EPA Study Finds That Neonics Not Causing Colony Collapse Disorder In Bees

March 18, 2015

Editor’s Note: The study, Assessment of Chronic Sublethal Effects of Imidacloprid on Honey Bee Colony Health, is available here. The study concludes, “To our knowledge, this study is the first to examine the chronic sublethal effects on whole honey bee colonies subjected to worse-case scenarios as well as normal dietary exposure (5μg/kg) to imidacloprid. …  Our results provide evidence that imidacloprid exposure doses up to 100 μg/kg had no significant effects on foraging activity or colony performance during and shortly after 12 weeks of exposure….” [Emphasis added.]

From: Science 2.0

By Hank Campbell

A few years ago, bees suddenly had a sharp decline in numbers. This “Colony Collapse Disorder” as it is called, is a disorder in the sense that it is a recurring phenomenon, detailed for the last 1,000 years even when record-keeping just consisted of sporadic anecdotes. It was noted more frequently as record-keeping became more thorough. so it appeared far more often by the 1800s. By the 1900s, record-keeping had improved enough that there were seven recorded instances of this CCD phenomenon just in the United States.


The problem is that no one can say for sure, and doubt is how anti-science groups work their fundraising magic. A new study funded by the United States Department of Agriculture ARS Bee Research Laboratory, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees and the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station, adds to the weight of evidence that environmentalists are attacking the wrong problem. The work in PLOS One used the first neonicotinoid on the market, imidacloprid (Bayer), and finds that bees won’t undergo a Colony Collapse unless they are exposed to 20X normal exposure levels of neonicotinoids, and that is just not happening. Not anywhere.  Yes, some amateur beekeepers are quite incompetent – one high-profile instance touted by environmentalists as evidence for a beepocalypse was just someone who was raising bees as a fad and screwed up, an investigation by the Oregon Department of Agriculture showed – but every single group big enough to need neonics in the first place is not wasting their money so stupidly.

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