Italy: Study finds 72.2% of dead honey bees samples tested, contained a pesticide
Study: Spring mortality in honey bees in northeastern Italy: detection of pesticides and viruses in dead honey bees and other matrices
Marianna Martinello, Chiara Baratto, Chiara Manzinello, Elena Piva, Alice Borin, Marica Toson, Anna Granato, Maria Beatrice Boniotti, Albino Gallina & Franco Mutinelli (2017); published in Journal of Apicultural Research; Volume 56, 2017 - Issue 3; April 2017.
Main points from the abstract:
- In spring there is often a rise in honey bee mortality incidents (i.e honey bee deaths).
- Study aim:
to investigate the potential correlation, in the
reported incidents, between exposure to pesticide treatments and virus
- Region: northeastern Italy during
- 150 active ingredients and three
honey bee viruses in dead honey bees and other matrices were monitored.
When the dead honey bees were analysed, what were the findings?
- At least one
active pesticide ingredient was found in 72.2% of the 79 dead honey bee samples,
with the most abundant (59.4%) being insecticides.
- The insecticides mainly belonged to
the class of neonicotinoids (41.8%), followed by fungicides (40.6%).
Imidacloprid (neonicotinoid), chlorpyrifos, tau-fluvalinate, and cyprodinil were the
most frequently detected active ingredients.
- Diseases: Multiple virus infections
were monitored, revealing a high prevalence of chronic bee paralysis
virus (CBPV) and deformed wing virus (DWV), detected in all samples
except one. 71 and 37% of the CBPV- and DWV positive samples,
respectively, showed a high number of viral copies per bee (>107).
- This work emphasizes the possible relationship between spring mortality
in honey bees and pesticide treatments.
- Honey bee viruses could
synergistically exacerbate the negative impact of pesticides on honey
bee health, endangering the survival of colonies.
To see the study, copy and paste this link into your browser:
A link between neonicotinoids and diseases, which would ultimately cause colony death, would hardly be surprising.
Bayer CropScience refer to this function of their neonicotinoid (imidacloprid) Termite treatment - i.e. to cause demise of the termite colony through disease. They state that after 3 months, a termite colony will be eliminated. Termite colonies, like bees, are social insects, and the colony itself can be referred to as a super-organism.
Here is the quote from the
The leaflet reads:
“The termites are susceptible to diseases or fungi found in soil. A
principle part of their defence mechanism is their grooming habits,
which allows the termites to get rid of the fungal spores before these
spores germinate and cause disease or death. Premise 200SC interferes
with this natural process by lowering defence to nature’s own weaponry.”
"What is Premise 200SC plus Nature?
Low doses of imidacloprid such as the edge of the Treated Zone,
disoriented the termites and caused them to cease their natural grooming
behaviour. Grooming is important for termites to protect them against
pathogenic soil fungi. When termites stop grooming, the naturally
occurring fungi in the soil attack and kill the termites. Imidacloprid
makes fungi 10,000 times more dangerous to termites. Nature assists
imidacloprid in giving unsurpassed control. This control is called
Premise 200SC plus Nature."
This subject is explored in greater depth in: how do neonicotinoids work to kill insects?