Exposure Routes

Ways in which we can be exposed to Nasty Substances

Common to all of us is Home, Workplace, School, Travel and Leisure. These are all potential Exposure Routes to Toxic Chemicals and other Toxins that enter us via our Breathing, Skin and Gut.

Pesticides | Toxic to Bees


  • MAIN CATEGORY: Pesticides
  • SUB CATEGORY: Toxic to Bees
  • DESCRIPTION: "In Australia, thirty five horticultural industries are reliant on pollination for most of their production, and in 2000 the value that honeybee pollination brought to these crops was estimated at $1.7 billion. Many more crops are responsive to honeybee pollination to varying degrees, and some crops, such as almonds, apples, pears and cherries, depend almost exclusively on honeybee pollination. All up, honeybees are thought to be responsible for around one in every three mouthfuls of food that we eat." Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in Australia. "Many plants produce nectar and/or pollen that is attractive to foraging bees. Bees are also attracted to some plants that produce sweet exudates from extrafloral nectaries or from aphids feeding on plants. Pools and puddles of water also attract bees, particularly during dry periods. Bees may be attracted to a crop that is in bloom, or may be attracted into treated fields by the presence of blooming weeds even though the crop itself is not in bloom. Dandelion, wild mustard, white clover, yellow rocket, sweet clover, milkweed, goldenrod, and aster blossoms all attract bees. Bees will sometimes forage in field crops when these are producing pollen, including field corn and soybeans." www.extension.purdue.edu "Many bee poisoning problems could be prevented by better communication and cooperation among the grower, pesticide applicator, and the beekeeper.Because of the nature of bees, all beekeepers within 2 to 3 miles of the area to be treated should be notified at least the evening before the insecticide is to be applied. Bees forage up to 3 miles or more from their hive under some conditions, and they begin foraging very early in the day. If the beekeeper is to move or confine his bees, he must do so the night before the treatment.Since many decisions to use an insecticide are made only a few hours before the application is made, growers and applicators should be aware of the location of all hives within 3 miles of their crops and know how to contact the beekeeper who owns them."Pesticides Harm Pollinators"• Neonicotinoids—including, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and imidacloprid—are a class of insecticides that are highly toxic to honey bees and other pollinators. They are systemic, meaning that they are taken up by a plant’s vascular system and expressed through pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets from which bees forage and drink.• Neonicotinoids are particularly dangerous because, in addition to being acutely toxic in high doses, chronic low dose exposures can also result in serious sublethal effects.• Neonicotinoid exposure can disrupt bees’ reproduction, mobility, navigation, feeding, foraging, memory, learning, and overall hive activity. These chemicals are also suspected of affecting honey bees’ immune systems, making them more vulnerable to parasites and pathogens. During the 2012/2013 winter, beekeepers reported on average, bee losses over 45 percent and as high as 70 percent.• Neonicotinoids also harm wild pollinators like butterflies, bumblebees, and other beneficial organisms. In June 2013, tree application of the neonicotinoid dinotefuran killed over 50,000 bumblebees in Oregon USA" REF: Beyond PesticidesNo Longer a BIG Mystery - Recent scientific research confirms the role of pesticides in pollinator decline.New research published in the journal Ecotoxicology in 2014 finds that “near infini-tesimal” exposures –levels as low as 0.7ppb- to neonicotinoids causes a reduction in the amount of pollen that bumble-bees are able to gather for their colony.In a 2013 study by Williamson and Wright, the authors observed that bees exposed to imidacloprid are less likely to form long-term memory, and develop impaired olfactory learning ability. University of California at San Diego biologists found that honey bees treated with a small, single dose of imidacloprid, comparable to what they would receive in nectar, become “picky eaters” preferring to feed only on sweeter nectar and refusing nectars of lower sweetness that they would normally feed on, and which provide important sustenance for the colony. In addition, waggle dances, which help bees recruit their nest- mates to good food, was not frequently ob- served in exposed bees.Researchers are also beginning to look at the so called “inert” ingre- dients of many pesticide formulations. A study released by Pennsylvania State University researchers, observes that bee learning behavior is impaired by exposure to low doses of surfactants –other ingredients commonly found in pesticide formulations.A 2010 study found 121 different pesticides and metabolites within a number of wax, pollen, bee, and associated hive samples. A followup study looking at four commonly detected pesticides in pollen and wax –fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorotha- lonil, and chloropyrifos, found that exposure to these chemicals has serious consequences on bee larvae survival rates.A 2013 study suggests that exposure to neonicotinoids negatively modulates immune signaling in insects, and adversely affects honey bee antiviral defenses. The authors observed that honey bee exposure to clothianidin enhances this mechanism, reducing immune defenses, and promoting the onset of deformed wing virus in honey bees. Similar results were also observed with imidacloprid. REF: Pesticides and You, Vol. 34, No. 1 Spring 2014 A quarterly publication of Beyond Pesticides.Neonicotinoid-Free Indoor EnvironmentsSeveral neonicotinoid products are also designed to kill indoor pests such as ants, termites, bedbugs, as well as pests on indoor, potted plants like whiteflies and aphids. Imidacloprid and dinotefuran are commonly found in these indoor products and can be applied in our homes, schools and other indoor environments. However, you can control pests safely without exposing your family, children, and pets to neonicotinoids and other toxic pesticides with some simple measures. See www.BEEprotective.org for more Information
  • DATA SOURCES: Each Toxin Profile contained within this Exposure Route shows a full list of data sources.
  • LAST UPDATE: 21/04/2015

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