BeesFree Breakthrough May Halt Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder
Average Rating: ( 0 votes)
"BeesVita Plus is a concentrated solution that is introduced to the honeybees' water supplies," says David Todhunter, BeesFree's chief executive officer. "Studies show when honeybees drink BeesVita Plus they become healthier, stronger and more resistant to various illnesses and CCD."
Florida-based BeesFree, Inc. reports it is bringing-to-market an organically-engineered, honeybee feeding formulation that can arrest the deadly effects of colony collapse disorder (CCD).
“BeesVita Plus is a concentrated solution that is introduced to the honeybees’ water supplies,” says David Todhunter, BeesFree’s chief executive officer. “Studies show when honeybees drink BeesVita Plus they become healthier, stronger and more resistant to various illnesses and CCD.”
CCD is the widespread disappearance of honeybee colonies. Inexplicably, after foraging, worker bees fail to return to their hives. CCD is a global epidemic threatening the production of crops dependent on bees for pollination and honey harvesting. In the U.S., honeybee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
BeesFree’s product announcement comes in the wake of last Thursday’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s denial of a petition requesting emergency suspension of clothianidin, a neonicotinoid pesticide. The petition was filed by 25 entomological, environmental and beekeeping groups that contend the pesticide is an “imminent hazard” linked to honeybee colony collapse disorder.
Theories about the causes of CCD include paralyzing viruses; weakened immune systems; Nosema microsporidian parasite gut infections; hive invasions by destructive Varro parasitic mites; bee management stress, inadequate forage, poor nutrition and exposure to neonicotinoid-based insecticides.
“BeesVita Plus is composed of scientifically engineered, natural components proven to contrast neonicotinoids’ side effects on honeybees,” says BeesFree’s chief scientist and BeesVita Plus inventor Dr. Francesca del Vecchio. “The solution also contains antimicrobial agents and compounds to fight viruses and its interaction with Nosema parasite. Plus, it has powerful nutrients and antioxidants.
“A three-year study conducted in Italy’s agriculturally rich Tuscany region, where CCD has ravaged billions of honeybees, concluded that colonies fed BeesVita Plus not only survived but thrived,” explains del Vecchio. “When BeesVita Plus was introduced to specific honeybee colonies, their populations increased by as much as 50 percent, compared to colonies that were not fed BeesVita Plus, which experienced a 40 percent population decrease.”
CCD was first described by University of Florida entomologists in 2006. Worldwide, beekeepers reported drastic decreases in colony populations, ranging from 30 to 90 percent. Since then, there has been no effective weapon against CCD, until now.
Todhunter says BeesFree is currently identifying U.S. university department of entomology honeybee labs in order to conduct more studies.
Neonicotinoid-based pesticides contain nicotine-related chemicals. The pesticide attacks the central nervous system causing fatal paralysis. Researchers believe, along with pollen, the pesticide clings to honeybees’ bodies. Once the pesticide saturates bees’ bodies it quickly attacks the brain, causing confusion and neurological disorders. The bees cannot navigate their way to the colony. Paralysis sets-in. Death soon follows.
France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia have already suspended use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides.
Several U.S. universities, including Harvard, Illinois and Purdue, have published studies that conclude these pesticides contribute to CCD.
The EPA says in September it will “seek independent scientific peer review on how to better assess the risks of pesticides to pollinators.”