HN Gopher Feed (2017-07-02) - page 1 of 10
Largest-ever study of controversial pesticides finds harm to bees
199 points by etiamhttps://www.nature.com/news/largest-ever-study-of-controversial-...
simonsarris - 2 hours ago
Funded by Bayer and Syngenta.The extremely cynical interpretation
is that Bayer patented the first neonic in 1985 and the major one
(Imidacloprid) is now off-patent.Bayer would probably love it to be
banned, so that everyone has to switch to some newer, less tested,
more patent protected discovery of theirs.
Forge36 - 1 hours ago
It would be a convenient Discovery. It sounds like it would also
confirm they knew of harm, per another another poster they are
disputing the outcome of the study. I don't they have a
replacement lined up
tstactplsignore - 2 hours ago
It's a cute story, but Bayer has disputed the results of this
study, still disagrees that their pesticides impact bee
populations, and shows no signs of phasing out sales as far as I
rgrieselhuber - 2 hours ago
This is one area where the scientific method feels like a subpar
approach to deciding policy. I'll grant that it's likely better
than the alternative in most cases but man does it create some
really dangerous blind spots.
TazeTSchnitzel - 1 hours ago
The EU temporarily banned the chemical four years ago on the
precautionary principle.I like this approach: the harm done by
not being able to use these pesticides for a while, were they to
turn out to not be harmful, would surely be outweighed by the
risk of further harming the ecosystem.
nisa - 1 hours ago
This approach was also under attack while negotiating TTIP and
other trade agreements. Ironically it was badmouthed as
unscientific - as if it's better to throw any new heavily
patented chemical on the market and let science figure out
reliably that it's problematic - something that can take up to
20 years if it's with possible at all with enough scientific
rigor - of course public research can't get any details due to
patents and trade secrets - also ecosystems are not exactly
easy to replicate in the lab.
moomin - 22 minutes ago
Is smoking tobacco harmful to your health? Is lead in petrol
poisoning children? Is the earth heating up due to mankind's
actions? Are bees being harmed by pesticides?Seems like all these
things have answers that, being honest, we all knew the answer to
long before the question was "settled". But there was an awful lot
of money to be made prolonging the ambiguity.
singularity2001 - 2 hours ago
Good, now can they confirm/publish that pesticides cause harm to
DannyBee - 1 hours ago
Errr, you mean "study whether" not "confirm/publish", since that
would be assuming the conclusion.There are, in fact, pesticides
that have no effect on humans.(and in fact, sadly, some of the
things people think are "natural alternatives" are much worse for
humans, like copper sulfate)
TazeTSchnitzel - 2 hours ago
?pesticides? covers a broad range of substances.Which do you
alliao - 1 hours ago
last paragraph is rather enlightening...
nisa - 1 hours ago
the 'about' link on that site is also worth a read!
kartan - 1 hours ago
Sadly your irony it's too close to the current reality of
science.* https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14680497 [The US
government is removing scientific data from the Internet]
sctb - 1 hours ago
Could you please not troll like this on Hacker
notadoc - 36 minutes ago
My apologies, not meant to troll but rather be a commentary on
how our nation handles science and data.
exabrial - 2 hours ago
I think one important thing to point out here is this is a
_insecticide_ study, not an _herbicide_ study, because they're very
very different things.That being said, I'd like to see the results
replicated independently. As there article points out, there are a
bunch of asterisks in the claims... and a lot of conflicting
conclusions.EDIT: Use the correct term pointed out to me
TazeTSchnitzel - 2 hours ago
Herbicides are a subset of pesticides.(I know, I used to think
?pesticide? meant it killed creatures, but plants are also
exabrial - 1 hours ago
Yep, you are indeed correct.The correct comment should be: This
article is about a specific class of insecticide, not a
herbicides.Coincidently, I learned that Neonicotinoids means
'chemically similar to nicotine', I thought that was a
coincidence at first.
Houshalter - 1 hours ago
Indeed but people confuse the two. Almost all of the issues
with pesticides come from insecticides specifically. Insectices
are designed to kill animals after all.
jfoutz - 1 hours ago
Losing bees would suck so bad. Lots of plants co evolved, requiring
pollinators. Orchids are the weirdest, with special moths unique to
them . But so much stuff depends on bees. A whole bunch of kinds
of fruit trees, different kinds of beans, even celery.Hand
pollination is possible, of course, but that seems like such a
pita. Perhaps it's possible to automate.We have a perfectly good,
self optimizing system that constantly moves to optimality. If we
could just lighten up a little, not push quite so hard, or even
just do localized trials of intensive use pesticides and
fertilizers, we could find a balance of what the system can
support.Either go slow and look for local optimizations that are
then distributed widely, or engineer immunity, or both.Ugh. I guess
if it was easy, it wouldn't be a problem.
tomp - 5 minutes ago
Another weird and fascinating co-evolution of plants ant their
pollinators is the genus Ficus (e.g. edible fig plants). The tiny
wasps that pollinate the fruit actually die inside it, while a
new generation is hatched, mates, then the males burrow a tunnel
out of the fig and die, why females continue the cycle.
theoh - 1 hours ago
There's no science that says any part of the Earth-human system
"constantly moves to optimality". Like, literally any part. It's
an out-of-control rollercoaster that we may or may not be able to
steward to our liking. "optimality" is a human construct.
unityByFreedom - 28 minutes ago
Darwin might disagree.Perhaps you can say evolution is
accidental, without intention. Quite a happy accident in my
nnfy - 1 hours ago
I agree, and would extend that to the earth system in general.
The universe does not care for good, bad, optimal, or
suboptimal; the universe simply is.
Houshalter - 1 hours ago
Honey bees aren't native to North America at least. If they went
extinct, native plants would be fine.
HarryHirsch - 33 minutes ago
It's likely that bumblebees are equally affected.
saalweachter - 22 minutes ago
Well, sort of. Bumblebees are probably as susceptible as
honeybees, but native bees will preferentially eat from
native plants. If most farmers aren't spraying many native
plants, the exposure will be less.
joecool1029 - 40 minutes ago
Time to bring back DDT. It was banned for misinformed reasons
without any evidence to show that accumulation contributed to
cancer or anything else nasty in mammals. Neonics are reported
to be 5,000-10,000 more toxic to bees. A 5 minute walk in fields
around me will lead to at least 3 ticks latching on. We're now
facing the Lone Star tick that causes a life threatening meat
allergy (wtf) and Lyme's disease. I've also personally reported one
of the first cases of West Nile virus in this state from a found
dead bird. Now there's Zika, which seems great for humans. Oh and
we can't forget the re-proliferation of bed bugs as well. But yeah,
we should keep trusting the newer classes of pesticides that don't
work as well and haven't been studied as
vvanders - 36 minutes ago
DDT was brutal on the bird population. My father worked with
state DNR to bring back the Bald Eagle population after DDT
decimated it due to the soft eggshells it caused.
beevai142 - 35 minutes ago
The source you link to has its own agenda:
kortex - 2 hours ago
American farming practices are a perfect storm of detriments to the
honey bee. Widespread use of pesticides is, of course, directly
bad. The monoculture of crops also exacerbates the accumulation of
pesticides, since bees get a smaller variety of food. And due to
the heavily managed style of beekeeping, hives are closer together
and are inhibited from swarming, leading to even more propagation
of Varroa mites.
frozenport - 1 hours ago
Except that American farmers pioneered long haul transport of
bees. In many ways its due to American farmers that the bees even
eru - 1 hours ago
That the bees even exist so widespread in America, yes.There
had been more competing pollinators.
flavor8 - 2 hours ago
> hives are closer together and are inhibited from swarmingCan
you expand on this? I've been thinking about getting a hive and
coincidentally was wondering about this earlier today -- can you
let a hive swarm without losing it? I.e. does a spritely new
queen take half the hive with her? Is it healthier for the hive
to do so?
threesixandnine - 2 hours ago
If you have some trees around the hives the swarm will usually
hang there for a few hours so it is entirely possible to catch
it. These swarms are the best since they are ready to build new
home and they build really really fast if you catch them and
put them into new hive. What is left in the old hive are half
of the bees and new queen.Now about hive health. There is this
thing called Varroa and if you let the hive swarm half of it
goes with the swarm and the other half stays. Varroa I mean.
What is really good with swarming is that the hive now has a
virgin queen and she doesn't lay eggs right away and a lot of
Varroa dies off because they can't reproduce. They need eggs
and bee larvae to do so. The swarm with old queen has an
interruption as well because they need to build comb and cells
where the queen lays eggs.In my beekeeping years ago I kept
hives healthy ( fight against Varroa ) entirely with letting
them swarm.Just to write it once again since by your writing I
think you are confused...Old queen leaves with the swarm.
luhn - 2 hours ago
To clarify the parent comment, Varroa is a parasite that
lives on honey bees and can spread diseases harmful to the
bees. It's one of the suggested causes of colony collapse
bjelkeman-again - 48 minutes ago
We manually spilt hives and get the same effect, without the
swarming and worried neighbours and hunting down the swarm.
threesixandnine - 37 minutes ago
One of the ways is to manually split indeed.Although I must
say that natural swarms show greater vigor when building
new comb than splits. Even packaged bees built faster than
splits. That is of course my experience and you have to
keep in consideration that I didn't add any foundation to
new colonies so that was maybe one of the reasons. I let
them build their own comb on a narrow strip in the
frame/top bar and never tried with full foundation.
pasbesoin - 2 hours ago
During yesterday's evening walk past a corn field, it occurred to
me that the impending roboticization (?) of farming may enable
synergistic multiple plant fields/plantings on a large scale.
What was the old (apocryphal, or not?) Native American
combination: Corn, squash, and beans? (I'm just going by
memory, as I was yesterday evening while walking.)We may be on
the edge of a new wave of a more organic farming, on a mass
scale. Using plant communities and synergies to reduce or need
for the more simplistic, mass application of chemicals.Without
even getting into all the genetic engineering and the like that
is sure, however you feel about it, to continue.
tda - 2 hours ago
I have also had that idea. Instead of giant machines only
capable of harvesting monocultures, couldn't we downscale to
small, autonomous vehicles that can farm efficiently on a
vegetable garden at scale. Many cheap drones to farm the way
our ancestors did using manual labour
nl - 37 minutes ago
Note that the new HONEST act is designed to stop the EPA being able
to act in studies like this because the environmental data can't be
various other coverage.