Talk:Colony collapse disorder/Archive 7

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Archive 6 Archive 7 Archive 8

"GM crops" are not the same thing as "Bt crops that are visited by honey bees"

There is no reason to include, in this article, any references to the GENERAL use of GM crops in agriculture, anywhere, whether it's secret or public, private or commercial, if the reference cited does not specifically mention crops visited by honey bees, AND carrying the Bt genes. There are many types of crops modified in OTHER ways besides inclusion of the Bt toxin, and those crops are completely irrelevant here because no one in the scientific community has linked them to CCD. Including such references to non-Bt GM crops and implying that they might affect honey bees constitutes original research - it is a new theory, in effect, being proposed by the editors, and that is a violation of WP policy (WP:NOR). The issue in THIS article is whether Bt crops affect honey bees. If the references you wish to add do not specifically refer to Bt crops that are visited by honey bees, then the information, while interesting, is best included in the Genetically modified food article. Dyanega 19:11, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Well you see, part of the problem here is that of the secrecy surrounding the GM trials. According to the report Manufacturing Drugs and Chemicals in Crops [1]
Even if people knew where the field trials were, in most cases they would not know what was being grown there. This is because the identity and/or source of the biopharmaceutical or biochemical gene(s) is almost always claimed as "confidential business information" (CBI) of the applicant ... This excessive secrecy was criticized by an expert committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that recently reviewed the USDA’s performance at regulating transgenic plants (NAS 2002, p. 177). The committee found that the broad use of CBI not only impairs the public’s right to know, but also hampers scientific peer review of APHIS decisions: "The committee finds that the extent of confidential business information (CBI) in registrant documents sent to APHIS hampers external review and transparency of the decision-making process. Indeed, the committee often found it difficult to gather the information needed to write this report due to inaccessible CBI." (NAS 2002, Exec. Summ., p. 11)
The site mentions more than 300 secret field trials in the US alone. Which plants have been modified to contain the Bt gene? This site mentions corn, cotton, potato and tomato. This site says "other Bt-producing crops have been field tested in the United States, including apple, canola (rapeseed), cranberry, eggplant, poplar, rice, spruce, tomato and walnut". I've also seen tabacco mentioned. What else, who knows? I think it's safe to say that bees visit these plants. According to this article Bt-11 is legal in Europe. If you can get the biotech giants to reveal what they are planting and where then researchers would have a clue what to look at. Until then I think that the GM link is fair.
No offense but what I find puzzling is that we know that a researcher must be open minded, yet reading through the talk page you seem awfully quick to dismiss GM crops (and other possible contributing factors), when science has not yet. Again I am not claiming that there is a definite link, merely trying to get more info on a possible suspect for the article. 02:40, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I understand all of that, and that's exactly why you cannot include it. You are doing ORIGINAL RESEARCH and putting it in the article. That is a direct violation of WP policy. PLEASE STOP. Read WP:NOR and learn how WP editing works. When you find a paper LINKING a crop to CCD, then that would be fine if you put it in, since that's what the article is here for - but your personal worries about GM crops are not the topic of this article. Dyanega 08:25, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
What exactly is it that you claim is the OR I'm trying to include? The possible connection to Bt is being studied (and is already in the article) so that's not OR. Is it the one sentence inclusion of information that there are lots of secret GM test plots in Europe (and globally) that likely include Bt? I provide sources for that. Is it my one sentence clarification of the line "have occurred in Europe and areas of Canada where Bt crops were not grown" which inaccurately, at least as far as Europe is concerned, leaves one with the impression that GM crops are not grown in Europe therefore GM crops cannot be connected to CCD since there is CCD there? Why would you want to leave people with that false impression? 16:54, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
One case of OR is making a connection between NON-Bt GM crops and CCD, evidenced by your failure to recognize that the quote you seem intent on manipulating does NOT refer to "GM crops" - it refers specifically to Bt crops that are potentially visited by honey bees, and the quote should be left alone. Second, "Secret test plots that likely include Bt" are NOT being linked to CCD by anyone in the scientific community - since no one can give the locations of these plots, which Bt crops they contain, or the proximity of honey bees to these secret plots, there are NO DATA that could potentially be used to make such a link - connecting this to CCD is innuendo that YOU, as an editor, are placing into the article which is NOT reflective of mainstream opinion regarding CCD. That is defined as OR. Given how little attention the "Bt crops" theory seems to be getting among the scientific community, in fact, the entire thing is bordering on becoming another "fringe theory" like the cell phones; Bt crops are not listed among the 9 theories that the USDA has put forth in its formal statement regarding possible causes. As such, the guidelines of WP:Fringe may also come into play here, and I'm tempted to reduce the entire Bt section of the document, rather than augmenting it as you are suggesting. Dyanega 17:32, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
First off, "the quote [I] seem intent on manipulating", as you put it, was not in quotation marks indicating that it was a quote until just yesterday (after 4 1/2 months) so I was NOT "manipulating" it. You will also note that my paraphrase did not include quote marks thus I was not changing a quote. In fact it was you who changed the wording of the "quote" on April 3 to include the word "areas". I included the additional word "certain", as in "certain areas". This is the second time you have wrongly accused me of dishonesty.
Second, I said crops instead of Bt crops because no one knows what is being grown in those test plots but it is very likely that they include Bt crops. However even if we left out the "secret GM trials" part Bt crops are still evidently being grown there [2] and they have been under study as a possible contributing factor. Third, Bt has been studied in relation to CCD and not completely ruled out yet therefore it is not out-of-line to provide information which is in the public domain that Bt crops ARE being grown in Europe (with sources) even if most people, including researchers, don't know it. Forth, the quote that says that Bt crops are not grown in Europe is IN ERROR. Certainly leave the quote in but CLARIFY IT. What is your problem with that? Fifth, I did not make a connection to these Bt plots and CCD, I merely provided information that they and other GM crops are being grown in Europe. So what? You are placing yourself as personal censor of information which is still under investigation. To me that smacks of someone with an agenda. Who are you to say the case is definitively closed on these cases? That's not our role here as editors. You'll note that I also provided information on climate change's possible link so my agenda is to help flesh out various areas under study for the article not just the anti-GMO one which you imply is my agenda, though providing simple information about it seems to be taboo. Curious. 21:01, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
The role of an editor is NOT to "provide information on ... possible link"s - the role of an editor is to determine what the relevant authorities are saying about a topic, and include sourced material from those authorities; when YOU start making the links, or exploring links which the relevant authorites have dismissed as not worth pursuing, and providing the evidence, then you are doing original research. Further, if, as you admit, "no one knows what is being grown in those test plots" then you CANNOT include it - not only is it not verifiable, but it is impossible to then link any of it to Bt! Given that no one has evidently confirmed that any of the reported cases of CCD in Europe were CCD, would you find it an acceptable compromise to include your information regarding Bt under a clause clarifying that it is still unknown whether CCD has ever been encountered in Europe? My problem with elaborating on that quote is that I'm not even sure the whole section belongs. In that context, can you see why elaborating on this whole thing runs against WP's "undue weight" guidelines (WP:UNDUE)? This is a peripheral theory, which the available evidence does not support, and it takes up more space in the article than ANY other theory, including all of the theories which the scientific community has decided are worth pursuing. A truly neutral editor would come in and remove nearly all of that material. You accuse me of censoring "information which is still under investigation" - but (1) I have not yet removed all of the "Bt crops" section, as justifiable as it might be to do so, and (2) none of the information you are looking to add relates to investigations of CCD; not only is it not directly related, but if there is indeed no CCD in Europe, then how does ANY of it pertain in ANY way, except possibly as evidence against a connection of Bt crops to CCD? and (3) the link you give, that you claim shows that "Bt crops are still evidently being grown there", does in fact specifically state that "an unauthorized strain of corn entered union countries in the forms of animal feed, corn flour and corn oil." In other words, your portrayal of this as evidence that Bt corn is being grown in Europe is false! Ultimately, you are extrapolating beyond what the relevant experts and authorities are treating as a signficant concern. If it is that you think somewhere, somehow, there WILL BE evidence linking Bt crops to CCD, then this is also something editors are explicitly warned NOT to do: here it explains "It is appropriate to report discussion and arguments about the prospects for success of future proposals and projects or whether some development will occur, provided that discussion is properly referenced. It is not appropriate for an editor to insert their own opinions or analysis." If no one is discussing future research into the link between Bt crops and CCD, or even the likelihood of such a link existing, then for any editor to do so in the article is not appropriate. My "agenda" here is to keep the article as neutral as possible by adhering as strictly as possible to WP's policies - policies that exist for a reason; WP's role is to FOLLOW what the authorities are saying, not to ANTICIPATE them. If, and when, there is more research into the matter, yielding evidence for or against the link between CCD and Bt crops (or any other GM crops), then it will certainly be appropriate to include it. At this point, though, even if you could demonstrate that every single corn plant in Europe was full of Bt toxin, that would STILL not merit inclusion here until someone authoritative came forward and said that they had confirmed CCD in bees visiting corn in corn-growing areas in Europe; there needs to be something authoritative as to how and why a fact is important to investigations regarding CCD. As I said, much of what you are discussing is more relevant to the various articles on GM crops and you should consider contributing to those articles. Dyanega 23:26, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
Further, if, as you admit, "no one knows what is being grown in those test plots" then you CANNOT include it - not only is it not verifiable, but it is impossible to then link any of it to Bt! I was able with difficulty to track down one of those field trials in Europe, in Spain specificlly, at eight different sites [3]. Again I strongly suspect that there are many more.
No CCD in Europe? I don't know, but it sure sounds like it to me Collapse of Honey Bees in U. S., Canada and 9 European Countries. But again I don't claim to be an expert. About your 'compromise'. This seems a bit odd; what I'm trying to include is factual information that corrects an error in a quote, I don't think it should be subject to making a 'deal'. CCD's possible link to Bt has been the subject of research for a reason. The plants have built in insecticide that has been demonstrably harmful to other insects [4][5] (yes I know this has been disputed). No one has yet found the exact cause or definitively ruled out the other reasonable suspects. They say that they believe at this time that so and so suspect is off the list but they are careful not to rule it out. Neither should we. I don't really want to carry on this debate forever. If you leave the quote in as it is I believe that it is misinforming. 01:50, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
By the way, the unauthorized strain of Bt that is used for "animal feed, corn flour and corn oil" is Bt-10. But the link I provided also says "One type, known as Bt-11, has been legal for years in both the United States and Europe." That's what I was referring to - though possibly it's used for the same reason. This is the end of my discussion on this point. 03:16, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
It was not an offer to make a deal, it was a question - made because I was getting the impression that you were applying a different standard to anti-GM phrasing of the article versus pro-GM phrasing, and was wondering whether you would find the latter as acceptable as the former. You claim you were "trying to include is factual information that corrects an error in a quote", and yet - prior to this very latest response - you had actually given no such information, properly sourced, nor demonstrated that the quote was in error. Since you DID just now provide some sourced information indicating that there are trials of Bt corn in Spain, then this can certainly be included as a counterpoint to the present statement, and I'll go ahead and add the information. Even if it had been ruled out, it would still bear some mention in the article; the article should discuss, at least in brief, any theories that have been put forth and taken seriously at any point. You'll note that while my personal preference would be to stick to only the issues still being investigated, I'm not editing according to my personal preference, but according to WP policy, as best as I understand it. As it stands, the GM issue is one that is given undue emphasis relative to how anyone involved in CCD research is treating it, and I'm simply trying to keep the content of that section limited to citations that are directly pertinent to honey bees and CCD - it's not censorship, it's keeping this article on-topic, and NPOV. Dyanega 05:37, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Dang! I hate it when I have to go back on my word. But I want to respond. First your inclusion of the cite is acceptable to me. Thank you. Here's another in Germany which sounds rather larger [6].
Next, what you wrote above, "You claim you were 'trying to include is factual information that corrects an error in a quote', and yet - prior to this very latest response - you had actually given no such information, properly sourced, nor demonstrated that the quote was in error." Okay, the words which you identified as a quote that I was correcting in the article were the following and also have been reported in areas in Europe and Canada where there are no GM crops grown commercially at all. Note that it says nothing there about Bt crops, just GM crops. Again, that is how it has read for the past 4 1/2 months. That is what I provided the links about secret GM crop trials in Europe for. Yesterday the "GM" was changed to "Bt" which I missed when I reverted. You are right that all Bt crops are GM crops but not visa versa. I should have been clearer about that in my comments above. Still I suspect that the secret GM field trials may contain many more such Bt plantings. Anyway, have a good one. 08:01, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

CCD as environmental issue and concerns about secondary & primary sources

I've inserted some new material which has been - on the whole, rather correctly - copy-edited. I would just like to point out two issues: one edit removed the sentence making of CCD an "environmental issue", with the resume that this is contestable. Although the precise statistics may of course be contested, in particular by contrasting them with other statistics, CCB and bee population clearly is an environmental issue!

Second, concerning the reliance on scientific matters, hopefully we have editors more knowledgeable than journalists, but this has a side-effect: WP:TONE and over-reliance on specialized articles, which prevents a broad public article. If one news article states something uncorrectly, it is nice to have specialized editors around to point out an eventual mistake. However, specialized editors (or simply editors who have edited this article a lot) tend to forget about a newscomer's view on the article. In that sense, I think it would be helpful to have a better written introduction to the article, highlighting in general the importance of honey-bees and bees in general on the environment — perhaps by underscoring that honey-bees make only a small part of the total pollinating population.

The same goes for the subsection "Scale of the disorder" — and the seemingly contestable assertion by one editor that CCB has only been "proven" to have occurred in the US. How can that be so, if so many reports allege the existence of the same phenomena in various European countries, with disappearance in some local regions of up to 90% (a sentence which has been deleted)? If CCD designs, as it seems to do according to this entry itself, some strange phenomena, which (probable) various causes have not yet been identified, during which the honey-bee population decreases very fast, than evidently this phenomena is not restricted to the US.

When scientists have confirmed that cases matching the known CCD symptomology have been found in Europe, then the article can be changed to reflect it, by including appropriate citations. Until then, however, all we have are just "reports" and "claims" from secondary sources, and the article needs to reflect that fairly. Wikipedia is not here to validate claims made by reporters. Find a primary source for the 90% statistic, and include it with a citation, and I promise I won't delete it. Dyanega 20:16, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Furthermore, a passage concerning French request for an investigation has been moved to "pesticide" section. This is a mistake, for two reasons: first, the request for a parliamentary investigation did not concern pesticide, but CCD. Second, the only part of this paragraph specifically concerning pesticide (Jean Glavany's outlawing of Gaucho) should, I think, be inserted in the subsection "Scale of the disorder" (or perhaps an "Overview" section) made, as it highlight the fact that CCD has led to political action and subsequent legislation — something which the reader shouldn't have to wait the second half of the article to learn.

As an example of the problem, this is a good point to discuss: the outlawing of Gaucho in France was NOT a response to CCD. CCD was described in 2006, the ban mentioned took place in 1999. If you wish to claim that it was a response to CCD, then you also must claim that CCD existed for many years before it was formally recognized. if so, then the explanation needs to go back WAY beyond 1999. There are two basic alternatives: either CCD is itself a very new phenomenon, or it is a very old phenomenon. Since there is no discernable difference between bee disappearances reported in the 1990's and the 1960's (and earlier), there is no justification for claiming that the 1990's reports of dieoffs WERE cases of CCD, and the 1960's reports were NOT. Those in the media who continue to promote pesticides and GMO and other recent phenomena as explanations are, in essence, looking to "have it both ways". The scientific community has not said, and does not appear likely to say, that these modern-era factors could possibly be the CAUSE of CCD, rather than contributing factors. If the popular press fails to make this distinction, there is no reason to perpetuate that failure here in this article. The aim of Wikipedia, when dealing with scientific articles - such as this one - is not to promote non-scientific explanations or opinions as if they are more important or more signfiicant than scientific opinions. Dyanega 20:16, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

In other words, perhaps the knowledgeable editors here could think about providing a quick, wide public, overview of the matter, which doesn't get lost in scientific reports. Although these are certainly important, one must keep in mind the nature of Wikipedia — this article shouldn't be restricted to scientifics. As an example of this, a sentence such as "They are responsible for pollination of approximately one third of the United States' crop species, including such species as: almonds, peaches, soybeans, apples, pears, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers and strawberries." should not be found in the last subsection, but rather on the overview. Journalists surely have their defaults, but they know how to find a hook for an article & to maintain his attention through-out the article, by concise and clear writing. Regards, and again thanks for your oversight! Tazmaniacs 19:33, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Missing cause

I noticed the following quote from footnote #11 ( last paragraph of first page):

If anything, it's impressive that the honeybee has hung on in America for as long as it has. The commercial hives spend half the year sealed and stacked in the back of 18-wheelers, as they're schlepped down miles of interstate to pollinate crops around the country. During this time, they get pumped up with high fructose corn syrup, which keeps the bees buzzing and lively, but it's no pollen. And if a bee happens to get sick on the road, it can't self-quarantine by flying away from the colony to die. (In the wild, a bee rarely dies in the hive.) Add to the above the reduced genetic diversity resulting from the die-offs in the 1990s, and you have an insect living in a very precarious situation—where a new pathogen, even a mild one, could spell honeybee doom.

It would seem that this is an important issue to consider but I didn't find it in the article. If it's in the article, let me know where. If not, should we add it? It seems to be a simpler explanation than many. --Rcronk 19:21, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

It's an entire section: "Bee rentals and mobile beekeeping". Dyanega 20:38, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
Oops - Sorry - I searched for the wrong words and ended up not finding that section! I'm glad the issue is there - I'll investigate it and see if any additional information can be added to it. --Rcronk 21:28, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

What's with the sniffy tone?

The attitude that this is not a real phenomenon is outrageous. There is data to support CCD, the inane skepticism is unwarranted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:03, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Where are these data published? If you have reliable sources with hard data (as opposed to anecdotes), then they should be included in the article, if they are not already. Until the scientific community says something is so, skepticism is entirely warranted. More to the point, some scientists have expressed skepticism; if there is skepticism, then the WP article should make note of this whenever there is something quotable. THE WP article should not pre-suppose any particular conclusion/resolution, but report what OTHERS have concluded, and the matter of CCD is far from resolved. For a parallel, look at irritable bowel syndrome in humans; up until around 1997, the condition was largely believed to be psychosomatic - in other words, treated with skepticism - and only the publication of peer-reviewed clinical studies has steered the medical community away from skepticism, though even now there is still some debate. The point is, if there had been a Wikipedia entry back in 1995 or so, it would have stated "Medical consensus is that IBS is largely psychosomatic and the evidence for its recognition as a valid condition is not convincing" - and it would have been presumptuous and inappropriate at that point to present IBS as if it had already been confirmed. It would likewise be presumptuous and inappropriate to imply in this article that CCD has been confirmed until and unless there are reliable sources to indicate this; as it says in WP:NOT, "Wikipedia is not a crystal ball". WP is also not here to support or promote theories, just report on them. Dyanega 17:14, 4 September 2007 (UTC)
I too am puzzled. All I can find are spoof articles dated March 23rd 2007, DailyKos and other blog references on March 30th and 31st, and then a bulk of reports from all over the Internet dated April 1st 2007. It seems like a set up to an April Fool's prank, and each article I read uses an uncited report that cannot be found, or quotes a book that does not exist. Not only that but the writing style on many of the articles cited appears to be the same writing style, suggesting that a person or group of persons submitted the same article or variations on the article under different anonymous names. I would like to see the actual scientific reports so I can peer review them and see if the numbers add up. I am shocked that no information is given on how to replicate the experiment, how the data was collected, what the hypothesis test was, etc. You know all the steps the scientific method requires for a report to be considered valid. If none of the cited scientific reports can be found, and nobody can even mention how the experiments were performed, how can we logically consider them to follow the scientific method? Thomas Hard 04:57, 5 September 2007 (UTC) provides an alternative explanation —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:05, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

There is a lot of Mis-Information out there about this

I found a spoof or satire at and it appears that this is a joke that has been recycled all over the Internet as far back as I can find. Snopes investigated it on their forum but found that the Einstein quote wasn't made by Einstein and that this is more of an urban legend, and that even if bees die off there are other insects that pollinate plants. Even if he did say it Einstein is not an expert on the subject which makes this an appeal to false authority fallacy. Notice that nobody can decide on what is killing the bees, is it GM corn, pesticides, cell phones, fungus, global warming, cow farts, etc? Every time I hear the story it is from an uncited source and the story changes on what really kills the bees. Sometimes it is just honey bees, other times it is all bees, etc. I wonder if someone actually makes up Einstein quotes to be funny? Apparently they made up Al Gore quotes as well as far back as the year 2000? I find this entire article hard to believe as a result, I see bees outside my house and they seem to be multiplying and not dying off. I even talked to bee keepers in my area, and they claim their bees are not dying off. So really, what gives? There are many holes in this theory, and I'd like to find out more about it. Thomas Hard 02:41, 5 September 2007 (UTC)