Neonicotinoids and Colony Collapse Disorder

by ProvocativeTrash on March 11, 2015 - 3:34pm

Original Title: We don’t know for sure that pesticides are killing the bees. But we know enough to worry.

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.


It scares me to see how fast the bee population is declining. Without them, the world will without a doubt become much less colorful. Another non-profit organization like Greenpeace is trying to help to solve this issue. Currently, Friends of the Earth has a mission called "The Bee Cause" which its goal is to prevent the use of pesticides on plants and to deliver ways to help the bees to pollinate. To help this organization, you can volunteer, donate and sign a petition. To do so you can check out their website here: