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Monday, July 3, 2017

Bees and Neonicotinoids


Neonicotinoids: What We Know - OklahomaGardening

Detroit Steve sends us a couple of links:
I thought Slate was on the up and up,  I now wonder.
Nature article points out that all but Germany had declines.
A giant study costing zillions of dollars, but what exactly did it measure? I have no idea. I wonder if anyone else does.

Let me just say this about that:
  • Bees are having problems. Of course, bees are wild animals and wild animals have all kinds of problems. Are their current problems worse than usual? Some people seem to think so.
  • Neonicotinoids are new. The did not used to exist, at least I don't think they did. I got it in my head that this chemical was invented in a lab somewhere, but that might not be the case. It might be an extract from a common plant, or from a Peruvian sea slug's gall bladder, I have no idea.
  • One thing I read said that 'if the chemical was applied according to directions, it would have no effect on bees'. Well, that's nice, but I somehow doubt whether everyone is following directions. I can easily imagine someone along the distribution chain getting it wrong by a factor of ten or even a hundred. Normally, I would consider this unlikely. Chemicals cost money, farming is a marginal business, so in order to minimize costs you don't want to use any more of that chemical than you need to. On the other hand, if you have a particular nasty problem, you might think it worthwhile to spend a little extra and increase the dose by maybe half or even double to be sure that it takes care of the problem. You don't want to have to come back and do it again, that costs more money, and any delay can mean more damage to the crop. Depending, of course, on just what you are spraying for.

Take those three together and my conclusion is that this new chemical is causing the problem with the bees and the new study is a smokescreen.

Lastly, the new stuff for controlling fleas on cats and dogs uses the same chemical and it's really expensive, like $20 a dose. It's also a little scary, but it seems to work and I ain't dead yet.

Lastly plus one, I looked for a picture and came up with the above video, which kind of slants it the other way. So it might be a case of the know-nothings hollering because that's all they can do. Previous posts herehere and, if you want more, here.

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