Daniel Lemire's blog

, 6 min read

How are the bees doing?

8 thoughts on “How are the bees doing?”

  1. Dominic Amann says:

    There is some localized evidence that the incorrect use (which does occur) of neo-nicotinoids during the flowering phase of trees or plants has caused mass die-offs.

    I would recommend that in general those who apply dangerous chemicals in a non approved fashion be prosecuted in such a way as to provide significant dis-incentive for breaking the law. If this proves impractical, then I would say that the chemical is too dangerous for general sale.

  2. Dominic Amann says:

    Additionally, I draw your attention to the following government scientific report


    This clearly indicates that neo-nicotinoids are directly responsible for bee deaths, and again, what needs to be managed is any opportunity for the bees to contact the pesticide. It is clear from this report that circumstances can and do arise that cause bee – nicotinoid contact that were previously unforeseen.

  3. Dominic Amann says:

    Sure, nc is safer than many other choices, but there are other choices nonetheless. Pyrethrins are considered safer in most respects. Perhaps the “problem” with Pyrethrin is that the west does not have an easy access to production – the best supply is in Kenya.

  4. Mehdi says:

    Hi Daniel,

    As an amateur beekeeper here in Rimouski, and for my second year, my overwintering mortality rate is 0%. So, 100% of my hives are surviving to the winter.
    However, it is not the case with a beekeeper I know here. He has a average 20 to 30% overwintering mortality rate.
    My secret: not that much; I just double the insulation of my hives (I let them outside) and check to be sure that they have enough food to survive our long winters. Doing so, even my weak colonies survived!

  5. @Dominic

    There is no question that, when poorly used, neonicotinoid insecticides can kill bees.

    However, one must keep in mind that the choice is not between neonicotinoid insecticides and nothing… the choice is between neonicotinoid insecticides and the deadly stuff we sprayed from the air before… On the whole, the evidence is clear: neonicotinoid insecticides are much safer.

  6. @Dominic

    I definitively think we should keep on researching better alternatives… I would, but I am just a computer scientist.

  7. Annie says:

    Hi Daniel – Thanks for linking to the sources of your article. On clicking through to the “Fairbrother” link, I was able to see that this report was funded by the Bayer CropScience Ag Research Division.

    Also, the EU memo under the “recent survey” link indicates the Commission will “maintain its ban on neonicotinoids” even though “the findings show that honeybee decline is less dramatic than first thought”, because the risks to bees “for some uses” mean “the approval criteria of these pesticides were no longer satisfied”.

  8. @Annie

    Once you start rejecting arguments based on who makes them, you are rejecting the scientific spirit.

    Yes, the European Union will maintain the ban and that is what makes my post timely. Farmers in Europe will keep on using more toxic pesticides. Sadly.