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In a study published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers at the University of California, Riverside found that environmental threats are piling onto the stress faced by nest-building bumblebee queens. Led by Hollis Woodard, an assistant professor of entomology, the team found that exposure to a widely used...
Some politicians spoke “loudly” against glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used weedkiller, before their elections but came back to reality later on, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis told EURACTIV.com in an interview. Some politicians spoke loudly before the election proposing to immediately ban glyphosate, but after the election,...
| | June 11, 2018
Welp, this is the end of Monsanto. Not the end of the seed company, mind you, but the end of its name. The scientists, marketers, and lawyers who work there will keep doing their jobs, they’ll just be employed by Bayer, the big German chemical and pharmaceuticals company that’s slowly...
The fate of two neonicotinoid seed treatments, applied to almost all of the canola and corn seeds in Canada and a portion of the soybean seeds, will be decided this summer. For the last 18 months Health Canada has been studying neonicotinoid insecticides and assessing the risk to aquatic insects....
Following the partial neonicotinoid ban on flowering crops in 2013, the latest restriction which was voted on earlier this year, will prevent the use of three neonicotoids - clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam – on all outdoor crops. ... In 2018, 99 per cent of UK sugar beet crops were protected...
Apart from the inherent scientific complexity, the glyphosate case illustrates a fundamental societal issue. The mere fact that the European Citizens' Initiative attracted so many adherents is indicative of a wide societal aversion to the massive increase in the production of chemicals and their use in pesticide-based agricultural mass production....
| | June 5, 2018
Continued applications of the most widely used insecticides in the world must be urgently restricted, say 233 scientists in a tightly argued letter published in the journal Science. The scientists, led by Davie Goulson from the University of Sussex in the UK, say that neonicotinoids – a family of neuro-active insecticides first developed...
| | June 4, 2018
Health Canada is sticking with its proposal to phase out most outdoor and agricultural uses of a common pesticide, even though a recent study found bees are only affected by the substance in certain circumstances. The recommendation comes the same day as more than 200 scientists published an open letter in...
Much to the dismay of anti-GMO activists, courts around the world including SCOTUS have consistently upheld the rights of companies to patent seeds--a practice going back to the first half of the 20th century when hybrid seeds were pioneered. Should that legal position be reconsidered?
Like my younger self, most Canadians are unaware of the vast diversity of bee species we have in Canada and are mostly familiar with the western honeybee (Apis mellifera), a non-native species introduced to Canada to provide a sweetener for early settlers. In fact, Canada has more than 800 species...
| | May 25, 2018
Beekeepers in the U.S. reported an increase in honeybee deaths over the last year, possibly the result of erratic weather patterns brought on by a changing climate, according to the scientist leading an annual survey on the insects. U.S. beekeepers said 40 percent of their hives, also called colonies, died...
Has GMO use really led to a “flood” of pesticide use, as critics contend? That’s not what the data show. The criticism that pesticides are a central environmental problem misses the big picture in agricultural sustainability and distracts from tackling global food insecurity.
This is part one of a four-part series attempting to separate fact from fiction regarding pesticide use on organic farms. In this installment, we look at the common claim that organic farms actually use more pesticides and more dangerous pesticides through the lens of a few simple observations and talking...
| | May 18, 2018
A top European Union court upheld on Thursday (17 May) the ban on three insecticides blamed for killing off bee populations, dismissing cases brought by chemicals giants Bayer and Syngenta. “The General Court confirms the validity of the restrictions introduced at EU level in 2013 against the insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam...
A committee under Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has turned down commercial release of genetically modified mustard developed by Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants on grounds that more field trials are needed to ascertain its impact on honey bees, soil microbial diversity and honey....
| | May 15, 2018
In late April, the European Union banned a blockbuster trio of neonicotinoid insecticides, marketed by chemical giants Syngenta and Bayer. The decision, motivated by mounting evidence of harm to bees exposed to the chemicals, entrenches a temporary moratorium the EU placed on them back in 2013. Here in the United States, use of neonicotinoids continues...
he US Department of Agriculture’s recent decision to stay out of the business of regulating gene-edited crops could be a game changer for a sector long dominated by a handful of companies armed with massive research and development budgets. High regulatory hurdles imposed on GMO crops – those developed through...
New pesticides are typically licensed for use based on the guidance written on the label of the container. This guidance is constructed from efficacy and safety testing conducted in specific circumstances, but which cannot simulate all the conditions encountered by users. As demand for a new pesticide increases, growers develop...
In the 1990s, biologist Robin Baker put forth the idea that a significant proportion of human sperm are not actually capable of fertilization and instead only serve to block or attack sperm from rival males potentially present inside the female. These "kamikaze" sperm probably also exist in other primates as well as...

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Swiss bee expert: Varroa mites—not neonicotinoid insecticides—primary threat to honeybees

Swiss bee expert: Varroa mites—not neonicotinoid insecticides—primary threat to honeybees

[Jean-Daniel] Charrière oversees bee research at the Swiss government's agriculture institute, Agroscope. ... Currently, there is a big focus among scientists, activists ...
Viewpoint: Anti-biotech groups' master plan substitutes 'citizen science' for data in quest to get glyphosate banned

Viewpoint: Anti-biotech groups’ master plan substitutes ‘citizen science’ for data in quest to get glyphosate banned

The European Union resisted the lobbying of organic and anti-biotech groups to renew authorization of glyphosate, although only for five ...
Bee friendly insecticides? Scientists unlock genetic key to kill crop pests, sparing beneficial insects

Bee friendly insecticides? Scientists unlock genetic key to kill crop pests, sparing beneficial insects

Researchers at Michigan State University’s entomology department have unlocked a key to maintain the insecticide’s effectiveness in eliminating pests without ...
Neonicotinoid insecticide has 'no adverse effects' on honeybee colony health, meta-analysis finds

Neonicotinoid insecticide has ‘no adverse effects’ on honeybee colony health, meta-analysis finds

A quantitative weight of evidence (QWoE) methodology was used to assess higher-tier studies on the effects of imidacloprid (IMI) on ...
Fungicides may be to blame for US bumblebee declines, study finds

Fungicides may be to blame for US bumblebee declines, study finds

When a Cornell-led team of scientists analyzed two dozen environmental factors to understand bumblebee population declines and range contractions, they ...
What's next in the long, heated battle over bees and neonicotinoid insecticides?

What’s next in the long, heated battle over bees and neonicotinoid insecticides?

[S]tudies showing real-world evidence of harm from pesticides in the field have been mounting — and environmental organizations have demanded ...
Neonicotinoid, chlorpyrifos insecticides impact bird migration, study finds

Neonicotinoid, chlorpyrifos insecticides impact bird migration, study finds

"Studies on the risks of neonicotinoids have often focused on bees that have been experiencing population declines. However, it is ...
Organic farmer's plea for a better relationship between organic, conventional farming

Organic farmer’s plea for a better relationship between organic, conventional farming

An organic farmer speaks out on the similarities between conventional and organic--and the benefits farmers can receive from using both ...
UK backs complete EU ban of neonicotinoid insecticides, citing harm to pollinators

UK backs complete EU ban of neonicotinoid insecticides, citing harm to pollinators

The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has ...
Scientists warn EU policymakers that farm pesticides could be to blame for insect declines

Scientists warn EU policymakers that farm pesticides could be to blame for insect declines

A recent study showed a 75% decline in Germany’s insect population over a period of almost 30 years but the European Crop ...
Ecological Armageddon? Scientists criticize media coverage of insect study that raised questions about farm pesticide use

Ecological Armageddon? Scientists criticize media coverage of insect study that raised questions about farm pesticide use

Results of a study of insects in protected areas across Germany earned dramatic headlines warning of "ecological Armageddon". ... [T]he ...
Viewpoint: Challenges to glyphosate, neonic safety shows science under attack from 'viral misinformation'

Viewpoint: Challenges to glyphosate, neonic safety shows science under attack from ‘viral misinformation’

The news of scientific prejudice [in the decision by IARC stating that glyphosate was a likely carcinogen, on top of ...
Could we protect bees from neonicotinoid insecticides by planting trees?

Could we protect bees from neonicotinoid insecticides by planting trees?

[I]t's unlikely farmers will give up or limit pesticide use, so instead, a team of researchers at the University of ...
Neonicotinoid insecticides may hurt honey bee colony health by reducing genetic diversity

Neonicotinoid insecticides may hurt honey bee colony health by reducing genetic diversity

[Editor's note: The following is from a study published in the open-access mega-journal PLOS ONE.] Neonicotinoid insecticides can cause a ...
Viewpoint: ‘Clean eating’ is pseudoscience

Viewpoint: ‘Clean eating’ is pseudoscience

[Editor's note: Dr. Steven Novella is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine.] Eating “clean” is the ...
'Ecological Armageddon'? Three-quarters of flying insects in Germany vanished in 25 years, study claims

‘Ecological Armageddon’? Three-quarters of flying insects in Germany vanished in 25 years, study claims

The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study.... Insects ...
Understanding honeybee deaths: Close to 100% of Massachusetts' hives infected by viruses

Understanding honeybee deaths: Close to 100% of Massachusetts’ hives infected by viruses

The honey bee population is on the decline, and bee experts want to know why, so the State Department of ...
Viewpoint: Do neonic traces found in world honey pose problems to bees or humans?

Viewpoint: Do neonic traces found in world honey pose problems to bees or humans?

The last taste of honey you enjoyed likely came from bees exposed to neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used class ...
More evidence parasitic Varroa destructor mite poses most serious threat to bee health

More evidence parasitic Varroa destructor mite poses most serious threat to bee health

[Editor’s note: Karen Rennich is the Project Manager for Bee Informed Partnership and APHIS National Survey, working out of University ...
Viewpoint: Climate change, pesticides endanger monarch butterfly populations

Viewpoint: Climate change, pesticides endanger monarch butterfly populations

The life cycle of the monarch hinges on the availability of milkweed, but the prevalence of the herbicide Roundup has ...
Is climate change to blame for disappearing bumblebees?

Is climate change to blame for disappearing bumblebees?

[Researchers] have discovered one of the reasons why bumblebees are disappearing – global warming’s effect on flowering times. Scientists at ...
Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Oct. 9, 2017

Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Oct. 9, 2017

Neonicotinoid seed treatments: Effective crop protectants—or unnecessary, with potential collateral damage to bees? | Paul McDivitt Tick tock, circadian clock research ...
Trace amounts of neonicotinoid pesticides found in 75% of honey samples worldwide—'far below' levels dangerous to humans

Trace amounts of neonicotinoid pesticides found in 75% of honey samples worldwide—’far below’ levels dangerous to humans

A new study has found traces of neonicotinoid chemicals in 75% of honey samples from across the world. The scientists ...
Why are thousands of bumblebees dying around the fragrant Linden trees of London?

Why are thousands of bumblebees dying around the fragrant Linden trees of London?

Visitors in the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens near London have reported hundreds, if not thousands of bees, especially bumblebees, sick or ...
UK environmental groups ramp up effort to ban 'bee-harming' neonicotinoids

UK environmental groups ramp up effort to ban ‘bee-harming’ neonicotinoids

Environmental group Friends of the Earth has released a YouGov survey showing that over three quarters of the UK public ...
Calls to ban glyphosate, neonics highlight need to 'protect science', say French corn farmers

Calls to ban glyphosate, neonics highlight need to ‘protect science’, say French corn farmers

At a meeting hosted on Wednesday [27 September] by CEPM, the maize lobby in Europe, maize farmers stressed the need ...
Neonicotinoid seed treatments: Effective crop protectants—or unnecessary, with potential collateral damage to bees?

Neonicotinoid seed treatments: Effective crop protectants—or unnecessary, with potential collateral damage to bees?

If neonic seed treatments don’t increase yields, reducing their use to limit potential harm to bees would be an easier ...
Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Oct. 2, 2017

Genetic Literacy Project’s Top 6 Stories for the Week – Oct. 2, 2017

Tale of two neonicotinoid bumble bee studies—And how science can be massaged | Jon Entine Upchuck factor: Alcoholism targeted with novel ...

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