Take a look at this interesting Tom Theobald video, in which Tom
explains his experience and investigations into the impact of
neonicotinoid pesticides on bees.
You can also read more about Tom Theobald’s communications and views regarding the neonicotinoid Clothianidin, and the EPA handling of this pesticide here. Dr Rosemary Mason has also summarised the characteristics of Clothianidin on this page. (Clicking on the links opens a new window).
The Tom Theobald video is an interesting look at one beekeeper’s endeavours to know what was happening specifically to his honey bees. Drawing on his extensive years of experience, Tom Theobald is very clear about the kinds of things that can impact his bees.
Tom is a commercial beekeeper, and whilst many people disagree with this
system of keeping bees, and disapprove of the way the bees are treated
and transported, it is important to note that this practice has gone on
for years, and cannot explain the collapses and honey bee colony losses
of more recent times.
In addition, remember that commercial beekeeping practice happens because of the way people – consumers like you and me, purchase our food. They are hardly the villain in this whole affair.
Retailers stock their shelves according to what the general public buy, at the end of the day! But please also remember that commercial beekeepers such as Tom have been instrumental in raising awareness of the dangers of neonicotoinoids.
The Tom Theobald video focuses specifically on the issues he faced.
The questions he asked are specific to his situation, but I find that
there is potential for confusion of the issues surrounding honey bee
colony losses and general pollinator decline. To my mind, these
questions need to be answered independently:
1. What is causing pollinator declines? There is general agreement that loss of habitat, land management and farming practice (including chemical use and habitat loss), as well as disease, are having a negative effect on pollinator populations generally. This question is generally looked at by many conservation bodies.
2. Do specific chemicals – such as neonicotinoid and systemic pesticides, pose unacceptable risk to pollinators? (This is an important issue, because chemicals are used over vast areas of land: agriculture, public spaces, golf courses, gardens and even in some forests and woodlands in some countries!
Some of these chemicals may be mobile in soil, water and underground water sources, and could contaminate the wider environment). Largely, this is a question the Tom Theobald video is looking at. However, this question is exceedingly complex. For instance:
Note that these 2 questions above provoke different responses. It’s important that the first does not distract us from addressing the serious issue of the second, and vice versa, yet it is sometimes easy to subtly lose sight of the big picture by focusing only on one of them.
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