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[SANET-MG] honey bee motion for EU
ISIS Press Release 22/06/07 http://www.i-sis.org.uk/index.php
Emergency Motion on Protecting the Honeybee
Question Tabled to European Commission by Ms Hiltrud Breyer MEP of
Honeybees have been disappearing worldwide. 1 Across the United States,
beekeepers have been losing 30 to 90% or more of colonies in a “colony
collapse disorder” (CCD) that's causing huge economic losses not only to
beekeepers but also to fruit and vegetable growers. CCD has been
reported from Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and
the UK. Many believe that when the honeybee disappears, our species will
The most important single factors identified by the Institute of Science
in Society ( www.i-sis.org.uk ), in CCD were sub-lethal levels of
insecticides, 2 in particular, a class of new systemic neonicotinoid
pesticides widely used to dress seeds and in sprays on crops, 3 and
microwave radiation from wireless telephone transmitters and base
Sub-lethal levels of pesticides, including the Bt biopesticides produced
in genetically modified (GM) crops covering some 30 percent of the
global area, disorientate the bees, making them behave abnormally, and
compromise their immunity to infections.
A report in the LA Times 5 suggested that a single cell parasitic
fungus, Nosema ceranae , may be responsible for CCD, though the experts
involved said the results are “highly preliminary”.
A new review from ISIS 6 presented compelling evidence that sub-lethal
levels of neonicotinoid pesticides, particularly imidacloprid, act
synergistically with parasitic fungi such as Nosema in killing insects
pests. Fungal spores, widely used as biocontrol agents are applied in
sprays and baits, and when delivered in suspension with sub-lethal
levels of pesticides are much more effective in killing insects.
Equally, Bt biopesticides enhance the killing power of parasitic fungi
synergistically. Purified Bt Cry1Ab toxin killed Nosema infected borer
larvae at one-third the dose required for killing the uninfected larvae.
Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (the natural soil bacteria producing the
Bt biopesticides) in commercial (Dipel) formulations killed Nosema
pyrausta infected cornborer larvae at a dose 45 times lower than that
killing the uninfected larvae.
Regulators have allowed the widespread deployment of systemic
neonicotinoid pesticides neonicotinoids based on assessments of lethal
dose in bees of the pesticides alone, ignoring clear evidence that
sub-lethal pesticide levels act synergistically with fungal parasites in
killing insects. The honeybees may well be succumbing to such
synergistic effects. There is every reason to eliminate the use of all
pesticides that act synergistically with parasitic fungi, and all Bt
crops should be banned for the same reason.
Will the European Commission take the appropriate measures to halt the
colony collapse of the honeybees?
This would include banning Bt crops and systemic neonicotinoid
pesticides while their synergistic action in killing honeybees in
combination with parasitic fungi and other infections are thoroughly
Reported in Killing Bees series, Science in Society 34 , 2007; Institute
of Science in Society ( www.i-sis.org.uk ); magazine pdf and fully
referenced members' versions of articles enclosed
Ho MW and Cummins J. Mystery of Disappearing Honeybees , Science in
Society 34 , 35-36, 2007.
Cummins J. Requiem for the Honeybee , Science in Society 34 , 37-38, 2007.
Ho MW. Mobile Phones and Vanishing Bees , Science in Society 34 , 34, 2007.
“Experts may have found what's bugging the bees”, Jia-Rui Chong and
Tomas H. Maugh II, LA Times, 26 April 2007,
Cummins J. Parasitic Fungi and Pesticides Act Synergistically to Kill
Honeybees? ISIS Report 7 June 2007,
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