U.S. funds pesticide-bee research

(Reuters) — The U.S. government will fund more than $450,000 in research projects to reduce the use of pesticides that may harm honeybees.


A total of $459,264 will be divided among Louisiana State University, Penn State University and the University of Vermont to develop practices that reduce the use of potentially harmful pesticides, the Environmental Protection Agency said.


Bee populations have been dying over the past few years at a rate the U.S. government says is unsustainable. Honeybees pollinate plants that produce about a quarter of the food consumed by Americans.


Some scientists, consumer groups and beekeepers say the devastating rate of bee deaths is the result of the growing use of pesticides designed to boost yields of staple crops such as corn.


However, the companies that make the chemicals argue that the bees are being killed by other factors, such as mites.


The Louisiana State University project is focused on minimizing the impact of insecticides used for mosquito control.


The University of Vermont project focuses on reducing pesticide use and improving pest control while increasing crop yields on 75 acres of hops in the Northeast. The project’s goal is to reduce herbicide and fungicide applications by 50 percent while decreasing downy mildew, a plant disease.


The Pennsylvania State University project is exploring the benefits of growing crops without relying on neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatments, which are a chief suspect in honeybee deaths.

  • http://denisetrafford@shaw.ca Denise

    Absolute greed at work.
    The companies that make these chemicals( a new class of toxic pesticides, neonicotinoids ),would rather forego the “precautionary principle” which is to discontinue the use of these products and wait until it can be conclusively proved that these chemicals are safe and not killing off the bee populations.
    Too much money at stake. Profits for chemical companies trump bees’ survival.
    European and US studies are proving that these chemicals are not safe for the bees,not even in low levels.
    Many countries had the good sense to place a moratorium on the use of neonicotinoids,for 2 years, while they do more research.
    So far, they have found that these dangerous pesticides impair the bees’ ability to learn, to find their way back to the hive, to collect food, to produce new queens, and to mount an effective immune response.
    So much for the biotech and chemical companies’ claims that they follow the proper,disciplined scientific methods of research, on their products, before releasing them into our environment.
    Our bees cannot hold on much longer. The Endgame is near. Their environment is totally noxious to them and they have nowhere else to go.
    The government should not be providing this pittance of money to find ways to reduce this chemical use. They should be taking it off the market.
    But we also know that big biotech corporations lobby the government and win their favour.
    It appears that the bees are doomed in North America and our lives will be forever changed.