Are pesticides killing our bees?
A beekeeper in the Scottish Borders is concerned that a new family of super-pesticides called 'Neo-Nicotinoids' are killing bees across the world. These pesticides are 'neuro-toxic' - they attack the nervous system of insects and they are 'systemic' i.e. they are not sprayed onto the crops, but are applied as a seed-coating at the time of planting. The poison is then absorbed by the growing plant and travels into every part: sap, leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds. When the bees, butterflies, hoverflies or other pollen and nectar eating creatures visit the flowers, they receive lethal or sub-lethal doses of the nerve poison and either die, or never find their way home.
The main neo-nicotinoid is called Imidacloprid and is marketed under dozens of brand names. It is used on oilseed rape, sunflowers, potatoes, tomatoes, glass-house crops and on potted plants bought from garden centres. It is even incorporated into Levington Hanging Basket compost - so many gardeners are unwittingly poisoning bees via their potted geraniums and begonias.
The Neo-nicotinoid pesticides have been banned in France since 2000 and more recently were banned in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Slovenia. They are still used on millions of acres of crops in the UK and almost universally in the USA, on maize, almonds, apples, peaches, etc.
Read Borderglider's Bee Diary http://beediary.wordpress.com/
Articles on pesticides: 'Last Flight of the Honeybee' http://beediary.wordpress.com/files/2008/06/last-flight-of-the-honeybee1.doc 'What Have Pesticides Got to do with Bees?' http://beediary.wordpress.com/files/2008/07/whatpesticidestodowithitjune08abj-1.pdf