"Pesticide firms must be held to account for bee poisoning" was the title of a recent blog post in The Guardian newspaper, written by Alison Benjamin.
"There is an overwhelming body of evidence pointing the finger at the sub-lethal impact of pesticides on bees" - it continues.
During a three day public tribunal organised by Pesticide Action Network (the Permanent People's Tribunal (PPT)), cases are being brought against the big six pesticide companies; Monsanto, Dow, BASF, Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont, which control 74% of the global pesticide market. You can read more
here (opens new window).
(The trial is about more than bee poisoning incidents, it is also about
general crimes against humanity, such as the disaster in Bhopal,
Alison concludes the blog: "My opinion, and that of others, is
that there is an overwhelming body of evidence pointing the finger at
the sub-lethal impact of pesticides on bees, isn't it time that their
creators were held to account?"
1. Bee poisoning incidents - where are they actually adequately monitored and reported? It seems to me that any sincere effort to do anything meaningful in the area of government body monitoring, is lacking. You can read more about the UK scenario on my page:
Honey Bee Pesticide Poisoning Incidents
(opens a new window), where you will see that honey bee poisoning
incidents are not properly monitored by the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme that is meant to capture them (and I wonder if the equipment to
test for such incidents would be sufficiently sensitive anyway).
In the USA, Tom Theobald quotes similar frustrations with regard
to bee poisoning events, and enforcement of correct application by
farmers (which in any event, ignores issues such as toxic build up, but
(Note: with the last comment, Tom is referring to the fact that neonicotinoid pesticides like Clothianidin remain in the soil for many years without degrading, and indeed, they can build up with successive applications!).
2. Where do the regulatory procedures adequately take account
of pesticide build up, toxic soup effects, plus mobility of the
chemicals in soil and water? I can't find any regulatory (authorising)
body or monitoring system which does this with any integrity if at all.
And so the idea that pesticides are assessed for 'acceptable risk' to
the environment prior to marketing authorisations being granted, is an
3. Where does the regulatory system allow for public scrutiny prior to marketing authorisations being granted?
4. Where are the adequate testing procedures for sub-lethal
effects of pesticides on bees (i.e. effects that may not immediately
kill, but due to impairment of functioning, usually cause harm and
Here is one example of what to me, seems like gross negligence on the part of the regulatory bodies (they cannot plead ignorance in the UK - the issue has been raised with them repeatedly, and they have ignored it):
Bayer Cropscience market a termite killer, whose active ingredient is the neonicotinoid, Imidacloprid. In their marketing literature, they outline how the termite is killed by this product via a range of sub-lethal and behavioural effects that ultimately in time, impairs the whole colony, resulting in its demise. "Aah, but termites and bees are different" say some - so read this page for further information. It seems to me to be negligent of our regulatory bodies to ignore this information - which has certainly been pointed out to them!
Then there is the question of whether
neonicotinoids make honey bees more susceptible to Varroa.
I wonder......when public servant, Helen Thompson of FERA was investigating "The relevance of sublethal effects in honey bee testing for pesticide risk assessment", and when she worked with Christian Maus of Bayer Cropscience to produce this "paper", did they discuss the Bayer termite killer, and any possible implication for bees? I have put this question to Lord Henley the government minister responsible at the time - the question has thus far been ignored.
You can read more about honey bee poisoning incidents
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