SmartStax Corn: Corporate War on Bees

Oaxacan graffiti. Photo by Chris Stowers,

By Prof. Joe Cummins
The Institute of Science in Society

US regulatory agencies are aiding and abetting in killing bees and more

This report has been submitted to the US EPA on behalf of ISIS

SmartStax corn

Smartstax is a genetically modified (GM) corn that has eight GM traits combined or ‘stacked’ together, six for insect resistance (Bt) and two for herbicide tolerance. Current stacked GM trait crops on the market only have up to three traits each. SmartStax was created through a collaboration between Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, allowing the two corporations to share GM traits. The traits are combined together using crosses between existing transgenic corn lines rather than using genetic transformation of a single maize strain. Interestingly, a collection of old transgenes brought together with traditional crosses are being described as the ‘new’ technology.

Monsanto and Dow are predicting that SmartStax will be the largest commercial launch of a single GM corn because it will replace a lot of the existing GM corn varieties on the market. The main benefit of Smartstax maize is that it provides above and below ground insect protection along with tolerance to two herbicides (glyphosate and glufosinate) [1]. Herbicide tolerance and insect resistance genes are engineered in redundant combinations in the belief that it will prevent establishment of resistances to herbicides and the Bt proteins among weeds and insect pests respectively [2].

The USDA provided a premium reduction in the cost of crop insurance for farmers growing  Smartstax maize while the US EPA  granted a reduction in the size of the refuge area set aside from 20 percent to 5 percent, which constitutes substantial government financial incentives for growing  Smartstax maize [3].

It is supposed to protect growers of Smartstax maize from the uncertainties of climatic instabilities associated with global warming. The USDA crop insurance program covers organic farmers too, but fails to protect the organic premium on price and will not consider the crop loss from pollen contamination from GM crops. Organic and conventional growers are placed at a clear disadvantage in comparison to growers of  Smartstax  corn.

Read full post at The Institute of Science in Society

6 responses to “SmartStax Corn: Corporate War on Bees

  1. Thanks for picking up this story! It’s unfathomable how they can take such risks with pollinators and the world food supply.

  2. as a beekeeper I can tell you I’m not worried about this product. honeybees rarely visit corn plants.

    the bees deaths from clothianidin in germany was from an adhesive failure of the pesticide coating on the seeds. pneumatic seed planting equipment spread the chemical on nearby plants. so this was a one time failure and involved a company that did the actual seed coating not Bayer the chemical mfgr.

    not that i support or defend this chemical its just that the normal application of this chemical and exposure to honeybees is not something that’s typical.

    this is a non story in the bee world for most of us.

  3. Bud, as an Aussie beekeeper I beg to differ!
    fair enough Corn mainly self pollinates, however bees and moths Do visit it.
    this abomination of a chemical soup, is a disaster waiting to happen!
    here we have Glyphosate, and triazine/atrazine which is the LL. then as those 2,
    ( Glyphosate too) the Triazine family are now shown to be KNOWN edocrine disruptors, AND Atrazine stays in soil for up to 3 years. is Polluting water and affecting fish and frogs etc worldwide.
    then the bright? boys add
    * Exclusive fungicide combination featuring ipconazole, metalaxyl and trifloxystrobin for excellent protection against primary seed-borne and soil-borne diseases.
    * Early season insect control utilizing clothianidin, a leading insecticide, to reduce damage caused by secondary pests.
    4!!!! more toxic chemicals to the mess.

    ok Ipconazole,
    Ipconazole may cause
    local, portal-of-entry irritation via all routes following repeated
    exposure. Systemic effects that were noted in dogs, mice, rabbits and/
    or rats following exposure to ipconazole were generally limited to
    decreased body weight, body weight gain, and food consumption; and
    liver and kidney effects. Developmental effects were observed only at
    the maternally-toxic dose. sfety says 1PPM, now, you tell me that 1PPM is the dosage being applied. and at 0.1mg it caused skeletal and other malformations In Rabbits. so, anything!!! eating the crop stubble is at serious risk of harm. there isnt space to go into the full gamut, heres the link.

    Metalaxyl, oh this is a ripper, the EPA saw damage at LOW doses, yet allowed it to be declared non? Mutagenic…as high doses(work that!! out) didnt show mutagenicity..
    Carcinogenic Effects
    The EPA Cancer Assessment Group decided that metalaxyl should not be classified as an oncogen because even though a study showed significant parafollicular adenomas of the thyroid in female rats at low and middle doses, this did not occur at the higher dose (4).
    Organ Toxicity
    In a long term feeding study with mice at low levels of exposure, the animals’ livers were the primary target for metalaxyl-related effects (8). No specifics about the changes in the liver or the doses administered were given in the reference.
    Fate in Humans and Animals
    Studies with rats and goats showed rapid metabolism and excretion via urine and feces. Glucuronic acid conjugates of the metabolites were the main rat excretion products (5). There is hydrolysis and oxidative cleavage in warm-blooded animals (1).

    Forty-day feed studies with dairy cattle at 15 ppm, resulted in <0.01 ppm in the muscle and fat. The liver contained 0.13 to 0.20 ppm and the kidney 0.26 to 0.83 ppm (5).

    Chickens fed for 28 days at 5 ppm in the diet had <0.05 ppm in the eggs, skin, fat, breast and thigh and 100 mg/l (3). Freshwater aquatic invertebrates are slightly more susceptible to metalaxyl. Daphnia magna, a small freshwater crustacean, has an LC50 of 12.5 to 28 mg/l, depending on the product formulation. This indicates that metalaxyl is slightly toxic to this organism (8). Currently the toxicity of the product is undocumented for marine organisms. The EPA has requested that these studies be done (8).

    There is little tendency for metalaxyl to accumulate in the edible portion of fish. Metalaxyl did not accumulate beyond 7 times the background concentration. It was quickly eliminated after exposed fish were placed in fresh (metalaxyl free) water (8).

    Metalaxyl is non-toxic to honeybees (3, 7). The EPA has indicated that metalaxyl poses little threat to aquatic or terrestrial endangered species, whether plant or animal (8).
    Under field conditions, metalaxyl has a half-life of one to eight weeks in soil. Its average half-life in soil is about 70 days. The major breakdown product is from the hydrolysis of the methyl ester. Although it readily leaches in sandy soil, increased organic matter decreases leaching (2). In a large scale, national survey, metalaxyl was detected in the groundwater of several states at concentrations of 0.27 ppb to 2.3 ppb (9).

    At pH’s of 5 to 9 and temperatures of 20 to 30 degrees C, the half- life in water was greater than four weeks. Water exposed to sunlight, however, had a residue half-life of one week. In water, metalaxyl is not readily degraded by sunlight. In soil, it has a half-life of about 2 weeks when exposed to sunlight.

    Plants absorb foliar applications through the leaves and stems, and can translocate the compound throughout the plant. Metalaxyl is not absorbed directly from the soil by plants.

    The parent compound is the major residue in potato tubers and grapes, but in potato leaves and on lettuce, metabolites are the major product (5). Metalaxyl acts by inhibiting protein synthesis in fungi. It has a calculated three-week duration of activity (1).
    it hangs around in soil and water, affects fish alters liver metabolites, and yet? doesnt harm bees. someone outta tell them bees drink water from plant leaves, and the soil.!!
    Number 3 and I am getting angrier.
    In Aus and Canada where it was approved, at NO time! was it approved for CORN.
    it is for black spot on apples and pears in Aus only and aerial spraying is advised against, it does leave a detectable residue and is Illegal in some or our export to countries.
    heres the canadian take, again, NO Corn crop is approved for use.
    Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act and Regulations, is proposing conversion from conditional to full registration for Trifloxystrobin Technical Fungicide and end-use products Compass 50 WG Fungicide, Flint 50 WG Fungicide and Stratego 250 EC Fungicide, containing the technical grade active ingredient trifloxystrobin for control of specific fungal diseases on turfgrass, ornamentals, grapes, pome fruits (apple, crabapple, loquat, mayhaw, pear, pear oriental and quince), wheat (winter, spring, hard red, durum, Canada prairie, soft white), spring barley and oats.
    BUT, then, read this! seems some fool never heard of Rain? or floods?
    Trifloxystrobin enters the environment when used as a fungicide on turfgrass, ornamentals and various food crops. Trifloxystrobin is non-persistent in soil and water, while its major transformation product is expected to be persistent in soil and water.

    Although the use pattern of trifloxystrobin does not include direct application to water, the possibility that aquatic systems will be exposed to trifloxystrobin and its major transformation product, directly or indirectly, cannot be ruled out.

    Laboratory studies indicated that the mobility of trifloxystrobin in soil is expected to be low to immobile and trifloxystrobin is not expected to leach through the soil profile beyond 30 cm; therefore, it is not expected to enter groundwater.( WHAT!)
    The major transformation product is persistent in soil and is expected to have moderate to very high mobility in soils.

    Field studies indicate that it has the potential to leach under field conditions.
    and then..
    Trifloxystrobin will pose a negligible risk to earthworms, honeybees and wild birds on an acute and dietary basis. However, the level of concern (LOC) is exceeded for wild mammals (based on dietary and chronic exposure), beneficial insects, wild birds on a reproductive basis, vascular plants, freshwater and marine invertebrates, freshwater algae and fish. Therefore, buffer zones to protect sensitive aquatic and terrestrial habitats are required during application. In addition, environmental hazard statements are required for protection of beneficial insects.
    and lastly but the proven to affect bees.
    Available data indicate that clothianidin on corn and canola should result in minimal acute toxic risk to birds. However, assessments show that exposure to treated seeds through ingestion may result in chronic toxic risk to non-endangered and endangered small birds (e.g., songbirds) and acute/chronic toxicity risk to non-endangered and endangered mammals. Clothianidin has the potential for toxic chronic exposure to honey bees, as well as other nontarget pollinators, through the translocation of clothianidin residues in nectar and pollen. Clothianidin should not present a direct acute or chronic risk to freshwater and estuarine/marine fish, or a risk to terrestrial or aquatic vascular and nonvascular plants.
    The fate and disposition of clothianidin in the environment suggest a compound that is a systemic insecticide that is persistent and mobile, stable to hydrolysis, and has potential to leach to ground water, as well as runoff to surface waters.

    too bloody right its persistant and stable!, trees on the edges of farmland in Germany were found to have it right through their systems, so, when they flowered their Pollen and nectar carried the muck too.
    We have already had one apiarist here in trouble due to GM Canola pollen contaminating the honey.
    We do NOT have CCD, and I and others suspect its due to the fact chemicals like this are rarely used, we also use no- to the barest minimum of any antibiotics, unlike USA, and we still luckily have only 3 states Stupid enough to allow gm in.
    the combined effect of all these chemicals is?
    how damn convenient!!! NEVER EVER TESTED! Now? why? do you think that might be??
    How many combined systemic POISONS can a bees system cope with? as bees store the nectar internally and do many trips per day, Personally, I am real glad OUR bees Only go to Native flora and Guaranteed Organic citrus orchards.
    we flatly refuse to pollinate almonds clover or alfalfa due to the chemicals used.
    Most of the bees that were shipped all over Aus, copying the USA system…will NOT be doing it again, losses were too high.
    my summation, apart from the bees the combined Toxic load of these disgusting Corn plants is a danger to soil Biota all animals that graze, and any Idiot human silly enough to trust the AGGRO agri Business Charlatans.
    A combination of 6! chemicals, so ? when the pests and the soil biota adapt? kiss your ass, and your bees goodbye.

  4. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » SmartStax Corn: Corporate War on Bees « Food Freedom

  5. Bees don’t eat seeds.

  6. Does anyone think that the UN or US Government is behind
    some of this? The continuation of CCS would potentially eliminate bees and reduce food crops. As would altering seeds that Monsato is doing to eliminate hierloom seeds. This may be a two prong approach to greatly reduce the human population and or control the masses. Conspiracy. Stalin used food to rule the masses, Marx wrote about it as well. Any Government that sprays then hides Agent Orange deaths, any Government that gave save passage to Nazi Scientist to experiment with drugs on US citizens, (MK Ultra), any government that exposed its own people to Atomic fall out can’t be trusted when it comes to food and safe food production. Obvioulsy, the pesticides have to get a government approval or a licensed trade mark…….

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