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Press Release, August 25, 2008
Coalition against BAYER Dangers (Germany)

Pesticides cause mass death of bees
Germany: Charge against Bayer´s Board of Management

The German Coalition against Bayer Dangers today brought a charge against Werner Wenning, chairman of the Bayer Board of Management, with the Public Prosecutor in Freiburg (south-western Germany). The group accuses Bayer of marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby accepting the mass death of bees all over the world. The Coalition introduced the charge in cooperation with German beekeepers who lost thousands of hives after poisoning by the pesticide clothianidin in May this year.

Since 1991 Bayer has been producing the insecticide Imidacloprid, which is one of the best selling insecticides in the world, often used as seed-dressing for maize, sunflower, and rape. Bayer exports Imidacloprid to more than 120 countries and the substance is Bayer´s best-selling pesticide. Since patent protection for Imidacloprid expired in most countries, Bayer in 2003 brought a similarly functionning successor product, Clothianidin, onto the market. Both substances are systemic chemicals that work their way from the seed through the plant. The substances also get into the pollen and the nectar and can damage beneficial insects such as bees.

The beginning of the marketing of Imidacloprid and Clothianidin coincided with the occurrence of large scale bee deaths in many European and American countries. Up to 70 per cent of all hives have been affected. In France alone approximately 90 billion bees died within ten years, reducing honey production by up to 60%.

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 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”. In France Imidacloprid has been banned as a seed dressing for sunflowers since 1999 and in 2003 was also banned as a sweetcorn treatment. The Comité Scientifique et Technique, convened by the French government, declared that the treatment of seeds with Imidacloprid leads to significant risks for bees. Bayer´s application for Clothianidin was also rejected by French authorities.

“Bayer´s Board of Management has to be called to account since the risks of neonicotinoids such as Imidacloprid and Clothianidin have now been known for more than ten years. With an annual turnover of nearly 800 million Euro neonicotinoids are among Bayer´s most important products. This is the reason why Bayer, despite serious environmental damage, is fighting against any application prohibitions”, says Philipp Mimkes, speaker of the Coalition against Bayer-dangers. The Coalition demands that Bayer withdraw all neonicotinoids from the market worldwide.

The accusation of flawed studies is confirmed by the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) which judged on Bayer´s Clothianidin application: “All of the field/semi-field studies, however, were found to be deficient in design and conduct of the studies and were, therefore, considered as supplemental information only. Clothianidin may pose a risk to honey bees and other pollinators, if exposure occurs via pollen and nectar of crop plants grown from treated seeds”. PRMA adds: “It should also be noted that Clothianidin is very persistent in soil, with high carry-over of residues to the next growing season. Clothianidin is also mobile in soil.”

In May 2008 German authorities blamed clothianidin for the deaths of millions of honeybees. The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) suspended the registration for eight pesticide seed treatment products, including Clothianidin and Imidacloprid, on maize and rape.

The case is filed by the Public Prosecutor in Freiburg (Tel: +49-(0)761 2050) under the file number 520 UJs 1649/08

more information:
· The Guardian: Germany bans chemicals linked to bee devastation www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/23/wildlife.endangeredspecies
· Sierra Club urges EPA to suspend nicotinyl insecticides: http://www.sierraclub.org/biotech/whatsnew/whatsnew_2008-07-30.asp
· Press Release of the Research Centre for Cultivated Plants (German): http://www.jki.bund.de/cln_044/nn_813794/DE/pressestelle/Presseinfos/2008/1605__BienensterbenClothianidin.html__nnn=true
· Bee-keepers and environmental groups demand prohibition of pesticide "Gaucho"
· French Institutes Finds Imidaproclid Turning Up in Wide Range of Crops
· 2003 report from the "Comité Scientifique et Technique de l’Etude Multifactorielle des Troubles des Abeilles" http://agriculture.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/rapportfin.pdf

This list was obtained from both the USDA and my personal knowledge of organic farming.

Alfalfa
Almonds
Apples
Avocado
Blueberries
Canola
Cranberries
Cucumbers
Grapefruit
Pear
Plums
Pumpkins
Sunflowers
Tomatoes
Squash
Watermelon

Make a bee house for Orchard Bees with a 4x4
Make a bee house for Orchard Bees with a 4x4

If you have an old log or fallen tree that beetles have chewed holes in, you already have a pre-made home for wood nesters. Drill a variety of 3/32” to 5/16” holes along the south facing side as deep as you can. However lacking an old 4 foot log, simply get a piece of wood. No, not treated wood. And as you are going erect it like a fence post, angle the drill holes upward so when it rains the bees home is safe and dry.
Another way to provide bee residences is to plant raspberry, blackberry or elderberry bushes, dogwood or boxelder as these have pithy stems. Each spring cut back new growth here and there so the interior of the stems are available for the wood.
Carpenter bees will leave your house alone if given a nice old dead tree. If you are fortunate enough to have a wooded area, leave that old felled tree and let them find homes in it.

For information on Blue Orchard Bees, and how to build a house for them, visit www.ces.ncsu.edu/.../Other/note109/note109.html . They have a nice design that is both attractive and functional.

Large, attractive home for orchard mason bees


Up to 70% of our native bees are ground dwellers. They dig holes from 6 inches to 36 inches in the ground. For most of their lives they are developing underground and only emerge to forage for about one month. Leafcutter bees are ground dwellers. They are so named because they cut a few elliptical holes in your garden plants but reward you by pollinating all your vegetables and flowers.
Bees, like us, are fussy about where they want to live. Some bees like one kind of soil while others prefer another kind but all of them need soil that is about one third sand so it is easy to dig into. Therefore experiment creating different soil piles up to two feet high or just use a patch of land with southern exposure and that has good drainage, not a spot that turns into a puddle each time it rains. Leave the area untidy, leaves scattered about for them to hide nest holes under and to scavenge to tuck into their burrows. You will know you have ground dwellers when you see small holes in the ground with the earth slightly piled up on the edge. Sometimes ground dwellers like to nest right beside your house. It is often a place that is undisturbed.

Social Bumble Bees

One of my favorite bees. Have you ever watched one in a flower? They shake their little butts causing pollen to fly everywhere which is why they are the most effective pollinators of all the bees. Bumble bees nest in the ground in whatever abandoned burrow or cavity they can find and will even nest above ground in an abandoned bird nest. This latter nesting site in a farm field is a farmer’s nuisance when the tractor runs over the nest and 30 angry bumblebees take after him for destroying their home. (From reports I have heard you can quickly outrun them and they quickly give up the chase but the hapless farmer will have sustained several stings.) According to the USDA bumble bees often occupy the grassy area between open fields and woods or hedge rows. The grassy area should be at least five feet wide and mowed in the late fall or early spring once every two or three years. I’ve seen bumble bees come and go out of an inch and a quarter size hole in our front lawn. Like other ground nesters these bees usually prefer undisturbed ground with leaf debris littering the area.

Bumble bees live in colonies of several dozen to several hundred bees. The queen bumble bees begin nests each spring so the bees are in full force by summer, hunting for flowers to gather pollen and nectar from.

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Because the managed honey bees (commercial European honey bees) are declining in numbers, it is very beneficial to create a bee garden for both native bees and feral (wild) honey bees. There are nearly 5,000 species of bees in the U.S and most of them do not swarm. They are gentle little creatures who lead solitary lives and nest underground or in dead trees or in pithy stems. The greatest need of these benevolent little beings is undisturbed nesting sites free from pesticides.

Bees also need sources of water which can be provided from a dripping faucet, pond, stream, fountain or birdbath. Some, like the blue orchard bee, require mud as a building material for their nests. Thus feral or native bees need nectar, pollen, water, nesting materials and open ground. So go ahead and tear up a bit of your lawn and plant wild flowers along the fence line, leaving an area that you do not tidy up so the ground dwelling bees have safe refuge.

Use a wide variety of native annual and perennial wildflowers which naturally grow in your region, such as Cosmos, black-eyed Susans, Echinacea and Lavender and herbs like rosemary, marjoram and mint. Honey bees love clover and it is extremely nutritious for them. Bumblebees thrive on blueberry blossoms. Select the best bee-rewarding plants and you will also attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your flower and vegetable gardens or backyard fruit orchard.