Over the past decades, both wild and domesticated insect pollinators are in dramatic decline, which puts at stake the existence of species, ecosystem resilience and global food security. Globally, 87 of major food crops depend on animal pollination. Together these account for 35 % of the world food production volume. Pollinator mediated crops are indispensable for essential micronutrients in the human diet. Many ornamental plants as well as crops for fibre, fodder, biofuels, timber and phytopharmaceuticals also depend on insect pollinators. This article aims to map the current situation of pollinators worldwide, with a focus on the critical role of pollinators in the human food chain and ecosystem sustainability, their intrinsic and extrinsic value, as well as the causes of their declines and the interventions needed to conserve them, in order to develop an argument for the importance of conserving and restoring pollinator populations and diversity. The present pollinator crisis threatens global and local food security, can worsen the problems of hidden hunger, erodes ecosystem resilience, and can destabilise ecosystems that form our life support system. An integrated approach that simultaneously addresses the key drivers is needed. This includes creation and restoration of floral and nesting resources, a global phase out of prophylactic use of neonicotinoids and fipronil, improvement of test protocols in authorisation of agrochemicals, and restoration and maintenance of independence in regulatory science. The authors argue that an international treaty for global pollinator stewardship and pollinator ecosystem restoration should be initiated in order to systemically counteract the current crisis.
The Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impact of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems (WIA) has examined over 800 scientific studies spanning the last five years, including industry sponsored ones. It is the single most comprehensive study of neonics ever undertaken, is peer reviewed, and published as free access so that the findings and the source material can be thoroughly examined by others.
Scientists urge transition to pollinator-friendly agriculture
Utrecht & Tokyo, 7 June 2013
Honeybee disorders and high colony losses have become global phenomena. An international team of scientist led by Utrecht University synthesized recent findings on the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees. Scientists conclude that owing to their large scale prophylaxic use in agriculture, their high persistence in soil and water, and their uptake by plants and translocation to flowers, neonicotinoids put pollinator services at risk.
EFSA scientists have identified a number of risks posed to bees by three neonicotinoid insecticides. The Authority was asked by the European Commission to assess the risks associated with the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam as seed treatment or as granules, with particular regard to: their acute and chronic effects on bee colony survival and development; their effects on bee larvae and bee behaviour; and the risks posed by sub-lethal doses of the three substances. In some cases EFSA was unable to finalise the assessments due to shortcomings in the available data.
Wetenschappers dringen aan op transitie naar bijvriendelijke landbouw
Utrecht & Tokyo, 7 juni 2013
Wereldwijd kampen imkers met abnormaal hoge volksterfte en verzwakte bijen. Een internationaal team van wetenschappers geleid door Universiteit Utrecht bracht de recente wetenschappelijke stand van kennis in kaart over de effecten van neonicotinoïde insecticiden op bijen. Grootschalig preventief gebruik in de landbouw, in combinatie met hoge persistentie in bodem en water en opname door planten die het gif doorgeven aan hun stuifmeel en nectar, leiden tot substantiële risico’s. De wetenschappers concluderen dat de bestuiving van bloeiende planten en landbouwgewassen op het spel staat.
The European Commission has decided to ban three neonicotinoid insecticides. These chemicals can harm honeybees, according to a large body of scientific evidence, so the European Environment Agency (EEA) commends the precautionary decision to ban them.
Read full EEA highlight:
Vrijdag 5 april 2013 verscheen het rapport van de Britse parlementaire enquette naar de misstanden bij de toelating van neonicotinoide insecticiden. Het parlementaire onderzoek waarin in uren lange zittingen gericht op waarheidsvinding tal van wetenschappers en industriemensen stevig aan de tand gevoeld zijn komt tot heldere conclusies. Er zijn grote redenen tot zorg dat het grootschalig gebruik van neonicotinoiden bijdraagt aan de sterke achteruitgang van wilde bestuivende insecten en bijdraagt aan de toegenomen problemen in de hongingbijenhouderij. Met de toelating is veel mis en de recente veldstudie waarmee Dr. Helen Thompson van Food and Environment Research Agency de eerdere veldstudie van Whitehorn ea (2012) (naar de lange termijn effecten van imidacloprid op het aantal koninginnen per hommelvolk) onderuit dacht te halen, is wetenschappelijk ver beneden de maat. De bevindingen van Whitehorn dat imidacloprid bij normaal toegelaten gebruik zeer schadelijk is voor hommels, blijven overeind.
Belangrijkste aanbeveling, unaniem gedragen door alle partijen in het lagerhuis :
Per 1 januari 2014 moeten imidacloprid, clothianidine en thiamethoxam in Engeland voorlopig worden verboden in voor bijen aantrekkelijke gewassen. Alle toelatingen voor particulier gebruik moeten per direct ingetrokken. De Britse regering moet zich daarnaast inzetten voor een Europees verbod.
[PERSBERICHT partij voor de dieren]
Neonicotinoïden brengen bijen in gevaar
Partij voor de Dieren wil onmiddellijk verbod op gevaarlijke bestrijdingsmiddelen
Den Haag, 16 januari 2012 - Na een jarenlange discussie over de oorzaken van bijensterfte concludeert ook de Europese Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit dat neonicotinoïden, een zeer giftig landbouwgif, een acuut en ernstig gevaar zijn voor de gezondheid van bijen. De Partij voor de Dieren wil dat deze middelen per direct van de markt worden gehaald.
By Toshiro Yamada, Kazuko Yamada and Naoki Wada, Jpn. J. Clin. Ecol. （Vol.21 No.1 2012)
Abstract Recently it has become a serious problem that honeybees suddenly vanish in their colony, which is referred to as a colony collapse disorder（ CCD）. We have made it clear by the field experiments for about four months what effect neonicotinoid pesticides such as dinotefuran and clothianidin have on the occurrence of CCD. Eight colonies consisting of about ten-thousand honeybees in each colony were investigated under the practical beekeeping conditions in our apiary. In this study foods containing dinotefuran of 1 ppm to 10 ppm or clothianidin of 0.4 ppm to 4 ppm were fed into a beehive. Three levels of concentration were 10（ high-conc.）, 50（ middle-conc.） and 100 low-conc.） times lower than that in practical use. The changes of adult bees, brood and the pesticide intake in each colony were directly examined. They suggest that each colony with the pesticide administered collapses to nothing after passing through a state of CCD, the high-concentration pesticides seem to work as an acute toxicity and the low- and middle-concentration ones do as a chronic toxicity. CCD looks mysterious, but it is just one of situations where a colony dwindles to nothing. We have proposed a CCD occurrence mechanism based on our results.
The NMR spectral analyses of dinotefuran and clothianidin in aqueous solution give the speculations that both are thermally stable under the heating condition of 50 ℃ ×24 hours and dinotefuran is radiationally stable under the ultraviolet-irradiation condition of 310 nm×50 W/m2 but clothianidin is unstable.
ABSTRACT: Since seed coating with neonicotinoid insecticides was introduced in the late 1990s, European beekeepers have reported severe colony losses in the period of corn sowing (spring). As a consequence, seed-coating neonicotinoid insecticides that are used worldwide on corn crops have been blamed for honeybee decline. In view of the currently increasing crop production, and also of corn as a renewable energy source, the correct use of these insecticides within sustainable agriculture is a cause of concern. In this paper, a probable - but so far underestimated - route of environmental exposure of honeybees to and intoxication with neonicotinoid insecticides, namely, the atmospheric emission of particulate matter containing the insecticide by drilling machines, has been quantitatively studied. Using optimized analytical procedures, quantitative measurements of both the emitted particulate and the consequent direct contamination of single bees approaching the drilling machine during the foraging activity have been determined. Experimental results show that the environmental release of particles containing neonicotinoids can produce high exposure levels for bees, with lethal effects compatible with colony losses phenomena observed by beekeepers.
Populations of honey bees and other pollinators have declined worldwide in recent years. A variety of stressors have been implicated as potential causes, including agricultural pesticides. Neonicotinoid insecticides, which are widely used and highly toxic to honey bees, have been found in previous analyses of honey bee pollen and comb material. However, the routes of exposure have remained largely undefined. We used LC/MS-MS to analyze samples of honey bees, pollen stored in the hive and several potential exposure routes associated with plantings of neonicotinoid treated maize. Our results demonstrate that bees are exposed to these compounds and several other agricultural pesticides in several ways throughout the foraging period. During spring, extremely high levels of clothianidin and thiamethoxam were found in planter exhaust material produced during the planting of treated maize seed. We also found neonicotinoids in the soil of each field we sampled, including unplanted fields. Plants visited by foraging bees (dandelions) growing near these fields were found to contain neonicotinoids as well. This indicates deposition of neonicotinoids on the flowers, uptake by the root system, or both. Dead bees collected near hive entrances during the spring sampling period were found to contain clothianidin as well, although whether exposure was oral (consuming pollen) or by contact (soil/planter dust) is unclear. We also detected the insecticide clothianidin in pollen collected by bees and stored in the hive. When maize plants in our field reached anthesis, maize pollen from treated seed was found to contain clothianidin and other pesticides; and honey bees in our study readily collected maize pollen. These findings clarify some of the mechanisms by which honey bees may be exposed to agricultural pesticides throughout the growing season. These results have implications for a wide range of large-scale annual cropping systems that utilize neonicotinoid seed treatments.
Ljubljana, 3 June (STA) - Slovenian agriculture authorities have confirmed that a pesticide suspected of causing massive bee deaths in NE Slovenia in late April was indeed a leading cause of the deaths and announced new measures, including lawsuits against producers of the pesticide.
An investigation by Buglife – the Invertebrate Conservation Trust has revealed that contrary to statements made by Government scientists from the National Bee Unit on yesterday’s Channel 4 News item - http://www.channel4.com/news/bee-decline-not-caused-by-pesticides -, there is evidence of an increasing link between Neonicotinoid pesticides and bee deaths in Britain.
De voor bijen zeer schadelijke insecticiden uit de neonicotine-groep (ondermeer imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidine en thiacloprid) zijn in Nederland zeer ruim toegelaten. Een overzicht van de gewassen en teelten waar het wordt gebruikt is hier te vinden:
Colorado bee-farmer Tom Theobald has a 5 minute video up on Youtube - made by a professional film maker in the USA. It is a statement of the struggle that he has been forced to undertake since he discovered the controversy surrounding the registration and licensing of Clothianidin; the nicotinoid that is suspected of annihilating 3,000,000 American bee colonies in the last four years. This neonicotinoid has been planted on 88 million acres of corn in America - every year since 2003 - , but it appears that it was never 'legally' registered as the study which was submitted by Bayer was invalid.
Das Avaaz Netzwerk ruft dazu auf eine Petition zu unterzeichnen, um die Verwendung von Pestiziden der Gruppe der Neonicotinoide zu verbieten, solange deren Sicherheit nicht durch unabhängige, wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen bewiesen ist. Das katastrophale Bienensterben könnte unsere gesamte Nahrungskette in Gefahr bringen.
[NGO Viewpoint] AMERICAN BEE EMERGENCY -- ACT NOW!
Bees are dying off and our entire food chain is in peril. Scientists blame toxic pesticides, and four European governments have already banned them, but the deadly poison is still for sale in the USA. If we urgently get the government to join the ban we could save bees from extinction. Sign the petition and forward this appeal
[NGO Viewpoint / press release]
Pesticide Already Illegal in Germany, Italy & France Based on Scientific Findings
SAN FRANCISCO and WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Beekeepers and environmentalists today called on EPA to remove a pesticide linked to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), citing a leaked EPA memo that discloses a critically flawed scientific support study. The November 2nd memo identifies a core study underpinning the registration of the insecticide clothianidin as unsound after EPA quietly re-evaluated the pesticide just as it was getting ready to allow a further expansion of its use. Clothianidin (product name "Poncho") has been widely used as a seed treatment on many of the country's major crops for eight growing seasons under a "conditional registration" granted while EPA waited for Bayer Crop Science, the pesticide's maker, to conduct a field study assessing the insecticide's threat to bee colony health.