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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Pollinators' Category


21
Mar

Chemical-Driven Agriculture Damages Microbial Health of Bee Colonies

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2023) Placing honey bee hives in agricultural areas creates stress that leads to microbial imbalances, according to research published in Scientific Reports by Croatian scientists this month. The research highlights the fragility and absurdity of chemical-driven agricultural systems dependent upon both pollinators and products that harm or kill off these sensitive species. While regulators in the United States continue to prop up unsustainable practices, more and more consumers are seeking out and engaging with the key alternative to this system by supporting organic farms and foodstuffs at their farmers market and grocery store. Scientists began by creating 33 colonies from three apiaries within an agricultural region in Croatia, utilizing four brood frames, two honey frames, and mated queens. Of these 33 newly created hives, 22 were relocated to a separate agricultural region, and 11 were placed roughly six miles away from a nature preserve and considered a semi-natural area. A separate group of 10 hives that had been established on a small island (Unije, Croatia) in the Adriatic Sea were included in the study in order to represent a completely natural location. After roughly two weeks of colony formation, scientists collected samples to represent the multiple […]

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22
Feb

Neonicotinoids Combined with Other Pesticides Elevate Hazards to Honey Bee

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2023) Combining neonicotinoid insecticides with other commonly used pesticides can result in synergistic effects on honey bees, increasing toxicity more than any individual chemical could, according to research published in Scientific Reports earlier this month. The data highlight the grave inadequacy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process for evaluating pesticide risks. Under current regulations, EPA requires chemical manufacturers to submit data only on singular active ingredients. Yet, pesticide products may be packaged or ‘tank mixed’ with other, equally toxic pesticides without any obligation to determine the toxicity of the material that is actually being applied. Independent research is left to fill in these gaps, and the data increasingly shows that toxicity with pesticide mixtures amounts to a roll of the dice: sometimes combinations are less toxic, sometimes their toxicities are merely additive. But more often than not, pesticide mixtures result in synergistic effects that make the product significantly more toxic than either individual chemical alone. To understand how pesticide combinations are harming pollinators, scientists began with baseline data on the individual toxicity range  that common pesticides pose to honey bee colonies. Research was conducted on honey bees reared in the Stoneville Wildlife Management Area […]

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16
Feb

More Dramatic Insect Decline Confirms Inadequate Action on Pending Biodiversity Collapse

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2023) Areas designated to protect insects fail to do so for over 75 percent of global species, according to a study, “Three-quarters of insect species are insufficiently represented by protected areas,” published in the online journal One Earth. Protected Areas (PAs) act as a safeguard for biodiversity. However, PAs in North America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia do not meet the minimum coverage requirements to safeguard global insect species assessed in the study. PAs are discussed in the 2020 Nature article, “Area-based conservation in the twenty-first century,” in which the authors state that, in view of the global biodiversity crisis, national governments must do much more to increase protected areas with “coverage across different elements of biodiversity (ecoregions, 12,056 threatened species, ‘Key Biodiversity Areas’ and wilderness areas) and ecosystem services (productive fisheries, and carbon services on land and seas).” The authors write, citing the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (to which the United States is not a signatory), “To be more successful after 2020, area-based conservation must contribute more effectively to meeting global biodiversity goals—ranging from preventing extinctions to retaining the most-intact ecosystems—and must better collaborate with the many Indigenous peoples, community groups and private initiatives […]

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02
Feb

Study on National Pollinator Declines Blames Pesticides, Pests, and Extreme Weather

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2023) Honey bee declines in the United States are “primarily related” to pesticide exposure, parasitic mites, and extreme weather conditions, research published by Penn State scientists have determined. Publishing the results in Scientific Reports, the researchers aim to provide a national overview of the range of factors harming bee colonies. “Some previous studies have explored several potential stressors related to colony loss in a detailed way but are limited to narrow, regional areas,” said study co-author Luca Insolia, PhD. “The one study that we know of at the national level in the United States explored only a single potential stressor. For this study, we integrated many large datasets at different spatial and temporal resolutions and used new, sophisticated statistical methods to assess several potential stressors associated with colony collapse across the U.S.” The results reinforce calls from bee health advocates in the U.S. and around the world: eliminate toxic pesticide use, the lowest hanging fruit contributing to pollinator declines. In order to create a more comprehensive national overview, geographers, entomologists, and statisticians all participated in the study, reviewing publicly available data on colony health, land use, weather, and other environmental factors over a five-year period from […]

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25
Jan

Western Bumblebee Declines a Result of Pesticides and Climate Change, No End in Sight

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2023) Populations of the western bumblebee are in free fall, with 57% declines across the species’ historical range, finds new research led by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey. These data are in line with trends for other once common bumblebees in the United States, like the rusty patched and American, of which the former is now listed as endangered and the latter is under consideration. Most critically, the study authors did not simply generalize the most likely and common reasons, but instead establish the contribution that pesticide use, climate change, and land use changes have on western bumblebee declines. As the study shows, both the drivers and solutions to pollinators declines are in human hands, necessitating a broad rethinking of the nation’s approach to energy use and food production. The western bumblebee has been under considerable stress for decades. In the 1990s, there were attempts to commercialize the species as a greenhouse pollinator. This industrial approach resulted in the spread of a fungal disease called Vairimorpha bombi, and captive rearing of the western bumblebee was eventually halted and deemed untenable. These dislocations resulted in local declines of the species in certain regions of U.S. Northwest […]

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18
Jan

Growing Sunflowers Near Honey Bee Colonies Helps Reduce Mite Problems

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2023) Sunflower plantings have the potential to significantly reduce mite infestations in nearby honey bee colonies, according to research recently published in the Journal of Economic Entomology by researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). With pollinators under threat from pesticides, climate change, loss of habitat, and the spread of disease and parasites, sustainable methods that address multiple factors at once are needed. This study points to a way to address destructive Varroa mites, while reducing the need for in-hive use of miticides that can likewise harm colony health. “If sunflowers are as big of a factor in mite infestation as indicated by our landscape-level correlations 
 having a few more acres of sunflower within a mile or two of apiaries could bring colonies below the infestation levels that require treatment of hives with acaracides (i.e., mite-controlling chemicals),” said lead author Evan Palmer-Young, PhD, of USDA’s Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, MD. Prior research has pointed to sunflower pollen as a potential benefit for a number of common bee diseases and infestations, including the Varroa mite, the fungal parasites Nosema spp, and various viruses. Investigations went through four different experiments aimed at characterizing any potential […]

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11
Jan

Study Connects Neonicotinoids to Liver Damage Ignored by EPA

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2022) Neonicotinoid insecticides can have detrimental effects on liver health, according to research published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. While this is the first study to investigate how these chemicals harm the liver, there is increasing evidence that neonicotinoids, otherwise notorious for their effects on pollinators and aquatic life, can cause direct harm to human health. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to protect the pesticide industry from any measure of meaningful regulation around these hazardous products, the job falls to advocates to place pressure on elected officials to make the changes necessary to safeguard long-term health and well-being. Scientists postulated that neonicotinoids are neither metabolized by the liver nor excreted by urine. To test that hypothesis, 201 individuals from a hospital in China were enrolled into a study. Of the enrolled,  81 were cancer patients, and 120 were not. These individuals underwent a procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography whereby samples of their bile, a fluid produced in the liver, were retrieved and analyzed. Researchers also performed a series of blood tests, measuring a range of biomarkers, including cholesterol, bilirubin, bile acids, white blood cells, platelets, and others. Lastly, scientists determined the amount […]

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10
Jan

Pollinator Decline Leads to Crop Losses, Malnutrition, and Highest Threat to Low-Income

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2023) Pollinator losses are responsible for reducing the global production of nuts, fruits, and vegetables by 3-5%, and this loss of healthy, nutrient-dense food is resulting in over 425,000 excess deaths each year, according to research published late last year in Environmental Health Perspectives. While the connection between pollination, food production and health is intuitive, the study’s ability to trace how these impacts are directly harming the well-being of people living right now is shocking, and is a clear sign that pollinator losses must be taken seriously and addressed through meaningful action. To those who consider the decline of pollinators to be some vague, amorphous future threat, let this study end that myth. According to researchers, “Today’s estimated health impacts of insufficient pollination would be comparable to other major global risk factors: those attributable to substance use disorders, interpersonal violence, or prostate cancer. Per a United Nations report, 75 percent of the world’s food crops depend at least in part on pollination, with pollinators contributing an estimated $235 to $577 billion to global crop production annually. Pollinator declines are already adversely impacting food production. A 2016 paper by many of the scientists in the current study […]

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09
Jan

Calling for Reform of Pesticide Regulation to Address Health, Biodiversity, and Climate Crises

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2023) The Biden EPA still needs a new vision in order to meet the existential crises in public health, climate change, and biodiversity. The Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed in four years much of the progress made by the EPA in decades. Despite a broad new perspective embodied in President Biden’s Executive Memorandum (EM) Modernizing Regulatory Review issued on his first day in office, the Biden EPA has not adopted a new direction for regulating pesticides. Tell President Biden, EPA, and Congress to adopt a new direction for pesticide regulation. Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden issued the EM, which directs the heads of all executive departments and agencies to produce recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review, with a goal of promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations. This EM could reverse the historical trend of status-quo regulatory reviews required by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that typically support vested economic interests of polluters (e.g., petroleum-based pesticide and fertilizer manufacturers). The President’s EM sets the stage for the adoption of agency policy across government to […]

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01
Dec

Federal Court Sets Deadline for EPA to Implement Endangered Species Protections from Toxic Insecticide

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must put measures in place to protect endangered species from the hazardous insecticide cyantraniliprole before September 2023. The requirements stems from a recent federal appeals court ruling that found EPA in violation of its statutory obligations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency originally lost its legal case on this chemical in 2017, but has since done nothing to fulfill the initial court order, necessitating further litigation by conservation groups. “It’s outrageous that the EPA is thumbing its nose at a federal court order even as cyantraniliprole wreaks havoc on our most endangered wildlife,” said Jonathan Evans, environmental health legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The EPA has acknowledged that this pesticide is incredibly toxic to bees and other invertebrates, but the agency is so accustomed to putting the profits of the pesticide industry ahead of its duty to protect human health and our environment that for years it simply ignored a direct court order.” Cyantraniliprole is a systemic insecticide registered for use in 2014. It presents similar risks to pollinators and wildlife as other widely used systemics, such as the neonicotinoid class of chemicals. Its […]

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27
Nov

Tackling Climate Crisis with Elimination of Toxic Pesticides and Fertilizers, Webinar Nov. 29—What Is Practical Now

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2022) On Tuesday, November 29 (at 1:00-2:30pmEST), two preeminent researchers will present their research and worldwide collaborative work to fully characterize the effects of the climate crisis and the viable solutions associated with land management. The Forum headliners are (i) Rachel Bezner Kerr, PhD, Cornell University professor just back from COP 27 [27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] and co-author of the definitive United Nations (UN) report on climate and food production and (ii) Andrew Smith, PhD, chief operating officer of the Rodale Institute and coauthor of several landmark reports on soil biology and carbon sequestration, including the just released Farming Systems Trial—40-Year Report. With livability of the planet on the brink, the speakers at the upcoming Forum make the case to immediately reverse the increase of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane to stop the changes on the horizon that destroy life—from floods, fires, and associated climate-induced hazards to food production. The good news, according to the scientists, is that there are solutions available now in the agricultural and land management sectors that can reverse the threat if dramatic changes are made. Dr. Bezner Kerr, […]

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23
Nov

Study Finds that Pollinators, Not Pesticides, Are More Important to Higher Crop Yields

(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2022) A new study throws into question the value of the pest management concept of setting action levels around pest infestations. In the course of watermelon production over a span of two years, pollination, not pest levels, was the key determining factor for yield. “These data advocate for a reprioritization of management, to conserve and protect wild bee pollination, which could be more critical than avoiding pest damage for ensuring high yields,” the study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, indicates. Action levels are considered an important aspect of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach in agriculture, whereby a pest infestation reaches levels considered economically unacceptable, leading to a decision to engage in pest control. The concept of IPM however has been influenced by the chemical industry over the decades since its original definition and recent data indicates that it has failed to stop toxic pesticide use. The original intent of IPM was the adoption of preventive practices and utilization of nonchemical tools, placing pesticide use as a last resort when pest control is warranted. However, farms that self-identify as IPM operations use pesticides, sometimes as the first line of defense, while attempting to […]

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15
Nov

Synthetic Fertilizers and Pesticides Make Plants Less Attractive to Bumblebees, Research Shows

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2022) Spraying a flowering plant with synthetic fertilizers makes it less attractive to bumblebees, according to research published this month in PNAS Nexus.  “A big issue is thus—agrochemical application can distort floral cues and modify behaviour in pollinators like bees,” said study author Ellard Hunting, PhD, of the University of Bristol, UK. The findings underscore the limited understanding that proponents of chemical agriculture have for the complex processes that food production relies upon and reinforce calls for a broad scale transition to regenerative, organic farming practices. Scientists began with the knowledge that spray applications of various agrichemicals affect the visitation patterns of bumblebees and other pollinators through a range of different processes. Past research finds that notorious bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides not only kill bees outright, but also result in a range of complex damage, including their ability to impede bees’ olfactory senses and adversely affect their vision and flying ability. Other chemicals like glyphosate weaken bees’ ability to distinguish between colors.   A growing area of research is investigating the ways in which pollinators use static electric fields surrounding flowers to find food sources. A 2013 study found that bumblebees use floral electrical fields to discriminate […]

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01
Nov

Pesticide Mixtures Reduce Life Span of Honey Bees, Damage Gut Microbiome

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2022) Honey bees exposed to a combination of multiple pesticides suffer a reduced lifespan and experience adverse changes to their gut microbiome, increasing susceptibility to pathogens and disease. This finding comes from a study published recently in Science of the Total Environment, which examines the interactions between the insecticides flupyradifurone and sulfoxaflor and the fungicide azoxystrobin on honey bee health. Both insecticides studied are considered substitutes for notorious bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides, which move through the vascular system of the plant and contaminates its pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets. As declines in pollinator and insect life continue throughout the world, it is critical not only to understand and restrict widely used chemicals like neonicotinoids, but also the regrettable and deleterious substitutions the agrichemical industry has developed to replace them. As the present study reveals, pesticide risk assessments do not inadequately capture the range of harm that can result when pesticides are combined, necessitating a shift toward safer, alternative, and regenerative organic farming systems that do not use these dangerous chemicals. To better understand the impacts of combined pesticide exposure on honey bees, researchers employed three colonies located in Germany’s Martin Luther University that were inspected and free […]

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20
Oct

Glyphosate Based Herbicides and Bee Health: The American Bumble Bee

(Beyond Pesticide, October 20,2022) Exposure to environmentally relevant levels of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) weakens bumblebees’ (Bombus Terrestris) ability to distinguish between colors or fine-color discrimination. According to research published in Science of The Total Environment, a lack of fine-color discrimination skills can threaten bumble bee survivability through impact on colony fitness and individual foraging success. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators (e.g., commercial and wild bees and monarch butterflies) over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. In the U.S., an increasing number of pollinators, including the American bumblebee and monarch butterfly, are being added or in consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act, with specific chemical classes like systemic neonicotinoid insecticides putting 89% or more of U.S. endangered species at risk. Pollinator decline directly affects the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, limits crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, as much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors […]

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14
Oct

Study Documents Aggregate Insecticide Load for Pollinators in Real-World Analysis

(Beyond Pesticides. October 14, 2022) A team of researchers has taken on the challenge of integrating data from multiple and disparate sources in order to devise tools with which scientists can evaluate pollinator pesticide exposures and impacts more effectively at “landscape scale” (and at real-life exposure levels). Accessing data that are useful and relevant at this landscape level has been a significant problem for researchers and conservationists. This “zoomed out” view is critical because pollinators are highly mobile across thousands of meters of foraging area. A functional understanding of the risks pollinators encounter in their territories requires integrated data at this level, as opposed to the large geographic areas across which pesticide use is typically tracked. The team’s paper on their work — Putting pesticides on the map for pollinator research and conservation — was published in Nature.com in mid-September. Pollinators are essential to healthy ecosystems and to a third of human food sources, as well as to plants used for commercial seed production. As the authors note, nearly 90% of flowering plant species benefit from the services of pollinators that help plants set their seeds and produce flowers and fruit (this last term includes foods widely considered to be “vegetables,” […]

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21
Sep

Reduced Productivity in Strawberries Pollinated by Neonic-Exposed Bees, Research Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2022) Strawberry plants pollinated by wild bees exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides produce smaller berries than those pollinated by unexposed bees, finds research published in the journal PLOS One. The findings are yet another piece of evidence pointing to the need for major reforms in the way pesticides are evaluated and pollinators are protected in the United States. As decades of evidence have piled up on the dangers posed by long-lived, systemic, neonicotinoid insecticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done little to address the damage to pollinator populations, while needed legislation, the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, has languished in Congress without a hearing or a vote, despite having over 75 cosponsors. This new study describes a novel consideration for how neonicotinoids may harm pollinators and impact the food supply. “Previous studies have shown that clothianidin affects wild bees negatively in terms of foraging speed, development and reproduction. Our results indicate that it can also impair the bees’ ability to pollinate strawberry flowers,” says study coauthor Lina Herbertsson, PhD. Scientists established 12 outdoor cages each with 10 strawberry plants and 11 canola plants. For half of the cages, the canola plants were grown with seeds coated […]

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13
Sep

Multiple Pesticides Detected in All Store-Bought Milkweed, Threatening Further Monarch Declines

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2022) Every store-bought milkweed sample tested in a recent study contains multiple toxic pesticides, placing monarchs reliant on these plants in harm’s way at a time the species can ill afford any further loss to its population. Pollinator declines have influenced many residents throughout the U.S. to take action into their own hands and transform their home yards or businesses into an oasis for bees, birds, and butterflies. Yet the recent study published in Biological Conservation finds that many retailers are dousing their ‘wildlife-friendly’ plants with pesticides that put this vulnerable species in further danger. “That was the most shocking part,” said lead author Christopher Halsch, a doctoral study at University of Nevada, Reno. “The fact that plants labeled as potentially beneficial or at least friendly to wildlife are not better and in some cases might be worse than other plants available for purchase. This research sheds light on how pesticides may impact western monarchs, but many other butterflies are facing even steeper population declines, and pesticides are likely one driver.” Testing was conducted by purchasing milkweed plants at 33 different stores spanning 15 different states. A sample of each plant was cut after purchase, and […]

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23
Aug

Wasted: Bees Become Disoriented and Uncoordinated After Exposure to Systemic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2022) Bees exposed to systemic insecticides become disoriented and cannot walk straight, showing evidence of brain damage in areas that coordinate movement, according to research published in Frontiers in Insect Science. Although scientific studies and regulatory determinations have already provided ample evidence implicating systemic insecticides like the neonicotinoids and sulfoxaflor with pollinator danger and decline, new research continues to fill in the remaining gaps. “Here we show that commonly used insecticides like sulfoxaflor and the neonicotinoid imidacloprid can profoundly impair the visually guided behavior of honey bees,” said lead author Rachel H Parkinson, PhD, a scientist at the University of Oxford. “Our results are reason for concern because the ability of bees to respond appropriately to visual information is crucial for their flight and navigation, and thus their survival.” Honey bees rely on landmarks, the direction of sunlight, and wide-field visual motion to orient themselves in a landscape, find nectar and pollen, and bring it back to the hive. While sunlight provides a compass, wide-field visual motion helps bees adjust speed and altitude, and determine where they are relative to known landmarks. Worker bees use this innate ability to reorient themselves to food or their hive […]

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27
Jul

Monarchs Listed as Endangered by International Safety Group, while U.S. Fails to Take Meaningful Action

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2022) As monarch butterfly numbers continue to drop throughout the United States, an international conservation group is listing the migratory monarch butterfly as endangered. The move by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) places pressure on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to prioritize protections for this rapidly dwindling iconic species. “Today’s Red List update highlights the fragility of nature’s wonders, such as the unique spectacle of monarch butterflies migrating across thousands of kilometres,” said Bruno Oberle, PhD, IUCN Director General. “To preserve the rich diversity of nature we need effective, fairly governed protected and conserved areas, alongside decisive action to tackle climate change and restore ecosystems. In turn, conserving biodiversity supports communities by providing essential services such as food, water and sustainable jobs.” Migratory monarch butterflies are under threat from a range of factors harming both their western and eastern populations. Logging and deforestation have destroyed much of their overwintering grounds in Mexico and California. Climate change has subjected the butterflies to temperature anomalies and extremes, severe weather, and wildfires. Herbicide use has eliminated millions of acres of breeding habitat by killing off milkweed plants that monarchs require to rear their […]

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23
Jun

Disappearance of California Bumble Bees Calls for Urgent Protection of Pollinators Nationwide

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2022) In the first California statewide bumble bee census in 40 years, a University of California—Riverside (UCR) study, published in Ecology and Evolution, reveals that once common bumble bee species in California are disappearing from the ecosystem. Wild pollinators like bumble bees provide pollination to billions of dollars worth of crops each year as these insects can flourish in cooler habitats and lower light levels than commercial honey bees. However, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Both wild and commercial bees and other pollinators encounter multiple stressors, including pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition, that act together to increase the risk of bee mortality. Therefore, studies like these highlight the need to establish monitoring and conservation frameworks incorporating varying habitats and species to assess fluctuations in biodiversity. The study notes, “Specifically, our study shows that greater monitoring of the diverse bumble bees of California is needed in order to better understand the drivers of biodiversity and decline in this genus, and to more effectively manage bumble bee conservation in the state.”  Researchers compared data on bumble bee populations in California in 1980 and 2020. After collecting bumble […]

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21
Jun

Pollinators Still Need Help; Act for Pollinator Week

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2022) June 20-24 is Pollinator Week, during which we recognize—and take action to protect—this important ecosystem link. Pollinators––bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other organisms––make a critical contribution to plant health, crop productivity, and the preservation of natural resources, but their existence is threatened by their pesticide-contaminated habitat. Pesticides have consistently been implicated as a key contributor to dramatic pollinator declines. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. Take action to protect pollinators. Providing protection for pollinators also protects the ecosystem in which they live. That protection requires eliminating harm as well as providing safe habitats where they can live and reproduce.  Provide organic habitat on your own property and encourage your town to go organic. Since plant starts in many garden centers across the country are grown from seeds coated with bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, or drenched with them, Beyond Pesticides has compiled a comprehensive directory of companies and organizations that sell organic seeds and plants to the general public. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs, as well as […]

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07
Jun

Glyphosate Weed Killer Disrupts Bumblebees’ Nest Temperature, Leading to Colony Failure

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2022) Bumblebee colonies exposed to low levels of the weed killer glyphosate are unable to adequately regulate nest temperature, imperiling the next generation of bumblebees and long-term colony growth and survival. This latest finding, published this month in the journal Science, is a stark reminder that a pesticide does not have to kill an animal outright in order to create effects that ultimately result in death and population declines. “Sublethal effects, i.e. effects on organisms that are not lethal but can be seen, for example, in the animals’ physiology or behaviour, can have a significant negative impact and should be taken into account when pesticides are approved in future,” said Anja WeidenmĂŒller, PhD, of the University of Konstanz, Germany. With regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refusing to adequately account for sublethal impacts, and myopically focused on the acute effects of pesticide exposure, bumblebee populations in the United States are in free fall and require urgent protective action. To better understand how glyphosate exposure affects bumblebee colony growth and brood (young larval bee) development, researchers first split colonies in two. One side of the colony was fed sugar water containing 5mg/liter of glyphosate, while […]

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