The Problem with Pesticides & Honey Bees

The Problem with Pesticides & Honey Bees

Recent research has found that pollen consumed by honeybees contained 9 different pesticides on average, according to Bee Culture Magazine.
“If the pollen and nectar have been sprayed with a pesticide, if the pollen and nectar contain pesticides from the seed coating, it is not healthy food for pollinators,” the magazine says.
Scrutiny over pesticides, and the coincidental introduction of harmful pollinator pathogens thought to be caused by pesticides, has led many national leaders worldwide to evaluate the widespread use of such chemicals and its effects on decreasing numbers of honeybees and apiary colonies.
The European Union has reportedly banned three types of pesticides classified under neonicotinoid insecticides.
This decision comes in the wake of ‘Colony Collapse Disorder,’ the name given to the syndrome of rapidly declining bee rates within recent years.
“The Commission’s action was in response to the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) scientific report, which identified “high acute risks” for bees as regards exposure to dust in several crops, such as corn, cereals and sunflowers, to residues in pollen and nectar in crops like oil seed rape and sunflower and guttation in corn,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released.
Now the United States is following suit.
Within the final weeks of June 2014, the White House has announced that it will review and analyze the effects of pesticides and insecticides on the nation’s pollinators; including neonicotinoids.
The program will take 180 days to review the issue, according to news reports.
President Obama is said to have spoken regarding the issue, saying:

“Over the past few decades, there has been a significant loss of pollinators, including honeybees, native bees, birds, bats and butterflies, from the environment.”
He noted that “the problem is serious and requires immediate attention.”
In addition to this Federal program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is also working to develop the ‘Pollinator Task Force Program’ in hopes of promoting bee and pollinator populations in several mid-western states. These initiatives are said to include the construction of new habitats for bees and funding for research.
The EPA has stated that the U.S. “is not currently banning or severely restricting the use of neonicotinoid pesticides,” but are, “being re-evaluated… to ensure they meet current health and safety standards,” phys.org reports.
Some scientific reports explain that planting pollinator foods and promoting pollinating opportunities is obsolete if those sources are contaminated with pesticides.
“Planting forage land in urban and suburban areas will help the backyard beekeepers, and native pollinators,” Bee Culture Magazine author Michele Colopy explained.

“The real need, however, for pesticide free forage is in agricultural areas where on average 1.5 million are brought into pollinate crops.”
“The native pollinators have been driven out of these areas due to loss of habitat and loss of food,” she says.
In order for bees to pollinate fruitfully and freely, researchers and experts suggest eliminating the use of pesticides and insecticides, particularly which remain present in a plant or trees pollen or sap during bloom season. Some suggest studying the ‘bloom cycle’ and releasing pesticides during convenient times that will not interfere with bee pollination and other pollinating insects.

Cancer Rates & Farmers who use Pesticides

Emerging information is suggesting that farmer’s who are exposed to pesticides on crops may actually have higher rates of cancer than those who eat fruits or vegetables grown with those pesticides.

The following is an excerpt from Toxic Action illustrating the types of cancers farmers are experiencing as a result of exposure to certain types of pesticides:

“Studies by the National Cancer Institute found that American farmers, who in most respects are healthier than the population at large, had startling incidences of leukemia, Hodgkins disease, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and many other forms of cancer.

“There is also mounting evidence that exposure to pesticides disrupts the endocrine system, wreaking havoc with the complex regulation of hormones, the reproductive system, and embryonic development. Endocrine disruption can produce infertility and a variety of birth defects and developmental defects in offspring, including hormonal imbalance and incomplete sexual development, impaired brain development, behavioral disorders, and many others. Examples of known endocrine disrupting chemicals which are present in large quantities in our environment include DDT (which still persists in abundance more than 20 years after being banned in the U.S.), lindane, atrazine, carbaryl, parathion, and many others.” 

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