Nicotine and the death of the honeybee

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If you see a honeybee that is busy dying, you should be very concerned indeed. Albert Einstein once said that: “Were all the honeybees to disappear, man would only have four years left to live”.
Honeybees play a pivotal role in the production of honey, pears, apples, tomatoes, clover, medicinal herbs, milk and meat. They transport the pollen and transform the world around us into food. The honeybee, which is a bio-indicator of environmental health, is a species that is currently at risk. If the honeybee is at risk today, tomorrow it will be our turn. In an article entitled “Honeybee deaths reaching crisis point”, The Guardian reports that fully one third of the total of 240,000 British beehives actually died off during the past winter and spring. British Minister Rooker has stated that if nothing is done to remedy the situation, there will no longer be a single honeybee left on the island within the next ten years. Honeybees contribute some 165 million pounds sterling per year to the British economy through the production of fruit and vegetables. That is, of course, over and above the honey that they produce. The Honey Association predicts that no more locally produced honey will be available in Great Britain by Christmas. New stocks will only become available during the summer of 2009.
This, however, is a worldwide crisis. The world’s largest producer of honey is Argentina, where the 75,000 tons produced annually has now dropped by 27%. In the United States (25% fewer beehives in 2008) and the rest of the world, the honeybees are deserting us. In Italy it has been a disaster. Fifty percent of our honeybees died and 200,000 beehives were lost in 2007, resulting in a 250 million Euro loss for the agricultural sector. However, it would seem that this is not a national priority. Apparently, the real priorities are the deployment of soldiers on our streets, gagging the Justice System by means of the separation of duties, gathering the fingerprints of gypsy children, the Alfano Bill to ensure the impunity of the Top Four Gang and Impregilo’s incinerators. These are the real priorities!
And why are the honeybees dying you may ask? They are dying because of environment degradation, climate change, Varoa (a type of mite), the conversion of grazing land into fields of Soya beans used in the production of bio fuels, the indiscriminate use of pesticides and the pollution of our water courses. The beehives are being decimated by a phenomenon known as CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), and all because mankind is busy poisoning our planet.
There is something that we can do immediately as far as Italy is concerned. We can prohibit the use of nicotine-based pesticides. They have already done so in France. Nicotine has a disastrous effect on honeybees. It makes them lose their sense of direction, they are then unable to find their hives and so they die.
In addition to putting the honeybees at risk, those producing nicotine-based pesticides are also threatening our survival. Please give me a hand by adding your comments to this information posting regarding the manufacturers and users of these pesticides and the consequences for the environment.
Anyone who poisons a honeybee is also poisoning you.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:22 AM in | Comments (13)
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Who is working with honeybees in Italy, particularly Calabria? I am involved with beekeeping in the US (Texas) through the Texas Honeybee Guild, which sees it as a mission to be a bridge to information and education, as well as actively beekeeping. I would like to know who the apiarists are in Calabria, as I have a share in a farm there, and would like to talk about the possibilities for re-settling bees within Calabria, as is successfully being done here in Texas.

Posted by: Philomena Mussari Jones | October 26, 2008 02:56 PM


Thank you for this reminder. This year I have seen very few bees in the garden. Neighbors here in rural Italy (between Rome/Naples) that used to keep bees have had them all die within the past year or two. Homemade honey is harder to find and more expensive. Didn't we all think bio-fuel was the answer? Well, we're finding out quickly that it's not that simple.

I'll mention this issue on my blog and link here for people who want more information.

Thank you

Posted by: Diane Beck | August 26, 2008 05:53 PM



You're right, it is a major problem. I've noticed in the past few years that, here in southern England, I never see honey bees in my garden. It seems that there simply aren't any wild colonies left, or at least, not around here.

Posted by: Serena Blanchflower | August 26, 2008 02:07 PM


it is so clear, we are no part of the nature, it is so clear we have no idea on what would be our own life without earth, everything we do it is pollutant, we have free and renewable energy from the begenning of 1900s, i think we don't deserve to survive, nature would be so happy without us like a bee with it's honey.

Posted by: Armando La Vecchia | August 26, 2008 12:41 AM


Here is a newly published and essential book about this issue: "A world without bees", by Alison Benjamin and Marc McCallum (Guardian Books)
http://www.guardianbooks.co.uk

Posted by: Bruno Giussani | August 24, 2008 09:23 PM


Can people stop smoking to save bees? I think no. People can't stop smoking to save their own lives and health. Nobody thinks about honeybees. :(

Posted by: Antony Yarmol | August 23, 2008 06:41 PM


Unfortunately the world is controlled by capitalism. Corporations do not have a conscience. You may be charged with crimes against humanity but crimes against the planet can always be justified with the argument that the economy is dependent on it therefore to not allow it would be fiscally irresponsible and what politician wants that aimed at him? It is sad to say but our future is as short as that of the bee's.

Posted by: chris hamilton | August 23, 2008 04:29 PM


I've written a post about this for my blog, just hoping to spread the word, and to let people know how really serious this problem is. Thank you

Posted by: Barbara Skinner | August 23, 2008 03:53 PM


PLEASE STOP THIS OBLITERATION. When will mankind wake up and respect this earth and its bounty. Where does the greed end??

Posted by: Patrizia Perata | August 23, 2008 01:21 PM


PLEASE STOP THIS OBLITERATION. When will mankind wake up and respect this earth and its bounty. Where does the greed end??

Posted by: Patrizia Perata | August 23, 2008 01:21 PM


http://www.cuneo.coldiretti.it/la-moria-delle-api.aspx?KeyPub=GP_CD_CUNEO_HOME|CD_CUNEO_HOME&Cod_Oggetto=13682468&subskintype=Detail

Posted by: Bruno civaso | August 23, 2008 11:35 AM


The world’s largest producer of honey is Argentina, where the 75,000 tons produced annually has now dropped by 27%. In the United States (25% fewer beehives in 2008) and the rest of the world, the honeybees are deserting us. In Italy it has been a disaster. Fifty percent of our honeybees died and 200,000 beehives were lost in 2007, resulting in a 250 million Euro loss for the agricultural sector.

Posted by: Luca Govoni | August 23, 2008 10:06 AM


http://www.ilmanifesto.it/terraterra/archivio/2008/Agosto/48aed40819f57.html

Posted by: Massimiliano Piretti | August 23, 2008 09:30 AM


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