November 30, 2013 at 11:57 pm #1574MikeKeymaster
I (Mike C) have just one question:
I know CCD started in earnest in the Fall 2006 and Spring 2007;
How long have the neonicotinoid pesticides mentioned in this article
been in use? I for one am not buying this explanation until it is
ISIS Press Release 22/06/07
Emergency Motion on Protecting the Honeybee
Question Tabled to European Commission by Ms Hiltrud Breyer MEP of
Honeybees have been disappearing worldwide. 1 Across the United
States, beekeepers have been losing 30 to 90% or more of colonies in a
“colony collapse disorder” (CCD) that’s causing huge economic losses
not only to beekeepers but also to fruit and vegetable growers. CCD
has been reported from Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy,
Greece, and the UK. Many believe that when the honeybee disappears,
our species will soon follow.
The most important single factors identified by the Institute of
Science in Society ( http://www.i-sis.org.uk ), in CCD were sub-lethal levels
of insecticides, 2 in particular, a class of new systemic
neonicotinoid pesticides widely used to dress seeds and in sprays on
crops, 3 and microwave radiation from wireless telephone transmitters
and base stations. 4
Sub-lethal levels of pesticides, including the Bt biopesticides
produced in genetically modified (GM) crops covering some 30 percent
of the global area, disorientate the bees, making them behave
abnormally, and compromise their immunity to infections.
A report in the LA Times 5 suggested that a single cell parasitic
fungus, Nosema ceranae , may be responsible for CCD, though the
experts involved said the results are “highly preliminary”.
A new review from ISIS 6 presented compelling evidence that sub-lethal
levels of neonicotinoid pesticides, particularly imidacloprid, act
synergistically with parasitic fungi such as Nosema in killing insects
pests. Fungal spores, widely used as biocontrol agents are applied in
sprays and baits, and when delivered in suspension with sub-lethal
levels of pesticides are much more effective in killing insects.
Equally, Bt biopesticides enhance the killing power of parasitic fungi
synergistically. Purified Bt Cry1Ab toxin killed Nosema infected borer
larvae at one-third the dose required for killing the uninfected
larvae. Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (the natural soil bacteria
producing the Bt biopesticides) in commercial (Dipel) formulations
killed Nosema pyrausta infected cornborer larvae at a dose 45 times
lower than that killing the uninfected larvae.
Regulators have allowed the widespread deployment of systemic
neonicotinoid pesticides neonicotinoids based on assessments of lethal
dose in bees of the pesticides alone, ignoring clear evidence that
sub-lethal pesticide levels act synergistically with fungal parasites
in killing insects. The honeybees may well be succumbing to such
synergistic effects. There is every reason to eliminate the use of all
pesticides that act synergistically with parasitic fungi, and all Bt
crops should be banned for the same reason.
Will the European Commission take the appropriate measures to halt the
colony collapse of the honeybees?
This would include banning Bt crops and systemic neonicotinoid
pesticides while their synergistic action in killing honeybees in
combination with parasitic fungi and other infections are thoroughly
1. Reported in Killing Bees series, Science in Society 34 , 2007;
Institute of Science in Society ( http://www.i-sis.org.uk ); magazine pdf and
fully referenced members’ versions of articles enclosed
2. Ho MW and Cummins J. Mystery of Disappearing Honeybees , Science
in Society 34 , 35-36, 2007.
3. Cummins J. Requiem for the Honeybee , Science in Society 34 ,
4. Ho MW. Mobile Phones and Vanishing Bees , Science in Society 34
, 34, 2007.
5. “Experts may have found what’s bugging the bees”, Jia-Rui Chong
and Tomas H. Maugh II, LA Times, 26 April 2007,
6. Cummins J. Parasitic Fungi and Pesticides Act Synergistically to
Kill Honeybees? ISIS Report 7 June 2007,
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