Neonicotinoids, like nicotine, bind to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors of a cell and trigger a response by that cell. In mammals, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are located in cells of both the central nervous system and peripheral nervous systems. In insects these receptors are limited to the central nervous system. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are activated by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. While low to moderate activation of these receptors causes nervous stimulation, high levels overstimulate and block the receptors, causing paralysis and death. Acetylcholinesterase breaks down acetylcholine to terminate signals from these receptors. However, acetylcholinesterase cannot break down neonicotinoids and their binding is irreversible.
Neonicotinoids as of 2-15-2015 are LEGAL in America. They are killing our pollinators all over the world (bees).
Tom Theobald, Owner, Niwot Honey Farm, Niwot, Colorado: “And the fact is – we’re not losing 30% a year. We’re losing 60%, 70% or 80% a year through the entire course of the year!”
The proof is in and folks, it’s not pretty. From 2012 to 2013 nearly 80% of bees are either not returning to there hives, or they have simply died. The reports are coming in from beekeepers and polinaters all over the country, that the Bees are dying off at alarming rates.On July 12, 2013, Rep. John Conyers, on behalf of himself and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, introduced the “Save American Pollinators Act” in the House of Representatives. The Act called for suspension of the use of four neonicotinoids, including the three recently suspended by the European Union, until their review is complete, and for a joint Interior Department and EPA study of bee populations and the possible reasons for their decline. The bill was assigned to a congressional committee on July 16, 2013 and did not leave committee.
The New York Times
March 23, 2013
“A conclusive explanation so far has escaped scientists studying the ailment, colony collapse disorder, since it first surfaced around 2005. But beekeepers and some researchers say there is growing evidence that a powerful new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, incorporated into the plants themselves, could be an important factor.
The pesticide industry disputes that. But its representatives also say they are open to further studies to clarify what, if anything, is happening.
“They looked so healthy last spring,” said Bill Dahle, 50, who owns Big Sky Honey in Fairview, Mont. “We were so proud of them. Then, about the first of September, they started to fall on their face, to die like crazy. We’ve been doing this 30 years, and we’ve never experienced this kind of loss before.”
In a show of concern, the Environmental Protection Agency recently sent its acting assistant administrator for chemical safety and two top chemical experts here, to the San Joaquin Valley of California, for discussions.
In the valley, where 1.6 million hives of bees just finished pollinating an endless expanse of almond groves, commercial beekeepers who only recently were losing a third of their bees to the disorder say the past year has brought far greater losses.
The federal Agriculture Department is to issue its own assessment in May. But in an interview, the research leader at its Beltsville, Md., bee research laboratory, Jeff Pettis, said he was confident that the death rate would be “much higher than it’s ever been.”
Read the NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE- Soaring Bee Deaths
The Truth about Neonicotinoids
- TRUE: Neonicotinoids have been used In the U.S. on about 95 percent of corn and canola crops, the majority of cotton, sorghum, and sugar beets and about half of all soybeans. They have been used on the vast majority of fruit and vegetables, including apples, cherries, peaches, oranges, berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, and potatoes, to cereal grains, rice, nuts, and wine grapes.
- TRUE: As all neonicotinoids were registered after 1984, they were not subject to re- registration, but due to environmental concerns, especially concerning bees, the EPA opened dockets to evaluate them.EPA Last updated on April 17, 2014. The registration review docket for imidacloprid+ opened in December 2008, and the docket for nithiazine+ opened in March 2009. To best take advantage of new research as it becomes available, the EPA moved ahead the docket openings for the remaining neonicotinoids on the registration review schedule (acetamiprid+, clothianidin+, dinotefuran+, thiacloprid+, andthiamethoxam+) to FY 2012. The EPA has said that it expects to complete the review for the neonicotinoids in 2018.
- TRUE: In 2008, Germany revoked the registration of clothianidin for use on seed corn after an incident that resulted in the death of millions of nearby honey bees.
- TRUE: Neonicotinoids may be responsible for detrimental effects on bumble bee+ colony growth and queen production.
- FALSE: Neonicotinoids are responsible for killing of the bees only, and do not effect other insects.
- TRUE: In March 2013, the American Bird Conservancy+ published a commentary on 200 studies on neonicotinoids calling for a ban on neonicotinoid use as seed treatments because of their toxicity to birds, aquatic invertebrates+, and other wildlife.
- TRUE: From June to October 2014 a comprehensive Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the impact of Systemic Pesticides on biodiversity and ecosystems (WIA) was published in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research. In a series of papers it concludes that these systemic insecticides pose a serious risk of harm to a broad range of non-target invertebrate taxa often below the expected environmental concentrations.
- TRUE:In April 2015 EASAC+ conducted a study of the potential effects on organisms providing a range of ecosystem services like pollination and natural pest control which are critical to sustainable agriculture+. The resulting report concludes “there is an increasing body of evidence that the widespread prophylactic use of neonicotinoids has severe negative effects on non-target organisms that provide ecosystem services including pollination and natural pest control.” Two studies published in ”Nature”+ provided further evidence of the deleterious effect of neonicontinoids on bees, although the further research is needed to corroborate the findings: Oilseed rape seed coated with a combination of clothianidin and a pyrethroid “reduced wild bee density, solitary bee nesting, and bumblebee colony growth and reproduction under field conditions”. In a feeding experiment, bees preferred sucrose solutions with imidacloprid or thiamethoxam, even though it “caused them to eat less food overall”.
The Western Producer, April 30, 2013, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Clothianidin and Honey Bees: Clothianidin is one of two neonicotinoids that is used on almost all corn planted in the United States (the other is thiamethoxam, which turns into clothianidin when honeybees metabolize it). This is significant as corn is the “single largest use of arable land in North America.” It takes only 22 to 44 nanograms (billionths of a gram) to kill 50% of honeybees exposed. However, when administered to the bees orally, a mere 2.8 to 3.7 nanograms is sufficient to kill 50% of honeybees. One kernel of corn can contain enough clothianidin to kill 80,000 honeybees. While corn does not rely on honeybees for pollination (it uses wind), corn pollen is a significant food source for honeybees. Source: Sourcewatch.org.
What seems to be alarming is that it is not only the bees are vanishing but the list of assaults on the environment via nicotine-like chemicals called neonicotinoids now includes birds.
Read the impact study on birds here: Independent scientists have assessed the effects of clothianidin and thiamethoxam on honey bee colony health and development, examining both sub-lethal exposure effects and acute risks. Scientists have also identified massive data gaps that prevent accurate assessments as to their continued safety, not just for honey bees but for ecosystem integrity on the whole. A major new report issued this week by the American Bird Conservancy, The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds, sounds dire warnings about EPA’s failures to assess threats to birds and to the aquatic ecosystems many species depend upon.
American Bird Conservancy, March 19, 2013, Washington, D. C. See Websites below.
What are neonicotinoids ?
Neonicotinoids are a new class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine. The name literally means “new nicotine-like insecticides”. Like nicotine, the neonicotinoids act on certain kinds of receptors in the nerve synapse. They are much more toxic to invertebrates, like insects, than they are to mammals, birds and other higher organisms.
One thing that has made neonicotinoid insecticides popular in pest control is their water solubility, which allows them to be applied to soil and be taken up by plants. Soil insecticide applications reduce the risks for insecticide drift from the target site, and for at least some beneficial insects on plants.
There are several different kinds of neonicotinoid insecticides. The first neonicotinoid to reach the market was imidacloprid, a common ingredient in Bayer Advanced Garden insecticides. This product can be sprayed on the plant, but is often more effective (especially on sucking insects) when applied to the soil. Dinotefuran (Safari) is another, more highly water-soluble, neonicotinoid that is especially good on sap-feeding insects.
To find out whether an insecticide you see on the shelf of your hardware, pest control supply or garden center is a neonicotinoid, look on the list of active ingredients. If you see one of the following names listed, the insecticide includes a neonicotinoid:http://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/ipm/what-is-a-neonicotinoid/
The Importance of bees
“The most recognized pollinators are the various species of bees, which are plainly adapted to pollination. Bees typically are fuzzy and carry an electrostatic charge. Both features help pollen grains adhere to their bodies, but they also have specialized pollen-carrying structures; in most bees, this takes the form of a structure known as the scopa, which is on the hind legs of most bees, and/or the lower abdomen (e.g., of megachilid bees), made up of thick, plumose setae. Honey bees, bumblebees, and their relatives do not have a scopa, but the hind leg is modified into a structure called the corbicula (also known as the “pollen basket“). Most bees gather nectar, a concentrated energy source, and pollen, which is high protein food, to nurture their young, and inadvertently transfer some among the flowers as they are working. Euglossine bees pollinate orchids, but these are male bees collecting floral scents rather than females gathering nectar or pollen. Female orchid bees act as pollinators, but of flowers other than orchids. Eusocial bees such as honey bees need an abundant and steady source of pollen to multiply.”
Europe has been so contaminated that another one of their agencies, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, DEFRA, tried to conduct an experiment and they found that their control colonies were as contaminated with Clothianidin as their test colonies were. They couldn’t find a place in the United Kingdom that had not been contaminated with the (neonicotinoid) pesticides in question! That’s what we’re dealing with.
It could take decades for the soils to relieve themselves of these chemicals. It may already be too late. These are crimes against the environment. And they knew going in! They knew twenty years ago what these (nicotine) chemicals were going to do!
THE VERY FACT THAT THE EPA – HEARING ALL THE CRITICISMS FROM HONEY BEE FARMERS AND OTHERS FOR NEARLY A DECADE AND RESISTS DOING ANYTHING TO CHANGE THEIR POLICIES. IN FACT, EPA HAS GIVEN MORE CONDITIONAL REGISTRATIONS FOR MORE POISONS.
“Conditional registrations” by Pesticide Network: Clothianidin was given a conditional registration in 2003. EPA is supposed to license ("register") pesticides only if they meet standards for protection of environment and human health. But pesticide law allows EPA to waive these requirements and grant a "conditional" registration when health and safety data are lacking in the case of a new pesticide, allowing companies to sell the pesticide before EPA gets safety data. The company is supposed to submit the data by the end of the conditional registration period. Conditional registrations account for 2/3 of current pesticide product registrations. It is a common practice for the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs to afford rapid market access for products that remain in use for many years before they are tested. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, of the 16,000 current product registrations: 11,000 (68%) have been conditionally registered; almost 8,200 products have been conditionally registered (“CR status”) since 2005; approximately 5,400 products have had CR status since 2000; and over 2,100 products have had CR status since 1990.'
IF THE GOVERNING AUTHORITY IS NOT TAKING ANY OF THIS SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS TRULY THE WORST CASE PROJECTION FOR, LET’S SAY, ANOTHER DECADE?
Well, let’s assume that we lose our pollination services. We’re talking about probably ninety commercial crops. We’re talking about all the good stuff that needs cross-pollination. That’s all the tasty stuff – the fruits, the berries.
The wind-pollinated crops will continue – rice, corn, soybeans – things like that. But the world will be impoverished. We simply can’t let that happen. Ultimately the EPA reports to Congress and Congress has done virtually nothing. Why isn’t Congress getting into the driver’s seat here?
WHEN YOU GET TOGETHER WITH SOME OF YOUR COLLEAGUES AT BEYOND PESTICIDES AND MANY OF THE OTHER APIARY ORGANIZATIONS, WHAT DO YOU HONESTLY TALK ABOUT WITH EACH OTHER ON THAT VERY QUESTION: WHY AT THE HIGHER AUTHORITIES OF AGENCIES IN THIS ADMINISTRATION THAT THERE IS TOTAL DISREGARD FOR THE POISONS THAT ARE OVERWHELMING THE UNITED STATES FARM LAND?http://www.earthfiles.com
Lawsuit ensues against the EPA
March 21, 2013: Beekeepers and Public Interest Groups
Sued EPA Over Nicotine-Based Pesticides
LOOKING FORWARD THE NEXT FEW MONTHS TO THE END OF 2013, IS THERE ANY LAWSUIT, ANY OTHER ACTION THAT BEYOND PESTICIDESAND ALL THE VARIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS AND YOU AS HONEY BEEKEEPERS ARE GOING TO TRY TO DO?
Well, we filed the lawsuit against the EPA on the 21st of March 2013. It’s an administrative lawsuit. It does not call for damages, but what it asks is that the court find that the EPA has not been following the law. It’s been characterized in the media as we have called for a ban on these insecticides. That’s not the thrust of that March 21st lawsuit. That lawsuit asks the court to find the EPA has not followed the law and has abused the category of ‘conditional registration.’ Now that might resolve in the withdrawal of some of these products from the market. But what we’re calling for is for the court to hold EPA accountable under the law.http://www.earthfiles.com
Beekeepers and Public Interest Groups Sue EPA Over Bee-Toxic Pesticides
Center for Food Safety: Peter Jenkins or Larissa Walker 202-547-9359
Beyond Pesticides: Jay Feldman or Nichelle Harriott 202-543-5450March 21, 2013
Beekeepers and Public Interest Groups Sue EPA Over Bee-Toxic Pesticides
Lawsuit seeks to address bee Colony Collapse Disorder and demands EPA protect livelihoods, rural economies and environment
Today, a year after groups formally petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), four beekeepers and five environmental and consumer groups filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court against the agency for its failure to protect pollinators from dangerous pesticides. The coalition, represented by attorneys for the Center for Food Safety (CFS), seeks suspension of the registrations of insecticides that have repeatedly been identified as highly toxic to honey bees, clear causes of major bee kills and significant contributors to the devastating ongoing mortality of bees known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). The suit challenges EPA’s ongoing handling of the pesticides as well as the agency’s practice of “conditional registration” and labeling deficiencies.
“America’s beekeepers cannot survive for long with the toxic environment EPA has supported. Bee-toxic pesticides in dozens of widely used products, on top of many other stresses our industry faces, are killing our bees and threatening our livelihoods,” said plaintiff Steve Ellis, a Minnesota and California beekeeper. “Our country depends on bees for crop pollination and honey production. It’s time for EPA to recognize the value of bees to our food system and agricultural economy.”
The pesticides involved — clothianidin and thiamethoxam — are “neonicotinoids,” a newer class of systemic insecticides that are absorbed by plants and transported throughout the plant’s vascular tissue, making the plant potentially toxic to insects. Clothianidin and thiamethoxam first came into heavy use in the mid-2000s, at the same time beekeepers started observing widespread cases of colony loses, leaving beekeepers unable to recoup their losses.
“Beekeepers and environmental and consumer groups have demonstrated time and time again over the last several years that EPA needs to protect bees. The agency has refused, so we’ve been compelled to sue,” said Center for Food Safety attorney, Peter T. Jenkins. “EPA’s unlawful actions should convince the Court to suspend the approvals for clothianidin and thiamethoxam products until those violations are resolved.”http://www.panna.org/press-release/beekeepers-and-public-interest-groups-sue-epa-over-bee-toxic-pesticides
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is “an international coalition of around 600 NGOs, citizens’ groups, and individuals in about 60 countries.” PAN is involved in fighting problems caused by pesticide use, and advocates ecologically sound alternatives. Branches include PAN North America, U. K., Germany, Mexico, Asia and Pacific, and Africa.
In November 2010, PAN publicized a leaked Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) memo that showed that the EPA suspected the crop spray clothianidin, manufactured by German agrochemical company Bayer, as a possible cause of bee colony collapse disorder. This pesticide has a conditional approval in the U. S., where it is widely used on sugar beets, canola, soy, sunflowers, wheat, and corn, but is banned in Germany, France, Italy, and some other countries.
In December 2010, PAN North America joined with other organizations in suing California, to challenge “the state’s approval of the cancer-causing strawberry pesticide methyl iodide.”
Join the Pesticide Action Network on FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/pesticideactionnetwork