/ Honeybee population isn't ‘crashing’ and seed pesticides are not driving health problems

Honeybee populations haven’t “crashed” in the United States or elsewhere. Honeybees are not going “extinct.” Crops are not “in trouble.”

I take it you are supportive of the “comments”, where the article is contradicted :slight_smile:
Moreover, may I also refer to the problems concerning solitary bees… I am sure you are well aware of them… they are not mentioned at all in this article.

In the news:
“The European Union is set to “completely ban” the outdoor use of neonicotinoid insecticides that have been blamed for killing bees”

The links within stories on right hand margin are also interesting.

They already found conclusive evidence of the harm: Neonicotinoids: risks to bees confirmed | EFSA

Honey bees, as Dane alludes, aren’t the primary bees we should be worried about. As a commercial stock, their welfare is likely to be addressed. Other species have virtually disappeared:

And according to this site (whose reputation I know nothing about), the genetic literacy project has an agenda, and their reports probably warrant a degree of skepticism:

I recommend the use of the precautionary principle with widely used agricultural chemicals.

See April 26, 2018 article :

The EU ban on neonicoinoids is way more politically based than scientifically based and the price will be harsh. There will be higher food prices in the rich EU and food shortages that will be worse the lower down the economic ladder you go.

the genetic literacy project has an agenda

Yep, from the title bar: science not ideology.

My first job out of college was studying photorespiration with a biochem group that was motivated by a desire to feed future generations. Those were the days of Erlich’s Population Bomb, and we well understood the implications. Erlich’s cataclysm has not materialized (yet) but only because of big advances in agricultural science and technology, broad adoption of contraception and, in China, ruthless enforcement of barbaric population control policies.

The world population when I was born was about 2.7 billion people. It has very nearly tripled since then and the United Nations says it will reach 11 billion people by the end of this century. World food production has been leapfrogging starvation each year but only just barely.

Ironically some relief seems to be coming in the form of increasing carbon dioxide levels which will improve photosynthetic efficiency for C3 plants to be about equal with that of C4 plants when levels get to about 700 ppm. They are currently at about 410 ppm, up from about 320 ppm in the 1970’s.

[PDF] What is the maximum efficiency with which photosynthesis can convert solar energy into biomass? | Semantic Scholar (see figure 3).

Most grains are C4 so the increase in world food yields from CO2 increases will be marginal at best. We will need to use every tool in the kit to make up the difference so we need to find ways to accommodate them.

Where I live in California, Imidacloprid is still legal for certain applications. One thing it is used for is spraying around the base of your house for termites, esp. where the soil touches the foundation. I live in an all wood house and we had the house tented several yrs ago, and since it is a lot cheaper to use some preventative measures, I had the foundation treated during the coldest part of the year (late Jan or early Feb.) so as to prevent bees coming into contact with the Imidacloprid which was used. ( This is California, and the weather is in the low 50’s during the day, and the high 30’s (F) to mid 40’s at night at that time.) The daily temp’s did run in the high 50"s to the mid 60’s mostly and bees immediately started piling up on our patio the day after spraying and for the next week. The only spraying was around the foundation, but check out the photo of the bees (dead) right after spraying. I wish that I had taken a few more photos because they all got swept up and created quite a pile. This was the only “poison” that has been used on this whole property with the exception of small doses of Azamax for aphids, maybe once or twice a year, and then by using a hand sprayer with perhaps a pint of made up solution. The Imidacloprid solution was approximately 1 1/2 gal.

The following was stated: “The EU ban on neonicoinoids is way more politically based than scientifically based and the price will be harsh. There will be higher food prices in the rich EU and food shortages that will be worse the lower down the economic ladder you go.”

This is what was stated as the scientific basis (February 28, 2018):

Concerning the costs:

“Pollinators and aquatic insects appear to be especially susceptible to the effects of neonicotinoids with current research suggesting that chronic sublethal effects are more prevalent than acute toxicity. Meanwhile, evidence of clear and consistent yield benefits from the use of neonicotinoids remains elusive for most crops. Future decisions on neonicotinoid use will benefit from weighing crop yield benefits versus environmental impacts to nontarget organisms and considering whether there are more environmentally benign alternatives.”

Please note that this is a February 26, 2018 reviewed scientific paper published in an American Chemical Society Journal.



“European Union member states voted to accept a proposal banning three commonly used pesticides on April 27 in a bid to protect bee populations.”

What the heck was that? I was sitting still, but felt like I was spinning.

“It is very likely that one cause of the control contamination/cross‐contamination recorded in the available studies was due to applications performed during previous years on the control plots. Other sources may be from other treated crops or contaminated plants in the landscape. It is acknowledged that the same mechanism had the potential to artificially increase the exposure in the ‘treated’ groups of the experiments, thus potentially amplifying effects expected from the treatment alone. Nevertheless, widespread use of these substances makes this situation likely to occur in the environment, and the data should not necessarily be disregarded as uninformative for the present risk assessment.”

So, the substances being studied remain in the soil from year to year, and are so widely used all around, that one can’t be sure if there is any meaningful difference between control and experimental plots. But let’s go ahead and not necessarily disregard the data as uninformative.

Did I read that right?

I hadn’t realized that this is the golden anniversary of Ehrlich’s book until he popped up in my podcast feed.


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