The Biggest Myth About the ‘Bee Apocalypse’

Dec 4, 2017

By Ross Pomeroy

In 2006, an ominous term entered the public lexicon: colony collapse disorder. The mysterious, somewhat vague word describes instances where entire colonies of honeybees abruptly disappear, leaving behind their queens. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has since fueled claims of an ongoing “bee apocalypse,” which summarizes the perilous plight of our pollinator pals.

But despite panicked claims of an apocalypse, managed honeybee colonies in the United States have actually been rising since 2008. In fact, as of April 2017, U.S. honeybee colonies are at their highest levels in more than 23 years! According toUniversity of Sussex Professor Dave Goulson, perhaps the foremost expert on bees, the trend is the same globally.

Herein lies the biggest myth of the “bee apocalypse”: that there actually is one. Fret not, bees aren’t going extinct anytime soon. Our food supply is not imminently imperiled.

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4 comments on “The Biggest Myth About the ‘Bee Apocalypse’

  • @OP – The Biggest Myth About the ‘Bee Apocalypse’

    This sounds like a propagandists’ hyped strawman “Apocalypse”, (akin to the mythical global-warming “alarmism” beloved of scientifically illiterate denialists) – belittling the real problems, and reputable scientific studies, of invasive species, pests, diseases and insecticides which are are threatening many wild pollinators, and causing colony collapse in commercial hives!

    UK will back total ban on bee-harming pesticides, Michael Gove reveals

    Research leads environment secretary to overturn government’s previous opposition, making total EU ban much more likely

    The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees. It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him.

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  • Meanwhile – back in the realm of reporting real science, rather than misleading cherry-picked hyped articles!

    Neonicotinoids at ‘chronic levels’ in UK rivers, study finds

    Rivers across the country are “chronically polluted” with pesticides believed to pose a threat to bee populations, a report has found.

    The River Waveney on the Norfolk/Suffolk border was found to have the highest levels of neonicotinoids in the UK.

    The River Wensum in Norwich, and the River Tame in the West Midlands were also named among the most polluted.

    A growing number of studies have linked the pesticides to problems for bees.

    According to figures from UK monitoring data by the European Environment Agency, 88% of sites in Britain were contaminated with neonicotinoids.

    The Angling Trust, the charity Buglife, and The Rivers Trust said eight rivers in England – including the Ouse, Somerhill Stream, Wyke Beck, Ancholme, and Sincil Dyke – exceeded recommended chronic pollution limits.

    The River Waveney’s pollution limit was exceeded for a whole month, they said.

    The study said the three toxins of concern were imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, which are used in farming and waste water treatment plants.

    Matt Shardlow, chief executive of Buglife, said: “We are devastated to discover that many British rivers have been heavily damaged by neonicotinoid insecticides.

    @OP – In fact, as of April 2017, U.S. honeybee colonies are at their highest levels in more than 23 years!

    According to University of Sussex Professor Dave Goulson, perhaps the foremost expert on bees, the trend is the same globally.

    “It is vital that action is taken to ban these three toxins.”

    @ above BBC link:- Prof Dave Goulson, from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex, said just a teaspoon of imidacloprid was enough to give a lethal dose to 1.25b honeybees.

    Which is a rather different message to the misleading one in the OP!

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  • RealClearScience is a shoddy site, founded by a libertarian, Alex Berezow, who believes Obama was far left. The site declares itself moderate and there to counter “left bias that riddles the media”. It sports Templeton Foundation adverts for me indicating the kinds of right wing visitor probably expected.

    It wages active war against its detractors.

    Describing himself as ideologically neutral or moderate, Berezow nonetheless descibed President Barack Obama as being on the “far Left” when promoting his book, Science Left Behind at the American Enterprise Institute on Oct. 24, 2012.

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  • @OP – The Biggest Myth About the ‘Bee Apocalypse’

    Or stated scientifically: THE BIGGEST JUNK PSEUDO-SCIENCE PROPAGANDA HEADLINE available to con the public – from a site which pretends to be “moderate”, – whatever that is supposed to mean in terms of scientific evidence or factual reporting?

    Member states have voted in favour of an almost complete ban on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides across the EU.

    Scientific studies have long linked their use to the decline of honeybees, wild bees and other pollinators.

    The move represents a major extension of existing restrictions, in place since 2013.

    Manufacturers and some farming groups have opposed the move, saying the science remains uncertain.

    Neonicotinoids are the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, but concerns about their impact on bees have been reinforced by multiple research efforts, including so-called “real world” trial results published last year.

    Back in 2013 the European Union opted for a partial ban on the use of the three chemicals in this class: Imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

    The restrictions applied to crops including maize, wheat, barley, oats and oil seed rape. The newly agreed Commission regulation goes much further, meaning that almost all outdoor uses of the chemicals would be banned.

    Voting on the proposal had been postponed a number of times as countries were split on the move. However, Friday’s meeting saw a qualified majority vote in favour of the ban.

    The action has been driven by a recent report from the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa), which found that neonicotinoids posed a threat to many species of bees, no matter where or how they are used in the outdoor environment.

    “The Commission had proposed these measures months ago, on the basis of the scientific advice from the European Food Safety Authority,” said EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis.

    “Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.”

    Growers will only be free to use neonicotinoids in greenhouses across the EU, despite some environmental groups having reservations about the chemicals leaching into water supplies. Other neonicotinoids including thiacloprid and sulfoxaflor will continue to be exempt from the ban.

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