Nature Sustainability The increased use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the continental United States may have impacted bird populations and reduced bird diversity, according to a paper published this week in Nature Sustainability. Overall tree swallow populations declined by 49% between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. A PinP photo. Bird biodiversity is declining at a marked rate. Bird populations in the United States have decreased by 29% since 1970, which has been attributed to various factors including the increased use of pesticides in agricultural production. Nicotine-based pesticides — known as neonicotinoids — have been used increasingly in the United States over recent decades. Previous research has shown that neonicotinoids are potentially toxic to birds and other non-target species. However, the impact of these pesticides on bird diversity in the United States is unclear. Madhu Khanna and colleagues studied the eff
CLIMATE&CAPITALISM The schistosoma parasite worm. Image credit - David Williams, Illinois State University. Even low concentrations of pesticides can increase transmission and weaken efforts to control the second most common parasitic disease. Details here.
One of the biggest challenges facing the aquaculture industry everywhere, is Lepeophtheirus salmonis , the sea-louse. Sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, on farmed Atlantic salmon, New Brunswick, CA. Photo by 7Barrym0re It's a parasite which attacks both farmed and wild salmon (above), causing lesions and infections which stunt their growth. But t he costs of de-lousing are high. And so are the losses suffered by the industry in the marketplace. Many lice can actually kill many fish. To fight back, the fish-farmers dump pesticides into the waters (below). But, because they’re released directly into the environment, they not only kill the lice, but place beneficial, “non-target” organisms at risk, too. And several of these live in the open ocean, beyond the confines of the farms. This image shows how industry applies pesticides within their operations. The latest (but not the only) cautionary tale about the wisdom of this practise, has just
The New York Times Government scientists say chlorpyrifos is unsafe. And yet it’s still in use. Details here. A "crop-duster" sprays a pesticide believed to be chlorpyrifos on a canola crop in Manitoba. Circa 2006. A PinP photo. A related story that may interest you: Thirteen years after the pesticide chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) sickened a Manitoba family, Health Canada is proposing it be severely restricted in Canada. The European Union will ban it in the new year. by Larry Powell
In the fall of 2006, Loyd Burghart told his story to "Planet in Peril." Burghart, a livestock farmer in the Swan Valley of western Manitoba, said he, his wife, Donna and their four children inhaled fumes from the chemical, Lorsban (chlorpyrifos) which a neighbour had been sparing on a nearby crop. ( Many farmers in that part of the province had done the same that year, in an effort to control a severe infestation of Bertha Army worms.) Some time after the incident, Burghart, his wife and one of their children, pose by a mother sow and piglets in their yard. A PinP photo. The spray had left Burghart's entire family with severe symptoms. He says he, himself, was left writhing with severe pain in his eyes. It's not immediately known how many other Canadians have suffered in similar incidents. But it's hard to believe this was the only case. ( Burghart was also worried how the chemical might impact the health of his animals and their feed.)
Common Dreams "Marine Life" by Andrey Narchuk is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 "Just awful, what gruesome harm we are inflicting on the environment." Story here. RELATED: Two stories by Larry Powell. New Studies Show Farm Chemicals Are Affecting More Than Bees. Bird Populations are Declining, Too. Is modern agriculture’s hold on nature becoming a death grip? Will New Research From Europe Nudge Canada into a "Neonic" Ban?
EcoWatch Researchers have found that concentrations of atrazine in drinking water were highest in May and June when farmers sprayed with the herbicide. They also found that birth defects peaked during the same months. Story here. A US Geological Survey map. RELATED: Overwhelming evidence supports need for Canadian atrazine ban . Research Suggests Our Past, Prolific Use of the Insecticide DDT May Still Be Contributing To A Scourge Of Modern-Day Diseases Related To Obesity - by Larry Powell
ScienceDaily In a first-ever study investigating the risk of neonicotinoid insecticides to ground-nesting bees, University of Guelph researchers have discovered hoary squash bees are being exposed to lethal levels of the chemicals in the soil . Story here. Hoary bees forage on a squash flower. Ilona Loser RELATED: New Studies Show Farm Chemicals Are Affecting More Than Bees. Bird Populations are Declining, too. Is modern agriculture's hold on nature becoming a death grip?
PAN Yet another scientific study , released today, shows just how deadly our chemical-intensive farming system has become to pollinators and other insects. Story here, Bumblebees forage on chives in an organic garden in Manitoba. A PinP photo. RELATED: Recent research contradicts a claim by the chemical giant, Bayer, that its newest bug-killer is safe for bees.
by Larry Powell A honeybee colony in Manitoba. A PinP photo. It's brand name is "Sivanto," (generic name - flupyradifurone ). It's an insecticide designed to kill a wide range of bugs which eat food crops such as soybeans. Bayer is registering it in many jurisdictions around the world. After conducting various field studies, Bayer concludes , "Sivanto displayed a very promising safety profile." The company concedes, it works in ways similar to the neonicotinoids (a group of insecticides which has become notorious for its likely role in pollinator decline). Still, it finds, the product "can be considered safe to most beneficial insects, specifically pollinators." Image by Brian Robert Marshall. But a team of scientists at the University of California, San Diego, reaches a different conclusion. In findings published earlier this year, the team gave a range of Sivanto doses to the bees, including ones
It's no secret that the now-infamous bug-killer, DDT , persists stubbornly in the environment. Still, what scientists found in lake sediments they recently analyzed in the Atlantic province, 50 years after it was last used there, shocked them. The sediment in all five lakes they tested (representing numerous watersheds), were laced with DDT at levels up to 450 times beyond what would be considered safe for key aquatic species and even entire food webs. by Larry Powell In some ways, it was like a real war. A plane sprays DDT on bud worms in Oregon, 1955. Photo by Forest Health Protection. In the early fifties, governments and the forest industry teamed up in New Brunswick to launch a massive aerial assault against spruce bud worms. The pests had probably been eating their way through conifer stands in eastern Canada and the U.S. for thousands of years. But now, they were causing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage yearly to forests of mostly spru