My step-dad is an avid beekeeper, and an organic urban farmer. Its been "known" for years amongst that community that the collapse is caused by pesticides. Bayer has done an amazing job keeping this labeled a "mystery".
[Random link]: http://www.beeman.ca/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/mob...
Also there has been a lot of usage of 2.4GHz devices in recent years.
bluetooth? - low power, doesn't travel far
wifi - been around long before 2005
cell phones - don't use 2.4 unless BT or wi-fi, have also been in the 1800/1900 gsm bands long before LTE/data networks
microwave ovens - been around forever.
Doesn't seem to add up.
not saying RF doesn't hurt, just playing devils advocate.
Do you have any scientific backing for your claims aside from... your step-dad "knowing" things?
There seem to be multiple studies indicating that 'neonic' pesticides are responsible for large portions of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) symptomology [1,2,3]. However, your skepticism is not entirely unjust. Other scientists have linked portions of CCD to various factors involved in industrial bee culture, including artificial insemination of queens and lack of biodiversity.
 - Assessment of the environmental exposure of honeybees to particulate matter containing neonicotinoid insecticides coming from corn coated seeds.
 - In situ replication of honey bee colony collapse disorder
 - Neonicotinoid Pesticide Reduces Bumble Bee Colony Growth and Queen Production
Specifically the statement says one kind of pesticide "could be" an important "contributing factor". It's no smoking gun.
There have been calls for some restrictions of neonicitinoid use (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21277933) but research is ongoing and it's important to take evidence based action. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21793365)
Being careful with the science is a very different position from 'the science is bunk'.
With new chemicals that have concerns like this I would have thought a "guilty until proven innocent" approach would be more advisable.
Last thing we want is "Oh yes it was that stuff, sorry about that, any bees left?"
 http://idw-online.de/pages/de/news264587 (press release by Julius Kühn institute, German)
 http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/maispflschmv/BJNR502300009... (neonicotinoid ban for corn seeds, German)
I really don't feel like the EPA or USDA has our backs. Those organizations tend to be pretty well integrated with lobbyists from large agro-corps.
What's easier to believe?
1) The pesticides used on plants are perfectly safe and there's a much more complex answer to this mystery, or
2) Bayer's self interest prevents them from even caring to do the research to find if the chemicals they use are safe for bees, and the chances are that they are not safe.
Just on the face of it, #2 is far more likely than #1.
We don't have evidence that proves either, though, so I'm going to say we should be conservative and try to mitigate the problem by reigning in the pesticides.
Because neither science nor logic in general work that way.
Well, why could there not be several contributing factors at work here?
> No single cause of declining bee numbers has been identified. However, several contributing factors have been suggested, acting in combination or separately. _These include the effects of intensive agriculture and pesticide use_, starvation and poor bee nutrition, viruses, attacks by pathogens and invasive species – such as the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor), the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina), the small hive beetle Aethina tumida and the bee mite Tropilaelaps – genetically modified plants, and environmental changes (e.g. habitat fragmentation and loss).
Looks like his step dad is a better source than yours.
Just out of interest, are you paid troll? Shame to see this kind of BS on HN
"15 of 16 imidacloprid- treated hives (94%) were dead across 4 apiaries 23 weeks post imidacloprid dosing. Dead hives were remarkably empty except for stores of food and some pollen left, a resemblance of CCD."
While none of the control hives died.
"Data from this in situ study provide convincing evidence that exposure to sub-lethal levels of imidacloprid in HFCS causes honey bees to exhibit symptoms consistent to CCD 23 weeks post imidacloprid dosing. The survival of the control hives managed alongside with the pesticide-treated hives unequivocally augments this conclusion. The observed delayed mortality in honey bees caused by imidacloprid in HFCS is a novel and plausible mechanism for CCD, and should be validated in future studies."
This is the reason why I think that off topic articles like this should be mercilessly squelched. They turn into flame wars within an hour or two.
Making shill claims is really not helpful.
"No single cause of declining bee numbers has been identified"
"Several contributed factors have been suggested"
If that, in your opinion, amounts to "it's obviously the pesticides", then I guess you can think of me as some kind of troll. If, instead, you can understand that making simplistic and overreaching statements like "it's obviously the pesticides" does nothing to help the bees and instead just brings the conversation down to a third grade level, then no, I'm not a troll.