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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
· Sierra Club urges EPA to suspend nicotinyl insecticides:
· Press Release of the Research Centre for Cultivated Plants (German):
· 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"


San Francisco Chronicle, August 19, 2008
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is refusing to disclose records about a new class of pesticides that could be playing a role in the disappearance of millions of honeybees in the United States, a lawsuit filed Monday charges.

The Natural Resources Defense Council wants to see the studies that the EPA required when it approved a pesticide made by Bayer CropScience five years ago.

The environmental group filed the suit as part of an effort to find out how diligently the EPA is protecting honeybees from dangerous pesticides, said Aaron Colangelo, a lawyer for the group in Washington.
In the last two years, beekeepers have reported unexplained losses of hives - 30 percent and upward - leading to a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder. Scientists believe that the decline in bees is linked to an onslaught of pesticides, mites, parasites and viruses, as well as a loss of habitat and food.

$15 billion in crops
Bees pollinate about one-third of the human diet, $15 billion worth of U.S. crops, including almonds in California, blueberries in Maine, cucumbers in North Carolina and 85 other commercial crops, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Not finding a cause of the collapse could prove costly, scientists warn.
Representatives of the EPA said they hadn't seen the suit and couldn't comment.

Clothianidin is the pesticide at the center of controversy. It is used to coat corn, sugar beet and sorghum seeds and is part of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. The pesticide was blamed for bee deaths in France and Germany, which also is dealing with a colony collapse. Those two countries have suspended its use until further study. An EPA fact sheet from 2003 says clothianidin has the potential for toxic chronic exposure to honey bees, as well as other pollinators, through residues in nectar and pollen.

The EPA granted conditional registration for clothianidin in 2003 and at the same time required that Bayer CropScience submit studies on chronic exposure to honeybees, including a complete worker bee lifecycle study as well as an evaluation of exposure and effects to the queen, the group said. The queen, necessary for a colony, lives a few years; the workers live only six weeks, but there is no honey without them.
"The public has no idea whether those studies have been submitted to the EPA or not and, if so, what they show. Maybe they never came in. Maybe they came in, and they show a real problem for bees. Maybe they're poorly conducted studies that don't satisfy EPA's requirement," Colangelo said.

Request for records
On July 17, after getting no response from the EPA about securing the studies, the environmental group filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act, which requires the records within 20 business days absent unusual circumstances.

When the federal agency missed the August deadline, the group filed the lawsuit, asking the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to force the EPA to turn over the records.

Greg Coffey, a spokesman for Bayer CropScience in Research Triangle Park, N.C., said controlled field studies have demonstrated that clothianidin, when used correctly, will not harm bees. He added that all of EPA's requirements for conditional registration of clothianidin have been submitted to the agency.
An EPA spokesman, Dale Kemery, said the agency couldn't comment on the documents required under the conditional registration because the matter is the subject of litigation.

Unusual circumstances
Generally, the EPA has taken the position that the bee deaths occurred under unusual circumstances. In Germany, the corn lacked a seed coating that ensured that the pesticide stuck to the seed, and equipment blew the pesticide into a nearby canola field where bees fed.

The EPA is "reasonably confident" that a bee kill similar to Germany's wouldn't happen in the United States because use is restricted to commercial applicators who use stickier coatings, according to Kemery.
But because the stickier coatings aren't required, Kemery said, the EPA will review its policies on seed-treatment labels.

In California, according to the 2006 Pesticide Use Report Summary, about 3 pounds of clothianidin was used, all on corn. Other members of the neonicotinoid class, registered for a longer period of time, have been used more frequently, including 127,000 pounds on broccoli, grapes, lettuce and oranges. Some pesticides were used in buildings.

"We've been monitoring the bee die-off situation for a couple of years, and it's a complex puzzle that may also involve mites, viruses and other factors," said Glenn Brank, communications director for the state Department of Pesticide Regulation.

The agency is conducting its own review of environmental data from registered neonicotinoid pesticides as well as watching enforcement reports from counties for any unusual environmental incidents involving bees, he said. None was noted, Brank said.
Scientists presenting at the American Chemical Society national meeting Monday reported that dozens of pesticides had been found in samples of adult bees, broods, pollen and wax collected from honeybee colonies suspected to have died from symptoms of colony collapse disorder, including some neonicotinoids.

Entomologist Gabriela Chavarria, director of Natural Resources Defense Council's Science Center, said over the years bees have had to withstand devastating problems.
Bees pick up deadly farm and home chemicals when they visit flowers, or encounter chemical drift from aerial and other applications. Fifteen years ago, queen bees imported from China brought varroa mites that attacked broods of worker bees. Microscopic tracheal mites invade the hives.
And now the new pesticide, clothianidin, is another problem, Chavarria said. Scientists must find out whether the toxicity has been sufficiently studied, she said.

"We want this information now. We cannot continue to wait. Bees are disappearing. Our whole existence depends on them because we eat. The flowers need to be pollinated, and the only ones to do it are the bees."

Colony collapse
Honeybees, which pollinate everything from almonds to apples to avocados, began abandoning their colonies in 2006, destroying about a third of their hives.
Since then, their numbers have not improved. A survey of beekeepers in the fall and winter 2007 by the Bee Research Lab and the Apiary Inspectors of America showed that beekeepers lost about 35 percent of their hives compared with 31 percent in 2006.

See also:
·        Mass death of bees in Germany: Approval of Bayer´s pesticide Poncho suspended
·        The Guardian: Germany bans chemicals linked to honeybee devastation
·        Sierra Club urges EPA to suspend nicotinyl insecticides:
·        Press Release of the Research Centre for Cultivated Plants (German):
·        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"

The bees thought it would be wise to offer helpful hints for you about how to avoid pesticides and chemical in your life. Here are some tricks that both improve your quality of life by reducing annoying bugs and save our environment from pesticides. If you have a question or a solution, please email us. We love both. Here are some that we have received and the answers we found.

Question: My cat is using my garden for a potty. How can I discourage her from this?
Answer: Sprinkle peppermint around the garden. Generally this keeps the cats away.
Question: Weeds are invading my yard. Any organic suggestions?
Answer: This may sound weird but pull out your vinegar and douse those weeds. It will be quite a discouragement for their continued presence.
Question: I have moths flying around that seem to have come from my organic wheat flour that I had stored in a bag in a shelf. Now they are everywhere. Help! What can I do?
Answer: Get fresh rosemary, basil and rosemary and crush it. Then spread it around in your cupboards. The moths will leave. Yes, it is a bit messy but it smells so refreshing.
Question: This isn’t a pesticide problem but maybe you have a suggestion about what to do when you get sunburned.
Answer: An old farm remedy is to swab yourself with apple cider vinegar, not white vinegar. The pain usually subsides quickly and then soak in an apple cider vinegar bath. Depending on how badly you are burned continue to wipe apple cider vinegar on your skin. Do it 3 or 4 times minimum over a period of several hours if you are really red. Although you should be able to sleep soundly, if you awaken in the night because you are hot, wipe your skin with the vinegar. By morning the red/pink skin should be diminished considerably.

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


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 . 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.


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.