Editor’s Note: The story below is an example of sensationalism over science. The story ignores the latest findings of the USDA which make explicit the growing consensus of researchers in government and academia that bee health decline is the result of “a complex set of stressors and pathogens” and that “researchers are increasingly using multi-factorial approaches to studying causes” of bee health problems. The story also ignores the common sense obersvation of the Director of the University of Illinois’ Institute for Genomic Biology who explained that the farming area the University is located in is “ground zero for neonicotinoid use but we have no documented cases of Colony Collapse Disorder.”
From: NBC News/Reuters
Monsanto is hosting a “Bee Summit.” Bayer AG is breaking ground on a “Bee Care Center.” And Sygenta AG is funding grants for research into the accelerating demise of honeybees in the United States, where the insects pollinate fruits and vegetables that make up roughly a quarter of the American diet.
The agrichemical companies are taking these initiatives at a time when their best-selling pesticides are under fire from environmental and food activists who say the chemicals are killing off millions of bees. The companies say their pesticides are not the problem, but critics say science shows the opposite.
Editor’s Note: The following article further demonstrates that bee health decline issues do not have a single cause. USDA scientists have made clear “that a complex set of stressors and pathogens is associated with CCD…” Chalkbrood, a fungal disease, is one of the many ills affecting bees.
By Charlotte Wiggins
It sounds like a bad movie, doesn’t it? Honeybees that turn into mummies.
There’s actually a fungus that turns bee larvae into hard, white lumps. The little bodies resemble chalk, which is where the condition, first identified in Europe, got its name.
From: Investors Business Daily
By PAUL DRIESSEN
Beekeeping is big business, and everyone loves honey and foods made possible by pollination. But “colony collapse disorder” threatens bees and crop pollination in many areas.
CCD and other bee die-offs are nothing new.
What we now call colony collapse was first reported in 1869, and many outbreaks since then have sent scientists scurrying for explanations and solutions. Fungi, varroa mites and other possible suspects have been implicated, but no definitive answer has yet been found.
Editor’s Note: Although the EU’s failure to obtain a ban on neonicotinoids was followed by a staff imposed administrative ban, the latter is of short duration and is being challenged by the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness in other European venues.
The Daily Caller
On April 29, the European Commission failed for the second time to get the votes necessary to pass a proposed two-year ban on several innovative agricultural pesticides known as neonicotinoids (“neonics”). But immediately after reporting that a “qualified majority” of member states had not been reached, the Commission’s health and consumer affairs commissioner, Tonio Borg, announced that he would institute the ban administratively.
From: Farmers Guardian
By Alistair Driver
US authorities have published a report concluding ‘multiple factors’ are to blame for the decline in global bee populations.
The report by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concludes the parasitic varroa mite is ‘recognised as the major factor underlying colony loss in the US and other countries’.
It highlights various other factors, including disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.
Editor’s Note: The key difference between reactions in the US and the EU to unsupported assertions regarding neonicotinoids may be traced to the US Data Quality Act which requires agencies to adhere to strict standards of objectivity, utility and integrity.
From: Food Safety News
By Dan Flynn
Europe and America appear to be taking decidedly different approaches to honeybee colony collapse.
The European Union just adopted continent-wide restrictions against the neonicotinoid class of insecticides called out by the European Food Safety Authority as especially damaging to bees. In the U.S., however, a newly released comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health says multiple factors are contributing to colony decline, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.
By Bryan Walsh
The honeybees are dying — and we don’t really know why. That’s the conclusion of a massive Department of Agriculture (USDA) report that came out late last week on colony-collapse disorder (CCD), the catchall term for the large-scale deaths of honeybee groups throughout the U.S. And given how important honeybees are to the food that we eat — bees help pollinate crops that are worth more than $200 billion a year — the fact that they are dying in large numbers, and we can’t say why, is very, very worrying.
From: Minot Daily News
By DAN RUDY
Forget the flowers, where have all the bees gone? Since 2006, there has been a growing concern among beekeepers about disappearing colonies, a trend which has since been labeled as Colony Collapse Disorder.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service estimates that from 2006 through 2011, colonies across the country have averaged losses by about 33 percent each year, figures which if continued could threaten the industry. This is not limited to honey production, but to the vital pollination services bees provide to orchards and farms. On its site, the ARS estimates that bee activity is crucial for $15 billion in increased crop value for domestic agriculture, with some crops such as almonds and certain fruits largely or wholly dependent on bee pollination.
Editor’s Note: The USDA/EPA report, “Report on the National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health: National Honey Bee Health Stakeholder Conference Steering Committee” is attached here. Below are the Highlights of Research Overviews:
• Consensus is building that a complex set of stressors and pathogens is associated with CCD, and researchers are increasingly using multi-factorial approaches to studying causes of colony losses.
• The parasitic mite Varroa destructor remains the single most detrimental pest of honey bees, and is closely associated with overwintering colony declines.
• Multiple virus species have been associated with CCD.