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Dying Bees: Harbingers of the End Times or Opportunity Buzzing?

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Presentation on theme: "Dying Bees: Harbingers of the End Times or Opportunity Buzzing?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Dying Bees: Harbingers of the End Times or Opportunity Buzzing?
Jim Frazier, Chris Mullin & Maryann Frazier Penn State University Department of Entomology Center for Chemical Ecology & Center for Pollinator Research American Beekeeping Federation Anaheim, CA January 2015

2 The Penn State Pesticide Team, Spring 2012
Sara Chris Stephanie Maryann Jing Jim Wanyi Tim Dan The Penn State Pesticide Team, Spring 2012 Collaborators: Dave Biddinger, Diana Cox-Foster, Tim Reluga, Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Jeff Pettis, Peter Teal, Gloria DeGrande-Hoffman 2 2




6 Inform Agitate Empower Are Dying Bees Harbingers or Opportunities ?
Pesticides in the Landscape Inform Agitate Empower Bees, Pesticides and Our Food System Opportunities as Agents of Change

7 What is the Landscape View of Honey Bee foraging?
Evan Leeson

8 How Far Do Honey Bees Forage ?
6 Km (3.7 miles) Foraging 95% 113 Km2 = 27,932 Acres ! Stress 10 Km ( 6.2 miles) 314 Km2 = 77,440 Acres ! Dynamic Highest Reward Forage Average of 2 hrs (After Seeley, 1995)

9 US “Pesticide” Landscape Different from other Countries
United Kingdom Registered ai’s France Registered ai’s Most European Countries US > 1200 ai’s - sold as 18,000 products

10 Adams Co, PA Apple Orchards in Early May

11 Pre bloom Applcns Insecticides Fungicides Reduced Risk Block Bee Bread
Assail - Acetamiprid Dithane - Mancozeb Vanguard - Cyprodinil Indar - Febuconazole Conventional Block Calypso -Thiacloprid Warhawk - Chrlorpyrifos Dithane - Mancozeb Vanguard - Cyprodinil Bee Bread Acetamiprid Thiacloprid Ciprodinil Mancozeb Chlorpyrifos Febuconazole + 12 more not applied C C C3 ** ** ** C C C3 ** ** ** Osmia Pollen C1 174 289 71 ( **Coumaphos ) 48 2150 228

12 Percent Apple Pollen in Trapped Pollen During Pollination of 3 PA Grower Orchards
Year # Colonies Orchards Mean % Apple Range Potential Multiple Factor 2009 25 4 16 6 - 47 6.25 2110 28 8 2 - 22 12.5 2011 10 1 31 3.2 5 gm random sampled pollen pellets sorted into 6 colors

13 Field Study of Pesticide Exposure During Apple Pollination

14 Conclusions from Apple Pollination and Migratory Studies 2007-2012
We have developed a good field testing protocol for measuring sub-lethal impacts of pesticides on bee colonies during a single generation reared on contaminated pollen. We have a new population dynamics model of colony development that can be used to predict potential consequences of pesticides in diets and help design future experiments. Bees collect pesticide residue while pollenating apples that reflects orchard sprays, but also contains added pesticides from outside the orchard- Landscape Rules Total pesticide load in pollen varies widely from colony to colony and from one grower orchard to another- Polylectic Nature Rules

15 Conclusions from Apple Pollination and Migratory Studies 2007-2012
Nurse bees from larvae reared on pollen from a single apple pollination event have longevity reduced by ca. 50% and hypertrophied hypopharyngeal glands with unknown colony impacts Colonies fed Migratory beekeeper levels of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides show multiple sub-lethal impacts using methods of finer precision than typically used to manage bee colonies Simulation modeling of colony population dynamics with pesticide feeding indicates that sub-lethal impacts on social dynamics may be more important than lethality for multiple year impacts



18 Pyrethroids Widely Used in US Agriculture

19 Pyrethroid Use Declining Since Mid 90’s

20 The Most Widely Used Fungicide in the US.

21 Chlorothalonil Use in Millions of Pounds in U.S.


23 Clothianidin Use in Millions of Pounds in US

24 Glyphosate Is Most Widely Used Herbicide in US

25 Glyphosate Use Doubled Since 2003 in US

26 Multi- residue Pesticide Analysis on US Beehive Samples
Up to 39 different pesticides per sample, 6+ average Only 7% of over 1100 samples incl. controls lacked detections Found 131 different pesticides and metabolites 18 organophosphates, 16 pyrethroids, 8 carbamates, 7 neonicotinoids, 7 chlorinated cyclodienes, 5 organochlorines, 4 insect growth regulators, 31 fungicides, 17 herbicides, 3 synergists, 2 formamidines, 13 misc. 51 of these are systemic or partially systemic pesticides Only 35% of the total pesticides analyzed for were not found. Frazier, M. et al Amer. Bee J. 148(6): Mullin et al PLoS ONE 5(4) e9754. 26


28 “Our Stolen Future” More Important than “Silent Spring”
Endocrine Disruption by Pesticides in Vertebrates Known since 1990”s Sub-lethal effects of Pesticides binding to hormone receptors at the wrong time for normal functioning yields abnormal Consequences at VERY LOW DOSES We are just beginning to Measure these in Bees- But should not be surprised they occur


30 Summary 1: Pesticides in the (bee) Landscape
Pesticide residues are largely unknown for most terrestrial environments relative to ag, urban, forestry use (CA ***) Pesticide residues in water systems in ag areas where measured have significant frequencies above toxic thresholds and mixtures are the norm Many unknowns in quantifying pesticide exposure by bees of all types, thus all studies are relevant until proven otherwise Lab Studies measure the intrinsic action of a chemical on the biological system under controlled conditions thus all results are important Aquatic studies of pesticide mixtures far exceeds terrestrial level studies and offers model approaches on many levels, thus current EPA pesticide program refusal to deal with mixtures has no factual basis

31 Overall samples 33% toxic to amphipod: 12% to Midge
98 samples evaluated : trace elements,PAH, PBC, OC’s Overall samples 33% toxic to amphipod: 12% to Midge Bifenthrin (PYR) exceeded threshold in 14% of samples Mean probable effect concentration quotients (PECQs) for groups of compounds improved toxic classification over that of single compounds

32 WARP-MP models use Atrazine model + adjustment
factor for each pesticide- further refinements needed 112 Pesticides modeled nationwide; 25% of these gave greater than 50% probability of exceeding 1 or more species toxic thresholds in 1 or more streams Many streams in corn belt had 1 or more pesticides exceeding aquatic life benchmarks indicating vulnerability in this area

33 How well are we doing in the Environment?
Bees as Environmental Indicators tell us pesticide mixtures are prevalent in pollen and thus in plants of all types No pesticide or formulation or industrial chemical monitoring in terrestrial environment only CA has records Areas of intensive ag production have highest environmental loads and highest human health consequences- and highest bee colony impacts EPA goal of preventing “undue risks” or societal goals of preventing a degraded environment have not been met Disruption of the biological complexities of environment, ag ecosystems systems largely unknown

34 What’s Important about our Food System?
We want abundant, uncontaminated, nutritious and affordable food supply of a wide variety Production system that is sustainable and in harmony with multiple types of environments Production system that preserves biological diversity, soil productivity, water purity Producers entrusted with major environmental conservation, so should be recognized and supported Producers with rewarding and sustainable lifestyles

35 How well are we doing? Industrial Revolution Paradigm since early 1900’s Economy of scale for production of “widgets” cost focused Ag Research focused on increased farm productivity Fence row to fence row farming + chemicals to manage risk – Landscape and watersheds ignored Real costs to Environment largely Ignored Environmental Conservation Roles and Farmer Lifestyles largely Ignored as a Major Societal Value

36 How Do We Know How Well We are we doing?
Shift of small Family Farms to Larger Farms to Factory Farms Economy of scale leads to decreased quality and increased environmental costs both of which are largely ignored When environmental impacts of waste disposal extend beyond the borders of the farm, it is a “community safety issue” not a “right to farm” issue (current policies flawed in PA) Corporate farms relegate farmers to surf status While grains may be justified as commodities, the majority of our food does not fit the same model of production Chemically Free Nutritious Food is not a Specialty Item !


38 Alternative Model for Food Production
Organic Ag- Minimize Chemical Usage through IPM Major focus on healthy soil = healthy plants Locally grown and locally consumed ( vs miles) High priority of sustainability of environment and of those engaged in food production High personal innovation in increasing efficiency of production Recent study confirms less than 10% decrease in production vs. conventional ag ( Kremen Group)

39 How well is this alternative model is working?
Consumers have been voting approval with their purchases at 20% increase /year for over 20 years Fastest Growing Sector of most food markets Farmer’s Markets Reappearing across the US Organic/Sustainable Farms Growing Rapidly in the East - PASA Preferred quality of food, environmental impacts and lifestyles produced High innovation in new approaches: pasture dairy, grass fed beef, high tunnel season extension, pick your own, farm tours VT and PA only states with Raw Milk Marketing

40 IPM: a Proven Method with Minimal Chemical Inputs
Cotton Production “ Poison Them Bugs” Precise sampling- spray only when needed Reduced sprays from to 15 or less Simulation modeling of crop plants and pest dynamics Boll Weevil Eradication Program Revolutionized cotton production/pesticide reduction Resistance Management to Break Treadmill Approach

41 2015: GMO Plants with Seed Treatments
96 % Seed Treatment goes into environment for potential non-target impacts Systemic pesticide single MOA available all season leads to maximal rate of resistance development in target pest Glyphosate continual use leads to maximal resistance development in all major weed species Switch to another herbicide only fulfills the chemical treadmill approach proven wrong by IPM Extent of Environmental costs currently unknown Doubled glyphosate sales in last 10 years- who has benefited and who is paying?

42 How Do We Know How Well are We Doing in Our Food System?
1970 when DDT was banned it was found in fatty tissue and mothers milk throughout US population 2014 Survey of 1600 publications on glyphosate concludes that “ most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment” Failure to monitor environment for chemicals does not mean they are absent and exerting no impacts How can anyone claim to have rational chemical regulation and safety if no one knows what is out there? Unacceptable Situation

43 What’s Important in the Politics of Pesticide Public Policy?
Public policy that prevents undue risk to people and the environment from chemical usage Public policy that monitors and reacts aggressively to infractions of specified use and unintended impacts Conflicting values of those making and using pesticides balanced with those impacted by them A sustainable system that manages risks according to the best interests of society

44 The Iron Triangle of“Power in Washington
The “functional way” that things get done yields “favoritism”

45 How well we are doing in Pesticide Regulation?
25 Year employee reveals history of compromised regulatory decisions favoring Chemical Industries Political influences outweigh scientific realities in many EPA decisions 2014 Boone et al. EPA decisions on Atrazine counter to 3 sets of science advisors confirms above history 70% Pesticides Registered as “Conditional” Incident Reporting by States Broken but no action to fix it in last 6 years Entire Registration Risk Assessment not open to scientific or public scrutiny

46 Pollinator Risk Assessment Improvements
through 2011 International Conference Separate Tier Testing for Systematic Pesticides vs. Sprayed Added Adult Bee Chronic Toxicity Added larval Bee Feeding Toxicity Add Selected Native Pollinators Sub-Lethal Impacts, Formulations, Pesticide Mixtures not considered Dynamics of Making Changes Are Too Slow To be Meaningful, but Allow Profits to Keep Flowing to Registrants

47 Pesticides and Public Policy Impacting Bee Health
Kellogg Fellow at National Center for Food & Ag Policy- D.C. for 6 weeks How does the food system policy system work? Overwhelming lack of science in most of the discussion and thinking- its all about the $$ Most people involved are not trained in science

48 How to Impact Public Policy
The larger the voter base, the louder the voice Make an economically justified case Coalitions around common goals have become the norm for Ag & Environmental issues Effectively lobby the process or sue individual entities to force decisions Partnering with organizations that have experience and connections in D C makes good sense Garnering public support for one’s agenda is a huge undertaking ( but doable e.g. MADD!!)

49 What is the Case for the Bee Crisis?
Bees the 3rd most important animal in US Ag Pollination an essential component of US Ag $20 B 5.6 M colonies lost since 2006 = $1.12 Billion cost to beekeepers – UNACCEPTABLE SITUATION Loss of 200 colonies - 5 crops not pollinated = $4.8 M loss of food production to growers Resources to replace 30% annual losses depleted Will pollination needs exceed supply in 2015?

50 How Do We Know How Well We are Doing?
Pesticide regulatory actions in critical need of revision Political influences currently favoring those with the most money and thus the loudest “voices” NHBAB has made very significant advancements in getting seats at the right tables to be heard Coalitions with others who support Conservation and clean Environments are a necessity Regardless of the Iron Triangle in D C Public Outcry can CHANGE EVERYTHING

51 6-5-14 “Moms to EPA: Recall Monsanto’s Roundup”
(Huff Post Blog) Mothers Across America + Thinking Moms Revolution 10,000 phone calls to EPA in 3 days – Face to Face Meeting Unsafe levels of Glyphosate in drinking water, breast milk, children’s urine Multiple testimonies of organic diets eliminating symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders, autoimmune conditions, anxiety and depression Stack of scientific studies

52 and incidence and prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, autism,
R. Mason Glyphosate: Destructor of Human Health and Biodiversity (Submitted to Scottish Government) High significant correlations with glyphosate use on corn/soybeans is US and incidence and prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, autism, Altzheime’rs , thyroid and liver cancers and more EFSA has agreed to 2 year feeding studies instead of 90 days Samsel & Seneff, Glyphosate Suppression of Cytochrome P450 and Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases. Entropy 15: Exhaustive literature review yields “Glyphosate is likely pervasive in our food supply, and contrary to being essentially nontoxic, It mAy in fact be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment” Thongprakaisang et al Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cell growth via estrogen receptors Food and Chem. Tox 59:129

53 The most important Agent of Change is the Educated Consumer !
You vote for change or for no change every time you buy Food The collective Impacts cannot be ignored!

54 Dying Bees: Harbingers of the End Times or Opportunity Buzzing?
Both Environmental Loads of Chemicals Far Beyond our Current Realizations Health Consequences for Bees and for US are Critical Our Food System Paradigm Needs a Shift Our Regulatory System Needs Improvements Opportunities are Many to Change Things for our Grandchildren


56 THANKS COLLABORATORS David J. Biddinger PSU Fruit and Extension Labs, Biglerville, PA Diana L. Cox-Foster PSU Department of Entomology, University Park,PA Jeff Pettis USDA Bee Research Lab, Beltsville, MD Roger Simonds USDA-AMS National Science Lab., Gastonia, NC Dennis vanEngelsdorp Pa Department of Agriculture, Harrisburg, PA Tim Reluga PSU Department of Mathematics, University Park FUNDING SOURCES National Honey Board and California Almond Board College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State USDA Critical Issues, NRI-CAP, NIFA NC508 Sustainable Solutions to Problems Affecting Honey Bee Health Haagen-Daz, Jasper Wyman & Sons, and other Private Donors Project Apis mellifera Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees Beekeeping Associations (Florida State and Tampa Bay) 56

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