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 stinging indictment of the neonicotinoids and how they have been handled appeared in the Guardian yesterday.
A plane spraying alfalfa fields in the US with DDT. ‘President Kennedy launched a commission to investigate the pesticide. Within 10 years it was banned. Compare this with the British response to attempts to control neonicotinoids.’ Photograph: Loomis Dean/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image
An excerpt from a new article in the National Journal.
In an effort to protect their product, pesticide makers are loading up on high-powered lobbyists. Bayer, the largest manufacturer of neonics, has signed former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt’s firm to lobby on the issue, according to disclosure records filed at the end of June. Gephardt himself is listed as a lobbyist for the company, along with his former chief of staff, Thomas O’Donnell, and aide Sharon Daniels.
Bayer also signed a contract in April with Cornerstone Government Affairs as part of its honeybee lobbying push.
A Bayer spokesperson declined to comment on the message its lobbyists plan to push. But the company confirmed that it recently hired both lobbying firms, and its line on pesticides has been well-publicized.
“Some critics contend that neonicotinoids may be involved in honeybee losses,” Bayer’s website proclaims. “However, there has been no demonstrated effect on colony health associated with neonicotinoid-based insecticides.”
This is an exceptional article on the bee problems. It appeared this morning in the Minneapolis StarTribune. Take the time to read it thoroughly and don’t miss the graphics, side bars and videos. This is Part One of a four part series and I can’t wait to see what comes next. Steve Ellis, Jeff Anderson and family have layed it on the line for all of us for years and this is their most recent effort. Josephine Marcotty and Renee Jones Schneider spent 6 month in the creation of this first part, going out to beeyards with Steve and Jeff and riding along in the trucks moving bees between California and Minnesota.
I know many of you are wired into social media, but I am not. Give this the widest exposure you can.
Nature’s dying migrant worker, Star Tribune
Follow the Honey report
Using the same tactics Big Tobacco did, the Big-Chem companies continue to distort science, buy legislators, corrupt regulators and mislead the public to protect profits from their systemic pesticides. Follow the Honey gives a very good overview of how we are being played and should be read carefully by anyone trying to understand the issues. They count on our ignorance. Deny them that option.
This chart give the relative toxicity of some common pesticides compared to the toxicity of some of the neonicotinoids, with DDT as the reference point. While the EPA and USDA claim there has been a reduction in pesticides with the introduction of systemic pesticides (which in itself is a fallacy), it is a little like saying that we have solved the arms race by replacing all those bows and arrows with a few nuclear weapons.
Click to enlarge