• Driving Near Recently Sprayed Fields Exposes People to Pesticides
  • Grow a Lush Garden Organically
  • LIving Near Fields Increases Pesticide Exposure
  • Learn To Manage Weeds Without Chemical Pesticides
  • Learn About Colony Collapse Disorder and How to Protect Bees
  • Learn About Pesticides in Foods
  • Learn to Keep Insects Out of your Crops
  • Link to SK Organic Resources
  • Learn to Manage Pests Naturally
  • SNAP Tour of Organic Vegetable Garden


EPA Finds Widely Used Pesticides Could Harm 97 Percent of Endangered Species (Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2017) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  released its final Biological Evaluations of Three Chemicals’ Impacts on Endangered Species, which finds that chlorpyrifos and malathion likely have detrimental effect on 97 percent of all species listed and protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), while diazinon adversely affects 78 percent. According to EPA’s release on the subject, this is the “first-ever draft biological evaluations analyzing the nation-wide effects” of these registered chemicals on endangered species after decades of widespread use. The evaluations stem from a legal settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) in which CBD sued EPA in April 2014 for its failure to comply with ESA, which requires the agency to carry out consultations with federal wildlife agencies while registering pesticides...According to Nathan Donley, Ph.D., a CBD senior scientist, “We’re now getting a much more complete picture of the risks that pesticides pose to wildlife at the brink of extinction, including birds, frogs, fish and plantsSNAP Comment:  As of this writing, there are still 8 registered diazinon, 23 malathion including 8 for domestic use i.e.sold to regular consumers) and 29 chlorpyrifos formulations registered in Canada. Not only are these 3 organophosphates used in agriculture, but chlorpyrifos is still used in Edmonton for mosquito control and is the active ingredient in 2 domestic bait formulations. Malathion is still used in fogging for mosquito, for instance by the town of Eastend in Saskatchewan, and widely in the United States and through the world. When West Nile virus came to New York, an analysis of dead birds found many more dead of pesticide poisoning than West NIle.

EPA Finds Atrazine Threatens Ecological Health (Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2016) EPA’s preliminary ecological risk assessment finds that for current uses at prescribed label rates, atrazine may pose a chronic risk to fish, amphibians, and aquatic vertebrate animals. Where use is heavy, the agency indicates that chronic exposure through built-up concentrations in waterways is likely to adversely impact aquatic plant communities. Levels of concern, a wonky equation that EPA produces to measure risk, were exceeded for birds by 22x, fish by 62x, and mammals by 198x. Even reduced label rates were expected to harm terrestrial plant species as a result of runoff and drift from pesticide applications. It is important to note that these impacts were seen for uses which, based on data obtained during atrazine’s last review 15 years ago, EPA considered to be “safe” when used according to label rates.SNAP's note: I don't believe much atrazine is used in Saskatchewan but perhaps its use in increasing with an increase in corn and soy crops. There are no pesticide use data in Canada and the Pesticide Sales data yearly report is for several years previously and not very informative on individual chemicals. A recent study of Calgary air and soil found atrazine. Before SNAP was started, I obtained the list of allowable Weed and Feed products (not from the PMRA as they are regulated somewhere else) and found one product on the market containing atrazine. The PMRA answer was standard: they were following the PMRA rules and no idea if they would follow up on my discovery or ignore it totally.

EPA Finds 97% of Endangered Species Threatened by Common Pesticides (Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2016)  The determination is part of a settlement reached by EPA and the Center for Biological Diversity, which requires the agency to complete a review of the impact of organophosphate pesticides chlorpyrifos, malathion, and diazinon by December 2017, and two carbamate class pesticides, methomyl and carbaryl, by the end of 2018.

Neonicotinoids: The New DDT?   27 minutes video from Earth Focus. Oct 13, 2014. Up to date scientific info on effects of neonics on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including the marine ecosystem.

New Four-Year Scientific Analysis: Systemic Pesticides Pose Global Threat to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Press Release from the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, 24 June 2014) The analysis, known as the Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA),  to be published in the peer reviewed Journal Environment Science and Pollution Research, finds that neonics pose a serious risk of harm to honeybees and other pollinators such as butterflies and to a wide range of other invertebrates such as earthworms and vertebrates such as birds Pesticides linked to bee deaths must be banned, scientists sayNeonicotinoids, fipronil linked to ecosystem damage in new report By Aleksandra Sagan (CBC News,Jun 24, 2014) includes video.

Honey Bee Diseases Threaten Bumblebees; Late Breaking: EPA Announces New Protections for Farmworkers (Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2014The study gives credence to recent research demonstrating that pesticide use compromises immune system functioning, dramatically raising their susceptibility to diseases.

Immune suppression by neonicotinoid insecticides at the root of global wildlife declines. Mason, R., H. et al. 2013.Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology; In Press September/October 2012. The authors  postulate that many of the severe epizootic diseases that seem to arise with alarming frequency result of immune suppression resulting from low level exposure to neonicotinoids. More on neonicotinoids at http://www.snapinfo.ca/issues/bee-die-off,  http://www.snapinfo.ca/info/fact-sheetshttp://www.snapinfo.ca/info/wildlife/ birds and amphibians and water/Saskatchewan

Beyond Pesticides Archive for the 'Wildlife/Endangered Sp.' Category


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Hummingbirds and bumble bees exposed to neonicotinoid and organophosphate insecticides in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada  (Christine A. Bishop et al., Environmental Toxicology, 05 July 2018)  free access journal.  "the combined concentration of the neonicotinoid insecticides imidaclopridthiamethoxam, and clothianidin detected in hummingbird cloacal fluid from sites near conventionally sprayed blueberry fields was 3.63 ng/mL (ppb). Only piperonyl butoxyde was detected in fecal pellets. Only diazinon was detected in bumble bees (0.197 ng/g), whereas diazinon (1.54–1.7 ng/g) and imidacloprid (up to 18.4 ng/g) were detected in pollen collected from bumble bees"

'On life support:' Research shows common pesticides starve, disorient birds  (National Post, 9 November 2017) SNAP Comment: Another great study from Christy Morrissey at University of Saskatchewan.Low dose studies are typically not required for pesticide registration, and neither are behavioral studies. Looks like she is now on the radar of CropLife Canada. I wish her the best!    "Morrissey studied the effect of two widely used pesticide types — neonicotinoids and organophosphates. Both are used on more than 100 different crops, including wheat and canola, and are found in dozens of commercial products. Both are known to be lethal to birds in large doses, but Morrissey wanted to study the impact of smaller amounts. The results were dramatic. After three days, the low-dose birds lost 17 per cent of their weight. The high-dose birds lost 25 per cent.   The birds exposed to organophosphates kept their weight, but they lost something else — their ability to find northBoth the high-dose and low-dose group lost all orientation and didn’t get it back after the tests ended. The neonics also disoriented the sparrows, but the effect faded when the exposure stopped.

The Same Pesticides Linked to Bee Declines Might Also Threaten Birds  (Elizabeth Royte, Audubon, Spring 2017)      Neonicotinoids are washing off of their host seeds and into water bodies—threatening not just aquatic insects but the birds that rely on them. In Canada, neonics are used on 44 percent of cropland, including some 21 million acres of canola, the nation’s second-most-cultivated crop. But their delivery system has a major flaw. “Only about 5 percent of the compound is taken up by the plant,” Morrissey says. The rest leaches off the seed, accumulates in soil, and sluices via snowmelt, rain, and groundwater seepage into ponds and wetlands, where insects like midges and caddis flies—a staple for billions of grassland birds—start their lives. All about the research of Christy Morrissey, a wildlife ecotoxicologist at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.  With a small army of students, Morrissey designed a Hydra-like research program that is exploring, piece by piece, how neonics move from farm fields to waterways, how they affect the invertebrates that live there, and how these aquatic insects—their abundance, diversity, and health—in turn affect birds.

Pesticide ban: New evidence shows 'strong case' for ban on chemicals linked to bird and bee deaths   (Ian Johnston,  Independent, 11 January 2017)  ...one study found red-legged partridges fed seeds treated with one neonic died within days. Other researchers found house sparrows became “uncoordinated and unable to fly” and Japanese quail suffered DNA damage after being exposed to the pesticides. “Whatever shape Brexit will take, this is an early test of whether the UK government is willing to stand up for nature and the common good in the face of heavy lobbying from corporations and vested interests.”SNAP comment: Neonics started as seed coatings but their use has extended to sprays over the years on more and more crops. Canada is currently reviewing one neonicotinoidimidaclopridConsultation on Imidacloprid, Proposed Re-evaluation Decision PRVD2016-20

Mosquito spray affects bird reproduction (Nature, 15 June 2010 | doi:10.1038/news.2010.296, Natasha Gilbert) House martin numbers hit by 'environmentally friendly' insect control. The effect of Bacillus thuringensis israelensis on House Martins ( a European swallow) is indirect. It is apparently so effective at reducing mosquito populations that birds had to switch food source to ants which are seemingly less nutritious.

Pesticide Blamed for Deaths of Hundreds of Wild Birds (Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2014) As many as 700 birds have been found dead in a wildlife reserve in New South Wales, Australia. Preliminary tests reveal the pesticide, fenthion. Certain uses of fenthion for home

Not Just the Bees: Bayer's Pesticide May Harm Birds, TooBy Tom Philpott. Mother Jones. Wed Mar. 27, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

Pesticide Acute Toxicity Is a Better Correlate of U.S. Grassland Bird Declines than Agricultural IntensificationPierre Mineau, Mélanie Whiteside ( Environment Canada)  on PLOS ONE (eISSN-1932-6203) is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication.

The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds. Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Birds. by Dr. Pierre Mineau and Cynthia Palmer. American Bird Conservancy, March 2013. 'However, based on chronic/reproduction endpoints, all seed treatments are predicted to cause effects given the very small number of seeds needing to be ingested to push birds into critical range.’ (less than 1 kernel of corn, 1.46 to 15.83 canola seeds and 1.28 to10.55 kernels of wheat respectively for imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, clothianidin having middle values). Mason and colleagues (2013) postulate that many of the severe epizootic diseases that seem to arise with alarming frequency result of immune suppression resulting from low level exposure to neonicotinoids.

More on neonicotinoids at http://www.snapinfo.ca/issues/bee-die-off,  http://www.snapinfo.ca/info/fact-sheets and water/Saskatchewan

Frogs and other Amphibians

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The abiliy of several registered pesticides to decrease immunity and make animals (and plants) susceptible to disease has been known for some time, at least since they found over 20 years ago that amphibians exposed to DDT in Ontario (including in Point Pelee National Park) were much more susceptible to disease. This is reiterated in Ecotoxicology of Amphibians and Reptiles, Second Edition, (2010) edited by Donald W. Sparling, Greg Linder, Christine A. Bishop, Sherry Krest, p 281. I guess it took bees to bring it to the general public and most researchers' attention. 

Neonicotinoids Found to Change Frog Behavior  Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2018)  In a study published late last month, scientists from the National Wildlife Research Center in Ottawa, Canada found that chronic exposure to real-world levels of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid limits the ability of juvenile wood frogs to escape a predator attack.

Literature review of impacts of glyphosate herbicide on amphibians: What risks can the silvicultural use of this herbicide pose for amphibians in B.C.?  by  Purnima P. Govindarajulu, Ph.D. includes an EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. "the expected environmental concentration (EEC) of glyphosate herbicides of 1.43 mg a.e./L is at or above the estimated LC50 (lethal dose kiling 50% of the study animals) value for some amphibians." Many serious sublethal effects are known to occur well below this concentration. Indirect impacts also occur...The formulant POEA appears more toxic to amphibians. Alternative formulations that do not use POEA are now available in some parts of the world (but not in Canada) and these formulations have been shown to have much lower toxicity to amphibians. There is insufficient information on the levels of glyphosate contamination in small ephemeral wetlands, which are favoured habitats of amphibians, and which may be exposed to direct overspraying with herbicide under current use guidelines."  also filed under fact sheets/ glyphosate 

Glyphosate Stresses Tadpoles to Produce More Venom  (Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2017)  Scientists tested the effects of formulated glyphosate products on toad tadpoles through experiments in a laboratory setting, as well as a mesocosm, a controlled outdoor environment that replicates natural conditions. This is not the first instance of glyphosate altering the normal development of amphibians. Earlier this year, the same team of researchers found that glyphosate products reduced the survival and growth of common toads, and otherwise slowed down their development. A 2012 study from the University of Pittsburg found that glyphosate induced morphological changes in the development of leopard and wood frogs similar to those seen under significant predatory threat. The results of accumulated scientific research on stress-induced changes following glyphosate exposure points to underlying flaws in U.S. regulation of pesticides. Ecosystem-wide impacts caused by the secondary effects of pesticide use are rarely, if ever, considered under the risk assessment framework used to register pesticides.

Report Links Pesticide Exposure to Globally Declining Amphibian Population 3/8/2013 12:02:41 PM By Victoria Pitcher. Link to full scientific report. Effects were not restricted to a specific class of pesticides and seem to be influenced not only by the active substance but also the formulation additives  The commercially available Headline formulation caused 100% mortality just after 1 h at the label rate.

Pesticides Contaminate Frogs in California National Parks (Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2013) 98 types of pesticides were tested for, traces of which were found in frog tissues from all sites. Two fungicides, pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole, and one herbicide, simazine, were the most frequently detected compound. This was the first time these compounds have ever been reported in wild frog tissues. As of August 2013, in Canada, there are 23 pyraclostrobin,  21 tebuconazole and 6 simazine products registered. While simazine is less likely to be used on a large scale in Saskatchewan, it has one domestic formulation (LATER'S CALCIDE LIQUID VEGETATION KILLER) for weeds on hard surfaces and along fences. 

Common pesticides 'can kill frogs within an hour'.(24 January 2013. The Guardian - environment} New research suggests the chemicals are playing a significant and previously unknown role in the global decline of amphibians. Most striking results fungicides pyraclostrobin (BASF) and Captan killing all the test animals within an hour when applied at the recommended rate, and several products including the insecticide dimethoate (Cygon),used at 10% concentration killing 40% of animals within a week.The Headline formulation containing more of the formulant naphta was much more lethal. As of February 2012, 20 pyraclostrobin including 4 called Headline and dimethoate products are registered in Canada. No formulant is currently listed on any Headline label. (original article published  in Scientific Reports)

Aquatic Organisms Including Crustaceans and Insects

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Water is the Connection: Managing Pesticide Risk for Salmon Recovery
A Guide for Willamette Valley Farmers
  (NCAP, June 2017)  This publication is designed to help pesticide applicators, especially in agriculture, learn about salmon in the Willamette Basin and the pesticides that are harmful to salmon or their food sources. Pesticide label language that indicates potential for aquatic contamination is explained. Voluntary Best Management Practices (BMPs) to minimize pesticide risk to aquatic habitats are included. Pesticide applicators can choose among these BMPs to reduce the risk of harming salmon. SNAP Comment: Most of the pesticides discussed here are also used in Saskatchewan and the risk to aquatic environments and other fish species is likely similar. With only 1 provincial  and 2 federal pesticide inspectors in Saskatchewan, most misuse is never reported, and even less prosecuted. The importance of this report is in presenting sucessful alternatives to pesticides.

Are Neonicotinoids hurting wild insects and the birds that eat them? (Jan. 12, 2014. Trevor Herriot's Grass Notes). Good overview of the problem and great links.

Antimicrobials Alter Stream Communities and Lead to Resistance, Study Finds (Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2013) Exposure to triclosan caused severe declines in the diversity of bacteria along the stream floor and changes to the overall community. Additionally, researchers found triclosan changed abundance of cyanobacterial sequence by almost six times, resulting in a “dramatic die off of algae.”  Algae are a lot more sensitive than previously thought.

Third Time in Three Years – Pesticides Believed to be Cause of Fish Kills in Canada (Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2013)

Connecticut Passes Law to Curb Pesticide Use to Save Lobsters (Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2013).Declines in Long Island  Sound’s lobster population have been alarmingly common for the past 15 years, devastating fishermen and the local economy that depends on them. Methoprene and resmethrin accumulate in sediments in the sea and kills lobsters. In the summer 2012, both  chemicals were detected in lobster tissue . This law will ban their use for mosquito control in coastal areas. 

The Impact of the Nation’s Most Widely Used Insecticides on Birds. Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Birds. by Dr. Pierre Mineau and Cynthia Palmer. American Bird Conservancy, March 2013. Extensive section water contamination and toxicity to aquatic organisms. 

. Mason and colleagues (2013) postulate that many of the severe epizootic diseases that seem to arise with alarming frequency result of immune suppression resulting from low level exposure to neonicotinoids.

Deltamethrin Approved for New Brunswick Salmon Fisheries   (Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2010) In an effort to control sea lice in farmed Atlantic salmon Health Canada has approved a request by the province of New Brunswick to use the pesticide Alphamax, whose active ingredient is deltamethrin. The high concentrations of salmon in aquaculture facilities has lead to major problems with sea lice...  Many local fishermen concerned about the effects the pesticide will have on fish and shellfish populations… They have been using other chemicals to control the outbreaks, includinghydrogen peroxide, Salmosan (azamethiphos), SLICE (emamectin benzoate) and Calicide (teflubenzuron). Glenn Brown, owner of the Grand Manan Company Admiral Fish Farms Ltd. explained, “What we’d really like is a suite of tools we could use in a strategic way.” Unfortunantly pesticides that kill sea lice also kill lobster explained Ms. Sonnenberg… Environment Canada is currently investigating the illegal use of another synthetic pyrethroid cypermethrin.Cypermethrin is not permitted for use in Canada but is used to control sea lice in salmon farms in Maine. Cypermethrinhas been linked to lobster deaths in waters around New England and Canada. According to Matthew Abbot, coordinator of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick’s Fundy Baykeeper Project, putting anything into the water that kills sea creatures is a violation of Canada’s Fisheries Act. He suggests controlling sea lice simply by limiting the number of salmon in cages.

Pyrethroid Pesticides in Streams Found Toxic to Indicator Species (Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2010) Pyrethroids, among the most widely-used home pesticides, are winding up in California rivers at levels toxic to some stream-dwellers, possibly endangering the food supply of fish and other aquatic animals... The main sources appear to be readily available insecticides applied around the home...Pyrethroids were present in urban runoff and in effluent from sewage treatment plants... Farm runoff, however, only occasionally contained pyrethroids at toxic levels, although some agricultural runoff did contain toxic levels of organophosphate insecticides…A study from 2009 also found home pesticide use to be a significant contributor to water pollution leading to fish kills and loss of aquatic species diversity...Organophosphates and pyrethroid pesticides were found in all water samples taken over a two year period... In addition, a study published in 2008 found pyrethroid contamination in 100 percent of urban streams sampled.


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Glyphosate on feed affects livestock: vet (Western Producer, 19 October 2017)  A veterinarian in Shaunavon, Sask., believes feed with glyphosate residue adversely affects cattle health. Dr. Ted Dupmeier, who operates his own practice at Shaunavon, told about 50 people at a recent event he called an awareness seminar that he began investigating after being unable to diagnose problems in a dairy herd in which cows were inexplicably dying. He said after removing feed that had been sprayed with glyphosate the problems were resolved.  SNAP Comment: Positive that this story was actually worth an article in the Western Producer. This 'anecdote" supports the facts presented in the video Poisoned Fields - Glyphosate, the underrated risk? (HD 1080p)  (Jan 25, 2016)

Rod Cumberland - Presentation on the effects of glyphosate on deer (YouTube video, 45 minutes)  A New Brusnwick deer biologist explains how he researched the problem of the tumbling New Brunswick deeer population and what he found. Softwood tree plantations sprayed with RoundUp to eliminate any other growth are the culprit. No food left for deer or most other species. Indirect effect but massive. Very interesting. the kind of thing one suspects, but to find someone who investigated it is great. A new piece in the puzzle of how we destroy the earth that sustains us.

Rodent bait from oilsands poisoning animals commonly trapped in Alberta Oilsands companies respond by banning rodent poison (David Thurton · CBC News December 2, 2016)   25 per cent of fishers and 10 per cent of martens had detectable levels of the poison. The research also traced the restricted rodent poison Bromadiolone to its use in nearby oilsands operations."Those animals that were sampled were the animals healthy enough to pursue prey and then be captured on the trapline. So obviously those sick and lethargic animals we are not sampling," Thomas said. As a result, 25 companies voluntarily stopped using the poison researchers found in martens and fishers.

The High Cost of Pesticides: Human and Animal DiseasesHoy et al., Poult Fish Wildl Sci 2015, 3:1. A very important article documenting that the degradation of health in wildlife and humans correlates very well with glyphosate use in general, with a turn for the worse when salt formulations started to be used. The article also discusses other pesticides such as the fungicide chlorothalonil and the herbicides 2,4-D and dicambaIt deals with birth defects, endocrine disruption and studies hospital descharge rates for various conditions. It nalyses the mechanisms of action.

'Because much of the wildlife data is from deer fawns, most of the human data presented here involve newborn infants, but we also present some data for children 0-15 years old and for the full population (except newborn)We found many diseases and conditions whose hospital discharge rates match remarkably well with the rate of glyphosate usage on corn, nder wildlife/mammalssoy, and wheat crops. These include head and face anomalies (R=0.95), newborn eye disorders, newborn blood disorders (R=0.92), newborn skin disorders (R=0.96), lymph disorders in children 0-15 (R=0.86) and in the general population except newborn (R=0.89), congenital heart conditions in newborns (R= 0.98), enlarged right ventricle in all age groups except newborn (R=0.96), newborn lung problems (R=0.95), pulmonary bleeding and edema for all age groups except newborn (R=0.97), liver cancer for all age groups except newborn (R=0.93), newborn metabolic disorders (R=0.95) and newborn genitourinary disorders (R=0.96). Also filed under health  and pesticide factsheets/glyphosate


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also see Bee Die-Off

Vermont, Confirming Insect Apocalypse (Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2018) 'The richness, diversity, and abundance of wild bumblebees in Vermont has plummeted over the last century, according to an analysis from researchers at the University of Vermont and Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE)... According to the results, of the 17 bumblebee species considered native to Vermont, four showed evidence of significant declines, and four are simply not detected, leading researchers to the conclusion they are likely to be locally extinct...Overall Vermont’s pollinators experienced significant declines in species richness (the number of different species found), abundance (the number of pollinators found), and diversity (a measure of species richness and relative abundance).'

Camera-wielding robot records effects of pesticide on bees’ behavior  (Mongabey, by Stephanie Parker on 21 November 2018)  'The team found that bumblebees exposed to environmentally realistic amounts of neonicotinoid compounds reduced their nursing and caretaking activities at night and were less able to regulate the colony’s temperature, among other behavioral changes that may impact their population.' SNAP comment: A very sophisticated experiment with results indicating that curent pesticide testing is woefully inadequate to prevent damage. 

Bumblebees Shown to Suffer Reproductive Failure after Pesticide Exposure (Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2018) 'A new study offers fresh evidence that wild bumblebee pollinators are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides, finding that exposure to these compounds interferes with mating success and population stability...While field-realistic consumption of clothianidin reduced survival rates in all test bumblebee populations, worker bees showed higher tolerance to chronic oral clothianidin exposure than queens. However, though queens are known to show reduced fertility following neonic exposure, bumblebee males, revealing surprising vulnerability, showed reduced sperm production and 50% mortality at the lowest administered doses...RNA testing results also revealed even low doses of clothianidin damaged 332 genes associated with major biological functions, including immune system response, learning and memory, locomotion, and reproduction.'

Hummingbirds and bumble bees exposed to neonicotinoid and organophosphate insecticides in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada  (Christine A. Bishop et al., Environmental Toxicology, 05 July 2018)  free access journal.  "the combined concentration of the neonicotinoid insecticides imidaclopridthiamethoxam, and clothianidin detected in hummingbird cloacal fluid from sites near conventionally sprayed blueberry fields was 3.63 ng/mL (ppb). Only piperonyl butoxyde was detected in fecal pellets. Only diazinon was detected in bumble bees (0.197 ng/g), whereas diazinon (1.54–1.7 ng/g) and imidacloprid (up to 18.4 ng/g) were detected in pollen collected from bumble bees"

Amsterdam Leads Bee Recovery Efforts by Banning Bee-Toxic Pesticides, Improving Habitat  (Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2018)  "A new map published by the city identified 21 bee species not found in an earlier 1998 survey recorded by Amsterdam officials. The increase has been attributed to a range of pollinator-protective measures, including a ban on bee-toxic pesticides and the planting of native flowers, prioritized by the city government since the turn of the century."  "While the EU recently made indefinite a ban on bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides in agriculture, urban spaces have been singled out for the continued risk to pollinators posed by the lawn and garden use of these chemicals. Amsterdam appears to have successfully made up the difference, banning the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides on public city property, and encouraging residents and businesses to eliminate their use through brochures and informational pamphlets. Neonicotinoids have been implicated in the decline of wild and managed pollinators, leading governments, both large and small, to impose restrictions on their use.'  SNAP Comment: Similarly, I think the proposed Canadian ban of 3 neonicotinoids is mostly on farmland. If it covers outdoor uses, it would still mean that neonicotinoids would make their way to the consumers and the environment through allowed "indoor use" in greenhouses, presumably on food and bedding plants.

Warning of 'ecological Armageddon' after dramatic plunge in insect numbers  (Damian Carrington, Environment editor, The Guardian, 18 October 2017)   “Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth but there has been some kind of horrific decline,” said Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, and part of the team behind the new study. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.” "In September, a chief scientific adviser to the UK government warned that regulators around the world have falsely assumed that it is safe to use pesticides at industrial scales across landscapes and that the “effects of dosing whole landscapes with chemicals have been largely ignored”."  This scientific paper is also covered by the National Post and the Washington Post, 19 October 2017)  Flying insects aren't getting spattlered on your windshield any more - and scientists are concerned 

Popular Pesticides Keep Bumblebees From Laying Eggs  (The Salt, August 14, 2017)  The scientists, based at Royal Holloway University of London, set up a laboratory experiment with bumblebee queens. They fed those queens a syrup containing traces of a neonicotinoid pesticide called thiamethoxam, and the amount of the pesticide, they say, was similar to what bees living near fields of neonic-treated canola might be exposed to. Bumblebee queens exposed to the pesticide were 26 percent less likely to lay eggs, compared to queens that weren't exposed to the pesticide. The team published their findings in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.... According to Raine and his colleagues, the reduction in reproduction is so large that wild bumblebee populations exposed to these chemicals could enter a spiral of decline and eventually die out.

filed under wildlife/insects

Pesticide roulette (Hartley-Botanic.co.uk, June 26, 2017)   British study but no reason to think it is different here. "The depressing but not entirely surprising finding is that the large majority of plants being sold to people who want to look after bees and wildlife in their garden actually contained significant levels of pesticides, usually a complex cocktail of different insecticides and fungicides, including neonics, but also pyrethroid and organophosphate insecticides – which are also extremely harmful to bees and butterflies ...and moths and other insects."  "But there were significant levels of some neonics found in the food gathered by bumblebee nests placed in urban areas around Brighton in East Sussex, so there is a risk that bees in urban areas are being exposed to pesticides. It seems unacceptable to be selling plants as bee-friendly that are full of insecticides, but that’s exactly what they’re doing and, as far as I can tell, they have no plans to stop."

DDT Resistant Fruit Flies Show Reproductive Difficulties   (Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2017) Fruit flies that developed a genetic resistance to the insecticide DDT have lower success at mating than those without similar changes, according to a study published last month in the journal Behavior Genetics. The results were surprising to researchers, given that the resistance developed through changes to a single allele (a variation of a single gene). “It is amazing that even if all the genes are exactly the same, having this one gene expressed at a higher level has all these effects,” said Professor Nina Wedell, PhD, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, UK to Phys.org. The study raises possible concerns about the effect of pesticide exposure to non-target (not the focus of pesticide use) insects that are integral to a healthy ecology and food web...However, it should be noted that the documented effects in this study are only seen in the absence of insecticide exposure. SNAP Comment: These types of effects are not mandated studies prior to pesticide registration. I also think the study raises possible concerns about genetic engineering (GE). If the change in one naturally occurring allele can cause problems, what can the insertion of a new gene do?...

filed under Reproductive Healthwildlife/insects and gmos/Safety/Health Effects

Study finds link between neonic pesticides and decline of bumblebee queens  (Eric Atkins,The Globe and Mail, May 02, 2017) The queens were fed sugary water laced with real-world levels of the neonic thiamethoxam for two weeks, observed for another two weeks and then frozen, dissected and examined. The queens were less able to develop their ovaries and, in two of the species, ate less nectar. Both are responses likely to reduce their – and their colony’s – chances of survival, Dr. Raine said by phone. The effects of neonics on honeybees has been well-studied. But missing from the studies was the bumblebee queen, which occupies a unique position among bees, beginning each spring as a lone nester, egg layer and forager before breeding a colony that can reach several hundred by late summer. The queen’s initial solitude makes her species particularly vulnerable to such threats as climate change, loss of habitat and pesticides.

Common Pesticide Ingredient Labeled “Inert” Increases Honey Bee Susceptibility to Virus(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2017) A commonly used inert pesticide ingredient negatively affects the health of honey bees by making larvae more susceptible to a virus,The study assessed honey bee larval development after exposure to a continuous low dose of Sylgard 309, a surfactant, in their diet. This organosilicone surfactant is commonly used on agricultural crops, including tree fruits, nuts, and grapes. Their results reveal that honey bee exposure to chemical surfactants such as Sylgard 309 led to higher levels of Black Queen Cell Virus and when the bee larvae were exposed to the surfactant and virus simultaneously, “the effect on their mortality was synergistic rather than additive.” Surfactants are added to pesticide formulations to increase their efficacy by reducing surface tension and aiding in overall absorption of the product in the target plant. These inert ingredients often make up the majority, by weight, of the pesticide mixtures that are sold. A separate study released by Pennsylvania State University researchers in 2012 observes that bee learning behavior is impaired by exposure to low doses of surfactants –other ingredients commonly found in pesticide formulations. SNAP Comment: One of the rare studes on effects of a formulant. In Canada, inerts are called formulants. Surfactants are also used in Canadian sold pesticides. More on formulants in Canada. According to Sylgard 309's MSDS (Dow Chemical) its CAS number is 125997-17-3. This product is currently not in the 2010 PMRA Formulant's List. Likely others listed in the Compendium of Organo-Silicone Surfactants are but I don't have the time to check them all at this time. The number of formulants allowed in pesticide products in Canada dropped from 1588 formulants (REG 2004-01) to1379 (2007), of which 74 (5.38%) had no CAS identification number. The 2010 list increased that number to 3173 products of which 4 were in list 1, 593 in list 2, 1393 in list 3, 464 in list 4A and 716 in List 4B. Of  these 3173 formulants, only 25 have to be listed on labels with the 9 allergens subdivided in 35 formulants for a total of 51 (1.6%) formulants that have to be listed on labels The 593 list 2 (potentially toxic) formulants remain secret, as do known toxins in other categories. 43% of registered formulants are on list 3, which means we know little of their potential effects or toxicity. 

By Killing Beneficial Insects, Neonic-Coated Seeds Increase Pesticide Dependency, Just Like Other Insecticide Applications (Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2016)  A new meta-analysis has challenged the belief that neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticide seed coatings have little to no effect on the health of beneficial predatory insect populations —on the contrary, researchers have found that the seed coatings impact predatory insects as much as broadcast applications of other insecticides...As predicted, the population of predatory insects are reduced in the plots where coated seeds are planted, compared to the plots that are untreated by insecticides. Additionally, the meta-analysis finds that coated seeds affected predatory insect populations similarly to soil and broadcast applications of pyrethroids.

More Evidence Shows Neonics Harm Butterflies (Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2016) A study published earlier this week has found that the increasing use of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides is correlated with a steep decline in butterfly health and reproductive success – as more neonics are used, butterflies are struggling to survive. This study adds to previous evidence that demonstrates, in addition to bees, neonics can cause serious harm to other important pollinators.The study, Increasing neonicotinoid use and the declining butterfly fauna of lowland California, looks at 67 species of butterfly fauna in the lowlands of Northern California at four sites that were monitored for approximately 30-40 years...In November 2015, a study published in the United Kingdom used over 1,000 sites cataloged from 1984 to 2012 in the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS) database to point to the strong association between neonic use and butterfly population decline...In February 2015, research from the University of Minnesota presented some of the first evidence linking the bee-killing insecticides to monarch butterfly deaths.

Honeybees pick up 'astonishing' number of pesticides via non-crop plants (Purdue UniversityMay 31, 2016) Raid and many other insecticides sold to consumers contain pyrethroids. Most people still use DEET based mosquito-repellents. Think before you use them. Why more pesticides in the untreated field? Pesticides do not remain where they are sprayed. They evaporate and come back in rain and snow. That must be how DEET gets into pollen... Most surface water is widely contaminated. Pesticides can also remain in the soil for many years. "The researchers found 29 pesticides in pollen from the meadow site, 29 pesticides in pollen from the treated cornfield and 31 pesticides in pollen from the untreated cornfield.The most common chemical products found in pollen from each site were fungicides and herbicides, typical crop disease and weed management products. Of the insecticides, neonicotinoids and pyrethroids were the most common in the pollen samples and pose the highest risks to bees.. Pollen from all three sites also contained DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellants." see Study Finds Honey Bees Frequently Collect Contaminated Pollen from Non-Crop Plants (Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2016) for some solutions.

Terrestrial Invertebrates

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Soil Biota Adversely Affected by Interaction of Inputs and Practices in Chemical-Intensive Agriculture (Beyond Pesticides, October 14, 2016) .."The study demonstrates that simple evaluations of pesticide exposure on single organisms does not give a complete picture of pesticide risk."...The study, titled 'Pesticide Interactions with Tillage and N Source, Effects on fauna, microoganisms and selected ecosystem services', monitored soil biota during two cropping seasons of winter wheat...Researchers observed a negative effect due to pesticide treatment on mites, and generally found that all taxonomic groups were affected negatively, especially following insecticide treatment.

Roundup Damages Earthworms and Soil Biota, Contributes to Nutrient Pollution (Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2015) A study published in Scientific Reports has found that glyphosate, the controversial and toxic active ingredient in Roundup, reduces activity and reproduction in two species of earthworms and increases soil nutrient concentrations to dangerous levels... Researchers found that after the application of glyphosate, the casting activity of vertically burrowing earthworms essentially ceased. Cast mound mass also decreased by 46%. In contrast, casting activity of this species remained constant when there was no application of glyphosate. In the second species, the soil dwelling earthworms, reproduction decreased by 56% after glyphosate application.

Sublethal Exposure to Pesticides Induces Personality Changes in Spiders (Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2015) 'Sublethal exposure to the organophosphate pesticide phosmet results in significant alterations in personality in individual spiders, according to a study published in the July print edition of the journal Functional Ecology...Exposed individuals showed an average of 23 percent lower repeatability and the correlation between activity and prey capture is more strongly collapsed in females', making hem less effcient predators.