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  • #46
    Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

    Again thanks Bois de Durou, my grand mother was a McIsaac so you should feel a bit Home here.

    Here are Bois de Durou data

    From BBC
    Tuesday, 2 March, 2004, 08:12 GMT

    French beekeepers say about 90 billion of their insects have been killed over the last 10 years by a pesticide.

    The chemical, used on crops including maize and sunflowers, damages the bees' sense of direction so they become lost.

    It is used in the UK on several crops, though not in exactly the way it is used in France, and British beekeepers have been urged to be on their guard.

    UK apiarists say the value of bees to the agricultural economy is immense, and they fear bees are becoming rarer.

    The chemical implicated in the loss of French bees is imidacloprid, marketed under a variety of names including Gaucho.

    It is slowly released in the plants, protecting them against insect attack by destroying their ability to find their way.
    A London newspaper, the Observer, reported: "Almost immediately after the chemicals were introduced 10 years ago, beekeepers reported that their bees were becoming disoriented and dying.....

    ...second link provide by Bois de Durou

    Again from BBC
    Tuesday, 14 October, 2003

    In a normal summer, Provence is full of fields of blue lavender and the air is a-buzz with bees.

    But this year's heatwave has left the lavender - along with the thyme, rosemary and pink heather - shrivelled to nothing.

    Patrick Molle, a beekeeper based near the village of Pertuis not far from Aix-en-Provence, says he usually brings about 400 hives to the lavender fields but this year only 40 made honey.

    "That won't pay for much more than the cost of moving the hives up there," he says. "It's a disastrous year."

    Provence is the hardest hit region of France but this has been a bad year for almost every one of France's 80,000 beekeepers.

    Honey production from their 1.3 million hives is down by more than half with hungry bees forced to eat sugary preparations laid out by the beekeepers in order to survive.

    High bee mortality
    And even before the drought, French bees were on their knees.

    Until recently, the normal death rate for bees during the winter months was one in 10.

    Now, says Vincent Clair of the French National Bee Surveillance Unit, the death rate is six in 10.
    New swarms have to be replaced more and more often.
    Opinions are divided about the causes of the rise in bee mortality.
    "The most likely theory today is that the massive use of pesticides is weakening the colonies so they are becoming more vulnerable to big infections such as [the Varroa destructor mite] and viruses," says Mr Clair.

    Playing God But others say beekeepers themselves are partly to blame.

    Roland Douai is one of two beekeepers who sell their honey on the street market of Aix-en-Provence.

    He says that in the past, all beekeepers kept local species of bee which were well-adapted to the area.

    "But encouraged by so-called scientists and other modernisers, some beekeepers have been importing bees from all over the world, crossing them with local bees... playing the sorcerer's apprentice... in order to increase their honey production," Mr Douai says.
    "It's upset the natural balance and now we're paying the price."


    Third link

    Hornets hit France and could reach Britain

    By Peter Allen in Paris

    Last Updated: 1:59am GMT 22/02/2007

    Swarms of giant hornets renowned for their vicious stings and skill at massacring honeybees have settled in France.

    And there are now so many of the insects that entomologists fear it will just be a matter of time before they cross to Britain.

    Swarms of giant hornets renowned for their vicious stings and skill at massacring honeybees have settled in France.

    And there are now so many of the insects that entomologists fear it will just be a matter of time before they cross to Britain.

    Global warming has largely been blamed for the survival and spread of the Asian Hornet, Vespa velutina, which is thought to have arrived in France from the Far East in a consignment of Chinese pottery in late 2004.
    Thousands of football-shaped hornet nests are now dotted all over the forests of Aquitaine, the south-western region of France hugely popular with British tourists.

    "Their spread across French territory has been like lightning," said Jean Haxaire, the entomologist who originally identified the new arrival.
    He said he had recently seen 85 nests in the 40-odd miles which separate the towns of Marmande and Podensac, in the Lot et Garonne department where the hornets were first spotted.

    The hornets can grow to up to 1.8in and, with a wingspan of 3in, are renowned for inflicting a bite which has been compared to a hot nail entering the body.

    A handful can destroy a nest of 30,000 bees in just a couple of hours ? a major concern among the beekeeping industry.

    "The problems are not necessarily public health ones, but ecological ones. These hornets can cause immense damage to beehives," said Mr Haxaire. The hornets are renowned for feeding their young with the larvae of other social insects, including bees, whose nests they break into and ransack. The French beekeeping industry has already been decimated by pesticides and long, hot summers.

    Honey production from the 1.3 million hives run by 80,000 beekeepers has been decreasing annually ? down by 60 per cent in south-western France during the past decade.

    A spokesman for the French National Been Surveillance Unit said the bee death rate during winter was now up to six in ten.

    As a result France has to import some 25,000 tons of honey annually.
    "The arrival of these hornets has made the situation considerably worse," the spokesman added. "The future of our entire industry is at stake."

    Yesterday, there was concern that it may not take long before the Asian hornet makes its way to Britain.

    "There's no doubt that these hornets are heading north and will probably find their way to Britain at some point," said Stuart Hine, manager of the Insect Information Service at London's Natural History Museum.

    "Climate change certainly means they can cope with European summers. However, they would still have difficulty coping with our winter frosts."
    While some 40 people a year die from hornet stings ? mainly because of allergic reactions ? Claire Villement, of France's Natural History Museum, said there was no need for a "national panic about killer wasps".

    Mrs Villement said: "The legend that three bites from a hornet can kill you are totally false. People can still enjoy their picnics in the countryside."

    ...Fourth link

    "L'abeille, sentinelle de l'environnement".

    <TABLE width="93%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD><SMALL><BIG>Fin 2005, l'UNAF a lanc? l'action "L'abeille, sentinelle de l'environnement" destin?e ? sensibiliser le grand public ? la disparition de plus en plus rapide des abeilles et, plus largement, de la faune pollinisatrice. Institutions et entreprises sont invit?es ? soutenir cette op?ration et ? devenir partenaires du projet.
    En savoir plus...</BIG>


    • #47
      Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

      What is the threshold that has to be crossed to trigger food price hikes and supply shortages?

      Mysterious disease killing honey bees accelerates


      Dave Hackenberg recalls watching helplessly as more than half of his honey bees vanished and died this past fall and winter from a mysterious illness that has killed thousands of honey bee colonies across the nation.

      Hackenberg, a Pennsylvania beekeeper who winters his bee hives in Pasco County, said the illness wiped out 75 percent of his bee colonies. The illness, which has spread to 21 other states, is threatening the commercial beekeeping industry -- and the many crops that rely on bees for pollination.

      Scientists studying this mysterious new phenomenon haven't figured out what's triggering the illness but have taken to calling it "Colony Collapse Disorder." Adult bees leave the hive and vanish -- never to return. The illness can wipe out as much as 80 percent of the bees in a single hive.

      "They seem to get confused and can't find their way back," said honey bee expert Jamie Ellis, assistant professor of entomology at the University of Florida.

      Young bees left behind in the hive end up dying because the adult bees aren't there to feed them. The adult bees die off in the field, but officials aren't sure why.

      "Nobody has any clue yet what could be causing this," said Denise Feiber, spokeswoman for the Florida Department Agriculture.

      A form of the disorder was discovered many years ago. It caused a gradual loss in the honey bee population. With this new form, bee losses are sudden and deep.

      So far, only a small percentage of the honeybee hives used in crop production in Florida have been affected by the disorder, but the losses are significant among affected hives. As a result, concern is growing among commercial bee operators, said Elmore Herman, president of the Florida State Beekeepers Association.

      "They're dying at a larger rate than before," Herman said.

      Honey bees are used to pollinate a third of the nation's agricultural crops, including fruit and vegetables. If the mysterious illness continues to spread, crop production could fall and trigger a rise in food prices for consumers, Ellis, the professor, said.

      "Food prices will be the first thing affected. Food availability will be the second thing affected," he said.

      The illness claimed more than 2,100 of Hackenberg's 3,000 bee hives wintering in Florida between October and January.


      • #48
        Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

        Some great information. The PDF contains a map (page 7) showing the affected U.S. States...looks like the majority of states have been affected.

        March 2007 Issue of Midwest Beekeeper (HTML)

        March 2007 Issue of Midwest Beekeeper (PDF)

        More than $15 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products
        each year rely on honeybee pollination.

        “We called it Colony Collapse Disorder because calling
        it a disease may be misleading until we know the
        cause,” said Dennis van Engelsdorp, a bee specialist with
        the state Department of Agriculture. “We are pretty sure,
        but not certain, that it is a contagious disease.”
        “It does look like there is a pathogen involved, but we
        have not been able to identify it,”
        said van Engelsdorp, a
        member of a group of government and university specialists
        who are trying to find the cause.
        “Beekeepers in cold climates do not look at their colonies
        in the winter,” she said. “Many are likely to be surprised
        when they look in the spring.”

        During late 2006, an alarming number of honey bee
        colonies began to die across the country. Subsequent
        investigations suggest these outbreaks of unexplained
        colony collapse were experienced by beekeepers for at
        least the last two years. Reports of similar die offs are
        documented in beekeeping literature, with outbreaks
        possibly occurring as long ago as 1896. The current
        phenomenon, without a recognizable underlying cause,
        has been tentatively termed Colony Collapse Disorder
        (CCD), and threatens the pollination industry and production
        of commercial honey.
        There is no substitute or simulated version of pollination,
        said Tom Rinderer, a researcher at the U.S. Department
        of Agriculture’s breeding and genetics lab in Baton
        Rouge, La.
        “Almonds are completely dependent on honeybees;
        apples and blueberries less so,” Rinderer said. “There is
        no substitute, and wild bees can be unreliable.”
        Attached Files


        • #49
          Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

          CCD use to be called "Fall Dwindle Disease"

          Colony Collapse Disorder
          Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the name that has been given to the latest, and what seems to be the most serious, die-off of honey bee colonies across the country. It is characterized by, sudden colony death with a lack of adult bees in/in front of the dead-outs. Honey and bee bread are usually present and there is often evidence of recent brood rearing. In some cases, the queen and a small number of survivor bees may be present in the brood nest. It is also characterized by delayed robbing and slower than normal invasion by common pests such as wax moth and small hive beetles.

          New! Colony Collapse Disorder - testimony by Diana Cox-Foster before U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture (3/28/2007)

          CRS Report for Congress - Recent Honey Bee Colony Declines (3/27/2007)

          Summary of Research on the Non-target Effects of Bt Corn Pollen on Honeybees (3/28/2007)

          CCD Working Group Summary of Purpose and Responsibility

          Fall Dwindle Disease (Now renamed Colony Collapse Disorder) Preliminary Report

          Map of U.S. States Reporting Colony Collapse Disorder

          CCD Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (3/2007)

          Tentative Recommendations for Hives Experiencing CCD (3/9/2007)

          Fall Dwindle Disease talk - Austin, Texas (2/07)

          CCD Podcast: listen online by selecting "Browse all of Honey Bees in Crisis", and then click on "Colony Collapse Disorder". Or subscribe to the RSS feed for iTunes.


          • #50
            Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees


            Please consider this.

            Propolis is one of the best antibiotic and antimicrobian accessible. It is already expensive and last week the price of raw propolis as double, we expect to be in TOTAL rupture of stock in a month or so.

            The Propolis used to be lyophilisised to be insert in capsules was bough prior to the bee problem.

            Therefore NOW is the time to buy raw propolis at the old price and capsules Propolis in drug or natural food stores. It is still cheap for few weeks.

            Please cf: to our alternative medicine section and take knowledge of the use of Propolis in diseases.

            Then comes the pollen,

            Pollen is the sole nutritional element in survival exercise for some military ops. Pollen contains all essential nutrients your body needs. It is the lighest most concentrate and full nutrient element to have in a Bug out Bag.

            Its prices will rise too but few weeks after the Propolis prices rise up.

            My fear is that, since the distributor of Propolis are the same one that distribute Pollen and Honey, I reiterate that NOW is the time to buy Bees products and I invite you to go check by yourselves of the many benifits to have those products in our medicinal/food cabinet.

            Last thing, the prices of almonds will skyrock, again take knowledge of the Laetrile present in the almonds and NOW is the time to buy some.

            All the above products can still be bough at a reasonnable price for FEW WEEKS.

            Act accordingly for those in the known.

            A suggestion brought to you by Flu Trackers Team.



            • #51
              Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

              "Cochran believes several factors cause colony collapse disorder. One of those is what beekeepers feed their bees."
              'A lot of guys experiencing this are feeding high fructose corn syrup,? he said.'

              I wonder if the high fructose corn syrup is contaminated?
              We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.
              Maya Angelou


              • #52
                Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                Interesting thought Pam. Could be, or perhaps with extended use HFCS might cause adverse reactions in bees??


                • #53
                  Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                  Honey bees hit by weather, disease

                  Jeff Esau, Ottawa Citizen
                  Published: Friday, March 30, 2007

                  The Ottawa-area honey market is not quite in crisis, says Greely beekeeper Brent Halsall, but producers are facing ?difficult times and struggling to continue doing business.?
                  The late onset of winter and cheap imported honey from China and South America are driving beekeepers to the verge of pulling out of an industry that, 10 years ago, thrived in Eastern Ontario, Mr. Halsall said.

                  The region?s recent weather patterns have played havoc with the hives. Warm weather prompts bees to produce extra broods, Mr. Halsall said. When the winter hit so late and abruptly this year, many bees were killed as they tended the larvae and pupae, in some cases just inches from the honey they needed to survive.

                  Some producers lost 50 per cent of their bees; Mr. Halsall lost 60 per cent in some of his hives. He said he knows one beekeeper who was left with only two of 68 hives.
                  In addition to tending his own 200-hive operation, Mr. Halsall is president of the Ontario Beekeepers? Association, which was established 125 years ago and now represents nearly 4,500 beekeepers across the province; the Eastern Ontario branch has approximately 70 members.
                  More, according to testimony at a congressional hearing in the U.S. this week, a "mysterious disorder" is killing honeybees in parts of the U.S. and Canada, with the potential for crop losses that could raise fruit and vegetable prices in the next two years.

                  ?Colony Collapse Disorder? has been reported in 24 U.S. states, with bee losses of up to 90 per cent in some hives, according to a Pennsylvania State University study. The U.S. Agriculture Department says $14.6 billion of pollinated crops, including oranges, apples and almonds, may be threatened.
                  With fewer bees, ?you?ll see lower pollination, lower yields, lower crop production,? said Paul Wenger, a vice president of the California Farm Bureau Federation, after testifying Thursday before a House Agriculture subcommittee in Washington.

                  Bee expert Doug McRory, provincial apiarist with the Guelph-based Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said the die-off this year was larger than the usual 18 per cent.

                  Talking to producers in Ottawa this week, Mr. McRory said that dropping honey prices are a serious problem in the industry. Some beekeepers are providing pollination services to farmers as an alternate source of income, he said.

                  But when producers switch from harvesting honey to providing pollination services, they face other problems. ?It?s a big change in how they operate,? said Mr. McRory, because they have to send truckloads of hives to farms as far as Quebec or New Brunswick.

                  Mr. Halsall agreed that honey prices are weak. ?The wholesale price of honey is down,? he said, ?so anyone who sells their honey in bulk is making less than it costs us to produce.? Production often costs between $1.10 and $1.25 per pound, while some imported honey sells for as little as 50 cents a pound.

                  Many countries are new to the honey game. Canada used to be the fifth-largest honey producer in the world, but has now dropped out of the top 10 with no significant decrease in production.

                  ?A lot of the honey people see in the grocery store isn?t local honey,? Mr. Halsall said.

                  ?What?s happening is that big packers buy imported honey and sell it at cheap prices. The general consumer doesn?t know it?s imported honey unless they look very, very carefully on the back label where they?ll see in tiny print that it?s imported.? He said this labeling issue will be resolved over the next couple of years, as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) makes the source information more prominent.

                  Imported honey does not always meet the standards set by Canadian authorities. In 2002, the CFIA banned Chinese honey for two years after a toxic antibiotic was detected in shipments.

                  During the past few years, Ottawa-area producers have been buffered from declining prices by a dense customer base that enables them to pack and retail their own honey ? something that is not possible for major honey-producing provinces such as Alberta, which has greater output and smaller population. Self-retailing cuts down on transportation and storage costs.
                  Another potential threat to Canadian honey looms across the U.S. border. Many producers south of the border have seen their hives devastated by ?colony collapse disorder,? a mysterious die-off of bees. But Mr. McRory said no cases have been reported in Canada, and he dismisses fears that the problem might come to Ontario.

                  With files from Bloomberg News.


                  • #54
                    Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees


                    NATIONAL HONEY REPORT:

                    National Honey Board Industry Statistics Report:

                    SOUTHEAST HONEY SURVEY (UK):

                    BEESOURCE FORUM:


                    • #55
                      Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                      Mysterious disappearance of US bees creating a buzz

                      WASHINGTON (AFP) - US beekeepers have been stung in recent months by the mysterious disappearance of millions of bees threatening honey supplies as well as crops which depend on the insects for pollination.

                      Bee numbers on parts of the east coast and in Texas have fallen by more than 70 percent, while California has seen colonies drop by 30 to 60 percent.

                      According to estimates from the US Department of Agriculture, bees are vanishing across a total of 22 states, and for the time being no one really knows why.

                      "Approximately 40 percent of my 2,000 colonies are currently dead and this is the greatest winter colony mortality I have ever experienced in my 30 years of beekeeping," apiarist Gene Brandi, from the California State Beekeepers Association, told Congress recently.

                      It is normal for hives to see populations fall by some 20 percent during the winter, but the sharp loss of bees is causing concern, especially as domestic US bee colonies have been steadily decreasing since 1980.

                      There are some 2.4 million professional hives in the country, according to the Agriculture Department, 25 percent fewer than at the start of the 1980s.

                      And the number of beekeepers has halved.

                      The situation is so bad, that beekeepers are now calling for some kind of government intervention, warning the flight of the bees could be catastrophic for crop growers.

                      Domestic bees are essential for pollinating some 90 varieties of vegetables and fruits, such as apples, avocados, and blueberries and cherries.

                      "The pollination work of honey bees increases the yield and quality of United States crops by approximately 15 billion dollars annually including six billion in California," Brandi said.

                      California's almond industry alone contributes two billion dollars to the local economy, and depends on 1.4 million bees which are brought from around the US every year to help pollinate the trees, he added.

                      The phenomenon now being witnessed across the United States has been dubbed "colony collapse disorder," or CCD, by scientists as they seek to explain what is causing the bees to literally disappear in droves.

                      The usual suspects to which bees are known to be vulnerable such as the varroa mite, an external parasite which attacks honey bees and which can wipe out a hive, appear not to be the main cause.

                      "CCD is associated with unique symptoms, not seen in normal collapses associated with varroa mites and honey bee viruses or in colony deaths due to winter kill," entomologist Diana Cox-Foster told the Congress committee.

                      In cases of colony collapse disorder, flourishing hives are suddenly depopulated leaving few, if any, surviving bees behind.

                      The queen bee, which is the only one in the hive allowed to reproduce, is found with just a handful of young worker bees and a reserve of food.

                      Curiously though no dead bees are found either inside or outside the hive.

                      The fact that other bees or parasites seem to shun the emptied hives raises suspicions that some kind of toxin or chemical is keeping the insects away, Cox-Foster said.

                      Those bees found in such devastated colonies also all seem to be infected with multiple micro-organisms, many of which are known to be behind stress-related illness in bees.

                      Scientists working to unravel the mysteries behind CCD believe a new pathogen may be the cause, or a new kind of chemical product which could be weakening the insects' immune systems.

                      The finger of suspicion is being pointed at agriculture pesticides such as the widely-used neonicotinoides, which are already known to be poisonous to bees.

                      France saw a huge fall in its bee population in the 1990s, blamed on the insecticide Gaucho which has now been banned in the country.


                      • #56
                        Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                        Keepers fear mystery bee illness

                        Government inspectors are investigating reports of unusually high numbers of honey bee deaths.

                        By Nic Fleming, Science Correspondent

                        Some keepers, especially around London, say they have lost far more than the 10 per cent of colonies that usually die off during winter.

                        John Chapple, chairman of the London Beekeepers Association, lost all the bees in 30 out of the 40 hives he keeps in Acton, west London.

                        Mr Chapple said that a nearby club in Harrow had lost half of its hives and that the Pinner and Ruislip Beekeepers Association had lost 75 per cent.

                        Because bees pollinate fruit trees and other crops, the consequences for British farmers of a collapse in honey bee numbers could be devastating.

                        The total contribution of bees to the British economy has been estimated as &#163;1 billion.

                        Max Watkins of Vita, a company that makes products for honey bee health, said: "The situation is very serious but no one yet understands the cause of these widespread honey bee colony deaths.

                        "The phenomenon is alarming especially because agricultural pollination and therefore crop production levels are threatened." Beekeepers in 25 US states have lost 50 to 90 per cent of their colonies to a mystery condition being called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) - in which bees suddenly abandon their hives and disappear to die.

                        There have been unexplained, severe colony losses with bees failing to return from their searches for pollen and nectar in Poland, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal in recent years.

                        Early warm temperatures in Britain have seen honey bees emerging earlier than usual from their winter clusters - a form of hibernation during which they huddle together to keep warm.

                        Some keepers fear the mysterious CCD could have reached Britain.
                        Several beekeeping associations outside London contacted yesterday said this year's losses in their regions were no higher than average, however.

                        While the cause of CCD is unknown, suspects include pesticides, malnutrition, antibiotics, mites and increased solar radiation due to ozone thinning.

                        In the 1990s, honey bee populations were badly affected by the varroa mite - a parasite that makes colonies more vulnerable to viruses.
                        Some believe the recent deaths could be caused by the parasite becoming resistant to drugs used against it.

                        Imports of bees from the US are banned. So far Government bee inspectors say there are no signs of CCD in Britain and have played down reports of higher-than-average winter deaths.

                        A Government spokesman said: "We are aware of the serious situation in the USA. Cases of colony loss in England and Wales reported to the National Bee Unit are being investigated. However, it is not unusual for some colonies to be found dead or absent at the end of winter." commentary
                        Last edited by Sally Furniss; April 14, 2007, 04:51 PM. Reason: remove ad


                        • #57
                          Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                          Colony Collapse Disorder

                          The excerpt that interested me was a comment at the bottom


                          This is from a newsletter that I belond to and it really got me thinking, reading & researching.. After reading this I searched google with honey bee and imidacloprid as the search peramiters and what I found was astounding to say the least. It now has me wondering if this alone or moreso with mite strips could be the cause... Anyone wanting more info, please drop me a line,
                          Richard & "PupSter" owners of Black Cat Honey (

                          Is CCD really just starting in 2005/2006? Previouswork on imidacloprid?

                          I have been following the latest theme with interest, and had been wondering when imidacloprid would be raised.

                          When I was an undergraduate student in 2002, I worked with Dr. Jim Kemp and Dick Rogers in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick (Eastern Canada) investigating possible reasons (incl. diseases, food sources, pesticides, management practices, among others) behind the
                          disappearance and overall decrease in honeybee populations in the Maritimes. What had initated their research in the previous year (2001) was the concern that imidacloprid, trade name Admire, used in furrow in potato fields, persisted in the soil and came up in the clover flowers two years later, which then killed off the foraging bees. I believe a similar concern with imidacloprid had been raised
                          in France under the trade name Gaucho and used on sunflowers.

                          My understanding is that beekeepers in the Maritimes noticed in the late 1990s or early 2000s that bees were disappearing/dying and colonies crashing unexpectedly, with some beekeepers having limited losses and some having almost total losses. They heard reports from
                          France of the similar symptoms, said that that was their problem too, accused imidacloprid and the producer (Bayer), who then got Jim and Dick involved in the investigation.

                          I found an old newspaper article on-line saying essentially the same thing: May 25, 2002 - National Post,
                 You could probably find other sources too.

                          The background information I had heard and learned about in 2002, and in 2003 when I was only peripherally involved in the project, sounds just like what is supposedly only just happening this year in the US.
                          Now, I am new to the field and may be way off base, but to me this sounds like the same thing, so why are most of these reports saying this is a new phenomenon, happening either only this year or maybe last year too? Are these two different problems/scenarios, or is the media just having a field day with it this year?

                          Anyway, just another thought to mull over.

                          Victoria MacPhail
                          MSc Candidate
                          Dept. of Environmental Biology
                          University of Guelph
                          Guelph, ON N1G 2W1


                          • #58
                            Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                            Thanks Susie for the above post.

                            We certainly have now a corroborated lead.

                            The Agriculture zone needing high bee pollinesation on important nutrients, should be the region where swift removal of imidacloprid is happening.

                            My 2 cents in our Misison


                            • #59
                              Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                              Concern over Imidacloprid - Systemic Insecticide used on Oilseed Rape in UK

                              This article is written by Graham White which is a digest of his letter sent to the UK Advisory Committee on Pesticides with regard to a systemic insecticide called IMIDACLOPRID.

                              Imidacloprid is produced by Bayer Crop Sciences and marketed in the UK under a variety of trade names including:

                              ? 'Chinook' for seed dressing of oil-seed rape seed.
                              ? 'Gaucho and Montur' for seed dressing of sugar beet seed.
                              ? 'Prestige' for dressing of potato seed before planting.
                              ? 'Confidor' for treatment through irrigation water in greenhouses (ornamental plants, tomatoes, cucumber and sweet pepper).
                              ? ' Merit Forest' for treatment of forest plants against insect attacks.

                              I have confirmed the widespread use of 'Chinook' for oilseed rape and for sugar beet but have not been able to find out whether it is also used for potato sets, commercial greenhouses and forest plantations.

                              My concerns are threefold:

                              1. As a beekeeper I am concerned that we are beginning to see evidence of unusual collapse of bee colonies in the UK.
                              2. As a conservationist I am concerned that the large scale use of this highly toxic, systemic and persistent insecticide in the UK is effectively sterilising fields of all soil-invertebrate life including: earthworms, beetles, ladybirds, butterflies, moths etc. This has profound ecological implications, especially for insectivorous birds and mammals.
                              3. Imidacloprid is highly persistent in the environment and is absorbed into all parts of the crop-plant: pollen, nectar and seeds. If collected by bees it is progressively concentrated in honey as the nectar is evaporated. It seems likely that it will be present in sunflower and rape-seed oil, - even if in small quantities. As a neuro-toxin this may have implications for the food chain and human health.

                              Banned in France - Approved in the UK?
                              I became aware of Imidacloprid due to articles about massive loss of bee colonies in France, Switzerland, Sweden and Canada. I append a number of articles from government agencies, bee-research laboratories and other sources in those countries. Beekeeping is a very large and influential industry in France and concern at the economic loss from colony-deaths was very widespread. Large demonstrations were held in Paris and intense lobbying went on. The outcome was that the use of Imidacloprid as a seed-dressing for sunflowers, oilseed rape and potatoes was banned in France and it remains so.

                              Situation in the UK
                              When I consulted the Pesticides Safety Directorate online database and searched for the term ?Imidacloprid? I found just one reference to its approval as a seed-treatment for sugar beet (do try searching yourself). This implied that the use of this insecticide here in the UK was rather limited. However, after a great deal more searching on other sites I found that it is actually used on a truly massive scale as the dominant seed-treatment for oilseed rape, marketed under the trade name ?CHINOOK? in the UK or 'GAUCHO' in France. This discrepancy in the PSD database seems odd and I have emailed them directly to ask why this is so?

                              The obvious question is: why does a pesticide that has been banned throughout France continue to be approved for very wide scale use across the UK ? Moreover, why is it so hard to find in the PSD database?

                              Impact on Beekeeping in the UK
                              Currently there is growing concern in the UK about the unexpected collapse of bee colonies in summer (a time when they normally thrive) and a sporadic incidence of failure of queen bees to mate or prosper. As yet the evidence is anecdotal and a national survey/ study is urgently needed but if the pattern follows that observed in Sweden, France and Canada, it seems a reasonable hypothesis that Imidacloprid may be a causal factor. Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide which attacks the nervous system of all invertebrates; the target pests are flea beetles and wireworms etc but beneficial species such as bees, earthworms and beetles are also killed. The pesticide is dusted onto seeds before they are planted and is used on a worldwide scale on crops including: sunflowers, oilseed rape, potatoes, wheat etc.

                              French and Swiss researchers found that after Imidacloprid is dusted onto sunflower seed, or oilseed rape, it permeates the entire plant, including the nectar, pollen and seeds. The loss of bee colonies in France was concentrated in sunflower or oilseed rape growing areas. Imidacloprid only needs to be present at 10 parts per billion to kill bees outright. Bees exposed to 5 ppb simply do not return to their hives.

                              A definitive Swiss study reported:


                              ?Klaus Wallner confirmed in his study of Imidacloprid prepared Phacelia with a burden of 50 g/hectare, that the bee?s honey-sac average contamination was 5ppb and the pollen taken from the 'pollen baskets' of the bees contained 7ppb. The centrifuged honey contamination level could not (yet) be ascertained. The level was less than the 3ppb trace ability level for honey.

                              Clarification in France:
                              In a report issued by the French Agriculture Ministry it was stated: According to the sunflower variety the residues in the flower on the 65th day (at start of blossom period) varied between 2.5ppb (Pharon) and 8.7ppb (Natil). These values could possibly be higher at point of harvest. The sunflower pollen is contaminated at an average level of 3ppb (up to 11 ppb max.). In untreated plantings (sunflower, rape and corn), which were planted in Imidacloprid-contaminated-soil, up to 7.4ppb was detected in the flowers.

                              ?The Bayer study produced a mortality rate due to Imidacloprid for bees as follows: The LD 50 (the lethal dose which kills 50% of test organisms within 48 hours) lay between 3.7 and 40.9 Nanogrammes of Imidacloprid per bee. Long term injury was investigated by Bonmatin. He achieved an LD 50 after 8 days by feeding individual bees an Imidacloprid/ sugar solution of 0.1 ppb. The substance showed itself to be highly toxic when delivered over time.?

                              END ABSTRACT

                              I would be grateful if, in your capacity as a member of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides, you might raise this issue with your colleagues and convey to them the widespread international concern regarding this systemic pesticide, which has led to the ban in France and attempts to ban it in Canada. I append a number of documents and web site links. I would particularly recommend the PDF file from the 'Journal of Pesticide Reform' for a definitive scientific summary of ecological impacts and current lab research. Also the Swiss research appended as a PDF article is very concise. Graham White, 3 Oxenrig Farm Cottages, Lennel, Coldstream TD12 4EY 01890 882 713.

                              I wrote to Dr Miles Thomas of the Central Govt Science Lab and asked him for current usage figures for Imidacloprid and formulations containing the chemical. See his reply below with figures which are not published yet but he seems happy to let us have them. I added the figures up and it comes to 734,203 hectares (over 1.5 million acres) of crops treated with Imidacloprid, or formulations including Imidacloprid in 2004. That is a truly massive amount of systemic insecticide. The actual report will give actual weights of pesticide involved.

                              "Hi Graham,
                              We have not yet published the report for the 2004 survey but it is nearly complete. We estimate the following seed treatment use:

                              Straight imidacloprid seed dressing
                              Sugar beet 114,948 ha

                              Beta-cyfluthrin/imidacloprid mixture
                              OSR 311,620 ha
                              Linseed 22,821 ha
                              OSR or linseed grown on set-aside 31,815 ha (29,537 ha OSR)

                              Bitertanol/fuberidazole/imidacloprid mixture
                              Cereals 196,568 ha

                              Fuberidazole/imidacloprid/triadimenol mixture
                              Cereals 33,963 ha

                              Imidacloprid/tebuconazole/triazoxide mixture
                              Cereals 12,468 ha

                              Regards Miles
                              Dr Miles R Thomas Phone: +44 (0)1904 462 410
                              Head, Pesticide Usage Survey & GTN: 5129 2410
                              Knowledge Management Systems Fax: +44 (0)1904 462 253
                              Central Science Laboratory Email:
                              Sand Hutton York YO41 1LZ Web:

                              FURTHER READING

                              Scientific Articles

                              Imidacloprid Journal of Pesticide Reform [PDF 76KB]
                              Imidacloprid Linked to French Bee Deaths [PDF 49KB]
                              Prince Edward Island Imidacloprid [PDF 136KB]

                              Beekeepers Articles

                              Text direct from the French beekeepers which led to the ban in France [100KB PDF]
                              Swiss Research on Imidacloprid [PDF 48KB]
                              French imidacloprid ban update 2005 [ PDF 60KB 10/11/05]

                              A synopsis of international articles can be found at Canadian beekeeper Allen Dick's excellent website at:

                              A good overview of Swedish Beekeeper's concerns is an article by: Silent spring in northern Europe ? by B?rje Svensson at:

                              Click to Print Article

                              Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BBKA.


                              • #60
                                Re: Mystery killer silencing honeybees

                                I just returned from 10 days in central WA - the apples, cherries, & pears are starting to blossom. The few tree owners I talked to were more concerned about getting enough bees & discounted any bee problems as "normal fluctuations". However, they weren't well versed on this new issue.

                                As I toured the winery country, I realized the WA impact is not only fruit, but possibly the wine industry.

                                "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation