Listen to Tom Theobald: the fatal sting of clothianidin on honeybees

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In this segment of The Organic View, host, June Stoyer speaks to Tom Theobald, Master Beekeeper and founding member of the Boulder County Beekeepers’ Association about the impact of this devastating chemical.

Honeybees pollinate ¾ of all of our agricultural food as well as other important crops such as cotton that are used for textiles. Without them, life as we know it would cease to exist. Any fatal impact on the honeybee would create a monumental disaster. Clothianidin has been widely used as a seed treatment on many of the USA’s key crops (which include canola, soy, sunflowers, wheat and sugar beet 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. The EPA has moved from granting a conditional registration to full registration of this chemical just in time for the spring planting. Clothianidin is of the neonicotinoid family of systemic pesticides, which are taken up by a plant’s vascular system and expressed through pollen, nectar and gutation droplets from which bees then forage and drink. Scientists are concerned about the mix and cumulative effects of the multiple pesticides bees are exposed to in these ways. Neonicotinoids are of particular concern because they have cumulative, sublethal effects on insect pollinators that correspond to CCD symptoms – namely, neurobehavioral and immune system disruptions.

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