Millions of bees dead - Bayer's Gaucho blamed
Synthetic honey and GMO bees - Part II
A French governmental report confirms suspicions of a mass poisoning of bees involving hundreds of thousands of colonies of honey bees. According to the report of the French Scientific and Technical Committee, Bayer's seed treatment GAUCHO pesticide is to blame - at least in part.
Earlier this year, I published an article by French journalist Michel Dogna, who had investigated the ecological catastrophe and pointed a finger at Bayer's toxic product. His article - Synthetic honey and GMO bees? - can be found here.
Coalition against Bayer-Dangers, as well as French and German beekepers' unions are calling for an immediate ban of the pesticide.
France: Governmental report claims BAYER-pesticide GAUCHO responsible for bee-deaths
Coalition against Bayer-Dangers is calling for a ban
November 25th, 2003
The report on bee-deaths, published by the French Comité Scientifique et Technique (CST), shows that the use of the pesticide GAUCHO is jointly responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of bee colonies. Environmental activists and beekeeper unions are calling for a ban on the agricultural toxin.
The summary of the report states: "The results of the examination on the risks of the seeds-treatment GAUCHO are alarming. The treatment of seeds by GAUCHO is a significant risk to bees in several stages of life." The 108-page report was made by order of the agricultural ministry of France by the universities of Caen and Metz as well as by the Pasteur Institute.
The use of GAUCHO on sunflowers was prohibited in France four years ago because of the high risk to bees. However after this step, the bee-deaths did not decrease noticeably - beekeepers are blaming this on the extensive use of agricultural toxins in maize cultivation. The concluding-report of the CST agrees, stating: "Concerning the treatment of maize-seeds by GAUCHO, the results are as alarming as with sunflowers. The consumption of contaminated pollen can lead to an increased mortality of care-taking-bees, which can explain the persisting bee-deaths even after the ban of the treatment on sunflowers".
The pesticide GAUCHO (containing the active substance Imidacloprid) is produced by the German BAYER-group. With an annual turnover of more than 500 million Euro this is the groupĂ‚'s top selling agricultural agent. Critics assume that the high sales figures are the reason why the company is contesting a ban on its use.
The thesis, as stated by bee institutes, that infestation by Varroa mites was responsible for the bee deaths, appears to be an excuse, according to Fridolin Brandt of the Coalition against Bayer-Dangers: "We have been concerned with Varroa mites since 1977, and for decades they haven't been a danger. It is the extensive use of pesticides and the accompanying weakening of the bees which is leading to the bee-deaths." Brandt has been a full-time beekeeper for more than 30 years.
Maurice Mary, spokesman of the French beekeepers union Union National d'Apiculteurs (UNAF): "Since the first application of GAUCHO we have had great losses in the harvest of sunflower honey. Since the agent is staying in the soil up to three years, even untreated plants can contain a concentration which is lethal for bees." The UNAF representing about 50.000 beekeepers is calling for a total ban of GAUCHO, following the presentation of the CST report.
The German beekeepers united in the Deutsche Berufsimkerbund (DBIB) and the Coalition against Bayer-Dangers are also calling for a ban on its use. In Germany, Imidacloprid is used mainly in the production of rape, sugar beet and maize. The situation in German agriculture is comparable to the French: In the past years almost half of the bee-colonies have died, which led to a loss of output of several thousand tonnes of honey per year. Furthermore, because bees do the most pollination, there are also losses of output on apples, pears and rape.
We would be pleased to send to you the 108-page report of the Comité Scientifique et Technique (in French) and a statement by the Coordination des Apiculteurs de France (in English)
See also more recent (Feb. 2004) articles:
France bans use of six Fipronil insecticides PARIS, Feb 23 (Reuters) - France said on Monday it would ban the use of six insecticides containing Fipronil, an active ingredient notably used in the Regent TS insecticide produced by BASF Agro , because it is suspected of killing bees. Fipronil was marketed under the trade name Regent for use against major pests on a wide range of field and horticultural crops but it is also marketed under other names for insecticides against fleas, ticks or mites (Reuters AlertNet, UK).
Bayer shares fall on insecticide, Roche bid worries
French ban pesticides sold in Australia
Update May 2004:
26 May 2004 - France suspends use of Gaucho insecticide for corn
French Agriculture Minister Herve Gaymard on Tuesday announced it planned to stop use of the Gaucho pesticide to treat corn seeds until it is reviewed by the European Commission in 2006.
In January last year, Gaymard had already extended for three years suspension of the use of Gaucho, a chemical produced by the German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer, for treatment of sunflower seeds.
Gaucho, like another pesticide Regent TS produced by German chemicals giant BASF, has been accused by French bee-keepers of causing a high mortality rate among bees. Sales of Regent TS was suspended in France last February.
An agriculture ministry report deemed that the government's decision to give farmers till June to use up their remaining stocks of pesticide was much less costly that destroying the crop seeds already sprayed. But the national association of bee-keepers says massive damage is being done to bee populations, which are crucial to plant pollination.
Subisidiaries of Bayer and BASF, which sold Regent TS, are under criminal investigation in France for selling an agricultural product that is toxic to humans or animals. (sourche: AFP)
French beekeepers say about 90 billion of their insects have been killed over the last 10 years by a pesticide.
The chemical, used on crops including maize and sunflowers, damages the bees' sense of direction so they become lost. It is used in the UK on several crops, though not in exactly the way it is used in France, and British beekeepers have been urged to be on their guard. UK apiarists say the value of bees to the agricultural economy is immense, and they fear bees are becoming rarer.
The chemical implicated in the loss of French bees is imidacloprid, marketed under a variety of names including Gaucho. It is slowly released in the plants, protecting them against insect attack by destroying their ability to find their way.
A London newspaper, the Observer, reported: "Almost immediately after the chemicals were introduced 10 years ago, beekeepers reported that their bees were becoming disoriented and dying.
Used in UK
"Within a few years honey production in south-west France fell by 60%. According to the chairman of the national beekeepers' association, Jean-Marie Sirvins, a third of the country's 1.5 million registered hives disappeared. "As a result, France has had to import up to 24,000 tons of honey annually." The pesticide companies say their products are not responsible for killing the bees.
There are no reports of any ill effects from applications of imidacloprid in the UK, where it is licensed for use on beet. There are restrictions on its use when the plants are in flower, or for spraying the foliage. But Richard Jones, the director of the International Bee Research Association, told BBC News Online: "Beekeepers here have to be on the alert.
"The verroa mite, which feeds on the bees' blood, arrived from mainland Europe, and we know that bees' nests can travel a long way on container ships.
"People hear about bees and think only about honey, but it's the other side of the problem that's worrying. "They add billions of pounds to the value of the agricultural economy every year because of their work in pollinating crops like apples.
"We don't have enough bees in the UK, and we have very few feral bees. Every time a hedgerow is destroyed, that means the loss of nesting places for bumblebees."
By Alex Kirby, 1 March 2004
BBC News Online environment correspondent
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Where Have all the Honey Bees Gone?
by Robert Cohen
(The amazing story of dairy industry culpability)"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years left to live." - Albert Einstein
This from the Penn State Agriculture Magazine, Spring 1998:
"In the spring of 1993, entomologist Maryann Frazier encountered a mystery. 'Beekeepers began calling to report that they had no bees in their colonies,' she recalls...They had seen bees making flights in February, but by April, there were no bees. What happened to them?'
Frazier's investigation into the reasons the bees disappeared continues today. If she and her colleagues can't unravel the mystery of why bee colonies are dying, beekeepers, fruit and vegetable growers, and consumers all are likely to feel the consequences."
I live in New Jersey, America's Garden State. Believe it or not, we have a state insect, the honey bee. Honey bees pollinate crops. It's actually a big business. Pollinators travel America, leasing their bees to crop growers. Beekeepers keep the honey. During World War II, there were over 6 million commercial beehives in America. By the mid-1980s, that number had dropped to 4 million. Today, there are 2.5 million remaining. America's honey bees are disappearing, and those who best know bees have a number of theories, but no one conclusive reason. The one universally accepted fact is that bees are in trouble.
Could an aspirin manufacturer be the cause of the bee's demise? The Bayer Aspirin Company may be giving our environment an incurable migraine headache.
My first hint came from an ad in the April 10, 2006 issue of Hoard's Dairyman. There, on page 270, a full color advertisement proclaims:"Bayer supplies the technology to fix the milking machine on the right."
On the right side of the ad is an enlarged photo of a most grotesque fly with large red eyes and appendages containing end-to-end cactus-like spurs.
In smaller text, Bayer informs prospective customers:"Bayer understands how much profit flies suck out of your entire operation. That's why we developed QuickBayt Pour-On insecticide...put the high-tech tools from Bayer to work." (Bayer was part of the IG Farben Conglomerate, and no, I will not be getting into that controversy here...)
I began to search the Internet for the secret ingredients to Bayer's miracle fly solution. Gobs and gobs of this high-tech gunk are slathered onto dairy cow's bodies. What's in QuickBayt that makes life so very dangerous for the honey bee?
Imidacloprid is a widely used insecticide that has environmentalists extremely concerned. Apparently, scientists have known for many years the impact that imidacloprid has on wildlife. Here are some of the recognized hazards of using imidacloprid:Imidacloprid has raised concerns because of its possible impact on bee populations...it is also acutely toxic to earthworms...
Imidacloprid has raised concerns because it causes eggshell thinning in endangered bird species...it is highly toxic to sparrows, quails, canaries, and pigeons...
Imidacloprid can be toxic to humans, causing epileptic seizures, diarrhea, and lack of coordination...
Imidacloprid is extremely toxic at low concentrations to some species of aquatic fish and crustaceans...
Can food be contaminated with imidacloprid? You tell me whether this is comedy or tragedy at work. Neither the United States Department of Agriculture nor the Food and Drug Administration includes imidacloprid in their food monitoring programs.
Two European studies have shown that vegetables tested with imidacloprid were contaminated, one week after exposure.
It seems clear that imidacloprid use on dairy farms should be closely monitored by regulatory agencies. The Bayer Company is making lots of money on this drug, but the true cost might become America's newest headache. My advice to FDA and USDA regulators who refuse to regulate: Take two imidacloprids and call me in the morning."Even bees, the little almsmen of spring bowers, know there is richest juice in poison-flowers." - John Keats
July 2006: Bee and Wildflower Diversity Decline Together
The researchers compiled biodiversity data from hundreds of sites in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands and found that bee diversity had decreased in nearly 80 percent of them over the past 25 years. Wild plants that depend on bees for pollination similarly declined.
February 2007:Mystery killer silencing honeybees
Something is killing the nation's honeybees. Dave Hackenberg of central Pennsylvania had 3,000 hives and figures he has lost all but about 800 of them. In labs at Pennsylvania State University, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, and elsewhere in the nation, researchers have been stunned by the number of calls about the mysterious losses.
Mystery ailment strikes honeybees
A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination. Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment, called Colony Collapse Disorder. Reports of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states.
When Bees Disappear, Will Man Soon Follow?
On a recent conference call, Dr. Carlo laid the blame for the sudden demise (often within 72 hours) of entire bee colonies on the recent proliferation of electromagnetic waves (EMF). He cited the startling statistic that, at present, there are some 2.5 billion cell phone users around the world. While this (plus the explosive growth of cell phone towers) used to be the major concern, the problem has been significantly exacerbated by the recent introduction of satellite radio. Dr. Carlo commented that the constant electromagnetic background noise seems to disrupt intercellular communication within individual bees, such that many of them cannot find their way back to the hive.
The problem could well be in our unbridled use of electromagnetic radiation in communications, which is one of the great unacknowledged health threats not only for humans, but it may be killing the bees as well.
June 2007: Emergency Motion on Protecting the Honeybee
Honeybees have been disappearing worldwide. 1 Across the United States, beekeepers have been losing 30 to 90% or more of colonies in a "colony collapse disorder" (CCD) that's causing huge economic losses not only to beekeepers but also to fruit and vegetable growers. CCD has been reported from Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the UK. Many believe that when the honeybee disappears, our species will soon follow. Will the European Commission take the appropriate measures to halt the colony collapse of the honeybees?
Asian Parasite Killing Western Bees - Scientist
His team have also identified this parasite in bees from Austria, Slovenia and other parts of Eastern Europe and assume it has invaded from Asia over a number of years. Treatment for nosema ceranae is effective and cheap -- 1 euro (US$1.4) a hive twice a year -- but beekeepers first have to be convinced the parasite is the problem.
Another theory points a finger at mobile phone aerials, but Higes notes bees use the angle of the sun to navigate and not electromagnetic frequencies.
But others are saying that Nosema ceranae is not the answer. Evidently there's more investigating and thinking to be done...
Virus Implicated In Colony Collapse Disorder In Bees
A team led by scientists from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Pennsylvania State University, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, University of Arizona, and 454 Life Sciences has found a significant connection between the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV) and colony collapse disorder (CCD) in honey bees.
What If The Disappearance of the Bees is Caused By...
This video points out that the neonicotinoids developed and sold by Bayer Crop Science are highly suspicious in the disappearance of the bees. It gives the brand names of neonicotinoids.
"Major Disaster" for Bees May Jeopardize Washington State's Crops
"It's a major disaster in Western Washington. We are into a huge emergency situation," said Yakima beekeeper Eric Olson, who runs the state's largest commercial pollination business.
While his hives in Central and Eastern Washington have survived, Olson said he has lost 80 percent of his Western Washington hives - more than 4,000 in all - to the new pathogen. Other commercial pollinators with bees in Western Washington were just as hard hit. "I'm scared, and I don't mind saying so," Olson said.
The Disappearing Bees: CCD and Electromagnetic Radiation
by Colin Buchanan
A timeline documenting the disappearance of the bees and Colony Collapse Disorder
No causal agent has been agreed upon so far for the disappearance of large numbers of honey bees. Perhaps politics is coming into this as it would be a heavy blow to a very profitable and in many senses vital communications industry if their use of the airwaves were linked to health effects, even if "only" on the bees. Yes, you can find more virus and parasite infestation. But would that not be entirely consistent with a weakening influence of em radiation leaving the little critters open to secondary trouble?
Are bees being wiped out by mobile em frequency tempest?
Martin Weatherall of the Hese Project says that apart from pesticides and other possible causes, a basic weakening influence on the bees leading to colony collapse may well be the thousandfold increase in technical radiation, particularly from mobile phones, in recent years.
Good vibrations could save vanishing bees
Scientists at the Roslin-based firm Global Bioenergetics think disturbance to bees from mobile phones, radio signals, wi-fi and microwaves is disrupting them with devastating results.
Stress caused to the bees by the radiation could be damaging their immune systems, leaving them prone to increasing levels of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides sprayed on crops.
The scientists are trying out a new device, called a Bioemitter, that transmits electromagnetic waves to provide a stable environment and reduce stress for the bees in their hives, boosting their immune system.
Bee Emergency - Unexplained Mass Die-Off Hits German Hives
Germany's beekeepers were pointing fingers at one of Germany's largest companies, blaming a popular, recently-introduced pesticide called clothianidin for the recent die-off. Produced by Monheim-based Bayer CropScience, a subsidiary of German chemical giant Bayer AG, clothianidin is sold in Europe under the trade name Poncho. It's designed to attack the nervous systems of insects "like nerve gas," says Hederer.
Stung by losses, nation's beekeepers try to rebuild
Jeff Pettis, lead researcher at the service's Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, Md., who conducted the survey, said there are no clear-cut answers. "We don't have one thing we can point to; we're looking at a lot of combinations," Pettis said. "It's a combination of some primary stress on the colony that could include low-level pesticide exposure, poor nutrition, Varroa mites — or something else — that allow visitors to take advantage of a weakened host. Then we're seeing a secondary invader actually kill the colony." Despite plenty of attention for several years, the problem is still growing.What about electromagnetic radiation as a weakening influence. There seems to be a real reluctance to even consider that possibility. Perhaps the billions governments rake in from selling "spectrum" to mobile operators preclude entertaining that there could be anything wrong with electromagnetic pollution?
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Wednesday November 26 2003
updated on Tuesday October 19 2010
URL of this article:
Pesticides too harmful to use in any form, doctors warn
""The review found consistent evidence of the health risks to patients with exposure to pesticides," the study said, naming brain cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer and leukemia among many other acute illnesses. As well, the college found consistent links between parents' exposure to certain agricultural pesticides at their jobs and effects on a growing fetus ranging from damage to death. The risks, they concluded, can come even from... [read more]
April 29, 2004 - Chris Gupta
Mosquito control or bio warfare?
Steve Tvedten has been campaigning to raise awareness on the dangers of using the "registered" POISONS - toxic pesitcides and chemical weedkillers - for years. Steve's site (thebestcontrol) advocates safe and far more effective - unregistered - alternatives to the government and corporate mandated "terminator" approach - biowarfare rather than an intelligent way of handling a problem. If we complain about health problems but ignore our poisonous environment, we should... [read more]
September 07, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger
Millions of Bees Die - Are Electromagnetic Signals To Blame?
Bees in the US are dying of some unknown cause - millions of them are leaving their hives and do not come back. What is happening? The problem has got a name - colony collapse disorder - but no apparent cause. Bee hive Some years back, France and other European countries had a similar, if less severe die-off of honey bees. At the time Gaucho, a poisonous seed treatment chemical... [read more]
March 06, 2007 - Sepp Hasslberger
Wreaking Havoc in our Biosphere
Pesticides have become a way of life, but really they are poisoning not only the intended victims - mostly mosquitos - but other insects we consider beneficial - as well as animals and ultimately ourselves. The "chemical way" clearly shows its limitations. Beyond Pesticides has a report on this. Communities across the country are stopping their use of pesticides and adopting preventive strategies that manage mosquito breeding areas and educate... [read more]
August 02, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger
Agriculture: Chemicals GMO Failing - Try Organic, Sustainable
A recent discovery presages production of hydrogen - not by electrolysis but by the effects of catalytic action and sunlight on water. In the ensuing discussion on this post, the question turns to what would be needed to afford economically decent conditions to the billions of people in developing countries. It appears that both water and energy will be important, but even more decisive than these factors will be low-input... [read more]
October 09, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger
Insecticide Causes Mad Cow Disease?
This is an important article to be aware of. The implications are widespread and explains why vegetarians have also gotten this disease! Chris Gupta Insecticide Causes Mad Cow Disease - We learn that pharmaceutical interests in the UK are ignoring new scientific research that shows the insecticide used in the UK government's own warble-fly campaigns triggered the UK surge of 'Mad Cow' disease, according to this report from... [read more]
January 02, 2004 - Chris Gupta