Beekeepers Fear Harmful Effects Of Pesticides

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Beekeepers say a new pesticide is killing bees. A group is asking the EPA to do more testing before using the pesticide, which was approved in 2003.

Vera Krischik is a researcher at the University of Minnesota. She says the pesticide, known as a Neoicotinoid, works kind of like an antibiotic.

“It’s the same thing with this new class of pesticides” she said. “You put it in the soil, and it gets picked up in the roots and goes throughout the plant.”

Over time, she said, it ends up in the pollen and nectar.

“The EPA really likes it, because it’s very non-toxic to humans,” Krischik said. “You don’t spray it. There isn’t drift. There seems to be a lot of positive things, but everyone overlooks the fact that it gets in very high levels of pollen and nectar.”

She said if you like cantaloupe, blueberries, apples, oranges, or almonds, you better like bees. Bess pollinate those plants.

Beekeepers are trying to stop the use of the pesticide.

“The whole argument is concentrated on genetically modified crops,” Krischik said. “They attach the pesticide right onto the seed. And there are much higher uses of it.”

Krischik said they are finding that there is very little forage out there for bees, and we have to start making bee habitats and preserves.

“So we are ending up with a lot of native and managed bees in the urban landscape, because there no more flowers out in the rural landscape.

Officials with the manufacturer of the pesticide, say they are confident the research will show that the product is safe for bees.

More from Susie Jones
  • Yeller

    “Officials with the manufacturer of the pesticide, say they are confident the research will show that the product is safe for bees.”

    “Beekeepers say a new pesticide is killing bees.”

    They both can’t be right. Who in the hell is lying?

    • Save the Bees!

      The only testing of the product was done by the company. A non-biased party needs to do come in and test it. Butterflies are also disappearing, and they also linked it to the pesticides farmers are using now in corn. If all these insects disappear, we’ll be in big trouble, because they pollinate fruit and vegetable plants.

      • keel

        A recent study led by Harvard Professer Lu found a direct link between these compounds and Colony Collapse Disorder, the problem affecting our Honeybees and Bumblebees. “Like earlier pesticides, neonicotinoids disrupt insects’ central nervous systems. But unlike earlier pesticides, which affected insects during and immediately after spraying, neonicotinoids spread through the vascular tissues of plants. They’re toxic through entire growing seasons, including flowering times when bees consume their pollen.” They found that bees had trouble finding their hives and/or produced up to 85% fewer Queens to produce the next generation. Let’s see if the FDA gets off the pot on this one or is satisfied merely raking in the dough from the chemical manufacturers. BTW, Bayer AG is the main provider…a German company.

  • Sgt

    Who do you think is right?

  • keel

    Well…France, Germany and Italy have banned neonicotinoids. Problem is, they are very long-lasting…lasting for 3 years or more. Seems the chemical companies swore that DDT was safe as well. We can’t get along without bees.

    • Land of opportunity

      I have to agree. When looking at an argument in which two (2) sides have differing opinions, one should ask who has more to lose.

      Also, the independent researchers that came up with the study results are mroe likely to have an unfiltered and bias report. Especially when the researchers over the last two (2) years were always stating that we should waitfor their results before making judgement.

      I’m sure the companies who make this product will try and stall legislation until they find a supplement chemical as good, and they make back the original investment on this current drug.

      There’s a lot of talk in big business about being ecologically friendly, but when it comes down to it, if a business is at risk financially I’ve seen the business interests win out more times than not.

  • Tony Rozycki

    Interesting & important article Susie. Agree with you & commenters chemical manufacturers are not always objective. I think most of Europe generally has high environmental standards. Curious if Martha Spivak agrees with Vera. Martha is also a honey bee expert at the U of MN ag campus who I think was on 60 Minutes a few years ago discussing this exact subject. I’ve been following the problem in the news the past several years since attending an evening class from Prof Spivak. Have heard other theories too such as a virus. Sounds like we need an informed & unbiased consensus opinion including university researchers & others, the sooner the better. Haven’t heard recently if the honeybee population is still declining and, if so, how much & where?

  • Tony Rozycki

    sorry Marla not Martha

  • Tony R

    Steve Kroft intervied Marla on 60 Minutes in 2008. She suspected the declining honey bee population is probably due to bee nutrition, pesticides and/or bee disease e.g. virus. Thanks for keeping the issue in the limelight!

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