RoundUp disrupts honey bee gut bacteria

Originally published at:


The mystery over why bees have been dying has always baffled me - the real question is, “What doesn’t kill bees?” (At least when it comes to modern agricultural, bee-keeping and land use practices, in particular use of the popular pesticides and herbicides.)


Try not to get too caught up in the hype people.
More research needs to be done. That is all this paper suggests. It doesn’t say. It just suggests.
Obviously, we need to be concerned about what is happening to the honey bees, but if we shout eureka and stop investigating all other avenues we may actually do more harm to the bees. It’s a piece of the puzzle. It’s not the solution.

“A confusing result is that the bees exposed to the highest dose of Glyphosate seems to show far fewer effects than those exposed to a lower dose after three days. This effect was shown to be reproducible, but was not explained.

It should perhaps be kept in mind that the paper shows only that Glyphosate can potentially interfere with the bacteria in the bee gut, not that it actually does so in the environment. There are also countries, such as Australia, where Glyphosate is used but where bees are generally doing well.

So in short, I think the work is a potentially interesting piece of the overall puzzle of bee health, but not the whole picture”.


Interesting. Better fast track some more studies to verify the findings…

Roundup works really well for what it does. And there are the crops engineered to resist it. If this shakes out a the cause, they are going to have to limit if not ban it’s use, I imagine. Unless they can figure out the chemical affecting the bacteria and how and make alterations. Though even if they go with a ban, I see a measured phase out.

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So in other words, GMOs that work with roundup, are not as harmless as we’ve been promised?


Mmm no, they appear to be just as harmless as anything else. It’s the Roundup that may be causing those issues.


Come now, this is about as sketchy a study as you can find. I mean, it’s an n=45 study! Plus Only a fifth of that 45 were even the same bees (so it could be as slim as n=9).


Simply classify honeybees as a kind of weed. Problem solved!

Paging Secretary Zinke: Monsanto on line one.


In fact the evidence would still suggest that glyphosate resistant GM crops are far less harmful to the environment than others, given that all pesticides are harmful to the environment in one way or the other (including ‘organic’ pesticides); and other pesticides - neonicotinoids in particular - are far more likely to be involved in CCD, so the claim that glyphosate “is responsible for the colony collapse disorder that’s plagued bees for the last decade” is complete nonsense.


My point is, some of these modifications are specifically to allow roundup to be used. “Roundup Ready” I think they’re called. So the suite of technologies that GMOs are part of, are clearly not so harmless as advertised.


You are making the implicit assumption that some kind of pesticide use is inevitable. Organic farmers would beg to differ.


Most organic farming practices, especially large scale US organic farming, still require pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer use, in fact they require higher quantities and are generally more harmful to the environment than the best non-organic methods (especially when combined with GMOs). The organic methods which require less usage are either very low yield of have not been proven capable of scaling up to the necessary levels required to replace mainstream agricultural output.


I suppose in a round about way it allows more round up use. But the actual GMO food it self isn’t causing any issues. If you planted the same crops and didn’t use round up, then you wouldn’t have the issues mentioned in the study (again, assuming this link can be proven over more studies.)

Organic farming can’t feed the population, especially not with the current amount of land used. The reason we use pesticides, herbicides (which is what round up is) and fertilizers is for a high crop yield not full of bugs. And organic certified crops usually still use those three things, only “natural” approved ones.

As someone who grew up around large gardens, the majority of food grown isn’t even “good” enough to sell in stores as far as appearances go.


Worth noting that honeybees are unique: they are first and foremost part of our food economy, and though under threat, they have their advocates, because people make money from using honeybees and keeping them.

Our native NA bees are a fuckton less fortunate (even though agricultural experiments are ongoing with bumblebees, because their ability to pollinate some plants can exceed that of honeybees).

From the large eastern carpenter bee to the tiny perditas, to the exhausted bumblebees snoozing in the zinnias on midsummer days, it is worth knowing what kind of bees share your territory.


There’s a good summary here imo:


Which is a problem also! (Not the appearances, but the standards preventing them being sold.)


That is not what they found. That is a conclusion you leapt to.

The study is suggestive, not definitive. N (sample size) was pretty small, all things considered.

Here is the condensed list if steps you need to get to “glyphosate causes CCD:”

  1. Replication.
  2. Confirmation by other methods in other species and subspecies.
  3. Replication of confirmation.
  4. Broader epidemiological studies.
  5. Replication of epidemiological studies.

CCD is something that seems to have a lot of confounders, is still poorly understood, and may yet prove to be an emergent phenomenon with no singular or major cause. I really, really doubt glyphosate is the main culprit.


So what you’re saying is…


This is more of a cultural issue than anything, though. A lot of food waste is caused by people’s resistance to eating perfectly good, healthy, tasty foods with often minor cosmetic blemishes.

The Science Media Centre appears to be a think tank created specifically to promote/defend the use of GMO crops…