Colony Collapse: More Awesome Pesticide News

I don’t know how familiar any readers of my blog are with “Colony Collapse Disorder” (or any other topic I write about), so I’ll treat this as a primer, and give y’all some breaking news.

Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) has been coined to describe the relatively recent phenomena where bee colonies are inexplicably dying off or being abandoned. Bees and their habitats have been observed to either disappear altogether, return to hives in drastically reduced numbers, or become sickened and die off.  Theories for CCD include pesticides, parasites, viruses, environmental stress, and even cell phone towers and cell phones.  There was a noticeable drop in feral bee populations between the early 70’s and 2006, but because of increased global domestic beekeeping operations, overall numbers stayed stable. However, beekeepers all over the world started noticing this new, devastating disorder only five or six years ago. “In 2010 the USDA reported that data on overall honey bee losses for 2010 indicated an estimated 34 percent loss, which is statistically similar to losses reported in 2007, 2008, and 2009.” Total losses of bee populations worldwide are estimated to between 30 and 90 percent.

There are a HUGE number of links at this Wikipedia page: Colony Collapse Disorder.


Why should you care? Besides honey, bees are the pollinators of the world’s crops. It is estimated that bees are responsible for over 70% of all pollination of the world’s food and animal crops. In other words, if you’re fond of eating, you should be fond of bees.  In world GDPs, bees play an important role in nations’ economies, adding $15 billion a year to America’s agricultural markets alone.

BREAKING NEWS (4/5/12): Here’s the part that has me marginally homicidal (the latest thing, anyway): The EPA told us all that Bayer CropScience’s main ingredient, imidacloprid (of the neonicotinoid class of insecticides), used as a pesticide in 90% of all US corn production (to name only one application) is safe. It turns out, it is not. “The likely culprit in sharp worldwide declines in honeybee colonies since 2006 is imidacloprid, one of the most widely used pesticides, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health(HSPH).”  This chemical is registered for use on over 140 crops in over 120 countries.  It is used in large agricultural applications as well as for homes and small gardens, for control of flies, cockroaches, grubs, borers, termites, ants, and over 40 other pests.

It is INFURIATING to me that the USDA has acknowledged since last year that,”…the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid contribute –at extremely low levels– to bee deaths and possibly colony collapse disorder (CCD), the widespread disappearance of honey bees that has killed off more than a third of commercial honey bees in the U.S.” and has DONE NOTHING ABOUT IT. In fact, look at all these papers and studies from all over the world that show what’s been known and what’s been done by the chemical companies and regulators. The short answer is: nothing. Here’s the EPA knowing what this shit does to bees as long ago as 2009, and again, the response? NOTHING.

Consumer products containing imidacloprid:

  • Merit insecticide
  • Merit 75
  • Invict
  • Dominion
  • GrubZ Out
  • Maxforce
  • Mallett
  • Bonide
  • Temprid
  • Criterion 75
  • Bed Bug Kit
  • Precise Foam
  • Adonis
  • Premise 2
  • CoreTect
  • ImiGold
  • Fertilome
  • Hi-Yield Grub Free Zone
  • Bayer Advanced
  • Bonanza
  • Maxx Pro
  • Pre-Empt
  • Quick Draw
  • Advantage (flea/tick control for cats and dogs…yes, even this)

What to do: First of all, and easy enough, don’t buy or use any of those products. Check any labels for “imidacloprid” and do.not.use.

Secondly, write the EPA and tell them what a bunch of flaming D-bags they are. EPA: Contact links. (Good God, look at all the social media outlets our tax dollars pay for and maintain. Wow, they’re pretty groovy for being a bunch of bureaucratic pukes who are being paid with our tax dollars and bribed by chemical companies to kill us all.)  While you’re at it, feel free to lob a flaming bag of (email) poo at the USDA: Contact links.

Think about starting your own bee colony! We are!  Here’s a link to a relatively inexpensive starter kit that looks super cool: Beekeepers Apiary Kit.

If you don’t want to do beekeeping (and I totally understand that) maybe plant your garden with species that attract bees (from TheDailyGreen):

Annuals: Asters, calliopsis, clover, marigolds, poppies, sunflowers, zinnias

Perennials: Buttercups, clematis, cosmos, crocuses, dahlias, echinacea, English ivy, foxglove, geraniums, germander, globe thistle, hollyhocks, hyacinth, rock cress, roses, sedum, snowdrops, squills, tansy, yellow hyssop (Edited To Add (4/10/12)): From Penstemon

Fruits & Veggies: Blackberries, cantaloupe, cucumbers, gourds, fruit trees, peppers, pumpkins, raspberries, squash, strawberries, watermelons

Herbs: Bee balm, borage, catnip, coriander/cilantro, fennel, lavender, mints, rosemary, sage, thyme

Shrubs: Blueberry, butterfly bush, button bush, honeysuckle, indigo, privet

Trees: Alder, American holly, basswood, black gum, black locust, buckeyes, catalpa, eastern redbud, golden rain, hawthorns, hazels, linden, magnolia, maples, mountain ash, poplar, sycamore, tulip, willows


Act local, think global, carry a big stick. That’s my motto.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

13 thoughts on “Colony Collapse: More Awesome Pesticide News

  1. Thank you very much for this. I am going to send/print and ask for a discussion group among our local Master Gardeners, who answer bee questions all the time.

  2. solarbeez says:

    Thanks for listing the Consumer products containing imidacloprid. I don’t think people have a clue. I talked to a fellow beekeeper who thought we didn’t have to worry about neonicotinoids because no one grew GMO’s around here. I asked him if he used any pesticides on his lawn. He said he only used them on cloudy days when the bees weren’t out. Then there’s the beekeepers who feed their bees high fructose corn syrup during the winter. Why? It’s cheaper than cane sugar. Now we see they have been poisoning their own bees.
    Your listing of the plants that bees love is great, but you might have missed Penstemon…In our Oregon Coast garden zone 5, it grows well and I love watching the bees disappear deep into the throat and then come backing out time after time. The Island

    • Thanks for your reply. A couple of things…I was reading last night more about the HFCS used in the tests at Harvard (and elsewhere), and the rebuttal from Bayer CropScience about how the levels tested were much higher than found in normal applications. Which of course is bullshit according to the University of Pennsylvania tests (link above). And which further enraged me because GMO corn syrup was involved at all…

      Also, I’m going to start adding flowers based on recommendations, and yours is the first.

      Another thing is, I’m having a problem logging into your site. I researched it a little bit, because it’s something I’ve run into before (on of all places). It seems to be a WordPress problem that has “remote-login.php” in the URL. Here’s a link to a discussion about it:

      • solarbeez says:

        I’m afraid issues like that are way above my pay grade. My daughter set me up on this and it works until sometimes I want to leave a comment on a non WordPress blog site and then I can’t do it, so there are definite problems there.
        I wanted to add the flower “Island Bush Poppy” to the list. Dendromicon is the Latin. It’s yellow but for about a month to a month and a half, the bees just groove on it. I’ve got a photo (not real sharp, if you can recommend a good camera that takes good closeups I’d be interested. I like my ipod since I can carry in my shirt pocket.) There are 6 bees on this flower.
        I’m going to email your info to some members in the bee club that have experienced CCD. Even if they don’t use these chemicals on the gardens or lawns, their neighbors might. Right now, they’re scratching their heads wondering about it.
        Keep up the good work.

  3. Libby Keane says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if they found out it was pesticides that are killing the bats too. Maybe they already know, and are turning a blind eye.

  4. Daisy says:

    Hey, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog, and I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. 🙂

  5. Jennifer says:

    Great post, as always — thank you. I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Award ( I mean no intrusion and please feel no compulsion to take on the nomination. I simply want to let you know that I truly appreciate the work you are doing here and on your land.

  6. Libby Keane says:

    I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. Thanks for some great posts. Keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: