in Cali where the governor has dared to suggest we cut back water consumption by 20%. Shit, I’ll have to cut my showers back to 45 minutes.

  5. I saw one of the bee movies (with the director present) outdoors at the local Aubudon Society when it suddenly occurred to me it was affecting industrial bees–those bees shipped around the country to pollinate factory farm fields, their nutrition coming from high fructose corn syrup (they rob them of the honey they make). And these big bee keepers are losing massive amounts of hives.

    So, the solution is obvious: if you’re one of those big beekeepers who moves bees around to pollinate farmers fields, go only to organic farms. If pesticides are used on nearby farms, say no way. The problem will go away immediately because those farmers–such as the entire California almond crop–are entirely dependent on those bees. Both the farmer and the big bee keepers desperately need each other to stay in business.

  6. Neonicotionoids are a nasty poison for bee hives not the bees themselves. Neonicotionoids cause weaker bees to be born so it kills the hive. To reduce neonicotionoids do not buy plants at the big box stores like Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes, etc. buy them at your local nursery because they do not usually apply neonicotionoids.

    Neonicotionoids are systemic and become part of the plant. The poisons last 3 to 5 years before they grow out.

    Also do not use Roundup as that kills bees too and it also kills you. Those chelate poisons are just nasty as they hold metals separate to kill.

    As you can tell I raise bees. Please buy your plants at a local nursery and ask if they apply neonicotionoids because they will tell you.

  7. Well I had a freaky experience and this is no exaggeration. I was back in the US in Vegas for as conference recently and they had the fancy food out at a reception (another story is there). They had those cute little glass bottles with honey in them. I snagged a couple for the bottles, my wife likes to use them. So, several days later I was in Florida visiting my parents and knew I has the get the honey out of the bottles before the trip back home to New Zealand as bringing foreign honey into New Zealand is a big no no.

    Aside: I never tasted such good and wide variety of honey until I moved to New Zealand. Amazing stuff they have here.

    Anyway – so I am thinking I will transfer the honey and taste a little to see how it compares to my new reference point of NZ honey. I anticipated it would be more mild tasting but that was about it. As I poured it out I noticed it was thinner than I has gotten used to. Then I tasted it. I kid you not: Tasted like insecticide! Seriously.

    So, this was either some s**t from China masquerading in the US at fancy events as honey, it reflected the very scary state of commercial honey ( and the bees) in the U.S. or some combination of both. Tasted literally like poison.

    When I got home the washed glass bottles still smelled of insecticide and my wife agreed (and thereby knew I was not spinning a tall tale).


  8. Shrimp are dying from a mysterious disease.
    Pigs are dying from dissentary.
    Drought, soon to be famine.
    Earthquakes, fires, dead bees. Wars are a’ brewin. What’s next?

    Any fish swimming in the Pacific is probably irradiated, as is anyone who eats fish caught in the Pacific. Yea, Fukushima hasn’t gone away, it’s worse than ever….

    Fukushima Seawater Radiation Rises To New All Time High

    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/18/2014 – 12:59

    The mainstream media may have long forgotten about the Fukushima tragedy (as it certainly goes against the far more popular and palatable meme of a Japan “recovery” courtesy of Abenomics) but that does not mean it is fixed or even contained. Quite the contrary. As a rare update from Japan’s Jiji news agency reminds us, on Friday radiation at five monitoring points in waters adjacent to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power station spiked to all-time highs according to the semi-nationalized TEPCO.

  9. The climate change argument serves as a nice distraction from the true ecological disasters going on around us.


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