While looking for something else I came across this YouTube of a year ago on neonics. One of the more interesting parts is footage of an interview with Jeff Pettis and Dennis van Engelsdorp on their study of neonics and Nosema ceranae. I believe this interview was done in Paris by the French film company that was working on the video, The Disappearing Bees. What I find interesting is that the two are actually speaking quite clearly on their findings. This was prior to being subjected to career counseling and re-education. Subsequently their comments have become much more guarded and circumspect.
van Engelsdorp: We’re finding that virus levels are much higher in CCD bees. But since we’re not finding a consistent virus, or a consistent pathogen, that implies that something else then is happening underneath it. Something is breaking down their immune system or somehow challenging them so that they’re more susceptible to disease.
Pettis: I’ve done a recent study, actually in collaboration with Dennis and some others, where we exposed whole colonies to very low levels of neonicotinoids … and then challenged the bees from those colonies with nosema, a gut pathogen, and we saw an increase. Even if we fed the pesticide at very low levels we saw an increase in nosema levels in direct response to the low level feeding of neonicotinoids as compared to the ones who were fed normal protein.
van Engelsdorp: … The only reason that we knew the bees had exposure is because we exposed them. Otherwise you would never have known they were exposed.
Pettis: The take-home message is that interactions may be key. Bee health is very complex and these interactions are often … overlooked and/or hard to tease apart. In this case we’re manipulating one pesticide, and one pathogen, and we’re clearly seeing the interactions.