Finally, what Sharilyn Stalling has been telling people for years has been proven!

See this email and the attached PDF.Effects of Neonics on Bees


Dear all,
Breaking News!
Henk Tennekes has just sent through this vitally important report from the
Directorate General Policy unit of the European Parliament.

DIRECTORATE GENERAL FOR INTERNAL POLICIES
>POLICY DEPARTMENT A: ECONOMIC AND SCIENTIFIC POLICY
>
>"Existing Scientific Evidence of the Effects of Neonicotinoid
>Pesticides on Bees"

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
>>
>>KEY FINDINGS
>>1. Although bee declines can be attributed to multifarious
>>causes, the use of
>>neonicotinoids is increasingly held responsible for recent
>>honeybee losses.
>>
>> 2. Neonicotinoids show high acute toxicity to honeybees.
>>
>>3. Chronic exposure of honeybees to sub-lethal doses of
>>neonicotinoids can also
>>result in serious effects, which include a wide range of
>>behavioural disturbances in
>>bees, such as problems with flying and navigation, impaired memory
>>and learning,
>>reduced foraging ability, as well as reduction in breeding success
>>and disease
>>resistance.
>>
>> 4. Recent scientific findings are urging to reassess the bee
>>safety of approved uses of
>>neonicotinoid insecticides at European level. A current review,
>>carried out by the
>>European Food Safety Authority EFSA (on behalf of the European
>>Commission) will
>>give new insights into this issue.
>>
>> As long as there are uncertainties concerning the effects of

>>neonicotinoids on honey
>>bees,the Precautionary Principle in accordance withwith the
>>Regulation (EC) No
>>1107/2009should be applied when using neonicotinoids.
>>
It is a summary of what the EU experts and Reporter States regard as 'the
state of the evidence' on neonicotinoids and honeybee/ wild bee deaths.

It appears to overwhelmingly support the position that Imidacloprid,
Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam are directly responsible for the mass-death
of bee colonies in Europe and the UK.

It recommends that - since the evidence is so strong - that the European
Commission shoiuld apply thePrecautionary Principle and ban or
suspend the use of these systemic pesticides.

This does not mean of course that the European Commission will act
immediately on this recommendation but it suggests that a decision will be
made by the end of December 2012.

This is fantastic news - hope it transforms into regulatory action before
the next planting season.

Please read the attached document carefully and distribute to relevant
networks

Regards

Graham White
Beekeeper
Scotland, UK.

Over thirty percent of our agricultural crops depend on bees for pollination -- including apples, cucumbers, melons, blueberries, and almonds. Bee pollination means about $15 billion in agricultural production for the United States. But these creatures, critical to ensure our food supply, are quickly disappearing. In the last 60 years, the number of bee colonies fell by 45%. In 2006, US beekeepers noticed massive bee die offs - something they've never seen before. Every year since 2006, one third of bee colonies in the United States disappear. This mysterious bee die off came to be called "colony collapse disorder." Colorado beekeeper Tom Theobald explains what's behind bee disappearance and what we need to do about it.

Here is a very interesting article from NPR that can be read at this link.

 

What Is It About Bees And Hexagons?

Solved! A bee-buzzing, honey-licking 2,000-year-old mystery that begins here, with this beehive. Look at the honeycomb in the photo and ask yourself: (I know you've been wondering this all your life, but have been too shy to ask out loud ... ) Why is every cell in this honeycomb a hexagon?

honeycomb

iStockphoto.com

Bees, after all, could build honeycombs from rectangles or squares or triangles ...

Bee with triangles and squares

Robert Krulwich/NPR

But for some reason, bees choose hexagons. Always hexagons.

Honeycomb

iStockphoto.com

And not just your basic six-sided hexagon. They like "perfect" hexagons, meaning all six sides are of equal length. They go for the jewelers' version — precise, just so. Why?

Bee with hexagon

Robert Krulwich/NPR

Well, this is a very old question. More than 2,000 years ago, in 36 B.C., a Roman soldier/scholar/writer, Marcus Terentius Varro, proposed an answer, which ever since has been called "The Honeybee Conjecture." Varro thought there might be a deep reason for this bee behavior. Maybe a honeycomb built of hexagons can hold more honey. Maybe hexagons require less building wax. Maybe there's a hidden logic here.

I like this idea — that below the flux, the chaos of everyday life there might be elegant reasons for what we see. "The Honeybee Conjecture" is an example of mathematics unlocking a mystery of nature, so here, with help from physicist/writer Alan Lightman, (who recently wrote about this in Orion Magazine) is Varro's hunch.

The Essential Honeycomb

Honeycombs, we all know, store honey. Honey is obviously valuable to bees. It feeds their young. It sustains the hive. It makes the wax that holds the honeycomb together. It takes thousands and thousands of bee hours, tens of thousands of flights across the meadow, to gather nectar from flower after flower after flower, so it's reasonable to suppose that back at the hive, bees want a tight, secure storage structure that is as simple to build as possible.

So how to build it? Well, suppose you start your honeycomb with a cell like this ... a totally random shape, no equal sides, just a squiggle ...

Bee with random shape.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

If you start this way, what will your next cell look like? Well, you don't want big gaps between cells. You want the structure tight. So the next cell will have to be customized to cling to the first, like this ...

Two bees with random shapes

Robert Krulwich/NPR

And the third cell, once again, will have to be designed to fit the first two. Each cell would be a little different, and that means, says Alan Lightman ...

... this method of constructing a honeycomb would require that the worker bees work sequentially, one at a time, first making once cell, then fitting the next cell to that, and so on.

But that's not the bee way. Look at any YouTube version of bees building a honeycomb, says Alan, and you won't see a lot of bees lounging about, waiting for their turn to build a cell. Instead, everybody's working. They do this collectively, simultaneously and constantly.

So a "squiggle cell plan" creates idle bees. It wastes time. For bees to assemble a honeycomb the way bees actually do it, it's simpler for each cell to be exactly the same. If the sides are all equal — "perfectly" hexagonal — every cell fits tight with every other cell. Everybody can pitch in. That way, a honeycomb is basically an easy jigsaw puzzle. All the parts fit.

Bee dreaming

Robert Krulwich/NPR

OK, that explains why honeycomb cells are same-sized. But back to our first question: Why the preference for hexagons? Is there something special about a six-sided shape?

Some shapes you know right away aren't good. A honeycomb built from spheres would have little spaces between each unit ...

Bee on spheres

Robert Krulwich/NPR

... creating gaps that would need extra wax for patching. So you can see why a honeycomb built from spheres wouldn't be ideal. Pentagons, octagons also produce gaps. What's better?

"It is a mathematical truth," Lightman writes, "that there are only three geometrical figures with equal sides that can fit together on a flat surface without leaving gaps: equilateral triangles, squares and hexagons."

Bees in shapes

Robert Krulwich/NPR

So which to choose? The triangle? The square? Or the hexagon? Which one is best? Here's where our Roman, Marcus Terentius Varro made his great contribution. His "conjecture" — and that's what it was, a mathematical guess — proposed that a structure built from hexagons is probably a wee bit more compact than a structure built from squares or triangles. A hexagonal honeycomb, he thought, would have "the smallest total perimeter." He couldn't prove it mathematically, but that's what he thought.

Compactness matters. The more compact your structure, the less wax you need to construct the honeycomb. Wax is expensive. A bee must consume about eight ounces of honey to produce a single ounce of wax. So if you are watching your wax bill, you want the most compact building plan you can find.

And guess what?

Two thousand thirty-five years after Marcus Terentius Varro proposed his conjecture, a mathematician at the University of Michigan, Thomas Hales, solved the riddle. It turns out, Varro was right. A hexagonal structure is indeed more compact. In 1999,Hales produced a mathematical proof that said so.

As the ancient Greeks suspected, as Varro claimed, as bee lovers have always thought, as Charles Darwin himself once wrote, the honeycomb is a masterpiece of engineering. It is "absolutely perfect in economizing labor and wax."

The bees, presumably, shrugged. As Alan Lightman says, "They knew it was true all along."

Dan Rather took a closer look at Colony Collapse Disorder.  In the report, he speaks of the importance of bees, and how bekeepers around the world are reporting loosing up to 30-60% of hives per year!  The EPA, who has approved the use of neoicotinoid pesticides has nothing to do with the testing of the chemicals.  They allow the companies that make them such as Bayer to provide their own research.  It is a great watch, and I highly recommend it.

Bee Aware from Greg Stanley on Vimeo.

Watch and spread!

How can a creature as tiny as a bee, whose brain is proportionally smaller than that of a bird, manage to control its flight and avoid obstacles both in flight and on the ground? We now know that bee sensory-motor performance depends on a nervous system consisting of a hundred thousand to a million neurons. As the insect flies, an image of its environment moves from the front to the back of its visual field, creating an optic flow, which is defined as the angular speed of environmental contrasts passing though its visual field. By definition, these optic flows depend on the relationship between speed and distance from the nearest surfaces.

The researchers already developed a honeybee flight simulation model, called ALIS, last year. ALIS can reproduce insect trajectories primarily using computer-processed visual data (the objects that are present and their movements). These biorobotics specialists then built a flight chamber, with a complex geometric shape, that foraging bees slowly learned to cross to reach a reward of sugar water. This flight chamber had several constrictions where the floor and ceiling, or the side walls, converged. The researchers observed that a bee's speed decreased in proportion to the narrowest point of passage in the flight chamber, whether the constriction was horizontal or vertical. In other words, a bee slows its flight speed as an obstacle gets closer. Its speed depends on the size of the visual field and, therefore, on the closeness of the obstacle. This behaviour was well predicted by the ALIS model simulation: the trajectories of bees flying in the flight chamber corresponded perfectly to the trajectories predicted by virtual insect modeling.

The scientists point to the existence of controllers that maintain the optical flows, i.e., visually-perceived speed/distance, at constant values. Thus, if the insect is flying in an environment that is becoming increasingly crowded, this "cruise control" forces it to reduce its speed in order to maintain constant speed/distance. An "optic flow regulator" model makes it possible to understand how a bee is able to fly without ever needing to measure its speed or its position from the walls and how it can do without traditional aerospace sensors, like Doppler radars, that give speed in relation to the ground. These ultra-precise sensors have the disadvantage of being bulky, expensive and power consuming. The present research illustrates the dual challenge of biorobotics, both in fundamental and applied research. These findings could have aerospace applications, such as during the crucial phases when aircraft fly in confined environments.

More information: Honeybees' speed depends on dorsal as well as lateral, ventral and frontal optic flows. G. Portelli, et al. PLoS One, 12 mai 2011.

Latest published research on pesticides and damage to bees.

Read the open-access, full-text article here:
http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0014720

===================================================
Sub-Lethal Effects of Pesticide Residues in Brood Comb on Worker Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Development and Longevity

Abstract: Background
Numerous surveys reveal high levels of pesticide residue contamination in honey bee comb. We conducted studies to examine possible direct and indirect effects of pesticide exposure from contaminated brood comb on developing worker bees and adult worker lifespan.

Methodology/Principal Findings
Worker bees were reared in brood comb containing high levels of known pesticide residues (treatment) or in relatively uncontaminated brood comb (control). Delayed development was observed in bees reared in treatment combs containing high levels of pesticides particularly in the early stages (day 4 and 8) of worker bee development. Adult longevity was reduced by 4 days in bees exposed to pesticide residues in contaminated brood comb during development. Pesticide residue migration from comb containing high pesticide residues caused contamination of control comb after multiple brood cycles and provided insight on how quickly residues move through wax. Higher brood mortality and delayed adult emergence occurred after multiple brood cycles in contaminated control combs. In contrast, survivability increased in bees reared in treatment comb after multiple brood cycles when pesticide residues had been reduced in treatment combs due to residue migration into uncontaminated control combs, supporting comb replacement efforts. Chemical analysis after the experiment confirmed the migration of pesticide residues from treatment combs into previously uncontaminated control comb.

Conclusions/Significance
This study is the first to demonstrate sub-lethal effects on worker honey bees from pesticide residue exposure from contaminated brood comb. Sub-lethal effects, including delayed larval development and adult emergence or shortened adult longevity, can have indirect effects on the colony such as premature shifts in hive roles and foraging activity. In addition, longer development time for bees may provide a reproductive advantage for parasitic Varroa destructor mites. The impact of delayed development in bees on Varroa mite fecundity should be examined further.

Wales honey bees decline 39 per cent
21/1/2010
The plight of the honey bee has been highlighted by Pembrokeshire County Council.

Honey bee populations in Britain have declined at an alarming rate over the past decade with a 39% decline in Welsh bee colonies in 2009.

This week the Council's environment and overview scrutiny committee heard presentations about the situation from two leading bee experts.

John Verran, Regional Bee Inspector for Wales and John Dudman, Secretary of the Pembrokeshire Beekeepers Association told members about the drastic decline in honey bee colonies, the causes and what authorities and bee keepers were trying to do about it.

The meeting was attended by many local members of the Women's Institute, which has made the plight of the honey bee one of its national causes.

Chairman of the Committee, Councillor Peter Stock said he was very concerned to hear about the decline.

"This is a very important issue and something which I believe as a Council we should take up," he said.

"The Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committeee has put this matter into its work programme and potential further scrutiny can now take place.

"This meeting is a start but I think - working with others - we should play our part in trying to ensure the success of honey bee populations in the future."

Earlier the meeting heard John Dudman explain how although bee colonies traditionally declined by around 5% to 10% a year, they had fallen by 34% in Wales 2008 and by 39% last year. Populations in England had declined by similar amounts.

He said although there was no obvious cause, one major factor was believed to be an increase in the incidence of varroa mite infestations in hives and there were also concern about the effects of pesticide spraying on crops and in gardens.

He said DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government had last year published a plan to improve the health of honey bees, while an additional £4.3m was being spent by the Government to gather more information and undertake more research into pollinating inspects.

"At a more local level we as an association are providing training courses for beginners and also setting up more local beekeeping groups," he said.

"Bee keepers need education and they need to be given information. The education and training of bee keepers is essential."

Source: Oldham Chronicle, UK
Reporter: Janice Barker
Date online: 23/07/2009
Oldham Euro-MP Chris Davies has a bee in his bonnet about the endangered insects.

He used his first question of the new term at the European Parliament to highlight the alarming decline of British bees.

In the last two years bee numbers have dropped by around 30 per cent and the Government recently announced funding of around £2 million to study the decline.

Liberal Democrat Mr Davies wants the European Commission to consider banning insecticides called neonicotinoids, used to protect plants from insects. Its use has been linked to bees dying, and led to severe restrictions in France and Germany. Mr Davies said: “The Commission needs to consider a ban on these chemicals before the bee decline starts showing up in food shortages.

“Better to take action now as a precaution than risk the destruction of bee colonies because we left it too late.

“Protecting the environment isn’t just about the big visible changes like the melting ice in Greenland or the pollution in our atmosphere, it’s also about protecting the tiny creatures who keep our plants growing and our world running.”

Bees are believed to contribute £120 million per year in direct economic benefits to Britain by pollinating commercial crops.

About a third of food comes from plants pollinated by them. Scientists are trying to discover the reasons why bees have been disappearing in large numbers. Many studies focus on the varroa mite parasite that weakens colonies by feeding on bees.

Neonicotinoids are less studied despite evidence from Germany and France in particular that they can cause bee colony numbers to collapse.

1

SOURCE: Friday, 9 August, 2002, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK   BBC News

Fungi help combat honeybee killer

Varroa Mite
Varroa Mite
Varroa mites have devastated some honeybee colonies

Fungi could soon be helping beekeepers control a parasitic mite that before now has killed up to 70% of colonies.Research shows that the fungi can kill Varroajust as effectively as the chemicals currently used to keep populations of the parasite manageable.

The fungi could prove key to protecting hives as the mites become resistant to chemical controls currently used to treat them.

But it could be some years before beekeepers can buy the fungal controls off the shelf for use in hives.

Killer parasite

The Varroa destructor mite was first found in the UK in 1992 and has wrought havoc on feral and hive populations.

    

 Chemicals are very efficient and cheap but the downside is that their use is not sustainable in the long term
David Chandler, HRI Association

 

Some beekeepers lost almost 75% of their colonies to the mite that preys on young bees weakening them, and making them susceptible to other infections.

Pesticides have helped keep the mites populations at low levels but some fear that colonies are about to undergo another wave of devastation as mites become resistant to the pyrethroids used to kill them.

Overuse of the chemicals has produced populations of resistant mites in hives in the South West of England and the resilient strain is expected to spread across the country.

But research carried out by Dr David Chandler and Dr Gill Davidson at the Horticulture Research International Association in Warwickshire has found that insect-killing fungi could take over the job of controlling the mites.

"Fungal controls have a long history since Pasteur," said Dr Chandler, "but interest is increasing because of public concern over the environmental impact of pesticide residues in food."

Good bugs

By contrast with chemical pesticides the fungi tested by the scientists are found in nature, are harmless to mammals, including humans, and leave no residue to accumulate in food.

    

Bee Larva with mites
Bee Larva with mites
Varroa attacks bees at all stages of their life

 

Testing by the researchers has identified more than 40 types of fungi from six species that are capable of killing theVarroa mites within 100 hours.

"Using living organisms to control other living organisms is a different form of pest control," said Dr Chandler. "Chemicals are very efficient and cheap but the downside is that their use is not sustainable in the long term."

Although the fungi occur naturally the mites rarely encountered them inside hives because honeybees kept their homes so clean, he said.

The promising fungal types are now being tested to ensure they are as effective in the high temperatures and humidity levels found in bee hives.

Dr Chandler said the aim was not to eliminate the Varroa mite, but to ensure that populations were kept to very low levels.

    

Dead Varroa Mite
Dead Varroa Mite
Fungi overwhelm Varroa mites

 

The fact that the fungal controls killsVarroa by different methods could mean that the mites never develop the kind of resistance that is making pesticides less effective.

The fungi spores kill the mites over a week long period by penetrating their cuticle and poisoning the bug, drying it out and damaging its cells and organs.

The two researchers are now embarking on a three-year project with the IACR-Bee Research Unit in Rothamstead to identify the best strains of fungi and find the best way to distribute them around a hive.

Dr Chandler said that honey bees were already used to spread fungi on some commercial crops so it might prove easy to adapt these methods to spread the anti-Varroafungi inside hives.

One idea is to use a fungi footbath that bees have to walk through when entering the hive to help them spread the spores around when they deliver nectar and pollen.

1

Press Release, Sept 19, 2008
Coalition against Bayer Dangers (Germany)

Italy bans Pesticides linked to Bee Devastation

Neonicotinoids now suspended in four European countries

The Italian government banned the use of several neonicotinoid pesticides that are blamed for the deaths of millions of honeybees. The Ministero del Lavoro della Salute e delle Politiche Sociali issued an immediate suspension of the seed treatment products clothianidin, imidacloprid, fipronil and thiamethoxam used in rapeseed oil, sunflowers and sweetcorn. The Italian government will start a monitoring program to further investigate the reasons of recent bee deaths.

Italy followed Germany and Slovenia which banned sales of clothianidin and imidacloprid in May. In France imidacloprid has been banned on sunflowers already since 1999. In 2003 the substance was also banned as a sweetcorn treatment. Bayer´s application for clothianidin was rejected by French authorities.

The two substances are produced by the German company Bayer CropScience and generated €800 million in 2007. Imidacloprid is Bayer´s best-selling pesticide.

In August the German Coalition against Bayer Dangers brought a charge against Werner Wenning, chairman of the Bayer Board of Management, for marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby accepting the mass death of bees all over the world. The charge was introduced in cooperation with German beekeepers who lost thousands of hives after poisoning by the pesticide clothianidin in May this year.

Harro Schultze, attorney of the Coalition against Bayer Dangers said: “The Public Prosecutor needs to clarify which efforts Bayer undertook to prevent a ban of imidacloprid and clothianidin in Germany after sales of both substances were stopped in France. We´re suspecting that Bayer submitted flawed studies to play down the risks of pesticide residues in treated plants”.

Neonicotinoid pesticides are systemic chemicals that work their way through the plant and attack the nervous system of any insect it comes into contact with. The substances also get into the pollen and the nectar and can damage beneficial insects such as bees.

The Press Release of the Italian Government: www.ministerosalute.it (top right: “Tutela patrimonio apistico: sospensione cautelativa dei prodotti fitosanitari utilizzati nel trattamento di concia delle sementi”)

Sep 19, 2008, The News & Observer (Raleigh)

Italy is latest to ban sale of Bayer pesticide

Pesticides made by Bayer CropScience have been banned in a third European country after the chemicals were linked to bee deaths.

Italy this week followed Germany and Slovenia in banning sales of chemicals used to coat crop seeds, including clothianidin and imidecloprid, according to a statement by the Italian health ministry and the German consumer watchdog group, Coalition Against Bayer Dangers. Both pesticides are made and sold by Bayer CropScience, a German company that has its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park.

Beekeepers in the three countries blame the pesticides for killing large numbers of honeybees. Clothianidin and related pesticides generated about $1 billion of Bayer CropScience's $8.6 billion in global sales last year.  Sabine Vollmer, Staff Writer