Could this be the Cause of Colony Collapse Disorder?

We have to give a hearty thank you to Tom Theobald, a Colorado beekeeper, who recently uncovered and exposed an EPA memo that could point to why bees are dying in such high numbers.

According to them memo, BayerCropScience is selling a seed treatment called clothianidin and it hasn’t done sufficient testing on the chemical to prove its safety for honeybees. It’s a systemic pesticide, meaning it’s absorbed into the plant, making all parts poisonous to insects that feed on it. It also makes me wonder what it does to us? It is mostly used on…you guessed it…corn. Actually 80% of corn seed is treated with it. When the corn tassels it produces a lot of pollen – pollen being a primary source of protein for bees. Beekeepers are seeing the biggest problems in their hives coinciding with the corn tasseling.

You can read more about this problem here.

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Discussion

  1. Curbstone Valley Farm says:

    There's been a lot of discussion for some time about the effect of neonicotinoids on bee populations, including Imidocloprid, and Clothianidin (both Bayer products). This was brought up at a recent bee guild meeting when we had a guest lecturer from UCD, but he didn't feel it was 'the' problem, and implied bee-keepers were just pointing fingers. I'm not sure I agree with him though, and wouldn't be at all surprised if at some point these products will be strongly implicated as a significant contributing factor in CCD. That said, he did say that some ongoing studies are strongly suggesting infectious agents as the primary cause, as hives that have experienced CCD will kill replacement colonies if they're not first treated (i.e. irradiated). Maybe someday someone will finally figure this out…

  2. Elephant's Eye says:

    This is also up on Garden Rant …

  3. I doubt that THIS instance is the reason, really. Corn is WIND pollinated, not pollinated by bees. Though anythign chowing down on the plant would certainly be affected.

  4. Nickie, you are correct in that it is wind pollinated, however, pollen is a major food source of bees and because the tassels are pollen heavy they do collect it for food. I've seen our own bees on our corn collecting pollen. Bees are not just flying around looking to pollinate plants. They are simply going around looking for food and if it's something like corn, it's a total buffet.

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