- A new study from Harvard implicates two neonicotinoid pesticides, imidacloprid and clothianidin, in the ongoing plague of honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder. Imidacloprid is the most widely used pesticide in the world, and both are approved by the EPA.
The Christian Science Monitor
By Fabian Tepper
9 May 2014
A team of Harvard biologists has come closer to cracking the mystery of honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), eight years after its appearance.
CCD persists in transforming bee colonies around the world into ghost towns: by the end of each winter, some colonies wind up littered with dead bees and emptied of many more, with no signs of renewal.
"One of the defining symptomatic observations of CCD colonies is the emptiness of hives in which the amount of dead bees found inside the hives do not account for the total numbers of bees present prior to winter when they were alive," states the report, published May 9 in the Bulletin of Insectology.
The exact mechanism behind these collapses remains dauntingly unclear, but they have been linked with pathogen infestation, malnutrition, and pesticide exposure. This week's report strongly indicates that two neonicotinoid insecticides that are widely used on crops can decimate honeybee colonies' winter survival rates, whether or not mites or parasites are present.