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Showing posts with the label Pesticides

Some revolutionary advice for producers of seedless watermelon - and perhaps other fruits and vegetables, too!

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by Larry Powell A wild bee on a sunflower. A PinP photo.   For two years, US researchers studied the impact that both bee pollinators and beetle pests had on seedless watermelon.         What they found was striking.          Flea beetles feast on turnip-tops in Manitoba, A PinP photo.       In both years, p ollination by the bees was “the only significant factor” in both fruit set and marketable yield - even when compared to the harm done by the pests. Not only that, the wild bees increased those yields anywhere from one-&-a-half to three times more than honeybees.      So the researchers conclude; If you want better yields, it’s more important to protect the bees that pollinate them than to kill the pests which eat them!       “These data," they state, "advocate for a reprioritization of management, to conserve and protect wild bee pollinations, which could be more critical than avoiding pest damage for ensuring high yields.”      But the lead author of the study, As

Spraying herbicides from helicopters? Concerns mount over plans for southern B.C. forests

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The Narwhal The huckleberry. A Wikimedia photo. To the forestry industry these plants are pests, but for berry pickers they are important foods and medicine. Story here. RELATED: Contaminants found in traditional berries of First Nations people in Manitoba, but still declared to be safe to eat. (Video).

Bees are dying from toxic chemicals and the feds won't save them.

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The National Observer A PinP photo. After years of review, Ottawa recently approved a common class of pesticides known to harm pollinators like bees and other insects. Story here. RELATED:  Plight of the Humble Bee. Canadian regulators refuse to protect precious pollinators from known toxins.

Health Canada approves another product known to be deadly to beneficial organisms.

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The Western Producer Members of the "neonic" family are known mass-killers, esp. of pollinators such as honeybees. "Karen" holds dead bees at Hayes Valley Farm. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has announced that neonicotinoid insecticides are not a threat to aquatic insects when used as a seed treatment on canola and in many other instances. Details here.

A third of global farmland at 'high' pesticide pollution risk

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PHYS ORG A public domain photo. A third of the planet's agricultural land is at "high risk" of pesticide pollution from the lingering residue of chemical ingredients that can leach into water supplies and threaten biodiversity, according to research published Monday. Story here.

Residues of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides (known as "Plant Protection Products," or PPPs), being found in pollen and nectar, are "a significant stressor" for bees and other pollinators.

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Environmental Research    

Popular insecticides harm birds in the United States

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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

Agrochemicals speed the spread of deadly parasites

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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.

Toxic Tides - The Tragedy of Fish Farming Everywhere

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One of the biggest challenges facing the aquaculture industry everywhere, is  Lepeophtheirus salmonis , the sea-louse (below). It's a parasite which attacks both farmed and wild salmon, causing lesions and infections which stunt their growth. But the 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. Sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, on farmed Atlantic salmon, New Brunswick, CA.  Photo by 7Barrym0re   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 emerged from Norway.  A te

How Has This Pesticide Not Been Banned? Opinion.

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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

Thirteen years after the pesticide 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

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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.)

'Landmark New Research' Links Neonics With Collapse of Fisheries

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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?

Environmentally-Caused Disease Crisis? Pesticide Damage to DNA Found 'Programmed' Into Future Generations

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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

Wild ground-nesting bees might be exposed to lethal levels of neonics in soil.

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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?

Rachel was right

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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.

Recent research contradicts a claim by the chemical giant, Bayer, that its newest bug-killer is safe for bees.

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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

Remote lakes in New Brunswick, Canada, remain dangerously polluted, half-a-century after being drenched with the insecticide, DDT, says study.

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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 A plane sprays DDT on bud worms in Oregon, 1955.  Photo by Forest Health Protection. In some ways, it was like a real war. 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 spruce a