Neonicotinoids and Colony Collapse Disorder
by ProvocativeTrash on March 11, 2015 - 3:34pm
Author: Puneet Kollipara
News Outlet: The Washington Post
Date of Publication: March 5, 2015
Honeybees are the foundation of the plant ecosystem: they are the main pollinator of flowering plants and without them, growing sufficient supplies of food for our current population would be impossible. In recent years, honeybees have been declining in population and scientists are rushing to put an end to the problem.
As of late, neonicotinoids have been the center of heavy debate, in relation to their possible link to the current problems plaguing bees. Neonicotinoids work in a way that they are absorbed into the plant’s tissue and prevent the need to re-apply the product repeatedly. The adverse effect of this is that the pesticide ends up in the nectar and pollen of the flower, which the bees intimately interact with. Numerous studies have shown that neonicotinoids result in the death of bees as well as having “sublethal” impacts that affect the bee in ways compromising its health.
While this sounds like an absolute link, there is skepticism between the connection between the two. As bee colonies act as a giant organism, the death of a few bees does not affect the colony significantly. Additionally, habitat destruction and parasites may also have a hand in the decline in bee population. Colony Collapse Disorder still isn’t directly linked to the use of neonicotinoids due to the lack of evidence.
The European Union took the decision to ban neonicotinoids for two years, in hopes of finding the effects on bee population while citing the killing potential of the pesticide. The United States, on the other hand, has not seen any definitive action. The regulation committee of the US may preemptively approve the use of some products, even if concrete data is missing. Clothianidin, a neonicontinoid was one of the chemicals to receive such a treatment.
A volunteer organisation fighting for the protection of bees is greenpeace.
Greenwire is a portal with thousand of volunteer opportunities, many of which involve spreading awareness about practices harmful to bees.