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Sub-lethal doses of neonicotinoid insecticide impaired winterization of honey bees. Control and dosed bee colonies were similar until winter when dosed colonies collapsed.

"Average numbers of frame (standard deviations shown as error bars) containing honeybees for control, imidacloprid, and clothianidin  treated colonies and the corresponding daily average temperature at Worcester regional airport in Worcester MA recorded from October 2012 to April 2013.
The mystery of why honey bees leave their colonies in the middle of winter to die in the cold has not been completely solved but a carefully controlled study by Harvard university researchers has found the smoking gun - neonicotinoid insecticides. In spring and summer honey bees go through rapid cycles of reproduction and death. As winter approaches, these cycles slow down as bees respond to dropping temperatures. The Harvard researchers found that something goes awry with this winterization process when bees are affected by low, sublethal doses of neonicotinoid insecticides. Insecticide affected bees left their colonies and died in the cold of winter.
We found honey bees in both control and neonicotinoid treated groups progressed almost identically through the summer and fall seasons and observed no acute morbidity or mortality in either group until the end of winter. Bees from six of the twelve neonicotinoid treated colonies had abandoned their hives, and were eventually dead with symptoms resembling CCD. However, we observed a complete opposite phenomenon in the control colonies in which instead of abandonment, they were repopulated quickly with new emerging bees. Only one of the six control colonies was lost due to Nosema like infection.
The U.S. and United Kingdom which have not banned field application of neonicitinoid insecticides have been suffering from high rates of colony collapse disorder (CCD).European nations that have banned neonicotinoids have lower CCD rates than the U.K. Because honey bees are indispensable to pollination and crop production these insecticides need to be banned now, excepting uses that will not affect bees, in the U.S. and the U.K.
"We demonstrated that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering 'colony collapse disorder' in honeybee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter," said Chensheng Lu, an expert on environmental exposure biology at Harvard School of Public Health and who led the work.
Update & Thanks for the excellent comments.

The discussion was very informative to me, especially the observations of a beekeeper who posts here as Araguato.

In general the winter-colony size threshold

for survival is the amount of bees needed to maintain the necessary temperature (90F +) at the core of the cluster, taking into account the local, temporal, heat losses which obviously vary between Atlanta and Alberta during January, as an example.

Bees need at least 45-50F to be able to move around.  Below that they are in metabolic deficit and have only a short window of survival.  Bees maintain the core temp of the cluster by having the outer bees "shiver" to generate heat in the outer layers as insulation for the inner layers.  Bees circulate in complex ways among the layers as they become chilled. Bees don't heat their homes (hives), but they heat themselves and to some degree their close environs.  My bees generated a remarkable amount of heat even during 20F temps.  I could stick my kitchen instant read thermometer in the top ventilation hole and get readings as high as 85-90 F, a few inches from the cluster. (My hives are extraordinarily well insulated compared to most.)

(Some races of bees- Russians, for instance, which orginated in Siberia  - are more effective at maintaining the core cluster temps in the winter with fewer bees.  Italians are reputed to be less sturdy.  I wouldn't know as my bees are mutts, of no certain pedigree.)

So challenges from mites, to lack of food, to poor long-term nutrition, or unsual temperature extremes or durations, or diseases, or subtle changes in comensal hive organisms might independently reduce the number of living bees capable of performing their winter hive job: shivering as needed.  And that could lead to loss of a hive (colorfully termed "a deadout", in bee world) but it wouldn't necessarily lead to CCD, which isn't a hive with bees all present and dead.  CCD is a hive with all, or nearly all, bees vanished and presumed dead.

The feral bees that used to be in my barn walls simply vanished, leaving hundreds of pounds of accessible, and apparently healthful and edible honey in their combs,  the collective work-product of tens of billions of bees' lives. My new swarm-bees have been fed this honey, with no ill effects.

Araguato

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  •  Tip Jar (244+ / 0-)
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    “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

    by FishOutofWater on Fri May 09, 2014 at 10:53:29 AM PDT

  •  It is the "sublethal" effects of nicotinoids (73+ / 0-)

    which turn out to be lethal.

    At OSU, there is a bee researcher who is investigating the role of these pesticides in damaging navigational abilities. Many hives are discovered empty with no dead bees nearby, leading many to suppose that they just simply do not make their way home.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Fri May 09, 2014 at 11:00:43 AM PDT

    •  Surprise surprise! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie, Creosote

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:02:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  When the bees gather nectar to turn into honey (29+ / 0-)

      they place the nectar in the drawn out comb. Then bees in the hive fan their wings over said open, nectar filled, drawn out comb (that many lay people refer to indiscriminately as honey comb). This is to evaporate the excess moisture in the nectar as it goes through the process of becoming honey.

      If the treated nectar sources were given proper dosages of neonicotinoids, then at first the chemicals would be almost undetectable in a lab, and undetectable to the bees.

      But as the nectar turns into honey, it becomes a concentrate and the neonicotinoids in that nectar become concentrated too. So that it is strong enough that now the bees can detect it.

      Keep in mind that by this time the bees have been eating this crap all along because it is in every excreted material from treated or affected plants, including pollen and guttation, and it's even detectable in corn syrup if that is fed to the bees as a food substitute during dearths.

      By then the hive is emptying out due to the chronic exposure and if the beekeeper finds any bees in that hive box at all, it's just a few nurse bees and a freaked out queen at death's door. The guard bees, the foragers are all gone.

      Then when you set this stuff out, other bees will not rob it. Barely any insects will get on it, whereas under normal circumstances if you put what is called wet comb out (comb that has honey on it or in it) every kind of bee you can imagine, including honey bees show up to get a slice of that to take home, along with butterflies and beetles and wasps too.

      Two papers I recommend:

      Immune Suppresssion by Neonicotinoid Insecticides at Root of Gloabl Wildlife Declines, Mason, Tennekes, et al. Journal of Immunology and Toxicology Sept/Oct 2012

      This paper basically states (among a lot of other important things) that: "NeoNicotinoids can produce effects at any concentration level provided the exposure time is sufficiently long. (ibid pp1 of 10)"

      "...increased susceptibility of newly emerged worker bees to the gut pathogen nosema ceranae following exposure of honey bee colonies during three brood generations to imidicaloprid dosages of 5 to 20 ppb (which are exposures well below levels demonstrated) to cause effects on longevity or foraging in adult honey bees. (ibid pp2 of 10)."
      The bibliography of this paper is quite an eye opener for any reverse engineers out there.

      What's really great is that all the stuff that scientists all over the world have "discovered" about the effects of Neonicotinoids on bees, were basically what was advertised by Bayer Crop Science about these products when sold especially as Termiticides--another social insect.

      Things like disrupts feeding, and "makes soil pathogens 10,000 times more deadly" to target insect, is undetectable and carried back to the colony, causes (termites) to be unable to sustain their colony.

      Etc., and so on.

      It's easier to find this paper by just typing in the title. And then read it and weep.

      And there's a hell of a lot more where that came from.

      Then send it to other interested parties.

      So basically--back to the paper, when a honey bee is infected with the microsporidian, Nosema ceranae, it disrupts digestion and the bee eventually dies of malnutrition.

      The EPA's answer to American Beekeepers losing their livelihood and hives to neonicotinoid poisoning (CCD) was to approve a new Neonicotinoid Sufloxaflor for use on Cotton and lord knows what else.

      Of course every plant you buy in a box store like lows and home depot, walmart, etc., those plants are all treated with neonics in the greenhouse. It's freaken everywhere and it doesn't break down in composting either.
      :(

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:49:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oops--I only listed on paper. Sorry. (13+ / 0-)

        Interactions between Nosema microspores and neonicotiniod weaken honey bees (Apis mellifera), Environ Microbio 2010; 12(3):774-82
        By Alaux C. Brunet JL, Dussaubat C et al.

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:53:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The lack of robbing behavior is significant (8+ / 0-)

        Has the comb become rancid, or is the lack of robbing due to the now detectable concentration in the comb?

        Has anyone looked at vapor pressure of these compounds and whether the bees/insects can smell them via associative learning methods like proboscis extension conditioning?

        How stable are these compounds? What is the half life in water, sunlight, soil? Are we talking weeks, months, years? If it's up in the years range, how are they getting approved?

        •  They are banned in the EU. (12+ / 0-)

          They are not banned in the US because we live in an oligarchy which is beholden to agrochemical corporations.

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Fri May 09, 2014 at 07:45:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Imidacloprid breaks down into clothianidin and (5+ / 0-)

          for years in the soil, and is highly mobile in the soil and water. It can be taken up into the roots of untreated plants (read weeds) in or near ag fields and expressed in those plants as well. It's even worse if there is a lot of contaminated talc blown around from seed planting, because that will not only kill the bees in the field in that moment, but leech into the soil to affect new potential pollen and nectar sources for years to come, inside the field and wherever the dust has settled.  

          How does anything get approved in our new oligarchy? With CA$H and a fine and shiny Revolving Door Political System.

          Read Multiple Routes of Pesticide Exposure for Honeybees Living Near Agricultural Fields. PLoS ONE 7/1:e29268. Krupke CH, Hunt GJ, Eitzer BD, Andino G, Given K (2012)

          That also means that when its in water, accidentally or on purpose that when bees drink that water, its yet another route for poisoning. Because bees drink water.

          You can look up neonics online and get a list that tells you soil half lives for each one.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:15:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Basically, sits in soil forever (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PeterHug, DSC on the Plateau

            For imadacloprin, high solubility,negative logKow, low Koc, long half life in water and soil, short half life in water exposed to sunlight. Plant uptake is pretty high.

            This is a devastating combination for bees. They forage for pollen, water and nectar, all of which could contain the pesticide. Then they bring it back to the dark hive and live with it for a while.

            This is a great example of aqueous photolysis not having much of an impact on environmental fate. It lands on soil, goes in and sits doesn't encounter anything that will break it down. In addition, the low Koc tells us that it is going to be highly transportable thought the soil.

            I'm guessing the regs heavily weighted aqueous photolysis thinking that it would be the biggest sink for the pesticide, without taking into account soil transport and plant uptake. They got this one wrong. If it was one of my compounds, my recommendation would be clean it up as quickly after the release as possible to keep it out of groundwater, plants and drinking water. But let's face it, it does have a lower human toxicity that most organophosphorus compounds.

            •  Keep in mind that most bees and wasps nest (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PeterHug, RiveroftheWest

              in the soil. So this increases their exposure to these chemicals trapped in the soil or that run off into banks where bees like Centris or Cellophane Bees build their nests in clay.

              It's hitting them from every possible direction.

              "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

              by GreenMother on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:04:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the posts, inspired me to look it up (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GreenMother, PeterHug

            It looks like we went from lethal organophosphorus pesticides like methyl parathion to less than lethal pesticides like the neonics and are now starting to figure out the impact of low level exposure.

            Has anyone done a good environmental fate write up on that class of compounds, I'd be interested in reading.

            •  My advice would be to look up the following: (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PeterHug, RiveroftheWest, DawnN

              Immune Suppression by Neonicotinoid Insecticides at the Root of Global Wildlife Declines. Mason, Tennekes, Sanchez-Bayo & Jepsen. Journal of Immunology and Toxicology Sept/Oct 2012.

              And then look at the Bibliography

              That will give you a great start on that topic and many others related to this subject.

              "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

              by GreenMother on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:06:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  GreenMother (10+ / 0-)

        I thank you for this wonderful complete comment. I had never heard before about this before in relation to termites. German Bayer Crop Science deals in poisons and has for decades.

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Fri May 09, 2014 at 07:47:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They also deal in other chemicals and drugs. (0+ / 0-)

          I don't begrudge Bayer for making things. But what pisses me off to no end, is their insistence on destroying this terrestrial foodweb for a profit. I mean WHAT THE FUCK BAYER!

          It's funny too. They have been around for so long, even if they quit making Neonics, they make so many other things, that even though there would be some money lost, in the greater scheme of things it would barely make a dent in the list of all the things this company produces and sells.

          I mean really? Way to advertise to the rest of the world BAYER--that you are not part of this global community. That you don't hold any kind of responsibility as a multi-national conglomerate, to practice responsible manufacturing of materials and goods that will not KILL the entire fucking planet because you erased our pollination base with your goddamn greed and lies.

          Definitely a Great Job Bayer/Brownie moment.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Sun May 11, 2014 at 05:34:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  So, it would appear to be the logical (49+ / 0-)

    next step to ban neonicitinoid insecticides.  

    Practically speaking, how likely is that to happen?  How many such products are on the market and how widespread is their use?  And, are there alternatives available?  All these factors will play into whether we can get these chemicals banned.

    Finally, assuming that we can ban them forthwith, how soon can we expect to see a restoration of bee colonies?

    BTW, thanks for bringing this info to the fore.

    I’ve said before, I will always work with anyone who is willing to make this law work even better. But the debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. -- President Barack Obama

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Fri May 09, 2014 at 11:01:27 AM PDT

    •  Neonics are immensely profitable (24+ / 0-)

      and the companies who make them fund lots of research on lots of other causes of Colony Collapse Disorder.

      American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

      by atana on Fri May 09, 2014 at 12:47:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What are the brand names under which this (19+ / 0-)

      form of insecticide is marketed, so small scale folk like me can make sure I don't buy or use them around my bees?

    •  Imidaclopid, the active ingredient in the flea (13+ / 0-)

      preventative Advantage, is in the neonicotinoid class. They're much less toxic to mammals than organophosphates (i.e., malathion) or organochlorides (i.e., DDT).  I'd say they're here to stay.

      Whether it becomes illegal to treat crop seeds with it remains to be seen.
       

      “You think You're frightening me with Your hell, don't You? You think Your hell is worse than mine.” --Dorothy Parker

      by Ice Blue on Fri May 09, 2014 at 01:01:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  GMO's? (4+ / 0-)

        All we need now is a gene to express Neonic's/Imidaclopid and we can kiss bees goodbye while Dupont explains how it's the beekeeper's fault, or incorrect claims by opposing scientists or the phase of the moon or climate change.

        In case you think a gene expressing an insecticide is nuts, that's already done in "safening" plants from herbicides like Roundup. Yum!

        What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

        by TerryDarc on Fri May 09, 2014 at 03:17:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  a bit of confusion here (6+ / 0-)

          the plants that make their own pesticide in every cell make Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) which occurs naturally in soil, but not in plant tissue. The Roundup ready plants are resistant to the herbicide so they can be sprayed with it and still continue to grow, be harvested and eaten, possibly (almost certainly?) with long-term negative health effects on humans and animals.

          No GMOs make their own Roundup (glyphosate).

          •  What?! (0+ / 0-)
            make their own pesticide in every cell make Bt
            I must be misunderstanding you. These cells are expressing BT? That is not possible.

            And who did the long term studies for Roundup? You may wish to chow down on this stuff but I don't and many others do not either.

            What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

            by TerryDarc on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:56:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Glyphosphate is also being used (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest

              to dry pulses and grains immediately before harvest.

              Here's a link to a nontechnical story about this, which also links to several research papers.  I have not yet had time to look through them, so I have no idea if the hypothesis (that glyphosphate exposure may be causing gluten intolerance) is reasonable; it is in any case a bit disturbing to me.

              •  I also know that genes do not express organisms (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RiveroftheWest

                Interesting that gluten intolerance and use of Roundup might be tied together. I had heard that there could be extra gluten in the GMO strains or maybe that more gluten tastes better and has been selected. Would not be the first time we've modified food and not in a good way. Thanks.

                And the toxicity of Roundup (glycophosphate) is certainly not settled. Or, if it's settled, it's that Roundup is NOT safe.

                The idea that there may be receptors in insects that do not exist in vertebrates/mammals is dubious at best. I think, like climate change, that one would err on the side of caution and not on the side of someone whose pockets will be lined with gold, say Dupont.

                What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

                by TerryDarc on Sat May 10, 2014 at 10:18:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The toxicity studies were done (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  GreenMother, TerryDarc

                  when glyphosphate was originally registered, and I am completely confident that they were well done, and that Monsanto (and all the other chemical companies) take the results very seriously.

                  The problem is that those studies are very good at detecting acute toxicity, but may be less able to uncover long-term or more subtle effects that might nevertheless be important.

                  (The same is true for the neonicotinoids, BTW.)

                  •  Also it has only just been a recent thing that (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TerryDarc, PeterHug, Oh Mary Oh

                    scientists are looking into what we call in the service, Caustic or Toxic Cocktails.

                    It's not just low level chronic exposure, it's also what happens when we encounter several chemicals simultaneously, and how they interact inside a body or in the soil and air.

                    Forgive me for paraphrasing but I recall studies posted in Bee Culture magazine that stated something like 131 pesticides were found in random comb, for a study on field bees (not in a controlled lab). That's just in the wax.

                    How does that change the break down of these chemicals and the emergence of metabolites?

                    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

                    by GreenMother on Sun May 11, 2014 at 10:15:18 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I just posted on APR about the solvents used (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      PeterHug, GreenMother

                      which are supposed "inert ingredients" and are anything but. Check Mother Earth News.

                      This is the kind of crap-science we've come to expect out of big biz.

                      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

                      by TerryDarc on Sun May 11, 2014 at 10:57:17 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Its scary. I make it a point to go over MSD info (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        TerryDarc, Oh Mary Oh

                        found on the back of paint cans, and other chemicals that might be used in the home. I even bought them kid-sized safety glasses to use, and show the different kind of rubber gloves, and when to work in areas that need more ventilation.

                        Work in a craft store some time and marvel at the complete ignorance of the shoppers as they buy a variety of paints, solvents and other chemicals, glues etc., and then extrapolate that to shoppers in the pesticide aisle, the cleaning aisle and even OTC drugs.

                        Scary Scary Shit! Most people think those warnings on the back are only for in cases of large spills. They have no idea how little it takes to hurt a body.

                        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

                        by GreenMother on Sun May 11, 2014 at 05:19:18 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

        •   Is This The Off-Topic Inane Red Herring Thread? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slouchsock

          I heard it was a great place to get mojo!

          Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

          by bernardpliers on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:49:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Roundup (glyphosate) breaks down quickly and (0+ / 0-)

          has no target in animal tissues. Dogs were tested at 0.5g/kg body weight and rats were tested at many times higher levels. The LD50 in mammals is so high that you would have to eat it out of the container for it to have a bad effect. Pretty much the worst it does to mammals is irritate the eyes- so take reasonable care. See pmep.cce.cornell.edu/profiles/extoxnet/dienochlor-glyphosate/glyphosate-ext.html
          This whole "Oh No, bad GMOs, bad 'chemicals'" is reflexive unscientific nonsense for the most part.  The neonicotinoids need to be banned, for good reason, but don't bring nonsense into this important discussion.

          •  Uhh, no... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, Ice Blue, GreenMother

            Chow down, baby.

            http://www.sciencedirect.com/...

            There is ample question in my mind over long term toxicity to make Roundup off of my dinner table.

            AbstractThe health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2-3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often than and before controls, the pituitary was the second most disabled organ; the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments. In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5-5.5 times higher. This pathology was confirmed by optic and transmission electron microscopy. Marked and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3-2.3 greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors than controls which occurred up to 600 days earlier. Biochemistry data confirmed very significant kidney chronic deficiencies; for all treatments and both sexes, 76% of the altered parameters were kidney related. These results can be explained by the non linear endocrine-disrupting effects of Roundup, but also by the overexpression of the transgene in the GMO and its metabolic consequences.
            No thanks!

            What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

            by TerryDarc on Sat May 10, 2014 at 10:03:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Seralini's paper was retracted. It was garbage. (0+ / 0-)

              The statistics were at best weak, the rat strain was prone to tumors and gave too high background, and the methods were not sound. This was known in the field a year ago. Got anything else? (Got anything real?)

      •  Actually I think that might be fipronil. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        samanthab, Prickly Pam

        But I doubt this is the problem, since this stays on the mammal and is spread by sebum on the surface of their skin.

        Bees don't pollinate Dogs and cats.

        That being said, I do wonder if that makes dogs and cats more susceptible to fungal infections or thyroid problems.

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:57:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, fipronil is what is in Frontline (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, GreenMother

          and its generics. I've found that doesn't kill the fleas on my pets anymore.

          “You think You're frightening me with Your hell, don't You? You think Your hell is worse than mine.” --Dorothy Parker

          by Ice Blue on Sat May 10, 2014 at 02:32:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yea, I know that it doesnt kill fleas any more (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Oh Mary Oh

            Just like DDT, most bugs targeted by NeoNics are immune to it.

            Bees won't have that issue, because they are actually missing genes for detoxification and metabolizing novel toxins.

            So basically the only thing we are killing are the animals and insects we need.

            Damn we are a bunch of damn geniuses. (snark)

            "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

            by GreenMother on Sun May 11, 2014 at 10:17:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but that's a very limited, topical use with (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OHdog, Prickly Pam, RiveroftheWest

        very little mechanism for traveling beyond the individual pet. The sprays are the danger here. Treating seeds is likely to be an issue as well.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
        ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

        by FarWestGirl on Sat May 10, 2014 at 01:44:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Or allowed only on wind-pollinated crops. ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... Or withheld during nectar flow on insect pollinated crops. Or carry stronger over-spray penalties. Or mixed with something that bees find distasteful.

      They're a useful class of chemicals, and unlikely to be abandoned. We can find and promote less reckless ways of using them, though.

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Fri May 09, 2014 at 01:29:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bees collect pollen from everything (6+ / 0-)

        Beeks put their bees on corn because pollen is protein. And they need that pollen to make bee bread, which is fed to brood to build up the colony's strength in the spring for pollination services.

        Bees collect pollen from oak trees and cedar trees too. And they will even collect the powder from animal feed in the early spring when no pollen is available.

        "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

        by GreenMother on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:59:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I still can't see the whole class being outlawed (0+ / 0-)

          Bee keepers might demand an independent certification before taking a job on their colonies' behalf. They could charge more or less depending on other nearby crops. That could change the practices of farmers who need bee pollination, if not necessarily those who manage neighboring fields.

          But, I can't see the government acting quickly enough to do any good. The best I can see, near-term, is a requirement to add a persistent repellent to anything affecting bees.

          Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

          by chimpy on Sat May 10, 2014 at 01:26:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Because in plants it's expressed in every part of (0+ / 0-)

            the plant making it a danger for bees and other pollinators like bats, birds, and butterflies.

            In the soil, it harms the soil fauna, including killing earth worms, AND it causes proliferation of certain pathogenic microsporidians like Nosema ceranae.

            Wow, this stuff sounds SWELL! we should spray it everywhere.

            Oh wait, we already have.

            And when we put it in irrigation ditches to treat for mosquitoes--what do you think that does to the bats that eat them? Or to the aquatic organisms vertebrates and invertebrates that spend part of all of their lives in the water?

            Dragonflies? Getting double doses via the water AND the poisoned mosquitoes and midges and flies.

            This stuff is bad news. Already reports are emerging from the EU stating this has adverse affects on human neural development. Just what we need--another environmental vector for ADHD, Autism, or better yet Parkinsons (shades of organophosphates)

            "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

            by GreenMother on Sun May 11, 2014 at 10:21:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Active Ingredients to Avoid (21+ / 0-)

      Acetamiprid
      Clothianidin
      Dinotefuran
      Imidacloprid
      Thiamethoxam
      Thiamexothan

      Those are the ones currently on the market. They come under different brand names, but if these are on the label, then it's got neonicotinoids.

      Also be aware that some "organic" or "natural" branded pesticides may contain Nicotine Sulfate, which should also be avoided.

      :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
      Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

      by radical simplicity on Fri May 09, 2014 at 02:03:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Obama Administration would NEVER ban... (4+ / 0-)

      ...a product made by a major U.S. corporation. It's just not how Obama rolls.

      Obama: Pro-Pentagon, pro-Wall Street, pro-drilling, pro-fracking, pro-KXL, pro-surveillance. And the only person he prosecuted for the U.S. torture program is the man who revealed it. Clinton: More of the same.

      by expatjourno on Fri May 09, 2014 at 02:37:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  US is BIG buyer and promoter: USFS, NPS, etc... (12+ / 0-)

        Under the misguided "war on invasive species" the USDA's US Forest Service has been funding the purchase  of lots of these toxic neonicotinoids. Dozens and dozens of "forest and environmental groups" up and down the east's Appalachian mountain chain have been "soil injecting" the forests to make the soil and water so toxic the living trees become toxic to insects when they "uptake" these toxins. Tough on the non targeted…nature is just collateral damage.

        This "systemic poisoning" approach to making trees toxic to say, the emerald ash borer in the case of elm trees, or to target the hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA) that is killing off easter hemlocks, is a grossly misguided mass poisoning effort. That these highly soluble and mobile toxics are being put at the uppermost reaches of all of our watersheds, especially on public lands, is terrible public policy. USFS, National Park Service, etc. Imagine the poisoning of the hemlocks along the Blue Ridge Parkway? Done.

        These poisons are in foods at levels toxic to bees, and our waterways are becoming similarly toxic. Trace exposures cause irreversible nerve damage, so these "systemic poisons" in our foods--poisons we can't wash off, may keep the climb in autism rates climbing, and other neurological disease increasing.

        Bayer Crop Sciences has sold the USFS and their many "partners" mothball like pellets of these poisons, so they can be backpacked to the uppermost reaches of our mountains and spread around. Poisoning soil, trees, waters, and lots of non-target species.

        Read more about these toxics at the Danish site:

        Bird Decline, Insect Decline, and Neonicotinoids
        http://www.farmlandbirds.net/...

        Get the book, Disaster in the Making
        http://www.disasterinthemaking.com/...

        More on the fallacy of non-native invasive species wars, at Death of a Million Trees: http://milliontrees.me

        And, read about the poisoning of the special forest named as a tribute to Trees, named for the author of the poem, [and then the dynamiting of] Joyce Kilmer Natonal Forest, a designated wilderness area. This project,  the use of poisons, and dynamite, in the formerly off-limits designated wilderness, was promoted by The Wilderness Society. Go figure…

        http://moccasinbadlandsreview.blogspot.com/...

  •  uh oh the GMO trolls will (23+ / 0-)

    lose their 'benign neonicotinoids' talking point.

    As I'm typing this there's a 'Clean Coal' ad running on the TV.

  •  Great diary, thanks. (18+ / 0-)

    "To live in a world where truth matters and justice, however late, really happens, that world would be heaven enough for us all." - Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

    by blueoregon on Fri May 09, 2014 at 11:20:56 AM PDT

  •  Collapse fatigue (3+ / 0-)

    This must be at least the fifth study now "proving" what's causing the collapses.  I've seen viruses, parasites, cell phones, pesticides, yadda, yadda.  Ultimately it must be a combination of factors, and the exact causes probably vary from place to place.  I'm tuning out the individual studies until people start looking at the bigger picture.

    That said, honeybees are, in the US at least, a non-native species living in unnatural conditions.  Why not start doing research on how to restore native pollinators so that we don't have to truck bee colonies all over the place?  Continued use of a monoculture (which is basically what honeybees are) is doomed to fail.

    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

    by Scott in NAZ on Fri May 09, 2014 at 11:25:44 AM PDT

    •  A 'monoculture' (10+ / 0-)

      that has been anything but unsuccessful and harmful..for centuries. Until now. Right.

      •  Monocultures are unstable (7+ / 0-)

        Just look what's happening now with bananas.  I hope people are enjoying bananas they have now, because the variety of banana you get in stores in the US is going to disappear sooner or later thanks to a fungus: http://www.cnbc.com/...

        And there's grapefruit: http://www.nytimes.com/...

        And wheat: http://www.ibtimes.com/...

        Oh, and the Irish potato famine: http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        I could go on.  Monoculture are inherently unstable and prone to these sorts of collapses.  More will surely be coming.

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Fri May 09, 2014 at 11:44:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't read it then? Seems like the easier (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          way to go.

        •  No to bees because grapefruit, potatoes & bananas? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          protectspice

          That makes a lot of sense.

          Bees have had several hundred years to speciate, evolve and mingle with the Africanized bees coming up from south of the border. There are also many species of native bees that can get out there and out-compete the honey bee if they can but generally have not done so.

          That's plenty of competition and change in my book.

          What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. Henry VI Part II Act 3 Scene 2

          by TerryDarc on Fri May 09, 2014 at 03:42:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wha? (0+ / 0-)

            Oy, I don't think you understand evolution very well.  And I don't have time to explain it to you, but pretty much everything you said is wrong.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:06:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Try thousands of years. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Oh Mary Oh

            In some cases, if a specific species of bee goes extinct, it's flower specialist will follow.

            All bees evolved from Wasps. The main difference being that wasps are meat eaters who also take in nectar, but that bees, get their protein from pollen and their carbs from nectar. Bees are the vegetarians of the hymenoptera order.

            And there are numerous papers showing a steep decline in Megachilidae, Bombus, Melaponini, and Apis  due to NeoNicotinoids.

            That's Bumble Bees, Leaf Cutter/Alfalfa Bees, Stingless Bees, and Domestic European Honey Bees.

            So what bees would you replace honey bees with again? Because they are all dying. Some places the bees are in such steep decline that parasites that normally target wild bees have jumped to honey bees.

            Add to that loss of habitat and systematic attempts to wipe many bees out as pests without regard to their larger role in nature, and it's looking grim.

            You might want to buy a ladder and some paint brushes.

            "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

            by GreenMother on Sun May 11, 2014 at 10:28:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I've written about it about 4 times before (30+ / 0-)

      and there are a number of other posts by other authors on it. It has been a hot research topic. This is the latest information.

      If you want to talk about a topic getting stale, how about when the Republican Congress voted pointlessly for the 50th time to revoke Obamacare?

      “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

      by FishOutofWater on Fri May 09, 2014 at 12:06:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't say to delete the diary or anything (2+ / 0-)

        I just find the accumulation of "smoking gun" studies, each with a different answer, to be annoying.

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Fri May 09, 2014 at 12:11:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Deal With Ambiguity (7+ / 0-)

          In life we learn that sometimes major problems have multiple independent major causes. It takes some integration sometimes, but life is annoying that way.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Fri May 09, 2014 at 02:05:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Both the study (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            annominous

            and the diary both gloss over the ambiguity and make the pesticides out to be the cause.  Why did one of the control colonies collapse in the study?  Why do they still have CCD in places they've banned the pesticides?

            I can deal with ambiguity just fine, thank you.  But the diary ignores it for the most part.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Fri May 09, 2014 at 02:29:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your Inference (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              samanthab, Prickly Pam

              No, neither the study nor the diary say nicotinamide pesticides are the cause. They say they are a cause. It is you who is saying they say it is the cause.

              Straw man. Your fault. Not the study nor the diary.

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Fri May 09, 2014 at 09:13:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's totally false. There is almost no ambiguity (0+ / 0-)

                in the paper or the diary.

                Title of the diary: "Insecticide Impairs Winterization Leading to Bee Colony Collapse."  Not much ambiguity there.

                In the diary:

                The mystery of why honey bees leave their colonies in the middle of winter to die in the cold has not been completely solved but a carefully controlled study by Harvard university researchers has found the smoking gun - neonicitinoid insecticides.
                 A smoking gun?  Not much ambiguity there.

                I'm not rereading the paper, but here's a quote from the author

                "We demonstrated that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering 'colony collapse disorder' in honeybee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter,"
                 Where's the ambiguity there?

                Sorry, but your comment is full of wrong.

                The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                by Scott in NAZ on Sat May 10, 2014 at 05:07:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're Totally Wrong (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Prickly Pam, PeterHug

                  There is a distinction between saying "1: nicotinamides cause colony collapse" and saying "2: only nicotinamides cause colony collapse".

                  The article and the study say 1. You accuse the article and the study of saying 2, conflating 1 and 2.

                  Smoking causes cancer. Seeing tobacco juice mutate cells grown in it is a smoking gun. That doesn't mean that benzene inhalation doesn't cause cancer. Or a host of other causes across a broad spectrum. There can be many smoking guns. Each must be found independently. None excludes the others.

                  It is you who is totally wrong. Logic is important. Learn it before you try to use it wrong in public.

                  "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                  by DocGonzo on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:36:14 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh come on (0+ / 0-)

                    Are you shitting me?  If there's a smoking gun, it means someone got shot, and the gun was the ultimate cause.  With smoking, no one cares if it was the benzene or the tar--it was the smoking.  With this study, smoking gun means it wasn't mites or viruses or bacteria, it was the pesticides.

                    The diary says that the mystery "has not been completely solved."  But then it contradicts itself a few words later and says that they found a smoking gun.  There's not one word in the diary about the multitude of other causes that have been linked to CCD.  Not.  One.  Word.

                    Anyway, even as smoking guns go, this study is a crappy one.  I mean it's in a shitty journal (very low impact factor) and has small sample sizes.  One of the control groups collapsed without pesticides--oops.

                    Thanks for the logic lessons.  I'll use them in my next scientific paper.

                    The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                    by Scott in NAZ on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:45:26 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Two Guns (0+ / 0-)

                      If you're going to indulge in even more fallacies, this time the argument from analogy, admit that someone can be shot by more than one gun. Simultaneously, sequentially, whatever. You are pushing a combination of straw man fallacy with the causal oversimplification fallacy.

                      Not all collapsed bee colonies are necessarily caused by the nicotinoid poisoning clearly demonstrated by the research. The diary is not about colony collapse broadly, but about the specific nicotinamide research. It does justice to the obvious larger issue by noting that nicotinamides are not presented as the complete explanation. Your complaint is the Nirvana fallacy.

                      You'd better not be writing any scientific papers, since your arguments rely entirely on a diverse collection of fallacies. Look into them yourself and stop bothering me.

                      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                      by DocGonzo on Sat May 10, 2014 at 01:05:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Meh (0+ / 0-)

                        Did you notice the diarist finally added a mention of other causes of CCD?  I guess that was sort of missing in the earlier version.  Oh, well.

                        My point all along was that you and I know that there are other causes of CCD, but the average dkos reader probably has no idea and is not likely to start searching the scientific or popular literature for other causes.  The diarist should've talked about other causes of CCD up front instead of tacking it on 24 hours after publishing.

                        BTW, accusing people of logical fallacies instead of actually having a discussion is a great way to win friends.  Your generosity of spirit shows through (not).

                        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                        by Scott in NAZ on Sat May 10, 2014 at 01:27:46 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Fallacies (0+ / 0-)

                          You spent comment after comment spewing nothing but fallacies, undermining the value of this important diary. You have never acknowledged a single one of them. Yet you continue to post as if you have some kind of moral higher ground on which to condescend to judge me. Why would I be interested in winning you as a friend? My friends respect logic and admit when they're wrong.

                          No more free clues for you, out of the generosity of my spirit. Goodbye.

                          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                          by DocGonzo on Sat May 10, 2014 at 04:24:43 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

        •  This is the first one to show the (13+ / 0-)

          causal mechanism from neonicotinoids. While there has been plenty of evidence showing correlation between the introduction of neonicotinoids and collapse, this is the first to show causation.

          It's actually very important, because it makes it possible to successfully sue the FDA (or USDA, not sure who's purview it's under) into taking action.

          :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
          Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

          by radical simplicity on Fri May 09, 2014 at 02:08:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No way (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            annominous

            would this study hold up in a lawsuit.  N of 6 or 12 per treatment is small, and one of the control sites had CCD anyway without any pesticides.

            In Europe, where they banned these pesticides, they still have CCD.  This is an interesting result but not a smoking gun.

            The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

            by Scott in NAZ on Fri May 09, 2014 at 02:27:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oy (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              samanthab, JerryNA, Prickly Pam

              A)These pesticides are still in use in Europe
              B)The most significant restrictions on their use are less than a year old.
              C)They have been in use for 20 years and there can be significant residual accumulations where they have been used.

              Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

              by benamery21 on Fri May 09, 2014 at 11:32:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ok (0+ / 0-)

                I didn't realize the ban in Europe was new.  Regardless, my criticisms of the study stand:

                Still, the study does not prevent overwhelming evidence or even strong evidence that the pesticides are the main cause of CCD more generally.  To do that you'd have to rule out all other possible causes of CCD.  Meanwhile, other research groups have found evidence pointing to diseases and parasites as the cause.  

                Really, it's probably a combination of things and the exact causes will vary from place to place.  So this study is no more a "smoking gun" than any of the previous ones.

                The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

                by Scott in NAZ on Sat May 10, 2014 at 05:11:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, it is possible for those not morbidly obese (0+ / 0-)

                  to die of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.  That does not mean that obesity doesn't cause those conditions.

                  It is possible to die of lung cancer without smoking tobacco.  That does not mean that smoking doesn't cause lung cancer.

                  The appropriate standard for massive and widespread use of a pesticide is not "innocent until proven guilty."

                  Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

                  by benamery21 on Sun May 11, 2014 at 02:41:47 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  insecticide companies want you to tune out (18+ / 0-)

      Agreed that it would be wonderful to return to Eden or Jefferson's agrarian ideal, but don't be so quick to let the insecticide companies off the hook for killing so many bees.  The key point of the study is that all the other "causes" are not the real cause of colony collapse.  Yes, there are many factors in healthy bees, but the controversial new type of insecticides are clearly shown to cause collapse.  
      Yes, work toward more healthy, diverse and natural ecosystems by all means, but can we at least recognize the finding that these insecticides cause colony collapse and BAN them!?!  

      •  You misunderstand (5+ / 0-)

        I totally agree that those pesticides should be banned.  That's already happened in Europe.  But did you read the study?  They did not at all disprove other causes of CCD, and the sample size for the control group was small (6 colonies, 1 of which collapsed without any pesticides).

        No doubt pesticides are involved in some cases of CCD.  But this study is not the final word on the subject.

        The next Noah will work a short shift. - Charles Bowden

        by Scott in NAZ on Fri May 09, 2014 at 12:24:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A monoculture crop (8+ / 0-)

      Requires a trucked in monoculture pollinator.

      1500 acres of canola, all blooming at the same time, overwhelms any surviving native pollinators, and the crop fails , so instead you truck in the bees.

      The sustainable model would be 500 acres left in verge and wood lot as nesting habitat for the native pollenators, 500 acres in mixed crops and seasonal wild flowers as sustainable, season long food, and 500 acres in monoculture.

      That model, given crop prices and subsidies, is unprofitable.

    •  Native bees (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Prickly Pam, JerryNA

      don't pollinate most agricultural fruits.  Lots of non-natives do good things for their adopted homes.  Like apples

    •  Once you collapse the immune system, then (10+ / 0-)

      it doesn't take much to knock an organism down for the count.

      It's like giving bees AIDs.

      Remember when we didn't know what AIDs was? Only that there was a small minority of people dying from weird cancers, pneumonia and other infections that wouldn't normally take a person down?

      Yea, it's like that, only this is a chemical instead of a virus. But the best part is the interaction between neonicotinoids and microsporidians in the soil making them more pathogenic while simultaneously suppressing insect immunity and damaging the nervous system.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:01:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What a great point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenMother, RiveroftheWest

        and a perfect analogy. Thanks.

        I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. ~ Booker T. Washington

        by Prickly Pam on Sat May 10, 2014 at 08:51:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Check this out (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest
          It (CCD) is sewift in it's effect. Over the course of a week, the majority of the bees in an affected colony flee the hive and disappear, going to die elsewwhere. The few remaining insects are then found to be enormously diseased--they have a tremendous pathogen load...virtually every known bee virus could be detected in the insects. She said and some bees were carrying five or six viruses at a time, as well as fungal infections. Because of this, it was assumed that the bees immune systems were being suppressed in some way. The Independent (UK) Species Under Threat! Honey Who Shurnk the Bee Population.
          http://www.independent.co.uk/...

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:15:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  seems to me the science in this (19+ / 0-)

    area keeps advancing and is pretty consistent, the insecticides are threatening honey bees which threatens our food supply.    The insecticides need to go.

  •  Yeah there have been (14+ / 0-)

    several different theories for what is going on here.  However, this one seems to be the most logical one yet, as it is a surprise that an insecticide that appears to do no harm to the bees during the summer would suddenly cause the bees to die during the winter.   That fits with the WTF nature of the entire problem and might explain why it has been so hard to figure out what is going on.

  •  I thought scientists needed pre pub censorship? (10+ / 0-)

    oh, I made a mistake

    this only holds for those holding the keys to "national security" the 92 million secret documents MUST be withheld from "citizens" who don't know what is good for them

    the bee collapse is but one example of a major problem that has not been given the attention it needed. Hopefully this report, and swift action on this report, will restore bee colonies so they can do their essential work for us

    meanwhile, in the political realm, the constitution is so quaint

    •  Actually the material is all out there. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      And from reputable peer reviewed sources.

      But the fourth estate is dead, and Americans forgot how to do their own homework. If it ain't on FB, it doesn't exist.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:02:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, my friends have posted about this stuff (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prickly Pam, RiveroftheWest

        a number of times on FB. I have plenty of complaints about FB, but I do find it to be an effective news aggregator. I can follow a lot of different environmental and political groups without having to check 10 different websites. For me, it's a great source of information that the MSM doesn't give a fuck about. And the MSM doesn't give a fuck about a lot of important things, as we all know.

  •  Interesting, but I doubt it solves the mystery. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYFM, sockpuppet

    The problem with suspecting neonicotinoids as the cause of CCD is two-fold:

    1) They were in common use for over a decade before CCD occurred.

    2) Countries that never approved them or have ceased using them have been afflicted by CCD in pretty much the same magnitude as those that have.

    Nonetheless, banning neonicotinoids would probably help bee health in general.

  •  No honeybees in our garden (15+ / 0-)

    So far this year...:(

    We have very pollinator-friendly plants and blooming hedges.  Usually buzzing with honeybees.  We always assumed someone nearby was beekeeping.

    No bees in the garden so far this Spring.  Just seen a few dead bees on the ground.  Hey, we're innocent!!  Organic gardening only around here!  We have lots of tree frogs, which indicates a healthy yard.

    We're sad because we know what is likely the problem with no pollinators buzzing around right now.  :((

  •  partial list of brand names with neonic here: (14+ / 0-)

    Schedule permitting, PROOF WILL BE PROVIDED ON HOW I AM BEING "CONSTANTLY CALLED OUT" AND "UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED" FOR BEING BAD. Moreover, the dossier on my activities during the Bush administration will have an appendix concluding that I am Wrong.

    by Inland on Fri May 09, 2014 at 12:35:17 PM PDT

  •  This is the nth study showing neonics kill bees (16+ / 0-)

    but Bayer will just gin up 10 more studies about Varroa mites, viruses and fungi.

    American Presidents: 43 men, 0 women. Ready for Hillary

    by atana on Fri May 09, 2014 at 12:42:42 PM PDT

  •  Do ya'll keep bees? (15+ / 0-)

    I do.

    And while I am eager to find the answer to CCD, I'm not entirely convinced that it is solely caused by neonics.  Nor that banning them across the board would be the sure-fire answer.

    Or whether banning them might actually be worse for honey bees because the pesticides that replaced them might be even more harmful. For instance some of the OMRI-(organic) approved agricultural chemicals are pretty terrible for bees.

    As you might imagine, this is an urgent and controversial topic among beekeepers.

    During the BP oil spill, I found that the (no longer existing, I believe) website "The Oil Drum" had the best, most informed information about what was happening. It provided expert, inside the industry, knowledge, without being the flacks of the petroleum lobby.  If you're interested in a similar-level discussion regarding bees and bee health, I suggest the BEE-L listserve site.

    You can find it here:BEE-L list serve home page

    It does sometimes bog down into academic pissing contests over side issues, but the people posting on it are among the pre-eminent researchers into bee-health in the US and abroad. It will open you eyes to some of the real bee issues, instead of the packaged-for-public-sympathy stuff that's out there regarding bees.

    Don't get me wrong, I am very concerned about CCD and other, even more troubling, bee health issues. Bees are charming creatures - and a critical part of modern agriculture models - but they are not the only organisms at risk from whatever is causing CCD. The hundreds of species of native insect pollinators, which nobody makes sexy movies about, are equally in peril.

    BTW, I got into beekeeping because I had feral colonies here on my farm for two decades but during the winter before last (2012-2013) they completely disappeared sometime between late Dec. and May. When I realised this, I was appalled and guilt-stricken because I had "meant to do someting about the bees" (though I'm not sure what it was I should have done, just well-meaning intent, I guess) the previous year. To my surprise - and delight - three more swarms moved in to re-occupy the old bee-haunts in June.  I had these three swarms hived, and have had them in my care since then.  (My first year's goal was to be better for them than benign neglect in my barns, and so far I've done that, getting them through a winter when beekeepers in my state are reporting nearly 50% losses of their entire colonies.)  However, actually having the care of the bees has opened my eyes considerably from my starting point of just being concerned for them.  Beekeeping  and the threats to them are vastly more complicated than "just" CCD, dreadful and perplexing as it is.

    Araguato

    •  one day in March a few years ago (here in NH) I (4+ / 0-)

      was out in the woods near my low-bush blueberries that the bees love so much. While I watched, three bees came towards me, fluttering around as if they were drunk, not buzzing around normally. They flitted around aimlessly for a minute, then one of them curled up and dropped out of the sky. The other two wandered off and I don't think they came back. They looked almost as sick as this one. The one that died in front of me shriveled up instantly and turned into a liquidy brown lump and although I have been known to bring insects in dead or alive to show the family, I wasn't touching that thing. It looked infected. But anyway that's my anecdote of what happens to bees when they come out too early here. Those poor guys were not right. (And I'm reasonably familiar with what they should do, as I did apitherapy on a person for a season.)

      We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

      by nuclear winter solstice on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:06:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I keep bees. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, RiveroftheWest, Prickly Pam

      And I don't really care if you are convinced. Each hive I lose even as a hobbiest is about 150 dollars a pop.

      That's gets expensive just so some old biddy can have a perfect golf lawn and spot free roses.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:04:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But fixating on neonics as the sole cause of your (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Prickly Pam

        hobby expenses may not reduce them.

        That CCD is not caused JUST by neonic use is something that most informed people agree on.  It's almost certainly a highly complex interaction of many factors, only some of which may be beyond beekeepers' control.

        Do you monitor and treat your bees for varroa?  And with what, if you do? Mites, of course, along with starvation, are the primary causes of winter kills, not CCD, nor perfect lawns and cheap grapefruit.  At least according to what I have read.

        I loathe having to consider treating my hives for varroa and I curse the selfish beekeepers who (illegally) brought varroa to the US.  And I have problems with the current US beekeeping practices that spread varroa far faster, and far more intensively, than the miserable, flightless, obligate parasite bugs could have done on their own.  But I constantly (truly constantly, like every day during high-mite periods) monitor my hives' infestation levels and I would euthanize my hives before I would allow them to develop into mite-bombs if I was unwilling to treat them. But treat I will, if necessary, as sparingly, reluctantly, with the least noxious chemicals that I can.

        Last summer I also was staggered to discover that I needed to feed my hives granulated sugar, but I did last winter and was glad I did when they all survived such an unsually long and cold ordeal. As I would again, even in later years when they would theoretically have had more time to amass enough stores.

        Truly, I fuss at my neighbors about their household/landscape neonic use. They are all soooo sympathetic to the much- bally-hooed plight of the poor little bees.  I give them lists of neonics that they all buy by the liter at Lowes and HD.  I ask them not to spray over blooming nectar plants. I ask them to spray in the evening when my bees are in their hive.  I have confined my bees, moving them into my cool barns with SBB and screened migratory covers to avoid a day of sprays. But if they replace the neonics with malathion or Sevin or OMRI-approved Entrust have I made my bees safer?  I don't think so.

        Araguato

        •  The Fact that you haven't done your homework (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Prickly Pam, RiveroftheWest

          so that you understand that in the web of confusion created by certain chemical companies, that Neonics ARE the main cause behind the "multiple" factors is your problem. That's you not being a professional Beekeeper, not being a serious Hobby Beekeeper, not reading up on the papers, and not understanding the mechanisms behind this.

          You see, the same damn companies do this every time and have for over (get this) 100 years. They did it in the 1800s with Paris Green and they did it again with Penncap M, they did it with DDT, and they are doing it now with Neonicotinoids.

          But that's okay. You will figure it out when your food costs more than your peak oil products. Then you can slap your head and wish you had a V8.

          "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

          by GreenMother on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:53:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Truly, you don't know my background, (0+ / 0-)

            or my professional activities or you wouldn't write such a fatuous thing:

            But that's okay. You will figure it out when your food costs more than your peak oil products. Then you can slap your head and wish you had a V8.
            Would it surprise you to learn that I am a university-trained horticulturist and working vegetable and fruit farmer?  Would it surprise you to know that I have been doing this for over thirty years? Would it surprise you to know that I manage my operation with only extremely rare use of any non-OMRI certified-pesticides, herbicides or fungicides (and scarcely any of those, either)?

            I have no idea why you are so worked up over my mild non-concurrence with your world view.  I'm not urging increased, or even continued, use of neonics (I would never use them here on the farm, but that's beside the point).  But I am not persuaded by this new study that neonics are the only cause of CCD.  Largely because as you surely know CCD existed before neonics; it exists in places where neonics are not approved, etc.  For me, the jury is still out and I don't want to overlook any factor that may also contribute to CCD by jumping on a knee-jerk, anti-neonic bandwagon and risking foreshortening the search for answers.

            Give it a rest, please.

            Araguato

            •  Just because you got a degree, doesn't mean you (0+ / 0-)

              are good at what you do. It simply means you persevered.

              If you have all that training and do not understand how the mechanisms of Systemic Pesticides/NeoNicotinoids travel through the plants vascular system, to be expressed in every part of the plant, nor how it persists in soil and migrates in water to be taken up by plants that were never intended for treatment--then that's on you.

              And if you fail to make the connection between that and the hazards that it poses to pollinators, and how that affects our food production and how it might also affect the safety of food for mammals--then that too is on you.

              Maybe you should ask for your money back.

              "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

              by GreenMother on Sun May 11, 2014 at 05:27:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Statistics Check: Beware of Small Samples (13+ / 0-)

    Given the numbers in this diary:

    6 of 12 treated colonies collapsed
    1 of 6 control colonies collapsed

    This experiment has a p value (Fisher's exact one-tailed test) of 0.174.

    Which means that IF neonicotinoid insecticides have exactly zero effect THEN we would expect to see a result this dramatic or more dramatic about one time in every six that we repeated the experiment.

    What is meant by "more dramatic" is something like "0 of 6 controls collapsed while 7 of 12 treated colonies collapsed."  Which, according to the data from the experiment, is still consistent with the null hypothesis that the insecticides do not harm the bees.

    Which means that this study, by itself, proves nothing about neonicotinoid insecticides harming bees at sub lethal doses.  Typically, experiments with p values greater than 0.05 are rejected out of hand as meaningless.

    Before some one leaps in to attack me as an industry shill, let me point out that the situation is much more complicated than just this one study alone and that the question will be resolved through the preponderance of evidence - as are all questions in science.  Multiple lines of reasoning and evidence will be incorporated into the final results, as will (presumably) further field tests.

    The defect in this study is that the effect, if any, is too small to be captured by the number of colonies examined.  This is a classic case of a study being underpowered.  The proper response is the replicate the study using a larger number of colonies, incorporating the information gathered from this study.  A quick calculation suggests that twenty colonies in each group would give a power of 0.8, a typical standard.

    As a closing aside, monoculture is a huge problem that we simply must address sooner rather than later.  The way we grow our food can not be sustained over the long haul.

    o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

    by tarkangi on Fri May 09, 2014 at 01:59:17 PM PDT

    •  Trends are important, however. (4+ / 0-)

      For example, if this had been a human Phase I clinical trial, and 6/12 of the experimental group developed a severe adverse event, while only 1 of the controls did, the trial would likely be stopped.  Statistics are important tools, but a slavish devotion to them can be damaging in the real world.

      "Democrat" is a noun. "Democratic" is an adjective. "Republican" is an idiot. Illigitimi non carborundum. Regardless of Party. The license plate I want? OMG GOP WTF

      by TheOrchid on Fri May 09, 2014 at 03:44:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interpreting statistics requires judgement too (8+ / 0-)

      , and I think you've got the wrong statistics test.  
      These insecticides are supposed to be safe for bees, so the collapse rate for sprayed hives should be low and comparable to non-sprayed hives.  And that's what the study showed until winter when the collapse rate for the "safe" sprayed hives jumps to 50%.  
      So the real question is what are the odds of 50% collapse when exposed to something that's supposed to be safe?  
      I bet that these Harvard scientists who got this published in the Bulletin of Insectology know that the odds of that kind of collapse are very low.  A 50% accident rate in any safety testing would be very serious evidence of a problem, even if the sample were small.  
      Further, these guys also published in 2012, where the collapse rate was over 90% in a colder winter.  The fact is that these insecticides have caused an extremely serious problem that could threaten global food production.  The companies that produce these insecticides got their product approved without sufficient testing in cold winter conditions.  And the US needs to ban these insecticides before they wipe out more colonies.  

      •  Great Question (4+ / 0-)

        Wikipedia is not accepted as a legitimate academic reference, but for our purposes it will give us a ballpark estimate that is probably not too far off the mark:

        Non-CCD winter losses as high as 50% have occurred in some years and regions (e.g., 2000–2001 in Pennsylvania). Normal winter losses are typically considered to be in the range of 15–25%. In many cases, beekeepers reporting significant losses of bees did not experience true CCD, but losses due to other causes.
        So it appears that 15% to 25% of the hives are expected to be lost in a typical winter.  Assuming that the collapse of a hive is independent of the fate of its neighbors (not a firm assumption, I will stipulate) we can easily calculate the distribution of hives lost from a given cluster of six.

        So, there is a reasonable chance of losing half your hives just through bad luck - even if nothing is poisoning your hives.  That is just what happens when you are working with small samples.

        Perhaps I can get my point across better by suggesting the following counterfactual:  suppose a group of horticulturalists had set up exactly the same study and found that 3 of 6 control hives had collapsed while only 2 of the 12 insecticide hives had collapsed.  Would you be happy with someone waving that paper and proclaiming neonicotinoid salves as a winter time preservative against colony collapse disorder, or would you point to the fact that the data had a p value of 0.144 and thus was likely a statistical fluke?

        I say this because the point is to be appropriately skeptical of your own evidence.  If one goes around mocking everything, one will miss valuable truths; if one goes around believing everything just because it would be great if it were true one will support a lot of nonsense.

        So in 2012, this team reports that a colder winter resulted in a greater rate of hive collapse - which sounds perfectly reasonable.  If you have access to their paper I would love to take at look at it, and I am perfectly eager to find that it supports what they claim in this paper.  I just want to follow the evidence and guard against believing something to be true in fact, when it is just something that I want to be true.

        o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

        by tarkangi on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:33:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  why don't you click the link (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tarkangi

          and read the study?  Instead of speculating as to what kind of data they used.

          What do the Defend-NSAers-at-any-cost hope for society to gain from Snowden turning himself in and standing trial? I suspect it'll be a cold day in hell before any of them finally give a reasonable, coherent answer to that question.

          by happymisanthropy on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:07:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  oops (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tarkangi

          What do the Defend-NSAers-at-any-cost hope for society to gain from Snowden turning himself in and standing trial? I suspect it'll be a cold day in hell before any of them finally give a reasonable, coherent answer to that question.

          by happymisanthropy on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:08:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This question is about the 2012 paper (0+ / 0-)

            LU C.,WARCHOL K.M.,CALLAHAN R. A., 2012.-In situ replication of honeybee colony collapse disorder.- Bulletin of Insectology, 65(1): 99-106.

            which is referenced, but my google fu is weak so that I have not been able to find an internet copy.

            o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

            by tarkangi on Fri May 09, 2014 at 07:48:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Found it! (0+ / 0-)

              But I don't think anyone else is interested, so I will let this issue quietly fade away.

              o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

              by tarkangi on Fri May 09, 2014 at 10:18:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm interested. Please post the link (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tarkangi, RiveroftheWest

                if it is available. Thanks.

                “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

                by FishOutofWater on Sat May 10, 2014 at 08:18:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Here you go (0+ / 0-)

                  Bulletin of Insectology

                  It's basically the same result but more dramatic, with 15 of 16 hives collapsing when exposed to 20-400 micrograms/kg imidacloprid.  Only 1 of 4 controls failed, but I don't see that they specified whether it was CCD or deadout.

                  So there appears to be a link between exposure that is not immediately deadly and difficulty in the hive surviving the winter.

                  What I don't understand is their thinking about the doses.  In the 2014 paper they say:

                  0.74 ng/bee/day of either imidacloprid or clothianidin

                   far below the oral LD50 of 3.4 and 118.7 ng/bee for clothianidin and imidacloprid, respectively

                  Which I find puzzling: why use 1/4.6 of the LD50 in the  clothianidin case but 1/160 the LD50 in the imidacloprid?

                  The big oddity here is that the low dose imidacloprid had 4/6 hives collapse while high dose clothianidin had only 2/6 collapse - which leads us back to the deficiency of small samples, which is what this whole line of discussion is about.

                  I will leave you with a final puzzle from the 2012 paper:

                   

                  The modification of the sub-lethal effect of neonicotinoid by
                  the severity of winter might be significant, and should
                  not be overlooked in the evaluation of CCD epidemic.
                  The previous study conducted during a colder winter
                  reported 100% mortality of CCD in colonies treated
                  with 0.1 ng/bee/day of imidacloprid (Luet al., 2012),
                  one-seventh of the dose used in the present study.
                  Something is going on, but just what is not clear.  At some point, someone will measure how much bees get exposed in the wild and map it back to the controlled experiments.

                  o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

                  by tarkangi on Sat May 10, 2014 at 10:32:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  You're mistaken. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tarkangi

      Not every lost hive is CCD.

      What do the Defend-NSAers-at-any-cost hope for society to gain from Snowden turning himself in and standing trial? I suspect it'll be a cold day in hell before any of them finally give a reasonable, coherent answer to that question.

      by happymisanthropy on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:04:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This study confirms their previous study (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tarkangi, worldlotus, RiveroftheWest

      You are quite correct that the small sample size could lead to erroneous conclusions because the study is underpowered. However, this study ties into other studies including previous work by the Harvard group so I think that their confidence in these results is founded on a larger data set.

      Good comment. You raise questions that would be best addressed to the authors.

      I have a question for you. They studied a pretty large number of bees but a small number of colonies for this report. If you based your statistics on the total number of bee deaths it would look like a decent sample size and the statistics would look better. How do you decide which grouping to apply your statistical tests to: individuals or colonies? How do you integrate the results of a small study like this with other studies involving these insecticides and bees?

      “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

      by FishOutofWater on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:25:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I say again: preponderance of evidence (4+ / 0-)

        As you have surely noticed, my purpose here is to caution non-scientists against getting too enthusiastic about any "smoking gun" study - they happen sometimes, but not as often as pop culture representations of science might lead one to believe.  

        This particular paper is consistent with previous work, which is good because that is how a case is built in favor of one hypothesis and against the competition.  As another commenter observed above, there are at least four other serious contenders for the cause of CCD; as I was schooled above, not all dead hives are the result of CCD.  Yet another commenter pointed out that a fifty percent serious reaction rate would shut down a phase one trial immediately, which is true but it discounts the trial taking place in a universe where the placebo has a 15-25% bad reaction rate in itself - which returns to the possibility that all of the bad reactions were simple bad luck.

        It would be fun to bring this up with the authors, but I don't know anyone at the school of public health so it would be sticky getting an introduction.

        Two larger issues are at work here.  You may have noticed that my alarm went off when the p value turned out to be 0.14, when the convention is that it needs to be less than 0.05.  As written up in this Economist article, there is a serious school of thought which holds that p value analysis is horribly abused in scientific practice - to the extent that half or more of all published results are false, or at least highly suspect.  This tension showed up in real life recently, when fivethirtyeight.com hired a climate change denialist who used his naive bag of statistical tricks to sneer at the whole field of atmospheric science - and was promptly devoured by the experts who actually know the field.  Just to make the point once again, what he did is the precise inverse of what I was trying to do here: I fully accept that CCD is happening, neonicotinoids probably play a role and may well be the primary driver, but I have to point out that this bee study is not so crushingly significant as it might appear at first glance.

        On top of this issue of technical adequacy is the tension, alluded to by one of my commenters above, between statistical analysis on the one hand and scientific expertise on the other.  In my own field this goes by the slogan "chemical intuition" and it is positively spooky sometimes, just how accurate smart people can be in figuring out the truth even when the formal machinery of inference is helpless - even at times a positive hindrance.

        The way I resolve all this is to do my science thing, build up my expertise, and constantly run little formal checks to guard against doing anything more than ordinarily stupid.

        Finally, we get to my response to your question: individuals or colonies?  My sense is that the colony is the proper level of study here.  My thinking is that every colony loses a great many bees when the weather gets cold and the flowers die away; the number of individuals lost will vary with all sorts of factors, but the key question is whether the hive as a whole survives.  If yes, a healthy summertime population can be regenerated even from a severely stressed queen, if no then everything is lost.  A question worthy of a graduate student
        digging in and researching a thesis would be, is there a winter time population threshold below which the hive is doomed?  If I were on that NSF panel, I would fund that project.

        Thanks for asking, that was an interesting question.

        o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

        by tarkangi on Fri May 09, 2014 at 07:42:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In general the winter-colony size threshold (4+ / 0-)

          for survival is the amount of bees needed to maintain the necessary temperature (90F +) at the core of the cluster, taking into account the local, temporal, heat losses which obviously vary between Atlanta and Alberta during January, as an example.

          Bees need at least 45-50F to be able to move around.  Below that they are in metabolic deficit and have only a short window of survival.  Bees maintain the core temp of the cluster by having the outer bees "shiver" to generate heat in the outer layers as insulation for the inner layers.  Bees circulate in complex ways among the layers as they become chilled. Bees don't heat their homes (hives), but they heat themselves and to some degree their close environs.  My bees generated a remarkable amount of heat even during 20F temps.  I could stick my kitchen instant read thermometer in the top ventilation hole and get readings as high as 85-90 F, a few inches from the cluster. (My hives are extraordinarily well insulated compared to most.)

          (Some races of bees- Russians, for instance, which orginated in Siberia  - are more effective at maintaining the core cluster temps in the winter with fewer bees.  Italians are reputed to be less sturdy.  I wouldn't know as my bees are mutts, of no certain pedigree.)

          So challenges from mites, to lack of food, to poor long-term nutrition, or unsual temperature extremes or durations, or diseases, or subtle changes in comensal hive organisms might independently reduce the number of living bees capable of performing their winter hive job: shivering as needed.  And that could lead to loss of a hive (colorfully termed "a deadout", in bee world) but it wouldn't necessarily lead to CCD, which isn't a hive with bees all present and dead.  CCD is a hive with all, or nearly all, bees vanished and presumed dead.

          The feral bees that used to be in my barn walls simply vanished, leaving hundreds of pounds of accessible, and apparently healthful and edible honey in their combs,  the collective work-product of tens of billions of bees' lives. My new swarm-bees have been fed this honey, with no ill effects.

          Araguato

          •  Thank you, that was very interesting (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Prickly Pam, FishOutofWater

            My grandfather kept bees back in Oklahoma, and I used to love watching him (from a safe distance) as he handled the hives.

            I am happy to have learned the distinction between "deadout" and CCD, which will inform my future reading in this area.

            And I am amazed to learn that bees are able to regulate temperature to this extent.  I had stupidly thought them to be cold blooded, but obviously there is quite a bit more to this matter than is obvious to the naive observor.

            Like I commented in a thread yesterday, I like to learn something new every day.

            o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

            by tarkangi on Sat May 10, 2014 at 02:11:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Isn't there also the possibility that the control (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Prickly Pam

            hive that collapsed was exposed to a neonic source somewhere in their foraging that the other controls didn't get exposed to?

            "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi, 6/30/07 // "Succeed?" At what?

            by nailbender on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:24:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That colony died of a known disease (5+ / 0-)

              Bees died of a number of diseases before neonicitinoids were introduced. There's no evidence that the control group was affected by anything but that known disease.

              The important thing to notice here is that CCD is distinguishable from known diseases and parasites that cause hive failure.

              “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

              by FishOutofWater on Sat May 10, 2014 at 08:17:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Correlation != Causation (0+ / 0-)

      While we are on the subject of questionable statistical claims, did you know that colony collapse disorder prevents marriages in Vermont?

      * for entertainment purposes only *

      o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

      by tarkangi on Sat May 10, 2014 at 12:06:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tweeted, Fish. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, jan4insight

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
    Teh Twitterz, I'z awn dem.
    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Fri May 09, 2014 at 02:55:57 PM PDT

  •  Link to article is giving me a weird error in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater

    Mozilla, something about PDF not an output type.

    If someone could post or kosmail the entire link, I'd appreciate it.

  •  Thanks for the diary. (6+ / 0-)

    As a non-scientist, I simply avoid buying anything that is an "insecticide" to apply to my gardens.  But I do not rely on my gardens as a sole source of food or as a source of income.  I imagine the choices are harder for others who depend more closely on these things.

    So much to learn, and I always learn something from reading your diaries and those who comment.

    Thanks.

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:23:42 PM PDT

  •  Waiting for Bayer to start standard attack (3+ / 0-)

    on research, character and reputation of Chensheng Lu to start in 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 . . . just ask Tyrone Hays.

  •  Beeswax is a solvent. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, samanthab, Prickly Pam

    Neonicitinoids are organic substances which will dissolve in beeswax. Same goes for miticides which beeks use to try and control varroa destructor. Yes, that's right, beekeepers treat their insects with insecticides to control other bugs.

    And it all dissolves in beeswax.

    And the levels of these toxic chemicals within the beeswax increase over time.

    And they raise their babies in this toxic bath.

    IS anybody really surprised at the results?

    What the Right Wing calls "being politically correct" is what my mama used to teach me was "being polite".

    by Walt starr on Fri May 09, 2014 at 07:26:59 PM PDT

  •  Thanks a bunch - I'll send a link to a friend (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater

    who researches bees.

    I think you need an "o" instead of "i" in your title and other versions: nicotinoid

  •  Not to worry! Once insect pollinators are all dead (3+ / 0-)

    the oligarchy will hire millions of the 99% (at pennies per day) to pollinate all the crops the rich need to live on. The ultimate trickle-down bonanza!
    Win-win!

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

    by fourthcornerman on Sat May 10, 2014 at 02:19:45 AM PDT

  •  You're right. Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

    Will edit.

    “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

    by FishOutofWater on Sat May 10, 2014 at 10:29:17 AM PDT

  •  You'd think the agriculture industry (0+ / 0-)

    would be all over this. Nothing like billions and billions in losses because there are no bees to pollinate your orchards and fields.

  •  Compare/Contrast Australian bees... (0+ / 0-)

    In addition to questions over the small sample size, there's this:

    Another major problem with laying the blame of CCD solely at the feet of neonicotinoids is the fact Australia uses these insecticides, and they have yet to report a single case of CCD. The immediate noticeable difference in Australian hives is they remain free of the incredibly destructive Varroa mites
    Read more at http://www.iflscience.com/...
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