Welcome to “Tom’s Corner,” a blog about bee decline by Tom Theobald, founding member of the Boulder County Beekeepers’ Association. In July 2010 Theobald wrote an article about clothianidin and bees for Bee Culture magazine. “Do We Have a Pesticide Blowout” ignited a conversation about the connection between systemic pesticides, specifically clothianidin, and declining bee populations in the United States. Timeline here:
The story continues to unfold…
This article by Graham White, PESTICIDES, THE BIRDS AND THE BEES, appeared in the International Beekeepers Quarterly and explores the wider ramifications of how neonicotinoid insecticides are affecting the entire food chain, especially the insectivorous birds.
Recently the United States Geological Survey released a huge database of Pesticide Use Maps that map the use of 459 pesticides from 1992-2011.
BCBA’s webmaster has animated these maps for three of the most widely used neonicotinoids: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. These animations show the sudden explosion of these pesticides across the American landscape.
As dramatic as these maps are however, seed treatments were not included in these calculations, and yet seed treatments are perhaps the most widely employed pesticide delivery system in history. You would think that the EPA, in its efforts to protect mankind and the environment, would want this usage tracked, but instead is pressing to have these seed treatments exempted from the category of “pesticide use”, so that there would be no data kept on these massive uses.
Click on each of the maps below to see them animated.
Originally published on: Jun 17, 2013
Updated on: Feb 1, 2014 (added 2010 and 2011 maps)
This link will take you to the podcast of an interview conducted recently on The Organic View with Randy Oliver and Walter Haefeker of Germany. While it is long, those of you trying to understand these issues should listen to it all. Scroll down about half way for the podcast.
This is a very informative interview with University of Saskatchewan biologist Christy Morrissey on her second year of a four year study of neonicotinoid contamination of prairie wetlands. The industry line is “no problem in Canada’s prairie provinces” where millions of acres of canola are grown, but I hear otherwise from Canadian beekeepers, who tell me the colony losses are 50% or higher, however beekeepers are reluctant to speak out. Listen to the audio of the interview, but read the text as well.
“Normally by now, hundreds of Mexico trees would be covered by wintering monarchs, but so far it’s only 12 trees.”
- Lincoln Brower, Ph.D., Biologist, Sweet Briar College, VA.
While this article, Monarch Butterfly Migration at Lowest Numbers on Record, and interview focus on the Monarch Butterfly, the parallels to the plight of the honey bees are clear. The Monarch Butterfly may be the next poster child testifying to the ongoing environmental damage. What we aren’t hearing about much in the media is the destruction of a wide range of life forms which have no mentors to represent them. Scroll down about half way through the article for the MP3 and the audio interview of Dr. Brower.