Monday, November 24, 2008
WHAT IS KILLING THE BEES?
By Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
November 24, 2008
For several years I have been curious and concerned about reports from many parts of the world that bee colonies were vanishing or dying. Because of their ability to pollinate fruit and vegetables bees are of enormous importance to mankind. . Finally a breakthrough in understanding this problem has appeared on the scene. Whether this solves the whole bee problem or is simply one part of a more complex issue remains to be seen.
An article in Natural News by David Gutierrez on September 30, 2008 has linked the bee die-off in the Baden-Wurttemburg state of Germany to direct contact with the insecticide clothianidin found on corn seeds(German Research Center for Cultivated Plants). This pesticide had been applied to rapeseed and sweet cornseeds in the Rhine River Valley. Piles of dead bees were discovered at the entrance of hives in early May 2008. Clothianidin was found in the tissues of 99% of the dead bees. This is the time when corn seeding takes place according to Walter Haefeker, president of the European Professional Beekeeping Association. The Julius Huehn Institute(federal agricultural research agency) stated “it can be unequivocally be concluded that a poisoning of the bees is due to a rub-off of the pesticide ingredient clothianidin from cornseeds.” This chemical is estimated to have killed two-thirds of the bees in this state.
Clothianidin is widely used insecticide marketed in Europe under the brand name Poncho. This insecticide is a derivative of nicotine which acts systemically as a neurotoxin which poisons the nervous system of insects. After application to the seeds of plants clothianidin spreads throughout all plant tissues.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified clothianidin as “highly toxic” to honeybees. This chemical was approved for U.S. use in 2003 and German use in 2004.
A subsidiary of the chemical giant Bayer, Bayer Crop Science which manufactures clothianidin, blamed the honeybee deaths on incorrect application of the insecticide. They claimed that application of a fixative prior to spraying with clothianidin would have prevented the poison from spreading to the environment. They related that the fixative was not applied so the poison spread into the air.