Graciela Piñeiro | 10 August 2018
This is an interesting and very important article and as such I am very glad to know that it was the most shared last month. It clearly demonstrates the high degree of threat that the spread of large scale agriculture, based on genetically modified seeds, has meant to the life of the planet. The use of “modern” pesticides sprayed over larger areas has produced a total change in the landscape where the different species are used to live, almost all the components that supported their mean necessities has perished under the GMO crops, and that occurs around the world, there is no place for the natural taxa to escape from that reality. Thus, the extinction is the only way?.
Concerning the bees, we know enough about them because they are subject of commercial business, but even though we cannot save them from their massive died. A little less can be made for other pollinators. In Uruguay, my little country, bees were becoming starved because of the lack of variability in the floral offering caused by landscape modification by GM crops; they are also mostly thirsty because the water bodies are contaminated and hyperthrophic.
On such bad physiological conditions, bees become increasingly weak and more susceptible to be affected by some parasites along to which they perhaps interacted from a long time ago without problem. This situation leads to the introduction of pesticides even into the hives that complicated more yet, the already dramatic scenario, with pesticide contaminating the bee wax and in some cases, the honey.
As the authors demonstrate in this paper, there is not pesticide “less toxic” to the bees, or to any insect. If they kill pests that are insects they obviously will affect bees and all species in that group. They also showed that certain chemicals are highly persistent such as neonicotinoids, which are found in pollen and nectar of flowering crops, but remains as well in flowers of wild species. That proves the extensive derive of the pesticide application, particularly if it is done by airplanes, thus increasing the risk of environmental losses and enhancing the appearance of unhealthy or dead pollinators as a result.
My conclusion about this issue, after to have read a lot of papers that explained me what could be happened to the lovely bees is that we must change our way of food production (perhaps returning to more healthy, organic items?); we must to change for ourselves, giving back the life and magnificence to our main feeders, the pollinators.
I congrats the authors for the distinction received from readers (and enhanced by PeeJ in their Editor Newsletter), and encourage all my colleagues to keep interested by what is happening to Nature, giving support and readership to papers like this.
With my most sincere consideration,
Rapid rise in toxic load for bees revealed by analysis of pesticide use in Great Britain (2018) PeerJ. 10.7717/peerj.5255