Tom Theobald Video

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 pesticide here.

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.

Grow your own, buy fresh, local ingredients from small scale suppliers you know and trust, and buy organic if you’d like to see change in the way food is grown.

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.

UPDATE:  Unfortunately it was necessary to remove the video

Asking The Right Questions

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:

  • Countries like the UK, may not have adequate measures for determining and monitoring ‘acceptable risk’, once a product is in the environment, when levels of a chemical can build and possibly interact with other pollutants already in the ecosystem.

  • Are the chemicals adequately regulated and tested to ensure they do not pose unacceptable risk to bees and pollinators, prior to launch onto a market? Again, this is an issue the Tom Theobald video and general investigations touch upon see the link mentioned above, and the Dan Rather report.

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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