Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The great mystery of bee deaths has been solved. Colony Collapse Disorder is poisoning with a known insect neurotoxin. Clothianidin, a pesticide manufactured by Bayer, has been clearly linked to die offs in Germany and France.
Although the bee die offs that have occurred recently are more severe, there have been many in the past from the same and similar products. In North Dakota, a lawsuit is pending against Bayer for the loss of their bees in 1995, the result of spraying rapeseed with Imidacloprid. In 1999, the same product was banned in France for use as a seed dressing for sunflowers when they lost one-third of their hives after widespread spraying. In 2004, it was banned for use on corn. Recently, France refused to approve Bayer’s request to sell Clothianidin.
Clothianidin and Imidacloprid are both members of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. They are well known as insect neurotoxins, especially with regard to bees. The spokesperson for the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers, based in Germany, stated, “We have been pointing out the risks of neonicotinoids for almost 10 years now. This proves without a doubt that the chemicals can come into contact with bees and kill them. These pesticides shouldn’t be on the market.”
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Not a Surprise
That neonicotinoids are potent neurotoxins, especially in insects, is unsurprising. They were developed for precisely that purpose. Bayer says that their use is safe for bees, when used according to instructions. This involves using a glue that keeps the pesticides stuck to the seeds on which they’re used.
There are many problems with this. Agribusiness corporations are known to evade anything that costs them money. The glue costs money. The equipment and personnel required to apply it costs money. More careful pesticide application to try to keep it from becoming airborne costs money. Obviously, both unscrupulous agribusiness farmers and unknowing small farmers — not to mention home gardeners — will, at least occasionally, not use the glue.
Even then, it’s impossible to believe that a fair amount of these pesticides won’t become airborne. Further, their residue will poison the soil. It will be passed on into foods, which means that insects will come into contact with it there.
This article was posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 12:44 pm