back to article Pesticides fingered in UK honeybee wipeout

A new study appears to have confirmed suspicions that the neonicotinoid group of pesticides is in part responsible for the dramatic decline in UK honeybee numbers, the Telegraph reports. Insect research charity Buglife and the Soil Association "brought together a number of peer-reviewed pieces of research" which demonstrate …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dr Little?

    The active agent may not kill the bees directly, It may not even cause direct visible harm so Dr Little may be right about the causal relationship.

    Howerver, there have been a number of studies that have shown generational effects of material in Humans (Mercury - Minimata, Radionecleotides- Cumbria) and that may bee the situation being experienced now.

    It would be helpful to know if the studies for product approval actually addressed these possibilities or whether a more simplistic approach to 'Do No Harm' (were have you heard that before!) was considered.

  2. EdwardP


    "Germany, Italy and Slovenia last year similarly banned all neonicotinoids in response to the honeybee crisis, while French farmers have not been able to deploy imidacloprid as a sunflower seed-dressing for ten years."

    ...a swift response to groundbreaking research or less money for Monsanto's lobbiests this year?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Well i never

    " Dr Julian Little of Bayer CropScience - which manufacturers oilseed rape insecticide Chinook, containing imidacloprid - said "When it comes to bee health, pesticides are not the problem, disease is."

    Pillock, Does Dr Julian not realise that the chemicals can weaken the bees immune system, leaving them open to infection. No conflict of interest here is there good Dr? I'd like to fill your environment with lots of nasty chemicals, that in themselves won't kill you. wonder if your health will suffer? Cause of death ? pneumonia, the grim reapers calling card.

  4. The Original Ash

    Insecticide kills insects

    More at 11.

  5. Dazed and Confused

    An insectised call Chinook

    Wot, does this work by crashing a helicopter into the damn bugs or something?

    Surely that would kill the plants too!

  6. Dave Bell

    Mixed signals

    Folks, don't take anything the Soil Association says as gospel. Effectively, they define what may be called "organic" produce in this country. It's unlikely that they'd ever say a modern pesticide was safe.

    Doesn't make them wrong on this, but they have their own bias.

  7. Inachu

    Also do this!

    Stop exporting your sick bees to other countries which spreads sickness!

    Soon only one breed will exist and then they will all die.

    Same thing will happen with this Seed vault that Bill Gates created to save the worlds seeds from extinction. But that will happen anyway as Bill Gates has allowed companies to copyright the seeds that farmers have beeen using for thousands of years passed down by family generation after generation and now they will be told to stop using their seeds as they are copyrighted. Bunch of bull on boths sides of the food chain.

    Complete idiots!

  8. Rod MacLean

    Dr Julian Little

    The Dr said "When it comes to bee health, pesticides are not the problem, disease is."

    Yep, and when it comes to human health, AIDS is not the problem, pneumonia is.

    Perhaps I should point out to him that my repeatedly hitting him with a baseball bat, isn't going to kill him - it will be the internal bleeding...

    What a retard. You have to ask yourself what he is a Doctor in - my guess is that it's chemistry and not biology. He works for a company who make pesticides too, so no conflict of interest there!

  9. Stevie


    This is what the bees get for going with a single-vendor proprietary comms infrastructure!

    Seriously, what is it with the UK and the Green Movement? When did the debate shift from "Sounds Plausible, Let's Have A Butcher's and see what's what" to "Chemicals??? Death To Big Pharma. Gnyargh!"

    I realise that this problem has a much more immediate, if no less important, impact to UK agriculture than to that of the USA where I currently live (and where the problem is still not being seen for what it is), but it seems awfully slim evidence to use as "The Cause".

    Oh, and while I'm here, the damage done at Minimata Bay was immediate and to the then-current population. It required no long-term studies to figure out something was wrong, and it took only a few months for the blame to be properly assessed. The main obstruction to the whole affair was, if I remember rightly and I do 'cos I was alive, young and angry at the time, the Japanese reserve in such matters and the politics of the situation. Once face had been lost, the whole sorry affair unfolded in the press in no time.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ AC-Well i never...If i wanted to listen to an arsehole, i'd fart.

    If you dont know what your talking about then please, shush.

    Neonicotinoids, Carbamates (reversible) and organophosphates (non-reversible) insecticides act directly upon the nervous systems and are not mutagenic in any way so cannot possibly weaken an insects resistance to disease. They are so potent that the bee wouldnt survive for long enough for its immune system to mutate to a point where it has been weakened.

    Fipronil, imidacloprid (excellent cock roach poison), ficam, fendona etc are extremely potent insecticides and need to be used correctly, but there is no solid evidence that they are causing the demise of bees.

    The biggest threat to bees is the varoa mite, weather and untrained pest controllers not understanding what they are doing and not being able to tell the difference between wasps and bees. Contrary to popular belief, bees are NOT protected by law. There exists a code of practice that says pest controllers should not kill bees UNLESS they present a danger to health or property.

    And yes, i DO know my stuff. I am a pestie.

  11. Oliver Mayes


    Isn't that a brand of Nicotine gum? If not then it should be. "Cigarettes? Neonicotinoid can help you avoid."

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Dr Julian Little

    To quote Dr Julian Little from Bayer CropScience: "When it comes to bee health, pesticides are not the problem, disease is."

    A page on the Bayer CropScience web site, entitled "Our firm belief in modern crop protection" says: "Chemical crop protection is an indispensable element of competitive, high-yield agriculture"

    ... No bias there then I see.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Dr Julian Little

    Rod MacLean: "Perhaps I should point out to him that my repeatedly hitting him with a baseball bat, isn't going to kill him - it will be the internal bleeding..."

    You have no evidence for such an assertion.

    I suggest that you actually go ahead with the experiment in order to test your hypothesis.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Poor bees

    Hopefully nothing bad will happen to elReg's Bee. we would all be sad then....

  15. A J Stiles

    If they used fewer chemicals

    If farmers used fewer chemicals on their crops in the first place, they might not exceed their quotas and as a consequence would not be obliged to drive a tractor over their excess production.

  16. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    heard about Verona mite. But what kills it?

    Just wondering.

    Althouth was it Bayer, Monsante (or whatever they changed their name to for annonyminty) said low level (relatively) exposure to organophospherous sheep dip (that's nerve gas to you) would not f*&k up your nervous system as well?

    Although curiously the only group of people sheep farmers had symptoms similar to were Gulf War veterans with probable nerve agent exposure?

  17. M. White

    Sounds like

    Buglife and the Soil Association sounds like a good name for a band...

  18. O
    Black Helicopters

    This has been known for the better part of a decade

    Yet, still the UK Government feverishly resist any calls to outlaw or curb the use of neonicotinoids (or any of the other most dangerous or damaging agrichemicals). The reason is obvious, they're in bed with the National Farmers Union, Monsanto, Bayer and their ilk.

    Bayer and Monsanto representatives, who are repeatedly called in as safety, health & environmental experts (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) to the select committees in the UK, have repeatedly testified that bees do not (ever) feed on corn flowers. Corn being the crop most widely sprayed with neonicotinoids. The MPs / Lords on the select committees for the most part refuse to hear anything which disagrees with the agribusiness representatives. I use this particular example because anyone who knows anything about bees knows that they do feed on them. It may not be what they prefer, but when practically the only flowers for miles around are corn flowers, that's what they go for. The UK Government has repeatedly been told that the advice they've been given is absolute rubbish, but their official position remains "bees do not feed on corn flowers". They've also criticised France, Germany & Slovenia heavily for banning this class of pesticides and tried to initiate resolutions at European level to have them rescinded, and put pressure on other countries not to follow suit.

  19. O


    You're a shill - plain and simple.

    The bee only dies immediately if exposed to a dose above a certain threshold. Frequently they'll be exposed to levels which will seriously damage them but allow them to survive for long enough to make it back to the hive .... if enough of them make it back, that can either directly kill off bees back at the hive or damage them enough to seriously impair the function of the hive - ultimately killing it / making it prone to infection with fungi / mites / attacks by predators. This scenario also applies when they carry back tainted pollen or are routinely exposed to low levels and enough workers become non-functional / diseased / damaged over time.

    Toxicologists think that levels of neonicotinoids in the environment lower than we can reliably detect with our most accurate tests are enough to cause minor to moderate nervous system damage in bees and massively increase mortality.

    The only safe amount of neonicotinoids (for bees or practically any other carbon based lifeform) is zero, as is sadly the case with so many pesticides.

    Also, nice try re: it not seriously impairing immune function :-D

    ---- In future, before you and your colleagues burn them, you should read the studies which show people or other animals exposed to nerve agents exhibit major increases in disease and chronic ailments. Having said that, you probably know all of this and would much rather that people thought the nice poisons which you work with weren't to blame.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    However, Dr Julian Little of Bayer CropScience - which manufacturers oilseed rape insecticide Chinook, containing imidacloprid - said that pesticides are "not approved unless it is found they have no effects on insects like bees".

    Is it just me -

    Bee = Insect


    Insecticide = insect killer


    Insecticide = bee killer?

  21. john 154


    are bee populations crashing in France ???? just a thought.....

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