Study: Neurotoxic Pesticides Causing Catastrophic Decline of Bees, Butterflies, and Other Species

250px-Charaxes_brutus_natalensis220px-Apis_mellifera_TanzaniaThere is new research showing that neurotoxic pesticides are not just responsible for the catastrophic decline in the world’s bee collapse but are also devastating the world’s population of butterflies, worms, fish and birds. The four-year assessment was carried out by The Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, which advises the International Union for Conservation of Nature has found that neonics are “imperilling the pollinators, habitat engineers and natural pest controllers at the heart of a functioning ecosystem.” It is simply beyond belief that these pesticides have caused such worldwide damage but, due to the powerful pesticide and agribusiness lobby, there has been no serious regulation to curtail the use of these products.

As we have previously discussed, the loss of the honey bees has been not just devastating for the ecosystem but also many businesses that use honey as a sweetener. Yet, many large agribusiness operations love the neonics which are very effective against pest and increases crop yield but they also impair smell and memory in some species, curb procreation, reduce foraging, cause flight difficulties and increase disease susceptibility in other species. They then leach into the soil and have entered our water system.

Like climate change, politicians have continued to question the science and delay any action at the behest of this powerful business interests. The result is a building disaster. Clearly there was a long debate over the cause for the bee die-off but that question appears to have been answered conclusively. The question is whether this and other studies will trigger action before further damage is done to our environment. The only hope is that there are actually businesses who are losing money on the loss of honey bees — a rather sad statement about our commitment to the environment.

Source: Phys.Org

69 thoughts on “Study: Neurotoxic Pesticides Causing Catastrophic Decline of Bees, Butterflies, and Other Species

  1. This is truly the fault of our system of government. We are ruled by an oligarchy. Mega agribusiness buys politicians who protect the interests of the puppet masters. It has been proven and is proven around the world that there are solutions to pest infestation and other factors that destroy plants, that are non toxic. They involve the use of carnivorous pests, non toxic plant produced pesticides, and other common sense methods of control. Consumers demand perfect looking fruit and vegetables and agribusiness pollutes the world in meeting that demand.

    What is most disturbing is that in the development of non toxic methods of farming there is big, big money to be made by new industries. Fertilizer and pesticide companies along with agribusiness, however, like the status quo and buy politicians to maintain it. When the government protects the oligarchs that, by some, primarily republicans, is seen as American. When people, primarily democrats with a world vision, advocate funding new and safer ways of doing things then that is termed, by the oligarchs, as socialism. Not long ago it was called communism, so I guess we are evolving in our name calling.

    The founding fathers would be ashamed.

  2. I clearly remember the Director of the FDA signing off on what was later found to be in direct conflict of the Use of DDT.
    Big business is a way of life however, when it becomes so powerful that it will use a known lie to gain itself profits and destroy the very system that it claims to be protecting.
    EPA, where are you. Oh that’s right, you are being a big bad boy suppressing the average land owner and forcing them to move into the City.
    I suggest you review the study of Rats.
    Your land grab is quite large and if the Basic eco structure is destroyed, what good would the land be that you helped destroy.Mmmmmmm.

  3. International Union for Conservation of Nature is hardly a neutral observer. They may well be right, but they have skin in the game. I really am tired of scientists saying they have the ultimate answer and then a year later the ultimate answer changes to something else.

    Nothing in science is proved conclusively, it is always open to question and reevaluation.

  4. BBC News (“Widespread impacts of neonicotinoids ‘impossible to deny'” quoted Professor Dave Goulson from the University of Sussex: “We have been using these things for 20 years and there’s not a single study that shows they increase yield.”

    Even Fox News (“10 crops that would disappear without bees”) admitted that apples, almonds, blueberries, cherries, avocados, cucumbers, onions, grapefruit, oranges, and pumpkins would disappear without bees. They forgot peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, and apricots.

  5. Nick wrote “I really am tired of scientists saying they have the ultimate answer and then a year later the ultimate answer changes to something else.”

    This has been known for years, but the corporations which manufacture neonicotinoids are playing hardball. In May 2013, I used it as one of the plot elements in “The British Prime Minister’s last day in office,” so I can definitively state that more than one year has passed.

  6. Thank you for posting this, Professor Turley. Colony Collapse Disorder has been decimating bee populations for a while now. Many crops and plant species depend on them for pollination.

    There are several problems. First, studies have discovered thousands of chemical toxins in bees (and their honey), traceable to pesticides and herbicides. Secondly, bees require multiple and varied food sources. Many native plants have been removed, and commercial bee keepers set up their hives to pollinate monoculture crops, so there is only one food source, and that source is heavily contaminated with pesticides. Lastly, these bee keepers move their hives from farm to farm. So when the bees’ immune systems become weakened through exposure to toxins, they fall victim to fungal, viral, and bacterial infections, which then spread like wildfire as colonies are moved around.

    I used to live next to a conventional commercial farm, conventional commercial orchard, and conventional nursery. Every single day, I would find dozens of new dead bees on my property. I saw more dead than alive bees. Now that I live in a rural area, and I use neither pesticides nor herbicides on my own property, the only dead bees I’ve ever found drowned in our horses’ waterers. We have a healthy, thriving (and thankfully mellow) bee population of several species, including native and European bees.

    Homeowners who want to help their local bees can do two things. Go organic, and plant native plants that are food sources for pollinators. European roses have zero food value for native bees and insects. Most states have online or storefront nurseries that specialize in native plants for your particular area, and then you don’t have to fight your growing zone to garden, such as trying to force riparian European varieties to thrive in dry Southern California. Or native plants from Virginia to thrive in a CA climate that has dry summers and no snow.

  7. I wonder how they can isolate the cause to neurotoxic pesticides what with all the aluminum and other nano particulate metallic matter being dispersed in our upper atmosphere ostensibly to reflect back sunlight before it reaches the ground. See: geo-engineering and watch for those long patterns and criss crosses over your heads.

  8. “And at every turn, GOP committee members have been working to deny the reality of global warming –- not surprising, given that at least 20 of the committee’s 22 Republicans are either skeptics or outright deniers of the notion that the world’s climate is steadily warming and that human activity is playing a significant role.” What a mess Lamar Smith has turned this committee into. Oh, well, we were warned that if the republicans took over the house, anti-science texans would be in charge of these highly important committees.

  9. Issac lays out the case for sanity–reality based solutions that could make even Monsanto rich if they wanted to switch over to organic farming methods. We have the technology to solve many problems, including this one. We have people who need work, jobs that could be created, critters (including humans) who need healthy food and environment to flourish.

    Sure you can make a lot of money in toxic food, pesticides, energy and war. You can make that same amount doing things that help the earth and it’s ecosystem. So why do our “leaders” invariably choose the former, not the latter?

    I believe our “leaders” may very well be apocalyptic christians who look forward to the end of the world. (See “The Family” by Jeff Sharlot) In fact, they seem eager to help things along. In human history, we have numerous examples of end-timers who “helped” try to bring about the apocalypse. I don’t assume this can only happen in the past. The behavior I see makes me think it is happening right now.

    Those who are not true believers are still happy to serve for money and power. These would be most of our political class–a group which cannot honestly be divided among parties, rather they come from Republicans and Democrats alike.

    This is why I ask citizens to be very honest about the “leaders” and parties they support. We will not get out of this mess with partisans lying to themselves and others about who is doing what. We will only have a chance if we work together to try and counter the destructive force of those in positions of power. They aren’t going to do the right thing. They aren’t going to do what makes sense. So, we the people have to do those things.

  10. Mugwump, apparently not disturbing enough, because everyone continues to patronize restaurants and buy processed food, consuming prodigious amounts of glyphosate. They are like the WWII Ace who believed that dying was something that happened to someone else.

  11. As most of you know, I am not a tree hugger. But, I read a lot of this environmental stuff. I just do it w/ a critical eye. Remember the alar hysteria? That said, I have been following this both in literature and w/ a couple bee keepers I have gotten to know from buying honey. And, these bee keepers are in Wi. and Ca. This is A REAL problem w/ possibly dire consequences. Environmentalists too often cry wolf. That makes very legit concerns often fall on deaf ears.

  12. I’m sure the EPA will fund a research project from Monsanto to right this wrong… (tongue in cheek).

  13. Saucy, Taking my comment on another topic, on another thread, and putting it here is not intellectually honest. I believe my comment @ 1:09p shows why. Silly me, I evaluate issues on a case by case business. I don’t ignore other cases, but each stands or falls on its own. That’s what I did for a living, my friend.

  14. Why is it so difficult for us to accept the notion that stuff developed to kill living creatures is likely to be unsafe for human consumption?

  15. Some of the damage to the environment we see around us now, was put into the environment ~40 years ago.

    The next ~40 years, therefore, is already set no matter what we do.

  16. Bees harvest pollen only from plants within a few miles of their hives. If the honey that you buy is not from hives that are not at least 5 miles from any agricultural area, you’re ingesting huge amounts of glyphosate and toxins. The only safe honey today is wild honey, where hives are placed in desert and wilderness area, the farther removed from agriculture, the better. Of course, this makes pretty much all of the midwest off limits for buying honey. A lot of commercial honey today is from china, not just contaminated with roundup and toxins but diluted with table sugar, duping consumers into paying honey prices for sugar prices.

    Nick will remain dubious right up until the time that he needs a kidney transplant.

  17. Samantha, Did you read what I said? I AM NOT DUBIOUS ON THIS. But, w/ folks like you I’m expected to buy the entire package. That’s what is wrong w/ your movement. I will take it issue by issue, thank you. I am not a cultist on the environment like yourself. I am a critical thinker.

  18. Nick wrote “Taking my comment on another topic, on another thread, and putting it here is not intellectually honest”

    WTF? Did your post disappear? I just looked through the list of comments, and, as you said, the text I quoted was not to be found in this thread. I would have sworn that I copied it from here because that’s what I always do.

  19. Here’s a non sexy environmental issue that I contribute money to and even did some physical labor in my town to support it. That issue id protecting and restoring wetlands, destroyed by reckless development. Wetlands are natures sponges. They absorb excess rainfall when flooding occurs, and they slowly dispense water during droughts. This doesn’t matter to the Shiite Environmentalists, I got to accept the jumbo package, even if it’s bad science.

  20. Saucy, I did not say that here. it looks like something I could have said elsewhere. In your short time here I find you to be honorable man. So, it’s just a honorable misunderstanding. No sweat.

  21. Saucy, If you want to see a dishonorable misuse and blatant lie about something I didn’t say, go over to the Presbyterian thread from yesterday. Not an ounce of honor on that one!! Night and day, my friend.

  22. Nick, I never play games. Never. I can be sarcastic as heck and am often tempted to include a list of links to prove a point, but I never take things out of context. I copied that from somewhere. I just looked through your comments on the SCOTUS-EPA article, but that sentence was nowhere to be found.

  23. Less bickering please! If you attack Spinelli when he’s being reasonable, no-one will believe you when he’s being a dummy. Whatever happens on this issue, it probably won’t be the US saving the day, but its clearly a major issue comparable to past DDT use.

  24. Annie,
    Yes, I think it could be. There is so much “chemistry” floating around I don’t see how they can figure anything out.

    I know a PhD Meteorologist at Oak Ridge National Labs that presents on climate change and says that tree ring, ice column, and soil column data have indicated climate variability has always been present in a sine wave pattern within the normal distribution range. We are now just going through the uptick. I haven’t asked him about chemtrails but if they are feeding global warming inadvertently or deliberately, it should probably be an issue or element in the conversation.

  25. Here in the midwest there were no pollinators this year when my apple trees bloomed. There are not many birds anymore either. As the summer goes on there are fewer each day. The bird decline has been noticeable for at least the last 5 years. It actually becomes almost silent by the fall. Not many butterflies to be seen, saw no Monarchs last year at all. Airplanes spraying or spreading whatever killer again last week.

    Heavy rains cause massive erosion on the ethanol farms again. Chinese firms investing big in agriculture here and a lot of the nitrogen fertilizer to grow our “clean” ethanol corn is made from coal in China. Someone is probably building some plants to turn tar sand petcoke into fertilizer to grow ethanol.

  26. Agribusiness does not care and may encourage apples, almonds, blueberries, cherries, avocados, cucumbers, onions, grapefruit, oranges, and pumpkins to disappear,they have invested in the flavoring and fragrance laborotories to make fake flavors and scents. Cheaper and more profitable,it already is underway.

  27. oldfox – sentient organisms, especially frogs and some insects, are very sensitive to environmental toxins. They act as “the canary in the coal mine.”

    Bees have multiple exposures to toxins in the environment. But they have discovered toxins from pesticides and herbicides in the bees and in their honey.

    And here is a big problem for bee keepers. They fly. So even if they are kept on an organic farm, they can still fly next door and get a snoot of pesticide from a conventional farm, or homeowner. Plus, moving bees from farm to farm does stress the bees and allow for the spread of pathogens and contagion. In addition, conventional bee keepers use husbandry techniques which increase the size of their bees, which creates a weaker insect. Although there are a multitude of contributing factors for CCD, from what I have read, it does appear that exposure to environmental toxins, such as in pesticides, weakens the bees’ immune system, and are a major contributor.

    Organic beekeepers have not been affected as severely with Colony Collapse Disorder, while conventional beekeepers have reported annual losses of up to 70%.

  28. In Japan, they send workers out into orchards to hand-pollinate apple blossoms. I’ve never bought an apple in Japan, but I have to think that sort of intensive labor adds considerably to the cost. If we lose our pollinators, food in general is going to cost a whole lot more and many fruits and vegetables will become unknown to the vast majority of the world.

    Many of these products containing neonicotinoids are marketed for the floriculture industry and home and garden users by companies like Bayer and Ortho; if anybody has any pesticides containing neonicotinoids in their garage, they should seriously consider disposing of them rather than using them.

    Karen makes an excellent point about native plants. There is a movement in horticultural and ecological restoration right now to increase the amount of milkweed in the landscape to help monarchs. Studies show that monarch populations are down by about 50%.

    Native plants have not only developed natural defenses to insect but they support many species that predate on insect pests. Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy makes a great case for using more natives in the lansdcape.

    One of the problems associated with the bee pollinator diet is that, thanks to huge subsidies, increasing amounts of ag land are being planted to corn, a useless crop to bees.

  29. RTC:

    People need to vote with their dollars and stop buying these pesticides. A neonicotinoid is the most widely used pesticide in the world, and this class of insecticide is often used to treat seeds.

    One of my relatives is a scientist who, among other things, researched the impact of pesticides banned in the US that American companies used on farms in other countries. It is, or was, legal to import the crops sprayed with these substances, but not legal to spray it here. Indigenous workers were having massive increases in cancers and birth defects. He was able to discover a way to grow the crop without this pesticide. There are some pretty serious toxins out there that get sprayed on our food. And just a blast of water won’t wash it off. Next ten pesticides get incorporated into the plant’s tissues. There is no washing it off.

    If you read the labels on some of this stuff, you wouldn’t eat anything sprayed with it. I buy organic when I can. It’s expensive, but the price does seem to be coming down a bit.

    OK, off my soap box now . . .

  30. Just another example of our environment being ravaged because too many politicians can be bought and sold by the highest corporate bidder.

  31. ““It’s going to get a lot hotter in the United States over the next 100 years, and worse going forward,” said Alfred Sommer, Dean Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health, who spoke in New York today at a presentation of the project’s findings. “Montana summers will soon be the same as New Mexico today.” “

  32. “Just another example of our environment being ravaged because too many politicians can be bought and sold by the highest corporate bidder.”

    That’s right, Darren. It would be so much better if we just had tenured civil servants being bought and sold by the highest corporate bidder!

  33. Karen: I agree about the importance of eating organic. I’ve cut back on the amount of apples and apple products I consume because of the amount of pesticides used to grow them; there’s no washing them off, as you say. I am skeptical that there is such a thing as an organic apple; every apple tree being a clone, they are extremely susceptible to pests and disease.

    The example of apples brings up the point that agriculture requires the use of pesticides if it’s going to be practiced on a scale large enough to feed the growing population. The key is to use them in a wise and responsible manner. Too often farming operations indiscriminately carpet bomb crops too many times throoughout the growing season. By following Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques, farmers are able to reduce the amount of pesticides they use, and be more selective when timing their application. If you know that a certain pest can be treated at an earlier stage before crops are ready for pollination, it’s more efficient to treat judiciously than season long blanket applications. Big Agriculture is guilty of thinking if a little of something is good, then a lot of it is even better, overlooking the unintended consequences. Not only are they killing off a vital component of our food production, but they’ve created super resistance in bugs and viruses that are becoming more expensive to manage.

    Timing has been a big part of the problem for bees, when keepers would release them onto fields that had recently been treated. I think both farmers and keepers are becoming more cognizant of the hazards posed to bees and pay more attention to when and when not to use certain pesticides. It wasn’t too long ago, that bee handlers were arriving at fields that had been freshly treated due to some ignorant corporate scheduling. It’s now become important to raise awareness among the general public who are able to obtain and use pesticides without the training tthat should accompany them. That goes for homeowners who hire services to apply pesticides to landscaping.

  34. Darren: Corporate money in politics is one reason why I’ve never been able to take the Tea Party seriously. Until they start demanding the elimination or severe curtailment of campaign contributions, they’re not for real.

  35. Samantha: There’s no glyphosate in your honey. I go through glyphosate like you go through printer ink, assuming you go through a lot of printer ink. Handled properly, it’s one of the safest and most effective herbicides available. (Emphasis on handled properly.)

    Glyphosate binds tightly with soil particles, so it can’t translocate within the soil and reach the watershed; other herbicides, like 2,4,D and Garlon can. Once in contact with the soil, it breaks down relatively quickly; 47 days compared to a year or more for other hebicides.

    Glyphosate also breaks down fairly rapidly under UV exposure, usually within 24 – 48 hours, so anyhting left on the plant material becomes inert.

    Because glyphosate is non-selective, it really isn’t applied to agricultural crops unless they’ve been genetically engineered for resistance, like corn and alfalfa, which are wind pollinated. Soybeans are a concern, but so far I’m not aware of any studies confirming the presence of glyphosate in honey.

  36. Jill: “reality based solutions that could make even Monsanto rich if they wanted to switch over to organic farming methods.”

    I have to disagree with you. Because of the patents Monsanto has in place, there is no form of organic farming that can equal the profits they rake in using GMO technology and herbicide use, and they’ve gone to the S. Ct. on several occasions in an effort to enforce their dominance over agriculture.

    Bear in mind, I despise Monsanto with a passion you could surely appreciate. Their unspoken corporate mission is to enslave the world by controlling our food production.

    Monsanto isn’t the villain as far as CCD is concerned; it produces herbicides, not insecticides as far as I know, and again, as far as I know, none of them are neonitonoids.

    The two companies that deserve blame are Bayer and Ortho, both of which want to sell insecticides to the general, unlicensed public like aspirin.

    It’s time to enact a world-wide ban on neonictonoids. We’ve shown the ability to act in the past, for insatance when DDT was shown to affect raptors by working it’s way up the food chain. We must act to save the pollinators if we’re going to protect our food supply.

  37. Gosh darn it! Another extremely civil post got stuck in the filter, this one to Jill. That things as sticky as honey this morning.

  38. RTC, the half life of glyphosate is 21 years. You are right about it binding in the soil, to the extent that it makes magnesium unavailable to the plant, explaining why as many as 90 percent the US population is now magnesium deficient. Magnesium is required to regulate several hundred different processes in the body. Source: Dr Carolyn Dean MD ND

    As for studies, do you have one that proves glyphosate is not present in any honey?

    World’s Number 1 Herbicide Discovered in U.S. Mothers’ Breast Milk
    Posted on Apr 6 2014

  39. samantha: I don’t know what you’re talking about…at all. The half life you’re referring to is essentially the storage life of the product. True, chemically glyphosate persists in the soil, but it binds so tightly to the soil that it’s virtually inert for all practical purposes. It certainly doesn’t affect plants in that state. You could go out into your backyard, scrape the ground down to bare mineral soil, spray it with Roundup, and immediately throw down some grass seed, water it in and it will grow. Someone would have to an idiot to use an herbicide that remained active in the soil for a generation.

    Glyphosate only works on plants that have emerged from the soil. To put in other words, it can only be absorbed by plant tissue that is above the soil line. Roots beneath the soil cannot absorb glyphosate because the soil particles hold on the chemical is too powerful. The plant absorbs the herbicide through the leaf tissue and transports it to the roots via the vascular system. Once it reaches the roots of the plant, glyphosate interferes with protein production and the plant dies. That takes about a week.

    Workers may reenter a treated area within 4 hours, general access is permissible after 48 hours, but as a licensed Illinois pesticide operator I post the area restrictions for 7 days. The beauty of glyphosate is that it breaks down relatively quickly compared to other herbicides.

    I don’t know what to say about the magnesium deal, I, um, uhh, I mean, it’s uhh, what can I say? As for the presence of glyphosate in breast milk, I think it’s more likely that women are ingesting along with the increasing amounts of corn and corn products, like corn syrup. That’s a separate issue I think.

  40. RTC, up-thread I posted a link that points to a story about kidney failure and roundup. You do not sound concerned.

    If exposure to roundup, in food or otherwise, contaminates mother’s milk, do yo really need a study to know that Roundup is in honey? And if you know that roundup is in honey, would you still consume it?

    More than 100 years ago people were dropping dead after eating canned food. Tens of thousands of people died before there was enough consensus to blame lead, which was used to seal the cans. Canners only stopped using lead after consumers finally refused to buy poisoned food.

    Today, however, everyone knows the food supply is contaminated, but they keep on eating from it anyway. In this way, they are not unlike tobacco smokers, fully aware the substance they are addicted to will kill them.

    Roundup will remain in the food supply and in mother’s milk so long as complacent consumers continue to buy contaminated food. The government and food suppliers are damn sure not going to give up roundup voluntarily.

  41. My neighbor and I started our own butterfly gardens to attract them and help them thrive as many others in our area continue to pour on the pesticides. Another neighbor is a beekeeper and makes his own honey. We try to raise awareness but some people just don’t seem to care or understand the importance of protecting them.

Comments are closed.