Bijensterfte neemt wereldwijd en in Nederland alarmerend toe. Wilde bijensoorten en hommels verdwijnen in hoog tempo en honingbijen kampen met verhoogde wintersterfte, ziekten en verkorte levensduur van de koninginnen. Deze website beoogt kennis en ontwikkelingen in wetenschap en beleid rond de vele oorzaken van bijensterfte inzichtelijk en toegankelijk te maken voor een breed publiek. Aanleiding was de brief in NRC van 2 mei 2009. We beogen verifieerbare, traceerbare informatie te bieden met bronvermeldingen en links naar de primaire bronnen uit de wetenschappelijke literatuur.

- Volg de meest actuele ontwikkelingen via Twitter @Bijensterfte

NABU und BUND kritisieren Bienenmonitoring

Die Umweltverbände NABU und BUND veröffentlichten heute eine Studie unabhängiger Wissenschaftler, die den Abschlussbericht des Deutschen Bienenmonitorings scharf kritisiert. Die Wissenschaftler Anton Safer und Peter Hoppe zeigen darin auf, dass die Daten und Bewertungen des Bienenmonitorings gegen die Grundsätze guter wissenschaftlicher Untersuchungen wie Transparenz, Unparteilichkeit und Objektivität verstoßen.

Peter Melchett (The Soil Association): There is a terrible sense of history repeating itself

Your shocking revelations about the impact of neonicotinoids on pollinating insects ("Poisoned spring", 20 January) confirms the worst fears of scientists, conservationists and organic farmers. There is a terrible sense of history repeating itself, as government scientists, politicians and chemical companies deny the impact of this new set of chemicals, just as they did with DDT in the 1960s. Back then it took the disappearance of many of our birds of prey before the problem was recognised. It looks as if the same is going to happen to bumblebees and honey bees.

EPA sued over pesticides

Environmental conservation groups sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to force it to tighten regulation of pesticide use, arguing that the agency was not consulting wildlife officials.

Call to ban pesticides linked to bee deaths

The House of Commons is to debate the impact on bees and other insects of the new generation of pesticides that has been linked to bee mortality in several countries. The Government will be called on to suspend all neonicotinoid pesticides approved in Britain, pending more exhaustive tests of their long-term effects on bees and other invertebrates. The subject will be raised in an adjournment debate in the Commons next Tuesday on a motion tabled by Martin Caton, the Labour MP for Gower. Mr Caton said: "We're talking about a threat to our whole ecosystem, when invertebrates are being lost at the sort of rate that has happened in recent years."

Miljoen handtekeningen voor een wereldwijd verbod op neonicotine insecticiden

Ca. twee weken geleden starte een wereldwijde petitie tegen neonicotine insecticiden
omdat volgens tal van wetenschappers deze superinsecticiden een hoofdrol spelen bij de wereldwijde zeer sterke terugloop van bestuivende insecten zoals bijen en hommels. De petitie is inmiddels door meer dan een miljoen mensen ondertekend. Het gaat om middelen zoals imidacloprid, clothianidine en thiamethoxam die in Nederland op zeer grote schaal zijn toegelaten en die al zes opeenvolgende jaren tot zeer grote overschrijdingen van waterkwaliteitsnormen van het Nederlandse oppervlaktewater zorgen. Het gebruik is in Nederland in 10 jaar tijd vertwintigvoudigd. Deze periode valt samen met de sterke stijging van bijenvolksterfte die ook in Nederland een groot probleem is geworden (bijenvolksterfte is in NL gestegen van ca. 8% volksterfte per jaar naar 27% volksterfte per jaar. In de VS is de volksterfte gestegen tot 35% per jaar).
Een eerdere Nederlandse petitie Stop de Bijensterfte in 2009 werd door 40856 mensen ondertekend en vroeg de Tweede Kamer dringend om maatregelen tegen bijensterfte niet uit te stellen in afwachting van meer onderzoek, maar nu al in te grijpen waar dat mogelijk is, ondermeer door een moratorium op het gebruik van neonicotineinsecticiden. Maatregelen bleven uit, in plaats daarvan werden alle toelatingen van imidacloprid tot 2014 verlengd en werd het middel in een aantal nieuwe toelatingsbesluiten van het Ctgb nog verder verruimd en blijven de waterkwaliteitsnormen ernstig overtreden worden zonder dat daar tegen wordt opgetreden.

Bees facing a poisoned spring

A new generation of pesticides is making honeybees far more susceptible to disease, even at tiny doses, and may be a clue to the mysterious colony collapse disorder that has devastated bees across the world, the US government's leading bee researcher has found. Yet the discovery has remained unpublished for nearly two years since it was made by the US Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory.

'They’ve turned the Environment into the Experiment – and WE are all the experimental SUBJECTS'

Colorado bee-farmer Tom Theobald has a 5 minute video up on Youtube - made by a professional film maker in the USA. It is a statement of the struggle that he has been forced to undertake since he discovered the controversy surrounding the registration and licensing of Clothianidin; the nicotinoid that is suspected of annihilating 3,000,000 American bee colonies in the last four years. This neonicotinoid has been planted on 88 million acres of corn in America - every year since 2003 - , but it appears that it was never 'legally' registered as the study which was submitted by Bayer was invalid.

Cell death localization in situ in laboratory reared honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) larvae treated with pesticides

Abstract: In this study, cell death detected by DNA fragmentation labeling and phosphatidylserine (PS) localization was investigated in the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) midgut, salivary glands and ovaries after treating larvae with different pesticides offered via an artificial diet. To do this, honey bee larvae reared in an incubator were exposed to one of nine pesticides: chlorpyrifos, imidacloprid, amitraz, fluvalinate, coumaphos, myclobutanil, chlorothalonil, glyphosate and simazine. Following this, larvae were fixed and prepared for immunohistologically detected cellular death using two TUNEL techniques for DNA fragmentation labeling and Annexin V to detect the localization of exposed PS specific in situ binding to apoptotic cells.
Untreated larvae experienced 10% midgut apoptotic cell death under controlled conditions. All applied pesticides triggered an increase in apoptosis in treated compared to untreated larvae. The level of cell death in the midgut of simazine-treated larvae was highest at 77% mortality and statistically similar to the level of cell death for chlorpyrifos (65%), imidacloprid (61%), myclobutanil (69%), and glyphosate (69%) treated larvae. Larvae exposed to fluvalinate had the lowest midgut columnar apoptotic cell death (30%) of any pesticide-treated larvae. Indications of elevated apoptotic cell death in salivary glands and ovaries after pesticide application were detected. Annexin V localization, indicative of apoptotic cell deletion, had an extensive distribution in the midgut, salivary glands and ovaries of pesticide-treated larvae.
The data suggest that the tested pesticides induced apoptosis in tissues of honey bee larvae at the tested concentrations. Cell death localization as a tool for a monitoring the subclinical and sub-lethal effects of external influences on honey bee larval tissues is discussed.


There is a debate on Tuesday 25 January 2011 at 1.30pm - 2pm in Westminster Hall - Effect of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees and other invertebrates - Martin Caton, MP. The debate on the 25th is an adjournment debate and as such there will have to be a response from the Minister on the points raised in the debate. It is open to the public.

Text of the Early Day Motion EDM 1267 tabled by Caton, Martin
That this House is gravely concerned by the contents of a recently leaked memo from the US Environment Protection Agency whose scientists warn that bees and other non-target invertebrates are at risk from a new neonicotinoid pesticide and that tests in the US approval process are insufficient to detect the environmental damage caused; acknowledges that these findings reflect the conclusions of a 2009 `Buglife' report that identified similar inadequacies in the European approval regime with regard to neonicotinoids; notes reports that bee populations have soared in four European countries that have banned these chemicals; and therefore calls on the Government to act urgently to suspend all existing approvals for products containing neonicotinoids and fipronil pending more exhaustive tests and the development of international methodologies for properly assessing the long-term effects of systemic pesticides on invertebrate populations.

Pesticides are implicated in lower yields of pollinator-dependent crops in India

Wild honey collection in the Kutch region of Gujarat (India) last year fell to 50 tonnes from the usual 300 tonnes in previous years because of the fall in the number of honey bees. The yield of certain native crops like date palms, lemon, papaya and kesar mangoes has also decreased. In Malda, West Bengal, mango honey was once good business, but farmers say bees are now avoiding mango trees. Dr Parthiba Basu, University of Calcutta, has investigated the decline. His research team’s findings show that the yields of pollinator-independent crops have continued to increase, whereas pollinator-dependent crops have levelled off. In an attempt to identify an underlying cause for the pollinator decline, the team is comparing conventional agriculture with ecological farming. Basu states there is an obvious indication that within the ecological farming setting (where harmful pesticides are not used), there is pollinator abundance.

Tea products contain excessive imidacloprid residues

Two out of 20 tea products recently tested in New Taipei City contained excessive levels of pesticide residue, according to the results of a food safety check released by the city's Public Health Bureau. The bureau found that the products contained more than twice the tolerable limits of below 3 ppm and 1 ppm for Imidacloprid and Carbofuran, respectively.

Beekeepers fume at association's endorsement of fatal insecticides

Britain's beekeepers are at war over their association's endorsement for money of four insecticides, all of them fatal to bees, made by major chemical companies. The British Beekeepers' Association has been selling its logo to four European pesticide producers and is believed to have received about £175,000 in return. The active ingredient chemicals in the four pesticides the beekeepers endorsed are synthetic pyrethroids, which are among the most powerful of modern insect-killers.

Michael McCarthy: BBKA oligarchy has buried the truth in its cosy relationship with the pesticide lobby

The saga of the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) and its long-term pesticide endorsements is quite extraordinary. For 10 years, the BBKA has been giving its official blessing to four insecticides as "bee-friendly" or "bee-safe" – for example, the May 2001 newsletter BBKA News referred to "the BBKA's endorsement of Fury as a bee-safe product", while another piece in August 2005 said "the products we endorse are bee-friendly when used properly". Yet the active ingredients of these products are among the most deadly substances for bees existing on the planet. Good old bee-safe Fury contains cypermethrin, the second most toxic insecticide to honey bees out of 100 tested.

Open Letter to the British Bee Keepers Association

Since 2001, the British Bee Keepers Association has been receiving in the region of £17,500 per annum from pesticide manufacturers Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and Belchim in return for the BBKA's endorsement of several insecticides as 'bee-friendly'.
The BBKA policy of accepting money from such corporations, taken without consulting the membership, has been condemned by many of its members, other European bee keeping associations and some NGOs as unethical.
While the Executive have now changed their mind again and have dropped the direct endorsement of pesticides, there are still some very important questions that remain unanswered.
And - importantly - they have not ruled out accepting money from the pesticide manufacturers under other pretexts.
We call on the BBKA to sever all financial ties to manufacturers, sellers and promoters of any substance known to be or likely to be toxic to bees or other insects.

Philip Chandler, Friends of the Bees
Dr. Hugh Salvesen, Trustee, Natural Beekeeping Trust
Read the full open letter and the 10 questions

Have we learned nothing since 'Silent Spring'?

The Independent, 7 Jan 2011
Nicotine, found in tobacco, is a deadly substance – and not only for smokers. It has long been known as a powerful natural insecticide, and its presence in the tobacco crop has evolved to deter pests; it is toxic to virtually all of them.
In the great mysterious crash of bee populations, which has been gathering speed around the world for the past decade or so, and which has started to alarm even governments because of the vast worth of bee pollination to the agricultural economy (more than £12bn annually just in Europe), neonicotinoids are increasingly suspect. In the great crash of other insect populations which has similarly been taking place, about which governments do not give a toss but which nonetheless threatens the natural environment with catastrophe (many insectivorous birds are dropping dramatically in numbers), neonicotinoids are similarly in the frame.
Read the full story in The Independent: calls for ban on bee-killing pesticides - more than 1,000,000 signatures on 20.01.2011

Bees are dying off and our entire food chain is in peril. Scientists blame toxic pesticides, and four European governments have already banned them, but the deadly poison is still for sale in the USA. If we urgently get the government to join the ban we could save bees from extinction. Sign the petition and forward this appeal

Patterns of widespread decline in North American bumble bees

Abstract: Bumble bees (Bombus) are vitally important pollinators of wild plants and agricultural crops worldwide. Fragmentary observations, however, have suggested population declines in several North American species. Despite rising concern over these observations in the United States, highlighted in a recent National Academy of Sciences report, a national assessment of the geographic scope and possible causal factors of bumble bee decline is lacking. Here, we report results of a 3-y interdisciplinary study of changing distributions, population genetic structure, and levels of pathogen infection in bumble bee populations across the United States. We compare current and historical distributions of eight species, compiling a database of >73,000 museum records for comparison with data from intensive nationwide surveys of >16,000 specimens. We show that the relative abundances of four species have declined by up to 96% and that their surveyed geographic ranges have contracted by 23–87%, some within the last 20 y. We also show that declining populations have significantly higher infection levels of the microsporidian pathogen Nosema bombi and lower genetic diversity compared with co-occurring populations of the stable (nondeclining) species. Higher pathogen prevalence and reduced genetic diversity are, thus, realistic predictors of these alarming patterns of decline in North America, although cause and effect remain uncertain.

EU beekeeping associations are calling for an urgent revision of pesticide regulations

The European Beekeeping Coordination (EBC), a task force of professional beekeeping associations from across the EU, is calling for an urgent revision of the way pesticides and their active substances are authorised in the EU. In a leaked memo EPA scientists state that “information from standard tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving neonicotinoids insecticides (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long-term toxic risk to honey bees and other beneficial insects” and they criticise existing approvals research as deficient and request additional tests “for additional chronic testing on bee hive activity (e.g., effects to queen, larvae, etc.).”

Buglife: US leak reignites pesticide fears for UK bees

In a leaked memo US government scientists warn that bees and other non-target invertebrates are at risk from a new neonicotinoid pesticide licence and that tests in the approval process are unable to detect environmental damage. This has reignited concerns raised in a 2009 scientific report by UK charity Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists flagged up the risks to honey-bees and aquatic insects that would result if the US Government approved the request from Bayer to expand the use of the neonicotinoid clothianidin to include cotton and mustard. Neonicotinoids are highly toxic to bees and other non-target insects, the biggest concerns are that, being systemic they end up in the pollen and nectar in the flowers of treated crops, and hence could poison pollinators, and that being persistent and mobile they could wash into streams, ponds and rivers and destroy aquatic life.

Meerderheid Tweede Kamer: landbouwsector moet zich niet laten kapen door milieugoeroes

EU landbouwcommissaris Ciolos wil dat natuurbeleid na 2013 een grotere rol in het Europese landbouwbeleid gaat spelen, maar een meerderheid van de Tweede Kamer heeft met steun van VVD, PVV en CDA een motie van De Mos (PVV) en Koopmans (CDA) aangenomen waarin het kabinet wordt opgeroepen de wens van de EU commissaris naast zich neer te leggen. De motie verzoekt de regering zich in te zetten voor een sterke landbouwsector die zich niet laat kapen door milieugoeroes.

Acetamiprid and thiacloprid can be as toxic to honey bees as imidacloprid and thiamethoxam

Laboratory bioassays conducted to determine the contact honey bee toxicity of commercial neonicotinoid insecticides showed that the nitro-substituted compounds were the most toxic to the honey bee with LD50 values of 18 ng/bee for imidacloprid and 30 ng for thiamethoxam. The cyano-substituted neonicotinoids exhibited a much lower toxicity with LD50 values for acetamiprid and thiacloprid of 7.1 and 14.6 µg/bee, respectively. However, piperonyl butoxide and propiconazole increased honey bee toxicity of acetamiprid 6.0- and 105-fold and thiacloprid 154- and 559-fold, respectively, but had a minimal effect on imidacloprid (1.70 and 1.52-fold, respectively). A broad survey of pesticide residues conducted on samples from North American apiaries during the 2007–08 growing seasons revealed the presence of 121 different pesticides and metabolites within wax, pollen, bee and associated hive samples, including acetamiprid, thiacloprid, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, piperonyl butoxide and propiconazole. Thus, under practical circumstances, acetamiprid and thiacloprid can be as toxic to honey bees as imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.

Het enorm toegenomen gebruik van thiacloprid maakt normoverschrijdingen onvermijdelijk

Volgens het CBS is het gebruik van het neonicotinoide insecticide thiacloprid gestegen van 320 kg op 1.191 ha in 2004 tot 7954 kg op 59.041 ha in 2008. Het middel Calypso met als werkzame stof thiacloprid is toegelaten in de teelt van appels en peren, pruimen en kersen, rode-, witte-, zwarte-, blauwe en kruisbes, loganbes, taybes, braam en framboos, aardbei, aubergine, augurk, courgette, komkommer, paprika, pattison, Spaanse peper en tomaat, aardappel, suiker- en voederbiet, hennep, bloembol-, bloemknol- en bolbloemgewassen, bloemisterijgewassen, boomkwekerijgewassen, in vaste planten, en in openbaar groen. Als acht ton thiacloprid jaarlijks over Nederlands akkerland verspreid wordt, kan met het EUSES model (European Union System for the Evaluation of Substances) worden berekend dat er een gemiddelde concentratie (in steady state) van 210 nanogram thiacloprid per liter in oppervlaktewater en van 815 nanogram thiacloprid per liter in grondwater zal ontstaan. De MTR (maximaal toelaatbaar risiconiveau) norm voor oppervlaktewater is 25 nanogram thiacloprid per liter. Dat betekent dus dat volgens het EUSES model bij het gebruik van thiacloprid op het niveau van 2008 normoverschrijdingen onvermijdelijk zullen zijn. MTR overschrijdingen werden in 2008 inderdaad vastgesteld bij Sint Kruis (Zeeuws Vlaanderen), bij Separatiedij (Zeeland), tussen Zevenhuizen en Moordrecht, tussen Moerkapelle en Waddinxveen, bij Steenderen (Gld), en bij Assen. Deze normoverschrijdingen vormen een dodelijke bedreiging voor insecten.

Soil-Applied Imidacloprid Is Translocated to Nectar and Kills Nectar-Feeding Parasitoids

Behavior was altered and survivorship was reduced when parasitoids, Anagyrus pseudococci (Girault) (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), were fed flowers from buckwheat, Fagopyrum esculentum L. (Polygonaceae), treated with soil applications of imidacloprid (Marathon 1% G). Parasitoids at 1 d had significantly reduced survivorship of 38 ± 6.7% on label rate and 17 ± 4.2% on twice label rate compared with 98 ± 1.2% on untreated flowers. Parasitoids trembled 88% on label rate and 94% on twice label rate compared with 0% on untreated flowers.

Why the U.S. EPA is Still Allowing a Hive-Killing Pesticide

In April 2003, the EPA decided to give Bayer conditional registration for the use of clothianidin on corn. Bayer could sell the product and seed processors could freely use it, with the proviso that Bayer complete a life cycle study of clothianidin on corn by December 2004. The U.S. bee population didn't start dying off until 2005, says David Hackenberg, the beekeeper who first discovered Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). "We started seeing problems where bees were disappearing in the fall. We blamed it on mites, viruses and a lot of other stuff because we didn't know what to blame it on." But soon Hackenberg made the connection: bee die-off seemed to follow corn crop plantings so much that "you can follow the trail of this stuff to where bees are collapsing," says Hackenberg. EPA is continuing to allow the sale of clothiandin, even though the study that the agency based its decision on proved to be invalid. An EPA official recently told Hackenberg that clothiandin is still on the market in part because of fears that Bayer would sue the agency if it is removed.

Toelating van twee middelen op basis van de werkzame stof imidacloprid ingetrokken

Het College voor de Toelating van Gewasbeschermingsmiddelen en Biociden (CTGB) heeft de toelating ingetrokken van twee middelen (Wopro en Kohinor) op basis van de werkzame stof imidacloprid die in de boomkwekerij werden gebruikt. Beide middelen zijn toegelaten bij de bestrijding van bladluizen en de buxusbladvlo in de teelt van boomkwekerijgewassen en vaste planten door middel van een gewasbehandeling.

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