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

Insects

also see Bee Die-Off and /educational, neonicotinoidsatrazinepyrethrinsinerts/formulantsglyphosateImmune/Infections, flupyradifurone and mixtures

Pollinators and Biodiversity panel. exceellent. 57 minutes video'This workshop panel was recorded live on June 8th 2021 as part of the Beyond Pesticides Virtual Forum. The panel is moderated by Joyce Kennedy - People & Pollinators Action Network and featuring: Steve Ellis - Old Mill Honey Company Aimee Code - Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and Vera Krischik, PhD - Department of Entomology at the St. Paul, University of Minnesota Pollinators are in unrelenting devastating decline.

Interplay Between Pesticides and Climate Change Has Driven Down Dragonfly Populations   (Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2022) 'Over the last 40 years, dragonfly species have declined in the United States due to an interplay between increasing pesticide use and rising temperatures from climate change, according to a recent study published in Ecological Applications... Review of the data found that out of 104 dragonfly species, each species experienced an average of 30% quadrant loss compared to previously occupied quadrants within the last 40 years. Researchers indicate this is likely an underestimate. The authors conclude that “climate change interacts with recent, rapid rises in pesticide applications to increase dragonfly and damselfly extinction risks, a clear demonstration that multistressor frameworks are vital for identifying risks related to global change.”'

Your Garden and Town Landscapes Are the Change that Pollinators Need, Study Finds   (Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2022)  British study. 'small urban gardens and greenspaces are actually some of the most pollinator-friendly resources. The study notes that that several factors influence how well these resources provide food for pollinators, most important among which are pollinator-friendly management practices.' Article includes lots of resources to create such oases. SNAP Comment: I would like to add that buying bedding plants which have not previously been treated with neonicotinoids is also important so ask, and buy from sources that provide neonic-free plants.

Neonicotinoids Pass Through Aphids, Contaminating Honeydew and Killing off Pest Predators   (Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2022) Seeds treated with neonicotinoid insecticides contaminate honeydew, often the biggest source of food for pest predators, according to recent research published in the journal Environmental Pollution... But there is another systemic effect that is not included in that picture, and in monoculture crops, (honeydew) could be the biggest source of carbohydrates for beneficial pest predators “This rich carbohydrate source is a common food for many beneficial insects, including pollinators, such as bees and flies, and some natural enemies of pests, such as ants, wasps and beetles,” said John Tooker, PhD, coauthor of a recent literature review published in Biological Reviews. “Honeydew often is more abundant than nectar in agroecosystems.”   Researchers found that concentrations of the neonicotinoid clothianidin (the chemical tested by scientists, as it is the immediate breakdown product of the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam), are 9 to 11 times higher in aphid honeydew derived from plants that were seed treated with neonicotinoids (at ~35-45 parts per billion), compared to those untreated. Importantly, however, aphids from untreated blocks also had neonicotinoids in their honeydew (at ~1.5-6 ppb). Researchers indicate that this was either from prior plantings on the plot of land chosen, or from runoff from nearby applications causing contamination in the untreated plot.  The results also reveal that pest predators die off much faster when eating contaminated honeydew. The pesticides identified as particularly problematic for this route of exposure are generally those the researchers indicate have systemic properties.  SNAPComment: There are currently 16 PMRA registered pesticides containing thiamethoxam in Canada, and 16 containing clothianidin. Many more contain other neonicotinoids.

Direct pesticide exposure of insects in nature conservation areas in Germany  (Carsten A. Brühl et al; Scientific Reports,16 December 2021)    In total, residues of 47 current use pesticides were detected, and insect samples were on average contaminated with 16.7 pesticides. Residues of the herbicides metolachlor-S, prosulfocarb and terbuthylazine, and the fungicides azoxystrobin and fluopyram were recorded at all sites. The neonicotinoid thiacloprid was detected in 16 of 21 nature conservation areas, most likely due to final use before an EU-wide ban. The individual chemicals reflect sales volume of each.  A change in residue mixture composition was noticeable due to higher herbicide use in spring and increasing fungicide applications in summer. The number of substances of recorded residues is related to the proportion of agricultural production area in a radius of 2000 m. Therefore, a drastic pesticide reduction in large buffers around nature conservation areas is necessary to avoid contamination of their insect fauna.   see also Insects in Nature Preserves Contaminated with Over a Dozen Pesticides (Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2022)   SNAP Comment: As mentioned in the article, the higher chemical detection reflects volume of sales so a similarly designed study in other locations would have to reflect pesticide use and persistence in the area. There are currently 32 PMRA registered pesticide products containing metolachlor in Canada, 0 present or historical containing prosulfocarb, 0 present or historical containing terbuthylazine,  44 (down from 49) containing azoxystrobin, 18 containing fluopyram and 4 containing the neonicotinoid thiacloprid. 

One Single Neonic Exposure Saps Wild Pollinator’s Ability to Reproduce    (Beyond Pesticides, December 7, 2021) One exposure. That’s all it takes for wild bees to experience declines in reproduction and population growth from neonicotinoid insecticides, according to research recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). This incredible sensitivity is exactly the sort of process that could rapidly drive pollinator species into extinction.     Researchers conducted their study during the first year by exposing a group of larval bees to the neonicotinoid imidacloprid through a ground drench at the highest rate on the label for the product AdmirePro, produced by Bayer... during the second year, some of the unexposed adults were dosed with the same rate of imidacloprid.    Orchard bees exposed to imidacloprid as adults during year two were 4% less likely to initiate nesting, and when they did, they created their nest 38% percent slower, and produced 30% less offspring than those left unexposed. This population also produced 49% fewer female offspring than unexposed bees. Larval bees that were exposed during year one, and subsequently established nests during year two also laid significantly (20%) fewer eggs.   These results add considerable urgency to efforts to stop pollinator declines. Imidacloprid can remain in soil for nearly a year, meaning that even if these chemicals were eliminated today, it could be two or more years before ground-nesting pollinators stop declining.SNAP comment: This type of study is not yet included in the studies mandated for pesticide registration either in Canada ro the US. The whole body of independent studies (non-mandated) is not given appropriate consideration in pesticide registration or re-evaluations. This is in large part because of the process of risk-benefit assessment. As long as a pesticide is deemed 'useful', it doesn't really matter how many deleterious effects it has. It gets re-registered. 

Secret Inert Ingredient in ‘Bee Safe’ Pesticide Found to Kill Bumblebees     (Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2021)' Evidence is building that so-called ‘inert’ ingredients in pesticide formulations are harming pollinators and undermining regulatory determinations that designate products as ‘bee-safe.’ According to a new study published in Scientific Reports, the fungicide Amistar causes lethal and sublethal effects that can be primarily attributed not to its active ingredient azoxystrobin, but to alcohol ethoxylates, a co-formulant, or inert ingredient intentionally added to a pesticide formulation.    Further, Amistar’s formulation in Europe may differ from its formulation in the United States and other countries, despite that fact that chemical company Syngenta/ChemChina is the primary registrant in both locations.     Researchers found that bees that weighed more at the beginning of the study were more likely to survive. That is because alcohol ethoxylates were causing sub-lethal impacts that didn’t necessary kill every exposed bumblebee outright.   Dissection after the experiment determined that alcohol ethoxylates were creating dark brown patches in bumblebee guts. This was leading to a range of observable warning signs. “Whilst 30 percent of bees exposed to the fungicide product died, the other 70 percent were far from healthy; they had damaged guts, were eating about half as much food and were losing weight,” said study coauthor Ed Straw, PhD. “Pesticide regulation typically only looks at whether or not a bee dies, but we found that even bees who survive can be under severe stress.”...other research done under field-realistic conditions within the PoshBee project show similar results. This combination of results, enabled by this European-wide project, really supports the idea that co-formulants in pesticides need to be considered more seriously as threats to bee health.”    SNAP comment: In Canada, inerts are called formulants/Canada. The CAS number for alcohol ethoxylates is 84133-50-6. They are listed as a formulant in the latest PMRA formulants list (2017). It is listed in category 4B "formulants of minimum concern under specific conditions of use". Section 4.6:"When a formulant reaches List 4B, no further regulatory action is anticipated unless the use pattern for which it is being considered is beyond that approved, in which case the PMRA will require an independent review". A formulants are still secret except if very toxic or allergens, I suspect there is no listing of alcohol ethoxylates in pesticide formulations or on MSDS sheets. As of 18 November 2021, there are 44 PMRA registered products containing azoxystrobinnone with the name Amistar.

Global Pollinator Declines Threaten Plant Biodiversity   (Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2021) 'Declines in pollinator populations throughout the world may result in the loss of tens of thousands of wild flowering plants that rely on their services, according to research published this month in the journal Science Advances. “Our paper provides the first global estimate of how many plant species mostly or completely rely on animal pollinators to make seeds and thus to reproduce,” wrote author James Rodger, PhD,'     About 175,000 plant species – half of all flowering plants, depend on pollinators. "This means declines in pollinators could cause major disruptions in natural ecosystems, including loss of biodiversity.” 'Accordingly, without pollinators half of plant species would experience a reduction in fertility by over 80%, and one third of flowering plant species with no longer produce seeds at all.'

Global Review Identifies Key Drivers of Pollinator Decline, Threat for Humanity   (Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2021)  'Overall, land cover, land management, and pesticide use are identified as ‘very important’ or ‘important’ drivers of pollinator declines in nearly every geographic region of the world. While climate change is also identified as such, experts do not have as much confidence in its importance when compared to other factors putting pollinators at risk. Pests and pathogens are identified as very important risks in North America and Latin America, and generally rank above concerns over pollinator management and invasive species. Genetically engineered cropping systems are identified as a lower threat in most regions of the world, but very important threat in Latin America, where hazards are identified due to high use of glyphosate resistant crops and subsequent data on the dangers of that chemical to pollinators.'

Typical Neonicotinoid Insecticides at Any Level Likely to Kill Off Wild Pollinators   (Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2021) 'Neonicotinoid insecticides applied to nursery plants sold at garden centers kill off wild, solitary pollinators regardless of the amount applied, according to research published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B....  Although not recorded in the study, a press release published by University of California, Riverside indicates that the first time the experiment was tried, researchers used the EPA recommended label concentration of the product, and all bees died within a few short days.  At the significantly lower rate, scientists found that high irrigation watering reduced the amount of imidacloprid detected in plant nectar. Nonetheless, researchers observed the same harmful effects on leafcutter bes as the group exposed to lower amounts of irrigation.'

Death of as Many as 107,000 Bumblebees from Neonicotinoid Insecticides Studied    (Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2021) Recently published research reviews the 2013 Wilsonville, Oregon mass bumblebee die-off from application of the neonicotinoid dinotefuran on 55 linden trees in a big-box-store parking lot. In that single event, the research paper (published in Environmental Entomology) estimates between 45,830 and 107,470 bumblebees from some 289–596 colonies were killed. Reporting on the new study, by Entomology Today, quotes primary conclusions of the co-authors: “Our study underscores the lethal impact of the neonicotinoid pesticide dinotefuran on pollinating insect populations,” and, “It is likely that the vast majority of mass pesticide kills of beneficial insects across other environments go unnoticed and unreported.”   SNAP Comment: As of 26 July 3032, there are 7 dinotefuran products registered in Canada by the PMRA for dogs and cats, outdoor spraying of some external structures and as a cockroach gel.

Conservation Genomics Pinpoint Pesticides and Pathogens in Decline of Bumblebees   (Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2021) Bumblebees exposed to pesticides and pathogens display changes in gene expression that can be pinpointed and analyzed by cutting edge research tools “We’re looking directly at bee tissues  to try and get clues to the stressors that are affecting this bee. I think this is a gamechanger for sure. With a single study, we are able to implicate a couple of really obvious things we’ve talked about for years – pathogens and pesticides – in the case of Bombus terricola.”  says study coauthor Amro Zayed, PhD.  'Researchers discovered 61 differentially expressed genes, including those involved in detoxification, as well as those associated with neurodegenerative disorders and immune response. ..Bumblebees display gene expressions that are associated with exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides, fipronil, and a range of pathogens, including deformed wing virus and sacbrood virus.... A 2015 report by the European Academies Science Advisory Council found, “Several studies have demonstrated synergistic effects of neonicotinoid residues with bee parasites and viruses.' 

Glyphosate Raises Malaria Risk through Damage to Insect Immune Systems – New Study   (Sustainable Pulse, May 14 2021) with link to study.   'Melanin works in insect immunity essentially by trapping and killing an invading bacterium, fungal cell, or parasite. Melanin production rises in response to the infection, and in a process called melanization, melanin molecules surround the invading pathogen—while highly reactive molecules produced as part of the melanin-synthesis process, effectively destroy the invader. ...the researchers found that in A. gambiae mosquitoes, glyphosate inhibits melanin production and melanization, and thereby makes the mosquitoes more susceptible to infection by Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous species of malaria parasite. They found too that glyphosate alters the composition of the bacterial and fungal population in the mosquito midgut—the “gut microbiome” that, as in humans, helps regulate mosquito health.

The main ingredient in RoundUp doesn’t just kill plants. It harms beetles, too.    Glyphosate seems to interrupt a key symbiotic relationship in sawtooth grain beetles.   (Philip Kieffer, Popular Science, May 13, 2021)    'But sawtooth grain beetles rely on a symbiotic relationship with a particular type of (unnamed) bacteria to build their shells. That bacteria in turn uses the shikimate pathway to manufacture the raw building blocks the beetles need.  Glyphosate appears to kill off those partners. After exposure to the chemical, the beetles make softer, weaker shells. It doesn’t kill them outright, but it leaves them more vulnerable. “They are doing way worse,” Engl says. “Their cuticle is thinner, and this is creating a higher risk of desiccation and higher mortality.”    The sawtoothed grain beetle is a crop pest, but Engl says it’s a model for all kinds of other beetles, which constitute about a quarter of all known animal species. “The beetle is generally used by us to understand the associations between insects, their microbial partners, and their ecological importance, so it’s a proxy for many insects,” Engl says.'

“No Pollinator is Safe” — New Evidence of Neonicotinoids Harming Wild, Ground Nesting Bees   (Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2021) 'A new study is making it increasingly clear that current laws are not protecting wild, ground nesting bees from the hazards of neonicotinoid insecticides.... Blue Orchard Mason Bees (Osima spp) are at particular risk from pesticide-contaminated soil they use to create their nest. '

Bee Protective Habitat Guide (Beyond Pesticides) explains the role pesticides play in pollinator decline. Gives a list of pollinator-friendly plants, several of which may not be native to the area you live in. Rather than bringing in a potential invasive, look for similar native species. 

Roundup Shown to Kill Bees—But Not How You Might Expect  (Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2021) 'Roundup products manufactured by Bayer-Monsanto kill exposed bumblebees at high rates, according to a new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, which points to undisclosed inert ingredients (those that typically make up a majority of the product formulation) as the primary culprit.Bumblebees sprayed with consumer use Roundup Ready-To-Use (contains glyphosate) experienced a shocking 94% mortality. Subsequent experiments were conducted at lower application rates for that product, and significant mortality was seen for the 1:1 dilution (98% mortality) as well as the 1:3 dilution rate (78% mortality). The agricultural use Roundup Proactive (contains glyphosate) saw lower rates of death at 30%. Weedol, a glyphosate-based consumer product, displayed a mortality rate (6%) similar to the unexposed control group of bumblebees (4%). However, Roundup Speed Ultra' (containing acetic acid and no glyphosate) 'was found to kill 96% of exposed pollinators.'. SNAP Comment: Interesting that the UK formulation containing acetic acid andno glyphosate was so toxic as this is considered an alternative product. On a glyphosate label search on 20 April 2021, thereare 195 glyphosate products registered as pesticides in Canada. (also registered as an antibiotic- I haven't searched that or other possible uses). The issue with undisclosed inerts, called formulants in Canada, is the same as in the US. There have been many unsuccessful efforts over decades in making them public.

Solitary Wild Bees Harmed by Neonicotinoid Pesticides Applied by Soil Drenching  (Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2021) 'Populations of solitary ground nesting bees decline after exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides, according to a study published in Scientific Reports late last month. In addition to ground-nesting bees, neonicotinoids have been shown to harm butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds, aquatic species and mammals, including human,.. Squash seeds were treated with the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam, the neonicotinoid imidacloprid was applied as a soil drench, and chlorantraniliprole was sprayed on plant foliage. A fourth group of hoop houses did not have a pesticide applied in order to act as a control.   Results show that the soil drench (imidacloprid) presents significant hazards to ground nesting bees. Hoary squash bees in this group initiated 85% fewer nests, harvested 5 times less pollen, and produced 89% fewer offspring than the untreated control group... Whatever the etiology of the deleterious effects observed, study authors are certain that their data points to unacceptable hazards from the use of imidacloprid.' 

Combination of Pesticide Exposure, Limited Food Lead to Wild Bee Declines    (Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2020) 'The additive stress of pesticide exposure and food scarcity leads to significant declines in wild pollinator populations, according to research published by scientists at University of California, Davis.  Scientists found significant impacts on the factors that deal with mason bees’ reproductive success. This includes the likelihood that a female will nest, the number of offspring a female will produce, and the ratio of male to female offspring.Taken alone, female mason bees exposed to Admire Pro (imidacloprid) were 10% less likely to nest, and when they did, produced 42% fewer offspring. Those with access to limited food supplies produced 26% fewer offspring than those with abundant resources. These stressors were additive, with pesticide exposure and limited floral resources combining to reduce reproduction by 57%, compared to the unexposed group. The stressors also changed the sex of offspring that were successfully reared.' 

Monarch Massacre: Hundreds of Monarch Butterflies Die After Aerial Mosquito Spraying in North Dakota   (Beyond Pesticides, September 2, 2020) It’s being called the Monarch Massacre—hundreds of monarch butterflies found dead after the Vector Control Department of Cass County, North Dakota aerially sprayed the county for mosquito control. This incident occurred during a moment in history that is seeing monarchs at the edge of extinction, with the number of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico having declined 53% from last year, according to a count conducted by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Mexico.

Milkweed in Western Monarch Habitat Found to be Completely Contaminated with Pesticides   (Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2020) 'New research finds that western monarch milkweed habitat contains a “ubiquity of pesticides” that are likely contributing to the decline of the iconic species. The research, published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, provides a grim snapshot of a world awash in pesticides, and raises new questions about the U.S. regulatory process that continues to allow these toxic chemicals on to the market without adequate review and oversight.   From roadsides, from yards, from wildlife refuges, even from plants bought at stores—doesn’t matter from where—it’s all loaded with chemicals. We have previously suggested that pesticides are involved in the decline of low elevation butterflies in California, but the ubiquity and diversity of pesticides we found in these milkweeds was a surprise,” Dr. Forister said.  The researchers collected over 200 milkweed samples from nearly 20 different sites across the Central Valley of California, as well as from retailers that sell milkweed plants to customers. In addition to retail locations, samples were taken at agricultural sites, wildlife refuges, and urban areas. Researchers screened the milkweed samples for 262 different pesticide compounds.     The study documents 64 different pesticides across all samples, including 27 fungicides, 25 insecticides, 11 herbicides, and one pesticide adjuvant (substance mixed with pesticide to enhance performance). Every sample tested positive for at least one pesticide, with an average sample containing roughly nine different compounds in its tissue. Some samples contained as many as 25 different pesticides. Researchers note that, for most of the pesticides detected, there is little to no data on how they impact the health of monarch butterflies.   Of particular note is the insecticide chlorantraniliprole, which, in a study published earlier this year, was found to be toxic to monarchs after drifting from adjacent farmland. Chlorantraniliprole was found in 91% of all samples taken. Further, it exceeded the lethal dose necessary to kill 50% of exposed monarchs (LD50) in 58 of the 227 samples tested in the study.'     SNAP Comment: As of 29 June 2020, there are 10 chlorantraniliprole pesticide products regiatered in Canada, two as seed treatments and one as a termiticide.

One Quarter of Global Insect Population Lost Since 1990  (Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2020) 'Billed as one of the most comprehensive assessments to date, the study finds significant overall insect declines, but notes of some specific bright spots. While variation in the ongoing crisis is to be expected, ultimately the trends in the data show the need for immediate policy and regulatory action to protect the insect world as the foundation of global food webs...  There was little evidence that climate change was playing a role at either local or global scales, however land use and urbanization was found to have moderate associations with declines. The anthropogenic factors with this trend – pesticide use, light pollution, habitat destruction, are massively under-regulated and can be addressed by elected officials...   It is likely that the declines we are seeing in many bird species are closely linked to insect declines. Recent research finds that three billion birds, or 29% of bird abundance has been lost since the 1970s."

Monarch Butterfly Larvae Adversely Affected by Pesticide Drift from Contiguous Soybean and Maize Crop Fields   (Beyond Pesticides, April 23, 2020) Pesticide spray drift from adjacent farmlands expose butterfly larvae to lethal pesticide concentrations. ...his study adds weight to the idea that pesticides are playing a role in the ongoing decline of this iconic butterfly, as researchers find insecticide drift from adjacent fields to be strongly associated with larval mortality.    They chose five common active chemical ingredients in foliar insecticides used on soybean and corn crops: beta‚Äźcyfluthrin (pyrethroid), chlorantraniliprole (anthranilic diamide), chlorpyrifos (organophosphate), and imidacloprid and thiamethoxam (neonicotinoids).  Results of the study found that dermal and dietary exposure to beta-cyfluthrin and chlorantraniliprole was most toxic to monarchs, and resulted in high levels of larvae stasis and mortality. Notably, neonicotinoid exposure uniquely halted monarch ecdysis (molting) and pupation from caterpillar to butterfly. ISU researchers estimated the greatest larval mortality to occur 0 to 15 meters (m) downwind of pesticide-treated soybean/maize fields. Aerial pesticide applications extended larval mortality range to 60m downwind of treated fields compared to boom pesticide spray applications.

Monarch Population, Under Threat from Pesticide Use and Habitat Loss, Declines by Half in One Year    (Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2020) The number of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico is down 53% from last year, according to a count conducted by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Mexico.       Recent studies indicate that even when monarchs can find milkweed plants to lay their eggs, pesticide contamination from chemical intensive agriculture may be undermining their ability to continue their journey. A 2019 study found 14 different agricultural pesticides on milkweed tested near farm fields in Indiana, including the neonicotinoid class of insecticides implicated in the decline of pollinators. Research published late last year finds that monarchs that feed on neonicotinoid-contaminated milkweed experience a significantly shortened lifespan. Most monarchs (79%) exposed to neonicotinoids died within 22 days, while only one in five of those unexposed perished.

Baby Bees’ Brain Growth Adversely Affected by Neonicotinoid Insecticides  (Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2020) This research, however, examines how exposure to the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, through consumption of contaminated nectar and pollen during the larval stage, affects bumblebees (Bombus terrestris audax). It finds that these exposures cause abnormal brain growth in some parts of the bees’ brains, and significantly impairs learning ability compared to bees who were not exposed....The brains of nearly 100 bees were examined, and the team found that an important part of the bee brain involved with learning — the mushroom body — was smaller in those exposed to the neonics. Smaller mushroom body volume is correlated with poorer performance in learning tasks. Bees fed with contaminated food in the larval stage show significantly impaired learning ability compared to those that are not.'The amount of pesticide residue present inside colonies following exposure appears to be an important measure for assessing the impact on a colony’s health in the future.”'Further, bee larvae have been shown to be vulnerable not only to a single pesticide, but also, to synergistic effects of the plethora of pesticides that may end up in the colony’s hive, plus the so-called “inert” ingredients in pesticide compounds. Researchers in one study noted, “One hundred and twenty-one different pesticides and metabolites were identified in the hive with an average of seven pesticides per pollen sample, including miticides, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and insect growth regulators.”    'The amount of pesticide residue present inside colonies following exposure appears to be an important measure for assessing the impact on a colony’s health in the future.”'    SNAP Comment: In my view, if it is affecting the development of bumblebee's brains, there is no reason it can't affect humans. 

Experts Identify Fireflies as the Latest Victim of the Ongoing Insect Apocalypse  (Beyond Pesticides, February 19, 2020)     'In an article published this month, “A Global Perspective on Firefly Extinction Threats,” experts are sounding the alarm over declines in fireflies attributed to habitat loss, light pollution, and indiscriminate pesticide use.    Pesticide use is particularly pernicious in the context of firefly ecology. While direct contact with pesticide sprays is a concern, exposure in soil and water represent greater hazards. This is because many firefly species lay their eggs in soil, and many spend the first years of their life in aquatic habitats like mangroves and other riparian vegetation (vegetation along the banks of waterways). Pesticides, like the neonicotinoid class of insecticides also implicated in pollinator declines, are known to drift once applied, and persist in soil and waterways.'

Toxic Herbicide Atrazine Causes Wasp Gut Microbiome to Develop Pesticide Resistance Across Generations  (Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2020)   This study not only represents one of the first evolutionary studies on symbiont-mediated pesticide resistance, it also provides fodder for future research regarding the implications of exposure to xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem) for other gut bacteria hosts – such as honey bees and humans. Early generations of wasps in the study received a field-realistic dose of atrazine (300 ppb) or a subtoxic dose (30 ppb); exposed individuals showed a gut flora composition significantly different from the control group. The shift in microbiome composition persists across subsequent generations.   After the 8th generation of sublethal dosing, there was a significant increase in tolerance to atrazine. LC50 increased in later generations of the atrazine-exposed population, indicating pesticide resistance. The paper reads, “Our study is one of the few cases to experimentally evolve cooperation between a host animal and rare members of the microbiome to derive new fitness traits within the population.”   Even when wasps are switched to an atrazine-free diet for six generations, the bacterial composition was similar to that of the exposed parents. Overall, researchers observed an increase in microbiota diversity and bacterial load.'

Study Finds EU Moratorium of Persistent Bee-Toxic Pesticides Cannot Eliminate Short-Term Hazards  (Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2019)   'Five years after three neonicotinoids were banned for use on bee-attractive crops in the EU, researchers found that these bee-toxic chemicals are contaminating soils and poisoning the nectar of oilseed rape (canola). The results of this research point to an immediate need to end the use of persistent environmental contaminants and promote organic practices.  They tested for imidaclopridthiamethoxam, and clothianidin residues in the nectar of winter-sown oilseed rape in from 291 oilseed rape fields in western France for five years following the EU moratorium (2014-2018).  Results show all three neonicotinoids were present at least once in the study’s time period. Imidacloprid was detected every year with “no clear declining trend,” though its prevalence fluctuated widely between years. Two samples from 2016 show residues that are five times the expected maximum concentration in nectar of a plant directly treated with imidacloprid.   Risk peaks in 2014 and 2016 indicate that 50% of honey bees were likely to die from imidacloprid on 12% of the study plots. Risk for individual wild bees was even higher.  These data illustrate that the EU moratorium, while viewed as a a critically needed step, cannot in the short-term eliminate risk from persistent pesticides for foraging bees.'

Study Shows Drastic Loss of Arthropods in German Grasslands and Forests  (Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2019)    They found that, in grasslands, arthropod:

  • Biomass declined by 67%
  • Abundance declined by 78%
  • Number of species declined by 34%

In forest sites, arthropod:

  • Biomass declined by 41%
  • Number of species declined by 36%
  • Abundance had more complicated results

The paper’s abstract sums up, “Our results suggest that major drivers of arthropod decline act at larger spatial scales, and are (at least for grasslands) associated with agriculture at the landscape level. This implies that policies need to address the landscape scale to mitigate the negative effects of land-use practices.”    It seems like the researchers stayed clear of mentioning pesticide although Beyond Pesticides adds the following:  'It’s clear that industrial agriculture is contributing to the insect apocalypse, as well as declines in birds and other yet unknown species. Yet we also know that, by eschewing pesticide use, focusing on soil health, diversification, and sustainable practices, organic and regenerative farming and land management can help reverse this decline. Join this effort by purchasing organic whenever possible, planting diverse pesticide-free habitat on your property, and encouraging your local community to follow suit. Initiatives in cities like Amsterdam, Netherlands show that this is an issue we can still address.'

Bees Enrich Farmers More than Synthetic Inputs, According to Study  (Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2019)    'The study was performed in France. 'Addressing the ongoing question of how much natural ecosystem services are worth, scientists analyzed the costs and benefits of biodiversity versus agrichemicals. Researchers found the value pollinators add to oilseed rape (OSR) production by increasing yields is higher than synthetic chemical inputs, which are costly to farmers and decrease beneficial insect abundance. The title of the study touts the impressive findings, “Bee pollination outperforms pesticides for oilseed crop production and profitability.”   The researchers state, “Based on a very large dataset spanning 4 and 6 years, this study provides a comprehensive analysis of the synergy and antagonism between agrochemical applications and biodiversity, and their effects on yield and income.”

A new way to assess the danger that pesticides can pose to bees  (by Matt Kelly, The Bee Report,September 5, 2019)   “Our study shows that ground nesting bees are literally risking their lives by excavating their nests in agricultural soil because of the high concentrations of neonicotinoids there,” said Chan...The obvious next step with this new knowledge would be to evaluate any insecticide that is applied to soil for its toxicity on bees that make their homes there. Chan and her colleagues are also in the final stages of completing research into the sublethal effects of contact with pesticides through the soil '   '“The results were sobering,” said Susan Chan, Ph.D. student and lead author, by email. Under many of the scenarios they evaluated, the team found that a hoary squash bee will be exposed to a killing dose of neonicotinoids 80 percent of the time.'

Same Pesticides that are Killing Bees Significantly Shorten Monarch Lifespan   (Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2019)   'Both groups were provided a sugar solution, with the treated group’s solution containing 23.5 parts per billion imidacloprida dose similar to what a butterfly could encounter in a real world scenario.  Monarchs that fed on contaminated sugar solution experienced a significantly shortened lifespan. By day 22, 78.8% of monarchs in the treatment group were dead, compared to 20% mortality within the control group. The treatment group showed marked declines before death – at day 12 displaying uncoordinated flapping of their wings and uncontrolled body vibrations that prevented them from flying.

Surprise: Bees Need Meat   Microbes in flowers are crucial to bee diets, and microbiome changes could be starving the insects  (By Paige Embry, Scientific American, August 23, 2019).   'The mason bee results suggest that bees could suffer or starve if certain microbes disappear from their diet. Scientists have attributed the declines of both managed and wild bees to various combinations of habitat loss and degradation, pests and pathogens, pesticide exposure and climate change. They have largely focused on how such factors impact bees directly. The next step is to look at whether the stressors may affect the pollen-borne microbes.'   “we have ample evidence, at this point, that fungicides dramatically alter the microbial community of fermenting pollen.” And, he adds, “agricultural use of fungicides is very likely a primary stressor—the primary stressor—for bee decline.”

Insect 'apocalypse' in U.S. driven by 50x increase in toxic pesticides   Bees, butterflies, and other insects are under attack by the very plants they feed on as U.S. agriculture continues to use chemicals known to kill. (Stephen Leahy, National Geographic, August 6, 2019)    'Using a new tool that measures toxicity to honey bees, the length of time a pesticide remains toxic, and the amount used in a year, Klein and researchers from three other institutions determined that the new generation of pesticides has made agriculture far more toxic to insects. Honey bees are used as a proxy for all insects...The study found that neonics accounted for 92 percent of this increased toxicity. Neonics are not only incredibly toxic to honeybees, they can remain toxic for more than 1,000 days in the environment, said Klein...This is the first study to quantify how toxic agricultural lands have become for insects and it shows toxicity levels rapidly increased when treating seeds with neonics really took off, said Klein. “This is also when beekeepers began to see declines in bee numbers,” she says.' also see Chemical-Intensive Agriculture Is Increasingly Toxic to Insects (Beyond Pesticides, August 15, 2019) 

Pesticide-Intensive Agriculture Contributes to Severe Monarch Butterfly Decline through Milkweed Contamination  (Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2019) 'In Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, the researchers report finding evidence of 14 different agricultural pesticides on milkweed near Indiana farm fields, including neonicotinoids clothinidin and thiamethoxam, the pyrethroid deltamethrin, and imidacloprid in a few samples...Perhaps a chief reason for the decline is loss of habitat and food sources due to the rapid and rabid adoption, in agriculture, of glyphosate...(1) insecticide presence and concentrations decreased with greater distance from agricultural fields; and (2) presence and concentration of pesticide compounds appeared to vary by year and month;'

Scientists Say, “We know enough to act now,” on Perilous Global Insect Decline  (Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2017)   'The main culprits of insect demise are habitat loss and degradation, pesticides, and climate change. The authors note that it is less critical, at this juncture, to focus on the complexities of the individual issues than to understand that many factors act as a “firing squad” of stressors. “In many cases it will be difficult to identify the killing shot,” the authors write, “but we know the bullets are flying and we know where they are coming from.”'   Includes policy recommendations.

Flight Distance of Bumblebees Impaired by Pesticide, Leads to 87% Decline in Accessible Forage Area     (Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2019)    'The study’s researchers find that worker bumblebees so exposed exhibit significant diminishment of flight endurance — measured as both distance and duration — to approximately one-third of what control workers demonstrate.' 

Not Just Bumble and Honey: Ground Nesting Bees Impaired by Neonicotinoid Exposure  (Beyond Pesticides, March 19, 2019)    'Chronic contact with realistic soil concentrations of imidacloprid affects the mass, immature development speed, and adult longevity of solitary bees, recently published in Scientific Reports, confirms that wild, soil-dwelling bees are at similar risk. As policy makers consider ways to protect pollinators, this research finds that uncontaminated soil is an important aspect of ensuring the health of wild, native bees.'   'The changes are likely a result of a hormetic response by the pollinators. This is a phenomena that results from exposure to pesticides; changes in development occur in order to compensate for energy the bee diverts into physical and biological protections from pesticide exposure. This has important implications for the long term health of ground-nesting bees. Any change in development that distracts or alters normal functioning can affect fitness in the field.'

Pesticide Exposure Alters Gene Expression in Bumblebees (Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2019)    “Our work demonstrates that the type of high-resolution molecular approach that has changed the way human diseases are researched and diagnosed, can also be applied to beneficial pollinators. This approach provides an unprecedented view of how bees are being affected by pesticides and works at large scale. It can fundamentally improve how we evaluate the toxicity of chemicals we put into nature.”   'Clothianidin had a stronger impact on bumblebee colonies, changing the expression of 55 genes in worker bees and 17 genes in queens. The affected genes are involved in important biological processes such as mitochondrial function. Researchers noted with interest that there was almost no overlap between the genes that were impacted in queens versus workers. Comparatively, imidacloprid altered expression of only one gene in workers. The divergent effects of these two similar pesticides indicates distinct genetic mechanisms of toxicity.'  SNAP Comment: This type of evidence is certainly not mandated for pesticide registration, and it may take decades before it it considered in re-evaluation.

Scientists warn about the dangerous interaction of plant protection products (ESTONIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL, 12 MAR-2019)     'Using a hymenopteran parasitoid wasp Aphelinus abdominalis (a globally distributed species widely used in biocontrol) as a model, a team of researchers showed the enhanced effect of a low-concentration insecticide (thiacloprid) treatment when combined with various concentrations of a fungicide (tebuconazole). 'SNAP Comment: It is absolutely correct that pesticides are only evaluated one at a time, even when regularly used as a mixture like lawn chemicals (2,4-D,, mecoprop and dicamba)

New Analysis: Curbing Pesticides Key to Reversing Insect Apocalypse  More Than 40 Percent of World's Insect Species on Fast-track to Extinction (Center for Biological Diversity,February 1, 2019)  SNAP Comment: The Canadian PMRA uses the same model as the US EPA to evaluate pesticides. The comments below fit Canada as well.   'The meta-analysis of 73 studies assessing insect declines over a period of at least 10 years found that industrial farming practices driving habitat loss and extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers is associated with 47 percent of reported declines....The decline of widely ranging generalist insect species shows that habitat loss, alone, is not enough to explain insect declines. Mounting evidence now demonstrates that a significant driver is the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers.'  “We know neonicotinoid pesticides are a major cause of bee decline and are working to ban them, but this review highlights the urgent need for sweeping pesticide reform,” Cornelisse said. “That reform must start with the EPA replacing its long, troubling embrace of pesticide makers with a truly independent review process for assessing these dangerous poisons.” see also Study Predicts Demise of Insects within Decades if Pesticide Dependence Continues(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2019) 

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 F