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Brosville 

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"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ban the use of Neonicotinoid insecticides in crops grown within the United Kingdom
- a plethora of recent studies from Italy, Germany, America etc. are implicating Neonicotinoid insecticides (an insect nerve poison) in causing sub-lethal and lethal affects to honeybee's exposed to plants grown from seeds coated in Neonicotinoid insecticide or treated with Neonicotinoid insecticide - typically maize, sunflower and rapeseed - these sublethal effects, affect the bee's ability to orient itself and return to the colony; additionally it is likely the detrimental effects are compounded synergistically as the bee is weakened and becomes more susceptible to natural disease, parasitic fungii and parasites such as varroa destructor - implicated in the world wide colony collapse disorder we are currently experiencing. neonicitinoid insecticides have recently been banned in other european countries and are being reviewed in the US - home of the corporations pushing these systemic insecticides"
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/BeeDeath/
 

grangebees 

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Hi Brosville Sorry for the duplicate post, I think whilst I was writing mine you were posting yours
All the best Susan
 

Brosville 

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no worries..........great minds.......:cheers2:
 

gavin 

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Hi Brosville

Couple of things.

1. Why are the bee losses winter losses, if they are suffering from the effects of neonicotinoids? By far the greatest contamination will be from oilseed rape, yet the bees seem to sail through April and May as they always did. How so?

2. The best-placed folk in the UK to understand these issues reviewed the evidence and concluded that the study on imidacloprid certain beekeepers like to cite is the one study which differs from several others, and the authors of this report didn't believe it. As this report was commissioned by the UK government, I'm assuming that this is the kind of scientific advice they rely upon. Have you read this, and, if so, where are the flaws in it?
http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Document.a...2_6129_FRP.doc

So the 'plethora of recent studies' is a figment of someone's imagination, isn't it? Yes, there are still questions to be asked about these systemic insecticides. Yes, the finger was pointed at pesticides in the Maryann Frazier Penn State studies mentioned in last week's TV programme, but the finger was being pointed (in her written reports) most strongly at beekeeper-applied chemicals.

http://www.biobees.com/library/pesticides_GM_threats/What_Have_Pesticides.pdf

As I've said to you before simply *wanting* something to be the case isn't good enough. If the real problems lie elsewhere, then you are diverting people from understanding what the real problems are, and that is not good.

No doubt folk are not going to like me 'standing up for pesticides'. What matters with important issues like this is not who is hurt by it or whether you naturally side with something or not, but simply being able to see what the truth is. Without knowing the real problems you will never find the right solutions.

best wishes

Gavin
 

Brosville 

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Flogging a dead horse again Gavin? Let me very patiently, in very short words explain it again........
Even the forces of darkness (Bayer) admit that neonicotinoids kill bees - the only thing in dispute is the level at which it affects bees. Being a criminally negligent concern running true to form, they will busily cite the effects of neonicotinoids in isolation, totally ignoring the "cocktail" effect. As Maryanne Fraser has shown, we are talking about a "perfect storm" - a coming together of several different things - most of them ending in "icides" several of which potentiate each other. In a talk Ms Fraser gave she clearly points out that when tank mixed and sprayed with other commonly used "icides" the effects of neonicotinoids are several fold more powerful than claimed by it's manufacturer.
As I hope you've seen by now, the chemical traces in CCD affected hives are frightening in their number and quantity. As you should know, to predict the effects of two of those substances working synergistically is difficult - three damn near impossible, and the interactions of 100 or so that are actually being seen would choke all the world's supercomputers for years!
We can do without neonicotinoids very easily, the only people to "suffer" would be the chemical companies and their shareholders - the Coop has had the cojones to stand up against the might of Agrocorp.Inc on the entirely scientific principle of precaution - neonicotinoids are believed by a great many very clever people all round the world to be at least part of the problems - as a scientist, you should appreciate "precaution"........
The news today is full of hysteria over Swine flu - which is doubtless a product of factory farmed pigs and poultry, overdosed on broad spectrum antibiotics in an attempt to keep them alive in the atrocious conditions in which they are kept....... we are reaping the whirlwind of the totally dim and "last century" attitudes to our food production - chemicalised factory farming is turning our landscape into "green concrete", and it is killing a great deal of our wildlife - bees amongst them. It is not sustainable, the very resources upon which this dreadful short-sighted and ignorant way of producing food is dependent are rapidly running out -we have to find sustainable methods for the future, or as Will Self picturesquely puts it "we're toast"
 

Metamorphosis 

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Hi Gavin,

What a philosophical person you are.

There again I do see your point as all the relevant facts (truthful if possible) must be considered before making a final personal judgement.

The whole scenario of the insecticides, pesticides etc has become very complex indeed.

In my humble opinion we must endeavour to find a solution on the proven facts submitted by eminent people in the field of research to try to come to a conclusion that benefits all.

I now realise that beekeeping is far more an emotive hobby than just keeping bees.

Thank you.
 

gavin 

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Many thanks Metaphorphosis, and Brosville too.

As Brosville said, sustainability is absolutely the key. We have to be doing things (and producing food) in ways that will last.

You mention Maryann Frazier again Brosville. I'll copy below part of a submission of the Sierra Club to the EPA in the States where they use Maryann Frazier's submission to the Congressional hearing on honeybee losses as a source of quotes. Have a read and see if you can tell me what the pesticides are that are mentioned, and who uses them. Those who saw last week's BBC4 TV programme and were concerned at US commercial beekeeping practices might not be too surprised by this. More details of her work are in the link I cited above.

best wishes

Gavin

Entomologist Dr. Maryann Frazier's June 26, 2008 testimony at a Congressional hearing on honey bee colony losses stated: "We are becoming increasingly concerned that pesticides may affect bees at sublethal levels, not killing them outright, but rather impairing their behaviors and their abilities to fight off infections."

Pesticides and metabolites are being identified in pollen she added, a disturbing finding! In fact, she testified that 46 different pesticides including six of their metabolites were identified out of 108 pollen samples analyzed. Up to 17 different pesticides were found in a single sample. Samples contained an average of 5 different pesticide residues each. One of the most striking points in Dr. Frazier's testimony is that 97.2% of pollen samples had pesticides and only three (2.8%) of the 108 pollen samples had no detectable pesticides [perhaps using a lower detection limit may have found pesticides at lower trace concentrations]. In 88 wax samples analyzed, 20 different pesticides including two of their metabolites were identified. As identified in pollen, the most commonly detected pesticides were fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorpyrifos, and the fungicide chlorthalonil, with fluvalinate and coumaphos detected in 100% of the samples. Extraordinary levels of fluvalinate were measured up to 204 parts per million in the brood nest wax and pollen.
 

raysa 

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Think about purpose, folks - about what you want to achieve. If the aim is simply to express anger and be seen as a passionate campaigner, then rant on, citing suspicions as if they render further consideration unnecessary and making claims that things are "doubtless" just because they support your indignance.

But if you want to actually change things - to achieve solutions to your concerns - you need the credibility that comes with calm questioning and objective evidence. Truth without attitude - Gavin's approach.

Ray
 

Brosville 

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If it were an even playing field, I may agree with you - but the time for only calm reasoning is long past - man's greed, as epitomised by the industrial farming megacorps is killing the planet, and us along with it.
There is at least one totally viable alternative (Permaculture) to the permanent blanket-bombing of our planet with toxins, but against that happening are vast and totally amoral global big business interests, who will stoop to any depths to stop anyone daring to try to stop their onward march. On the precautionary principle alone, neonicotinoids should be withdrawn from sale immediately.
If my "rants" make just one person question the present "orthodoxy", then I consider it worthwhile - we have a planet to save, time is running out fast, and there are megabucks trying to stop the true horrific story gaining credence.........
 

jon 

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Ray.
That is spot on.
The hubris from some is counterproductive for those of us who actively support and participate in the promotion of more sustainable agricultural practices.
Overstating claims and ignoring evidence which does not suit is no way to advance science.

Far too often those on the green left of centre (where I would place myself) come across as angry and self righteous.

Pesticides and possibly neonicotinoid pesticides have an adverse effect on bee populations but the jury is still out on the mode of action.

As Gavin asked in an earlier post, why are most of the losses in winter when you would expect pesticide carnage in April/May?
 
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jon 

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There is at least one totally viable alternative (Permaculture) to the permanent blanket-bombing of our planet with toxins......
Hi Brosville.
I spent a good chunk of the 90s trying to implement Permaculture projects. What were your findings?
 

Brosville 

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The following is probably the best explanation I've yet seen -
article here - http://tinyurl.com/bzf38l
8pm BBC2, Fri 20th Feb - Natural World
A Farm for the Future
Wildlife film-maker Rebecca Hosking returns to her family's farm in Devon, intending to take over the work when her father retires. Alarmed by high fuel prices, she learns how dependent the UK's food production is on cheap fossil fuels and sets out to explore ways to use natural power and create a low energy farm for the future - now available for download http://www.mininova.org/tor/2313068 - copying allowed for fee-free use
 

jon 

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But what are your experiences with Permaculture?
I found a lot of the claims - especially the natural methods of pest control hard to demonstrate in practice. I remember meeting the author of a Permaculture book who made extravagent claims re. productivity. When I visited her, I realized she didn't grow anything apart from a few herbs in a plot, but she still published claims such as 9 square metres can feed a family of four.
If you can't demonstrate it, it ain't worth a damn, imho.
 

Brosville 

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May I suggest you download and watch the above video - I'm sure the permaculturalists who appear in it would be happy to supply chapter and verse.....
Permaculture has been one of those things that I came across first at festivals - I haven't personally had the opportunity to practice it, I've been too busy with another part of "planet saving" - renewable energy, but don't doubt the sense and veracity of their arguments. A few "drippy ippies" (as that is what they will be seen as by the Mail readers) have shown at the very least that it IS possible to live very well completely sustainably, using no chemical or fossil fuel inputs, all with no help or support from anyone - give them a budget of the size of one agrochemical company's product launch they'd rapidly prove to everyone's satisfaction what is possible - against them they have the serried ranks of all the global corporations who really don't want their "mad" ideas to gain credence.......
There are faults with the "organic" system, but it does show that the public can vote with their feet and bring about major change in the face of the pressure from Megacorp.Inc - I consider Permaculture is the next step.....
 

jon 

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but don't doubt the sense and veracity of their arguments. ...
I don't doubt the sense but I definitely doubt the veracity of some of the permaculture arguments as I have tried to implement permaculture systems. Some stuff works and other stuff doesn't.

One of the main problems with Permaculture is that it has been hijacked by new age types who see it as a quasi religion.

Back to the same - you need to demonstrate what works and what is wishful thinking.
And Permaculture does not need a budget "the size of one agrochemical company's product launch". The whole point of it is that it is low energy, low impact and sustainable.
 

Nellie 

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As a member of Joe Public who just happens to have a beehive, and that for less than a month, I couldn't claim to sign the petition from a position of knowledge. I'd be signing it purely on emotional grounds because pesticides must be killing my bees right?

I'm happy that companies like the Co-op are electing not to use these pesticides until there is a firm conclusion one way or another and I'll be doing my best to educate myself while trying to ensure, because better safe than sorry, that my bees are located in areas where exposure to agricultural chemicals can be minimised.

What I am very wary of, is going down the path of the Phone mast brigade who are desperate to blame mobile phone masts for something, anything, bad and leap on the next bandwagon to further their mission, hence their turning up to the Co-op event in Bristol to flog their dead horse by pinning bee problems on phone masts.

If you want to petition that the announced extra funding of £2million to cover all pollinators isn't enough to conduct meaning reasearch into the long, or even short term problems being faced then I'm right behind you. The problem with thinking that banning stuff willy nilly, like our dear government has been fond of doing, isn't a good thing is that sometimes it cuts both ways so I'm afraid for the moment I couldn't, in good conscience, sign that petition on the scant information I've managed to digest so far.
 

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