Posted on March 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Chemical cocktail inhibits bees’ ability to learn important tasks
Pesticides toxic to non-target insects. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
Two new studies strengthen the link between agricultural pesticide use and declining bee populations, as researchers showed that exposure to the chemicals can hinder bees’ ability to learn.
The researchers found that the pesticides, used in the research at levels shown to occur in the wild, could interfere with the learning circuits in the bee’s brain. They also found that bees exposed to combined pesticides were slower to learn or completely forgot important associations between floral scent and food rewards. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: bees, biodiversity, Environment, honeybee decline, pesticides | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 26, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Local company continue to offer spraying services, saying some property owners would rather be safe than sorry
Pine beetle populations have dropped to the lowest level in 30 years in parts of the Colorado high country. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — While some local property owners report that they’re getting advertisements from local tree spraying companies about protecting lodgepole pines from mountain pine beetles, state officials say there’s no need to apply pesticides this year.
“Mountain pine beetle numbers are the lowest they’ve been in 30 years,” said Ron Cousineau, district state forester for the area covering Summit and Grand counties. “The mountain pine beetle population has crashed … spraying has to be based on an actual threat,” he said. “The current population of pine beetles does not warrant spraying.”
Essentially, the bugs have killed most of the available trees. With very few brood trees remaining, beetle populations aren’t likely to reach epidemic levels again anytime soon. The latest forest surveys showed pine beetle activity on only about 200 acres in Summit County last year, with only a few pockets of trees within those areas affected by the beetles. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, forests, pine beetles, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: Colorado State Forest Service, Environment, forests, mountain pine beetles, pesticides, Summit County News, United States Forest Service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 22, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Earlier research may have some flaws
Honeybees and bumblebees are in big trouble. Photo by Bob Berwyn.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Honeybees may be dying from ingesting remnants of insecticides, but that in itself may nor be causing the widespread colony collapse being observed in many areas, according to new research published in the journal Science.
Starting in about 2006, beekeepers started reporting declines of 30 to 90 percent in many of their hives, in part due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
There are several studies showing that ingestion of pesticides leads to direct mortality, as well as a decline in the number of queen bees, which are critical to the establishment of new colonies following the winter die-off. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: colony collapse, Colony collapse disorder, Environment, honeybees, Insecticide, neonicotinoids, pesticides | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 17, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Runoff from golf courses that use fungicides can crash ecosystems from the bottom up, according to a new study.
New study details lethal impacts of a fungicide commonly used on golf courses around the world
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite the lessons learned from the effects of DDT, people continue to use chemicals in the same organochlorine family, to the detriment of natural ecosystems.
Now, University of South Florida researchers have shown that one of the world’s most common fungicides is lethal to a wide variety of freshwater organisms and essentially crashes ecosystems from the bottom up.
Biologists Taegan McMahon and Jason Rohr tested the effects of Chlorothalonil, a common fungicides used pervasively on food crops and golf courses. Even at levels below those deemed safe by the EPA, the chemical killed amphibians, snails, zooplankton, algae, and aquatic plants The loss of these herbivores and plants freed the algae from predation and competition, which eventually resulted in algal blooms that were similar to the effects of eutrophication. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: Chlorothalonil, Environment, fungicides, pesticides, Silent Spring, University of South Florida | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 29, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Atrazine is causing widespread problems in the environment.
Amphibians, already in trouble, have been hit hard
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Atrazine, a commonly used herbicide, has been linked with reproductive problems in animals. A research team studying a global database on atrazine exposure found found consistent patterns of reproductive dysfunction in amphibians, fish, reptiles and mammals exposed to the chemical.
“One of the things that became clear in writing this paper is that atrazine works through a number of different mechanisms,” said Tyrone Hatyes a professor of integrative biology at the University of California at Berkeley and lead author of the review. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: Atrazine, Environment, herbides, pesticides | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 19, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
This map shows areas where levels of pesticide-related compounds are reaching thresholds that are dangerous to fish. Interestingly, most of the witnesses who testified against EPA pesticide regulations are from these same areas.
House Republicans attack EPA’s ability to protect water from poisonous chemicals
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The environmental wars continue in Congress, as House Republicans continued to press their extremist agenda by attacking the EPA’s ability to regulate pesticides in the country’s lakes, rivers and streams.
On this go-round, the House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade invited a panel full of industry representatives with a direct financial interest in the weakest regulations possible to testify during a hearing on the EPA regs. You can see the witness list and read the testimony at the subcommittee’s website.
One of the ringleaders is Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton, who just a couple of days previously showed his fundamental lack of knowledge on water issues by accusing the Forest Service of “takings” with regard to water that’s actually owned by the people of the United States. (more…)
Filed under: agriculture, business, Colorado, economy, Environment, rivers, Summit County news, water | Tagged: Center for Biological Diversity, Environment, EPA, pesticides, Scott Tipton, Summit County News, water quality | 5 Comments »
Posted on October 18, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
An engineered DNA strand between metal atom contacts could function as a molecular electronics device. Such molecules and nanostructures are expected to revolutionize electronics. Understanding the complex quantum physics involved via simulation guides design. For NASA, devices and sensors made from such molecules and nanostructures may be particularly useful when electrical power is limited.
But researchers call for full disclosure and warn that a new testing framework is needed to ensure public safety
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Recognizing the huge potential for nanotech applications in pesticides, researchers are calling for a new way of approaching potential public health issues associated with the emerging uses.
Disclosure is a key part of that strategy, according to a recent report released by scientists from Oregon State University and the European Union, who called on manufacturers to disclose exactly what nanoparticles are involved in their products and what their characteristics are.
Another issue is to ensure that compounds are tested in the same way humans would be exposed in the real world.
“You can’t use oral ingestion of a pesticide by a laboratory rat and assume that will tell you what happens when a human inhales the same substance,” said David Stone, an assistant professor in the OSU Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology. “Exposure of the respiratory tract to nanoparticles is one of our key concerns, and we have to test compounds that way.” (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: David Stone, enviroment, Nanoparticle, nanotechnology, pesticides, Summit County, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, Summit Voice | Leave a Comment »