WILSONVILLE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon officials say a pesticide is to blame for the deaths of tens of thousands of bumble bees in a shopping center parking lot southwest of Portland.
The state Department of Agriculture said Friday that tests on bees and foliage showed the deaths are “directly related to a pesticide application on linden trees” that was meant to control aphids.
It said an investigation is under way to see if the application of the pesticide Safari, done last Saturday, violated the law.
The Oregonian reports that the Agriculture Department, the City of Wilsonville, neighboring towns and some local landscape contractors have covered the sprayed trees with netting in an effort to prevent further insect deaths.
The Xerces (ZERK’-zees) Society for Invertebrate Conservation has upped its estimate of the bee kill to 50,000. Spokesman Scott Black calls that a very conservative number.
May 13, 2013
Corporate politics is business as usual inside the United States, as I am once again shocked to report the EPA has sided with industry lobbyists over public health in approving a highly dangerous pesticide that the European Union recently decided to ban over fears of environmental devastation. Not only have neonicotinoid pesticides been linked repeatedly to mass bee deaths, also known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), but the continued use of such pesticides threatens other aspects of nature (and humans) as well.
What’s even more amazing is that the decision not only comes after the EU publicly discussed the major dangers surrounding the use of the pesticides, but after the USDA released a report surrounding the continued honeybee deaths and the related effects — a report in which they detailed pesticides to be a contributing factor. Just the impact on the honeybees alone, and we now know that these pesticides are killing aquatic life and subsequently the birds that feed upon them, amounts to a potential $200 billion in global damages per year. We’re talking about the devastation of over 100 crops, from apples to avocados and plums.
And there’s countless scientists and a large number of environmental science groups speaking out on this. The EPA has no lack of information the subject. And sure, there are other contributing factors to bee deaths, there’s no question about that. We have an environment right now being hit with Monsanto’s Roundup even in residential areas, we have chemical rain, we have insane amounts of EMF — but it’s pretty clear that neonicotinoid pesticides are at least a major contributing factor. And beyond that, they have no place in the food supply to begin with.
The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) details the EU ban that came right before the EPA acceptance of the death-linked pesticide:
“The EU vote comes after significant findings by the European Food Safety Agency that these pesticides pose an unacceptable risk to bees and their use should be restricted. Along with habitat loss and pathogens, a growing body of science points to neonicotinoid pesticides as a key factor in drastically declining bee populations.”
So why are they approving this pesticide to now pollute the United States in what potentially amounts to an even larger capacity than the EU? A move that will ultimately escalate the price of food worldwide due to the likely nature of continued bee deaths and subsequent crop impact? That’s the power of phony corporate science.
Originally appeared at Natural Society.
Falling numbers of wild bees and other pollinating insects are hurting global agriculture, a study released on Thursday found.
Managed populations of pollinators are less effective at fertilizing plants than wild ones, the researchers said, so the dearth of pollinating insects cannot be solved by simply introducing others.
“Adding more honey bees often does not fix this problem, but… increased service by wild insects would help,” said Lawrence Harder, a scientist with the University of Calgary in Canada, which led the study.
Pollinating insects usually live in natural or semi-natural habitats, such as the edges of forests, hedgerows or grasslands.
These habitats are gradually being lost as the land is cultivated for agriculture, but, as a result, the abundance and diversity of wild pollinators crucial for the crops’ success is declining.
The researchers analyzed 41 crop systems around the world, including fruits, seeds, nuts, and coffee to examine the impact of wild pollinators on crop pollination.
“Paradoxically, most common approaches to increase agricultural efficiency, such as cultivation of all available land and the use of pesticides, reduce the abundance and variety of wild insects that could increase production of these crops,” says Harder.
He said tomatoes, coffee and watermelon are among the key crops which are likely to suffer from the declining population of wild pollinators.
Most flowering crops need to receive pollen before making seeds and fruits, a process that is enhanced by insects — like bees, but also flies, butterflies and beetles — that visit flowers.
The research, which was published in the journal Science, was carried out by an international team of some 50 researchers, who collected data from 600 fields in 20 countries.
The study called for new efforts to conserve and restore the natural habitats of honey bees and wild insects.