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Scientists call for global ban on bee-killing pesticides

Monday, April 23, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: pesticides, honey bees, ban

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(NaturalNews) With a myriad of concrete evidence now in plain view, there is simply no denying that pesticides are a direct cause of massive bee declines all around the world. And despite continued denial by corporate-whore governments in the U.S., the U.K., and elsewhere that have sided with the chemical manufacturers on the matter, scientists and agricultural experts from all corners of the globe are joining together as one to call for a worldwide ban on neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides that has been definitively linked to causing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Three recent field studies, two of which were published in the journal Science, confirm that even sub-lethal exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides among bees causes them to lose their way when out foraging. Many conventional food crops are pretreated or sprayed with neonicotinoid pesticides, which leads to the contamination of pollen and nectar that bees collect.

"The data, both ours and others, right now merits a global ban," said Chensheng Li, author of the Harvard University study that confirmed neonicotinoid pesticides as a primary cause of CCD. "Our study clearly demonstrated that imidacloprid is responsible for causing CCD, and the survival of the control hives that we set up side-by-side to the pesticide-treated hives augments this conclusion."

Li says removing neonicotinoids from global use for at least five years would leave plenty of time for researchers to study and observe how bee populations respond. If bee populations increase during this time, which is the expected outcome, then it would be abundantly clear that the scientific community is correct in its assessments of the situation.

In the U.K., the widespread negative effects of neonicotinoid use are already being felt, as many crops now have to be hand-pollinated as a result of bee losses. According to data compiled by scientists at Reading University, the population of honey bees kept in managed hives in the U.K. has dropped by half, as have solitary bees. And wild honey bees are virtually extinct, according to the figures.

"Unless we halt the decline in British bees our farmers will have to rely on hand-pollination, sending food prices rocketing," said Paul de Zylva, nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth (FoE), a group advocating for the removal of neonicotinoids from agricultural use (http://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/the_bee_cause_35033.html).

The U.S.-based advocacy group Beyond Pesticides and dozens of commercial beekeepers and honey producers have also filed a legal petition demanding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) take action to ban clothianidin, another neonicotinoid linked to killing bees (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=6919).

You can help support this effort by signing the following petition:
http://org2.democracyinaction.org

Sources for this article include:

http://www.guardian.co.uk

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