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dave_witt
01-11-2011, 09:10 AM
I'm assuming this goes here; this is a petition to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. The petition simple reads: We call on you to immediately ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides until and unless new independent scientific studies prove they are safe. The catastrophic demise of bee colonies could put our whole food chain in danger. If you act urgently with precaution now, we could save bees from extinction.

If it goes against forum rules, feel free to remove the post, but since this is a topic close to all of our hearts, I figure it's safe to post a link.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_bees_usa/?copy

icedmetal
01-11-2011, 12:54 PM
Signed, and posted to FB for my friends to sign.

Hey GotMeaders, consider this your open invitation to help stop the downfall of our buzzing little buddies, and start a hive of your own. My wife and I took the plunge last year, and it's totally awesome! And just think, mead made from your own honey!

Be the change you want to see in the world.

mmclean
01-11-2011, 05:26 PM
:protest:

Signed and published.

Hope to start my hives this spring.

God Save The Bees!

Tannin Boy
01-11-2011, 06:19 PM
Dave,

Well done and thanks for the link!

Signed and sent in....

Save the Bee's :cool:

TB

socrates6
01-12-2011, 12:07 AM
Singed. Thanks, glad that I can do something. This is a great opportunity to make a difference. For the health of our world, and for mead too of course.

Medsen Fey
01-12-2011, 10:37 AM
I reckon I'll be the skeptic for a moment. While I certainly want bees to survive, I don't like banning things unless there is some certainty. Overreaction is what lead to the ban on DDT, and millions of people have died of malaria around the globe as a result (especially children where the mortality rate is around 10%). So I'll ask a couple of questions.

1. What evidence is there that these pesticides are harming the bees?
2. In countries where they are banned, have they been spared from CCD?

dave_witt
01-12-2011, 10:45 AM
1. What evidence is there that these pesticides are harming the bees?
2. In countries where they are banned, have they been spared from CCD?

Medsen, for a quick synopsis, read the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonicotinoid, specifically the section on environmental impact. They've been implicated in bee die-offs since the 90s, and while this may not be directly related to CCD, it can't hurt to keep a secondary cause of death from affecting colonies.

Medsen Fey
01-12-2011, 12:48 PM
From the wikipedia:


Environmental impact
There is controversy over the role of neonicotinoids in relation to pesticide toxicity to bees (http://www.gotmead.com/wiki/Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees) and imidacloprid effects on bee population (http://www.gotmead.com/wiki/Imidacloprid_effects_on_bee_population). Neonicotinoid use has been strictly limited in France since the 1990s, when neonicotinoids were implicated in a mass die-off of the bee population. It is believed by some to account for worker bees neglecting to provide food for eggs and larvae, and for a breakdown of the bees' navigational abilities and possibly leading to what has become generally known as Colony Collapse Disorder (http://www.gotmead.com/wiki/Colony_Collapse_Disorder), which is usually associated with the mite pest Varroa destructor (http://www.gotmead.com/wiki/Varroa_destructor).[4] (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/#cite_note-3)[5] (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/#cite_note-4)
In May 2008, Germany banned seed treatment with neonicotinoids due to negative effects upon bee colonies. Bee keepers suffered a severe decline linked to the use of clothianidin (http://www.gotmead.com/wiki/Clothianidin) in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany,[6] (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/#cite_note-5) allegedly connected to a failure to apply a 'glue' agent that affixes the compound to the coats of seeds. The manufacturer maintains that without the fixative agent, the compound drifted into the environment from sown rapeseed and sweetcorn and then affected the honeybees.
The 2009 documentary Vanishing of the Bees (http://www.gotmead.com/wiki/Vanishing_of_the_Bees) suggests that a link between neonicotinoid pesticides and colony collapse disorder (http://www.gotmead.com/wiki/Colony_collapse_disorder) does exist, although the experts interviewed conceded that insufficient data exists in order to make a conclusive case.[7] (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/#cite_note-6)


This is my point. We don't really know if these insecticides are having a detrimental impact or not. Some may say, "well if you're not sure, you better stop using them." However, these are very useful agents that prevent ravenous pests from destroying food crops. Without their use, what will happen to crop yields and food prices? Before I jump up and start shouting "DO SOMETHING, Ban Something!" I'd rather be certain that what is being done makes things better.

There is no doubt that CCD has had a huge impact on beekeepers, but at the moment (and for the last several years) the number of bee colonies has been kept stable, albeit at high cost to the beekeepers. We are not on the verge of losing all the bees. I suspect that mother nature and natural selection will eventually produce bees that are more resistant to these agents (I'm quite certain the pests will continue to adapt). Thus, I'm not as worried about bee extinction because I don't think that's likely. As such, I think the impact of such a ban should be studied carefully in the countries where it has been implemented before we rush to do it here.

So forgive me if don't sign this petition at present. I want to see more evidence.

Yraith
01-12-2011, 01:45 PM
I signed it whole heartedly... There really is no reason not to.

icedmetal
01-12-2011, 04:23 PM
Hey Medsen, you should check out this article (http://www.fastcompany.com/1708896/wiki-bee-leaks-epa-document-reveals-agency-knowingly-allowed-use-of-bee-toxic-pesticide); it pertains to how this stuff was approved in the first place.

Medsen Fey
01-12-2011, 04:47 PM
I appreciate the article, and I can certainly believe in the shortcomings of government agencies. I would expect most insecticides to be toxic to bees, and the question of whether this class of insecticide is worse for bees may certainly be raised. I am not here to defend these agents, but I would like to see more data. I'd be particularly interested to hear how the bee populations are doing in countries that have banned these insecticides. I'm just not one for jumping to conclusions.

akueck
01-13-2011, 05:06 PM
Not to take one side or the other, but that last linked article is really cherrypicking and leading the reader to a particular conclusion. The excerpt regarding acute toxicity is a good example. What it means: "when fed an insecticide, bees died". What they want you to take away: "BEES DIED! How could they not see that!?!"

Bottom line is that it is very difficult to come to a conclusion about the impact of X on Y, or the efficacy of product Z, given only the test results required by regulatory agencies. (It's impossible based only on articles about these tests.) Field data is necessary because the tests won't capture real-world results. The same goes for medical devices (I work for a device company): tests are done in a lab under a controlled setting, but ultimately these things go into people for more testing because the bench tests can only do so much. And they do so with approval from the agency (FDA again!). Sometimes everything is fine, sometimes people get hurt. These compounds are out there now, and it is incumbent on the manufacturer to conduct follow-up studies. Come to it, the initial data is also supplied by testing done by or on behalf of the manufacturer. Think that is biased and want the government or some other party to do the study? Time to pay more taxes...

Medsen Fey
01-13-2011, 05:51 PM
Just now may not be the best time to do anything that may hamper crop yields. See article from the Telegraph.co.uk (http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/Food-prices-set-rise-US-cuts-tele-584202089.html?x=0). We might be better off if we stopped spending government money encouraging folks to try to turn corn into ethanol fuel. That would stop the competition for food.

mmclean
01-13-2011, 06:17 PM
Just now may not be the best time to do anything that may hamper crop yields. See article from the Telegraph.co.uk (http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/Food-prices-set-rise-US-cuts-tele-584202089.html?x=0). We might be better off if we stopped spending government money encouraging folks to try to turn corn into ethanol fuel. That would stop the competition for food.

O.K. Medsen I hope this is a joke. There is no competition of food for fuel. Corn is not an efficient energy source, but there is no shortage of corn for food. :rolleyes:

Tannin Boy
01-13-2011, 06:17 PM
We might be better off if we stopped spending government money encouraging folks to try to turn corn into ethanol fuel. That would stop the competition for food.

Very Interesting point Medsen.

One of the finest boondoggles the government has perpetrated on the American people? Higher taxes on fuel and adding ethanol so I achieve less miles per gallon, Just sounds like the age old adage " Follow the Money ".

Seems I remember being in a line of cars waiting to fill up only to find out I had an odd plate on an even day :mad: President Carter told us we needed an energy policy. How's that working out? Sure a lot of people working for the Federal Energy Dept, Can't wait to see what they come up with next!

I sure hope somebody figures out what is killing the bees. Me thinks if they don't the rest of the problems will be a mute issue.

TB
Save the Bees!!!!

Medsen Fey
01-13-2011, 06:37 PM
O.K. Medsen I hope this is a joke.
No I'm quite serious.
See this article from NPR (http://www.npr.org/2010/12/22/132082743/if-your-meat-prices-rise-you-can-blame-ethanol?ft=1&f=1003). According to them about 1/3 of the corn produced in the U.S. now goes to ethanol production.

Or turn on the international news (http://www.theindependent.co.zw/international/29499-gwynne-dyer-the-spectre-of-world-food-riots-.html) (or the business news channel). Food riots in other countries are starting again.

If the corn being used for ethanol was suddenly available for food, the prices would probably be moderated.



Corn is not an efficient energy source,

I quite agree, but a lot of environmentalists have pushed to try to make it happen anyway (to say nothing of the agricultural lobby - everyone loves to get subsidies).

Anyhow, I wasn't trying to divert this thread off the topic of protecting the bees; just pointing out that actions may have unintended consequences and sometimes it is better to make changes with caution.

wayneb
01-13-2011, 11:22 PM
Medsen, your end paragraph in your last posting in this thread is right on.

However, it is also possible to act too slowly, using "caution" as a cover for refusing to make short-term painful changes that can result in long-term, widespread benefits. Such is human nature. I'm an advocate for getting as much data as possible, as quickly as possible about any issue (at least those that can be discussed in scientific terms - political issues aren't included!). Then, after rigorous and timely analysis, don't hesitate to come to conclusions and act on them. We often go off half-cocked as a society and knee-jerk our way into very poor courses of action with awful unintended consequences, but unfortunately we just as often choose to ignore data with compelling merit, just because it will cause discomfort to a small but powerful, sector of society (I'm thinking of tobacco industry lobbyists as I type this, but there are other examples of delay and obfuscation in the face of compelling scientific observations that can also be considered here).

To bring this back on topic - I think that the early "conclusions" drawn from the data about the effects on bee populations of these neonicotinoid pesticides, are launching from possibly legitimate concerns, straight into large leaps of faith. But, as the saying goes, just because you are paranoid doesn't mean that they're not out to get you! ;D I agree with you - more data are necessary, and further I think that more study is warranted ASAP.

andrewschwab
01-19-2011, 02:07 AM
Europe did ban this chemical and still had CCD effects >:(

I don't like the thought of systemic chemical treatments. It takes out all the bugs good or bad. :p But I do agree don't be to quick to point fingers.

It is the thought of a lot of folks that it is no ONE thing but the combination of them. Folks need to look at ALL the stresses put on bees, to produce out of there "season", (almonds) is a prime example. Along with others.:confused: