Hi there I hope you are all well and enjoying the surprisingly good weather.
Now , I am a wildlife lover and animal enthusiast and have been all my life. I love birds , mammals fish , insects and pretty much every natural creature. I study graphic design and have chosen to do an advertisement for the disappearing honey bee, not for any campaigning project , just because I wanted to know a little more about why they are diminishing and through my research I have got quite a shock and thought to share it with fellow animal lovers.
Now firstly there are many reasons thought to be responsible for the lack of honey bees but there is one factor which has been pretty much proven to out shine and out weigh all others.
A group of pesticides named Neo-Nicotinoids. This pesticide was origianlly developed in Germany in the 90's for commercial use and since then Is believed to be responsible for the rapid decline of the honey bee, not just here in the Uk but around the world. Neo-Nicotinoids do not actually kill honey bees so they are deemed as safe , but what they do to the bee , results in death. Once sprayed onto the crops, flowers or seeds etc , neo-nicotinoids are then absorbed into the plants and seeds. When an unaspecting insect or honey bee, eats a plant of collects pollen , they are then immediately infected, and the outcome is inevitable. Instead of directly killing the honey be , the chemical poisons them , confuses them , causing them to become disorientated and unable to return to the hive. Now bees cannot spend a night out of the hive in the cold , they need the collectiveness of the hive to keep warm and survive , so as you can now see this results in a mass murder of many insect and bees.
These chemicals have already been banned in FRANCE, ITALY and the country responsible for creating it ....GERMANY! So why is it still in use in the U.K and USA ?
The Co-op supermarket have banned the use of the pesticide on all of their 25.000 hectares of land.
We all know the consequences if we lose nearly all of our Bee population ...Disaster, but also the use of Neo-Nicotinoids has a devasting effect on our bird population , especially one form of the chemical IMIDACLOPRID which is highly toxic to birds.
Many of you probably have heard of Neon-Nicotinoids before but were unaware of how dangerous these chemicals are to our food chain and in the end ...Us!
The RSPB is a great charity and as we know do not just work protecting birds , but have projects globally . They have 1million voices for nature, lets make these voices heard and get Neo-Nicotinoids out of out plants , our insects , our birds and out of us ! Thank you
Hi yes this is very interesting and certainly very disturbing, I have heard of these chemicals before I belive!
The question is just what can be done to stop these chemicals being used , in my opinion these chemicals should be banned right away, its unbeliveable to think they are still being used and can cause this devasting effect on our wildlife!!!
Hi Neon-Bee, and thanks for bringing this to our attention - hope the "big boys" will listen if we make enough noise.
Thanks for you're replies. Well it doesn't take much research to see that its definitely a big problem here in the UK, US and many other countries. The fact that the country that created the chemical , Germany have actually banned its use in their own country alone indicates something serious.
Now I forwarded the same post to the RSPB and they said they will be in contact, hopefully they will. Now I know the RSPB are amazing at campaigning and have created alot of attention for various issues around the uk, hopefully they can bring some attention to this .
I have never been much of a campaigner but reading about such a dangerous chemical present all around the uk, and a primary factor for the disappearance of the honey bee , i think maybe it is time to actually do something about this.
Maybe it would help to send a meesage to RSPB so they take notice , I know thats what they have asked of myself and many others when campaigning ;)
Hi how are we all? Had anyone had any feedback from the rspb ?
Hi neon-bee, just sent my message to RSPB, hope more people will do so, its such an important issue, hope we will get some feedback soon!!!
Hi all, one of my colleagues in the wildlife team picked up the initial email and got in touch with the RSPB staff working on this area. Unfortunately they were not able to assist at the time but will be back in the office next week and they should be able to provide a response in light of the new research. If you can hold on until then that would be great!
Hi Thanks for your reply Ian, will be interested to receive any information regarding new research, will check next week. Thanks.
Think you have a good point i am with you on this one!!!!!!
Hello neon-Bee, hello everyone
Thank you for your very thoughtful posts, and I’m sorry for not responding sooner (I’ve been on holiday – a fairly rare occurrence these days!). To introduce myself: I’m an RSPB agriculture policy officer with responsibility for our position on pesticides. I work with my scientific colleagues and staff who advise farmers to make sure the RSPB’s policies on pesticides are effective and based on sound science.
You’re absolutely right that neonicotinoids are causing serious concern. They are commonly used as a seed coating, but as you describe the chemical is transported around the growing plant, so it can eventually turn up in pollen where bees can come into contact with it. There have been rare disasters where the neonicotinoid coating ‘rubbed off’ seeds while they were being planted, creating toxic clouds of dust above the fields that directly killed large numbers of bees. However, these seem to be isolated incidents caused by specific problems with the seed coating or the planting method used – the main concern is the more insidious effect of repeated low doses of the chemicals in pollen.
Several lab experiments have shown that bees are affected by low doses of neonicotinoids, including as you mention their ability to navigate. You might have seen in the news recently an important new study that has demonstrated for the first time the effects of neonicotinoids on bees in their natural environment. Bee populations are facing a whole range of challenges including the loss of flower-rich habitats in our countryside over recent decades, changes in weather patterns, and diseases and parasites like the Varroa mite. It isn’t clear what role pesticides (including neonicotinoids) are playing in their decline – possibly it’s the combination of stresses that is causing the problem.
Unfortunately, the solution is not as simple as calling for an immediate ban on neonicotinoids. The advantage of using a pesticide that is applied to seeds and then spreads throughout the plant is that only insects that eat the plant are killed. The alternative – repeatedly spraying chemicals over the whole field as the crop grows – carries the risk of killing many more harmless or beneficial insects. An overnight ban on neonicotinoids might force farmers to revert to other chemicals that actually cause more harm overall. We need to understand the full implications before we act.
This is why the RSPB is calling for further research as a matter of urgency. We have lobbied the UK government to commission research on the impacts of neonicotinoids. We are an active member of an IUCN Task Force which aims to review all scientific evidence on the impact of neonicotinoid insecticides, devise a better risk management for government approval of new pesticides, propose alternatives if needed, and bring the results to the attention of policy makers and society in general. We work closely with Buglife and others, and take part in government and EU consultations on pesticide and agricultural policy, ensuring that the natural environment has a strong voice in these discussions. We work with thousands of farmers every year, supporting them in the great work they are doing to improve the impacts of farming on the environment. And as you point out we have an army of supporters like you, helping us to keep an eye on the natural world and hold government and others to account!
Thanks again for opening the discussion on neonicotinoids, and rest assured the RSPB is working hard on this issue as on the many other problems affecting our wildlife. One thing we can all do is consumers is think about the food we’re buying and the farming system that produced it – for example we can choose to buy food from organic systems, where use of pesticides is severely restricted and the emphasis is on encouraging healthy crops and a healthy environment.
All the best
Agriculture Policy Officer
Hi Ellie Thank you for all that info, its certainly good to know the rspb are working on all these issues and what exactly is being done to help on this issue.
I always try to plant lots of bee friendly plants in my garden, and I am always aware of the need to keep bees in mind when buying food etc too.
I have had quite a few bees around in the past week with the good weather but we are back to freezing cold temps now again in Devon.
Most the the bees I have seen are bumble bees but only one or two honey bees around so far, so hope we will see more as the weather improves!
Hi neon-bee. I've just been directed to your excellent thread. Apologies for missing it as I've posted SAVE THE BEES last night to highlight the world wide campaign
As the chemicals are already banned in other European countries I'm not waiting for our scientific community to debate it to death, something that our country should get a gold medal for.
It's time to work with nature and not continually fight against it - for profit.
It seems like another case of a very old story. People assume that if something is new it must be good. This has often shown not to be the case.
This seems another case and point.
This is absolutely serious as bees have such a huge beneficial effect on our lives.
Totally agree Tiger. What Ellie is saying on behalf of the RSPB is completely right and responsible from an organisational point of view acting within the many constraints put on all organisations, even charitable ones. BUT Whilst its correct that the RSPB rigorously checks all the facts and works with other bodies, from an individual stand point life is far simpler and we don't have to find solutions just put worldwide pressure to say, we know what's happening, don't just stick a plaster on here but sort out the whole problem.
That's basically the question, is it right to use this and kill bees or is it wrong. Nearly a million individuals have signed the AVAAS petition to say this is wrong. It's not just our bees here.
The RSPB will add weight around the table and help here, but what about other countries who are less fortunate and don't have such organisations. That's why it's important to sign the petition and say "clean up your act not just here but everywhere, we care and we are watching".