• There is a fair bit of evidence that neonicotinoids cause bumbles to forage less efficiently, even in a small, controlled space like a greenhouse. I also recall a paper that suggested that more active the bees were (those foraging at a distance from their nest) more sensitive to neonicotinoids, with effects showing up in the single digit ppb range. I imagine you’re familiar with this work.

    • I try to keep up with the research and it’s pretty disturbing. We keep finding ways in which the neonicotinoids are affecting bees and other pollinators. Imagine what they are doing to those species, including soil organisms, birds, mammals, fish, and humans, that no one is studying—it’s overwhelming.

      • I suspect that the impact on soil organisms is very, very severe. I’m not sure how broad spectrum neonicotinoids are as anti-fungal agents, but I rather suspect they do serious damage to the soil ecology. Not that the soils on which such treated seed is used are particularly healthy to begin with.

        Most the research I have seen has looked at exposure to bees through pollen and nectar (given the systemic nature of neonicotinoids), not the kicked-up dust mentioned in the news clip… and given your recent posts about where bees prefer to get their water, I wonder how often bees might drink from soil in freshly planted fields? Exposure to these pesticides through that route seems likely to be many, many times higher than the doses most researchers suggest bees are exposed to through foraging.

        • I covered all these issues, including contaminated dust and guttation water, in my thesis. If you haven’t seen it already, it’s posted under the tab called “papers.”

          • Oh, I hadn’t! I will definitely give that a look. Thanks for the heads-up.
            I confess that I only come to the site to comment, I usually read from the RSS feed, so I never realized that there was a papers section!

          • Wow. Holy hell, I had no idea that bees collected guttation water, nor that the dose levels would be that high. That’s appalling.

            In some ways, it’s remarkable we have any pollinators left at all.