Neonicotinoids restrictions enacted in Ontario have beekeepers in Canada rejoicing, and their peers in others regions and nations hopeful for similar legislation. The Ontarioneonicotinoids restrictions state that the chemical pesticides popular with biotech giants like Monsanto will be restricted by 80 percent by 2017.
A 2014 Harvard study states that neonicotinoids – the dominant ingredient found in many popular insecticides which treat much of the corn in the U.S. — are to blame for honeybee colony collapse disorder. Honeybees provide pollination for 70 percent of the food we grow to eat. Bees don’t pollinate corn, but the pollen drifts elsewhere, where it makes contact with bees.
The Harvard honeybee study was published in the Bulletin of Insectology. The university scientists studied 18 honeybee colonies in Massachusetts for about one year, and reviewed how even low doses of two types of neonicotinoids — clothianidin and imidacloprid — impacted healthy honeybee hives over the winter. They placed the hives in three locations, and at each spot gave four hives high fructose corn syrup laced with neonicotinoids and left two hives untouched. The result: Half the hives that came into contact with the insecticide suffered colony collapse disorder. And the bees that were left were not doing great.
While some are focussing on the impact of neo-nics on bees, University of Guelph researchers are making progress against another pollinator disease.Professor Rob Merrill says American Foulbrood disease is the most widespread and destructive of bee brood diseases.His team has found a toxin released by the pathogen that causes the disease and developed a lead-based inhibitor to work against it.Professor Merrill says their idea is to disarm the bacteria, without killing it.They feel that way the bacteria won’t feel the pressure to mutate.
I [and pretty much all entomologists on earth] have been getting a lot of questions about the honey bees. “Are they in trouble?” “Why are they disappearing?” “How can I help?” Questions are fine, but what annoys me is when I get answers. “It’s obviously GMO’s!” “We must ban neonicotinoids!” “How do we stop the corporations that are killing bees?” Ugh. The problem is that journalism…