By Heather Callaghan, Editor
During the day, Tim Wong is all about water life as an aquatic biologist. But when he changes into his cape at the end of his shift, he transforms into an incredible cultivator of butterflies.
Tending to butterflies was his lifelong hobby – who knew that his backyard conservationism would save a population that vanished from San Francisco?
The pipevine swallowtail – with its breathtaking shades of blue, black and green – isn’t officially endangered, although a major concern broke out when the insect suddenly started rapturing out of California as development efforts multiplied. In fact, the swallowtail vanished so entirely from San Francisco, that Wong had to collect caterpillars from private residencies in vegetative areas in order to start his project.
In 2015, honey bee populations in the state of Maryland declined by 61%, according to the USDA. That startling statistic is two times higher than the national average, which is why beekeepers are celebrating the state’s recent decision to ban neonicotinoids, pesticides which have been linked with Colony Collapse Disorder.
ThinkProgress reports that in April, the Maryland House and Senate agreed upon and jointly passed a final version of the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act. If passed, the legislation will virtually eliminate consumer use of the widely-used pesticide that has been shown to negatively impact honey bee populations. In effect, Maryland will become the first state in the U.S. to codify such protection for the bumbling insects.
While scientists haven’t pinpointed a single cause behind the mass honey bee deaths, most agree that pesticides are an important contributor. The reason a ban on neonicotinoids hasn’t been passed nationwide is because the USDA has failed to declare a link between neonics and bee deaths. Reportedly, the widely-used pesticides are a key part of expanding the global insecticide market projected at around $15 billion in revenues.
The Italian study backs up tests carried out by the charity Medical Detection Dogs, which is based in Buckinghamshire.
Its co-founder Dr Claire Guest said its own research had found a 93% reliability rate when detecting bladder and prostate cancer, describing the new findings as “spectacular”.
The latest research, by the Department of Urology at the Humanitas Clinical and Research Centre in Milan, involved two German shepherds sniffing the urine of 900 men – 360 with prostate cancer and 540 without.
Scientists found that dog one got it right in 98.7% of cases, while for dog two this was 97.6%.
They said the dogs are able to detect prostate cancer specific volatile organic compounds in the urine but said an important question remains of how a dog would find it in daily practice.
A Mexican judge in the state of Yucatan has recalled a permit from Monsanto, the biotech giant, forbidding the company from planting Roundup-ready GMO soybeans. His decision was based on scientific evidence that lead GMO soybeans to declines in be populations.
As The Guardian reports, the permit originally allowed Monsanto to plant 625,000 acres of GMO soybeans in seven states. Local Mayan farmers and beekeepers protested in the thousands against the move, but were largely ignored.
EPA knew pesticides were killing honeybees in the 1970s but punished those who spoke out – NaturalNews.com
by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) For decades, top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (PEA) were aware that a compound approved for agricultural use in the United States was wiping out the honeybee population, but they chose to ignore the compound’s effects in deference to pressure from agri-giant corporations.
Worse, the agency reacted harshly to anyone within the EPA who attempted to bring the issue to light, including through firings, forced reassignments and other actions.
According to a scholarly 2014 study [PDF] compiled by researcher Rosemary Mason, “on behalf of a global network of independent scientists, beekeepers and environmentalists,” and published on the website of MIT, “We have found historical and chronological evidence to show that the herbicide glyphosate (or other herbicides that are used as alternatives) is responsible for the transformation of garden escapes into super-weeds (in the UK these are termed ‘invasive species’).”
Neurotoxic pesticides blamed for the decline of honeybees is also harming butterflies, worms, fish, and birds, and contaminating habitats worldwide which are crucial for food production and wildlife, scientists have concluded after a four-year assessment.
Societal regulations have not stopped habitats from being poisoned, said the analysis, despite neurotoxic pesticides already being held responsible for the global collapse in the bee population.
“Undertaking a full analysis of all the available literature (800 peer reviewed reports) the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides – a group of global, independent scientists has found that there is “clear evidence of harm sufficient to trigger regulatory action,” a press release accompanying the report noted.
The bee population situation has gotten so dire that the White House has created a bee task force. As the bee population dwindles, scientists and researchers look for an explanation and a solution. Thus far, scientists have determined that neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides, is a serious culprit in the bee problem. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has found “conclusive” evidence that these neonicotinoids are “a key factor in the decline of bees.” These pesticides are extremely toxic — five-to-ten thousand times more toxic than DDT.
In order to help rebuild the populations, researchers have recommended planting bee-friendly gardens. These gardens have specific plants that create an environment in which bees can thrive, and over time, can help rebuild the bee population. These plants are sold at the usual big box garden centers, like Home Depot, Walmart, and Lowe’s.