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Data: 1 in 44 kids affected by autism in U.S.
Author: LINDSEY TANNER, Associated Press

New autism numbers released Thursday suggest more U.S. children are being diagnosed with the developmental condition and at younger ages.

In an analysis of 2018 data from nearly a dozen states, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that among 8-year-olds, 1 in 44 had been diagnosed with autism. That rate compares with 1 in 54 identified with autism in 2016.

U.S. autism numbers have been on the rise for several years, but experts believe that reflects more awareness and wider availability of services to treat the condition rather than a true increase in the number of affected children.

A separate CDC report released Thursday said that children were 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism by age 4 in 2018 than in 2014.

“There is some progress being made and the earlier kids get identified, the earlier they can access services that they might need to improve their developmental outcome,’’ said CDC researcher and co-author Kelly Shaw.

Geraldine Dawson, director of Duke University’s Center for Autism and Brain Development, said the new estimate is similar to one found in research based on screening a large population of children rather than on those diagnosed. As such, she said it may be closer to reflecting the true state of autism in U.S. children than earlier estimates.

The reports are based on data from counties and other communities in 11 states — some with more urban neighborhoods, where autism rates tend to be higher. The rates are estimates and don’t necessarily reflect the entire U.S. situation, the authors said.

Autism rates varied — from 1 in 26 in California, where services are plentiful, to 1 in 60 in Missouri.

Overall, autism prevalence was similar across racial and ethnic lines, but rates were higher among Black children in two sites, Maryland and Minnesota. Until recently, U.S. data showed prevalence among white children was higher.

At a third site, Utah, rates were higher among children from lower-income families than those from wealthier families, reversing a longstanding trend, said report co-author Amanda Bakian, a University of Utah researcher who oversees the CDC’s autism surveillance in that state.

These gifts help anxious dogs
Author: LEANNE ITALIE, Associated Press

NEW YORK — A lot of that human-pet bonding during the pandemic is slowly coming to an end as more offices reopen, so what’s a lonely dog to do?

Turns out, a lot — and we don’t mean an all-day whine, a messy rug delivery or doubling down on destroying the furniture.

Here are a few gift ideas for the newly alone dog.

ROVER RECOMMENDATIONS: We asked the folks at Rover.com, a large network of pet sitters and dog walkers, what they recommend. Treat-dispensing enrichment toys were at the top of the list to ease anxiety.

The Paw5 Snuffle Mat taps into a dog’s instinct to forage and plays on its keen sense of smell. Sprinkle treats or kibble into the tufty mat, and let your pet root away. Machine washable. $39.99. Available at Rover, Amazon and elsewhere.

Outward Hound makes a variety of puzzle toys. Rover likes the Dog Hide N’ Slide to reduce boredom and curb destructive behavior. Treats are hidden in slide compartments. The plastic and wood composite toy has no removable parts and has a non-slip base. $24.99. For purchase on Rover, Amazon and a wide range of retailers.

Rover swears by the Smartpetlove Snuggle Puppy designed for anxious pets. They’re plush pups with battery-powered heartbeats to provide comfort. There’s also a non-toxic heat pack. The battery pack is removable for machine washing, and the heat packs are disposable. $39.95. On Rover, PetSmart and elsewhere.

ON ETSY: The DIY marketplace offers a wealth of pet gifts. A big seller in France, JoyDogCat, offers handmade aventurine and labradorite bead collars for dogs. Aventurine, so the seller says, helps pooches overcome feelings of abandonment and “regain calm and inner peace,” while labradorite helps them “adapt to the unexpected” and boosts confidence. They look great but are not intended to replace regular collars. They come in a range of sizes. $33 to $58, based on size.

For dogs and, OK, cats, another Etsy seller, BASZLEAustralia in Brisbane, has cozy bolster beds that surround pets in soft, inviting luxury at a bargain price. Made of cotton and fleece, these beds cost $19 to $41. They come in eight colors and five sizes.

PET CAMS THAT DO THINGS: They’re wireless in various shapes and sizes for remotely monitoring and engaging pets. Some dispense treats; others play light laser with cats via phone. There are push notifications to detect barking or motion. Some roll around like little robots, and others work in fixed positions. There’s night vision and two-way audio. Shop around. Read reviews: There’s always somebody who’s got something to say about these devices.

Chewy.com has a nice selection, but other brands are available all over the place. One is the Furbo Full HD Dog Treat Dispenser and Camera. $199. Receive real-time alerts, dog-related video recordings and highlights of your dog’s day for an additional $6.99 a month.

PET SOUNDS: Much has been made of the calming effect of music on dogs. Some swear by classical, others by reggae or soft rock. Some believe the idea is to match the beat to a dog’s own heartbeat. Others believe music and moving pictures do nothing at all, unless they’re already a safety cue. Spotify has albums and playlists dedicated to the task of calming dogs. Amazon has streaming, CD and DVD options.

A company called Pet Acoustics sells a Bluetooth speaker pre-loaded with 90 minutes of music developed by a sound behaviorist to reduce stress and calm nervous canines. $59.99. There’s a feline version for the same price. Head to Chewy.com.

THE THUNDERSHIRT: This promises gentle, constant pressure to calm anxiety, fear and over-excitement. It is lightweight and machine washable. Fit is important for effectiveness and to avoid chafing, especially when worn for long periods. Seven sizes are available. There’s a basic gray, but sportier looks are available, including a number in fuchsia. Prices range from $39.95 for extra small to $44.95 for extra large. On Amazon and widely available elsewhere.

DOG TENTS: If your four-legged gift recipient isn’t crated, perhaps a dog tent would offer comfort. From teepee style to canopied and full-on camping quality, there’s a slew to choose from. Some fold for stowing; others require real estate full time. There’s a size for any dog — and cat. Dogs may need training to get used to one. The PetnPurr Pet Teepee is a cute canine cave with a shaggy white top, matching thick shag cushion and gray walls. $59.99. Widely available. REI sells the collapsible Tiny Tent in green and blue. It has two side doors and zippered mesh windows on all four walls. $24.95. On Rei.com.

THE KONG: If you’d like to not think too hard about it, the Kong rubber toy may be the gift for you. It’s hollow and irregularly shaped for a wacky bounce. It can be filled with peanut butter, spray cheese, favorite treats, or a combination of moistened and dry kibble to last a bit longer as a distraction. There are different sizes (important) and versions for beginner chewers, senior chewers, average chewers and power chewers. They’re dishwasher safe and come in several colors. Kong classic is red and ranges from $7.99 for extra small to $24.99 for XXL. Widely available.

Jessica Seinfeld: Give vegan dishes a try
Author: MARK KENNEDY, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Jessica Seinfeld became a vegan almost by stealth. The cookbook author and philanthropist started quietly making separate meals for herself without dairy or meat.

“I just started doing it myself and experimenting with it and not talking about it and kind of seeing how I would feel,” she says. “I undeniably felt better.”

Over time, she has managed to win over her three teenage kids and her husband, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who all eat vegan these days. Now, she’s hoping to recruit even more with her new book “Vegan, at Times.”

With more than 120 recipes — from vegetable spring rolls with peanut butter dipping sauce to red curry with zucchini noodles — Seinfeld hopes the book can inspire more meatless Mondays (and maybe a few meatless Thursdays, too).

“I don’t know if I’ll ever get to be 100 percent vegan. That isn’t really my plan. My plan is to just do a really good job every single day with eating more vegetables, less meat and less dairy, and I’m succeeding,” she said.

“Vegan, at Times,” written with Sara Quessenberry, is a judgment-free book with practical recipes that avoid dairy and meat. They can be prepared from ingredients at any store and made in 30 minutes or so. Seinfeld hopes readers can ease into veganism. (There’s even a chapter titled “How Not to be an Annoying Vegan”).

“Myself and my family and lots of people that I know felt really intimidated by the aura around veganism, which is that it’s strict and it’s militant and unless you do it at 100 percent, you are not welcome,” she says.

“I have a real issue around shaming people for their food choices. I just think that food is a privilege and it’s a pleasure. And if you are able to put food on your table and make choices, you shouldn’t complain about how anybody eats.”

The book is broken up into breakfast, mealtime, snacks, dessert and sauces. It leans on such veggies as chickpeas, sweet potatoes and cauliflower, like sloppy joes that use cannellini beans and cauliflower florets. For those craving barbeque, she broils eggplant slices and puts them in hot pita pockets with homemade coleslaw.

Jen Bergstrom, senior vice president and publisher at Gallery Books, says Seinfeld has a talent for creating accessible, affordable and approachable recipes.

She says the book’s collection of plant-based options “will appeal to even the biggest carnivore. I’ve tried a number of the recipes myself, with very tasty results, including my personal favorite, sweet potato tacos with corn salsa. I look forward to readers discovering the pleasure of going vegan, whether occasionally or every day.”

The fast-casual chain Chipotle is popular in Seinfeld’s family, so the author challenged herself to recreate the taste of their dishes at home without meat. Hence her cauliflower rice and beans, which her 16-year-old son admitted he was surprised to like.

She also makes mac and cheese with a plant-based cheddar and cashew or almond milk. “You can’t go from zero to 60 with people. You have to wade in slowly. And so I make their favorites, but I make them vegan.”

“Vegan, at Times” is Seinfeld’s fifth cookbook. She’s also the president and founder of Good+ Foundation, a nonprofit that provides services, educational resources, tangible goods and support for low-income families.

She turned to veganism after her doctor recommended eating less dairy and meat. She also embraces its benefits for the planet and animals.

Seinfeld says she was stunned early in the pandemic when giant meat-processing plants would not close despite their workers becoming sick. She thought the priorities were skewed.

“I just thought, we’re so addicted to meat in this country that we can’t even keep workers safe and we can’t even shut down,” she says. “That really made an impression on me, it really bothered me, and that was when I went full-on into this concept.”

She has found inspiration in recipes from outside America, where meat and dairy aren’t the star of every dish. “How do we inch towards a healthier lifestyle overall as a country? If we look at other countries, it makes it feel more doable to me.”

Whatever she’s doing seems to have worked. Two of her three children are in college, but her teenage son and husband are stepping up. “We just committed as a family a couple of nights ago to four week nights a week going vegan,” she says.

In Our View: Unsoeld left indelible impression on Washington
Author: The Columbian

Long before she ran for office, Jolene Unsoeld created a lasting imprint on Washington politics.

Unsoeld died Sunday at the age of 89, leaving a legacy of advocacy — both as an elected official and as an active citizen. As she once explained to the Wall Street Journal, that legacy flourished when her family came to the region in 1971: “We had moved to Olympia, and there was the state Capitol, so I set out to see what was happening under that dome.”

More than seeing what was happening, Unsoeld set out to change it.

By 1972, as a founding member of the Coalition for Open Government, she was helping to lead a campaign for limits on campaign spending in the state. The landmark Public Disclosure Act passed with 72 percent of the vote and led to the creation of the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. It also reflected Unsoeld’s philosophy: “There is no substitute for an informed, participatory public. If you try to stay on the sidelines, you’re just deceiving yourself, so you have to find that inner strength to keep going.”

Unsoeld often drew on her inner strength. Her daughter, Devi, died in 1976 while mountain climbing in India. Her husband, Willi, was killed in 1979 in an avalanche on Mount Rainier. Jolene was an accomplished mountain climber herself, having been the first woman to scale the north face of Grand Teton in Wyoming.

According to HistoryLink.org, she once said: “With both of their deaths I was so immersed in the political stuff that I didn’t have much time to think about lots of things. … I also think learning to live beyond grief toughened me up for running for office.”

That outlook informed Unsoeld’s career as a state representative and then as a member of Congress, where she represented Washington’s 3rd District for three terms beginning in 1989.

In Washington, D.C., Unsoeld often focused on issues relating to the environment. She lobbied the United Nations for a ban on driftnet fishing — it was adopted in 1991 — and she supported logging restrictions to protect the northern spotted owl while advocating for sustainable forest practices. And as a Democrat, she risked alienating her base by opposing strict gun-control measures.

According to Unsoeld’s official biography on the House of Representatives website: “Her willingness to stick to her convictions, especially on the environment, eventually won the admiration of even those who opposed her.” Her autobiography is titled “What are you going to DO about it?,” with the subtitle of “Stories of a hopeless meddler.”

But it is Unsoeld’s work for government transparency that stands as her political legacy. It is work that resonates today amid questions about the fate of American democracy. As supporters of the Public Disclosure Act wrote in the Voters’ Pamphlet: “Trust and confidence in governmental institutions is at an all-time low. High on the list of causes of this citizen distrust are secrecy in government and the influence of private money on governmental decision making.”

Following passage of the act, Unsoeld published a book examining the state’s 1974 legislative campaigns titled “Who Gave? Who Got? How Much?” She followed up with a similar book after the 1976 election.

Unsoeld received the James Madison Award from the Washington Coalition for Open Government in 2008 in recognition of her efforts to advance government transparency. It is an appropriate honor for a woman who has left a remarkable impression on Washington.

Monkey jockey show sparks outcry from animal activists
Author: Susannah Bryan, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

MARGATE, Fla. —These jockeys weigh only 6 pounds, and they’re not riding horses. They’re riding dogs.

Capuchin monkeys Gilligan and Burt and their race dog partners Luna and Ace are the stars of the Banana Derby. The attraction, appearing for the first time at the Broward County Fair in Margate, Fla., has sparked an outcry from animal activists who want the show stopped.

Fans say the show is great comedy, but animal activists are not amused. They say the act is cruel and dangerous for both the dogs and the monkeys.

Owner Phil Hendricks — a former attorney who left the field in 1998 to join the circus — dismisses those claims.

“They said the monkeys are trained to hit and bite the dogs,” he told a South Florida Sun Sentinel reporter. “Total ridiculous nonsense. It’s a loud vocal minority. One person sees the show and says it’s cute, and another person sees the show and says it’s barbaric. They believe you shouldn’t eat meat or even own a pet. A lot of them have good hearts, but they’re misled.”

The monkey jockeys and their canine partners are performing two shows on weekdays and three on weekends through Dec. 5.

‘Unwilling participants’

“Both the monkeys and the dogs are unwilling participants,” said James Wildman, a spokesman for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. “It’s seen as comical, but there’s nothing comical or funny about it. There’s videos and photos of the monkeys biting and hitting the dogs. And you can see the dogs grimacing in pain.”

The derby dust-up started before the fair opened on Nov. 18.

The night before, Fort Lauderdale activist Ana Campos and primate expert Deborah “Missy” Williams urged Margate commissioners to stop the show. When their appeal failed, other animal groups joined the crusade, including PETA and the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.

“It’s a sideshow circus act,” Campos said. “The monkeys are so quick the human eye can’t see the monkey hit and bite the dog. I had to freeze the video to see it. I saw the monkey bite him twice. The dog winces in pain and looks up over his shoulder and takes off running. It’s sick.”

Now, animal activists are planning protests.

On a recent night, Hendricks opened the show with music blaring as a crowd gathered around the makeshift racetrack.

“The derby combines two of America’s favorite animals: the monkey and the dog,” he said before urging the crowd to “make some noise” to encourage the animals.

The two dogs trotted out carrying their jockeys, all dolled up in vibrant costumes. The children screamed and clapped with excitement as the dogs raced around the track.

Coconut Creek mom Rosetta Hassel laughed along with her son and his friends as Ace somehow ended up running the wrong way on the makeshift racetrack.

“The dogs seemed happy as could be,” she said. “I don’t know about the monkeys.”

Battle Ground Public Schools seeks volunteers for sexual health education committee
Author: Griffin Reilly

Battle Ground Public Schools is assembling a committee of parents, teachers and community members to provide input on proposed curricula on comprehensive sexual health education in grades 5-12.

In recent months, the middle school sexual health community advisory group has worked to review curricula in grades 5-8 until the board of directors formally requested the district at a meeting on Nov. 22 to move forward on an implementation plan.

The final curricula will be implemented in schools in fall of 2022.

The district will select six parent/community members, six teachers and one building administrator to serve on the committee. Applicants will go through a two-step selection process that includes filling out a form by Dec. 12 and participating in a follow-up interview.

Committee members are expected to be chosen by the end of December. The committee will then meet weekly in person on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. from Jan. 11 to March 29. Meetings will maintain the current COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

More information on the review and implementation of the curricula can be found on the district’s comprehensive sex education adoption plan.

Rural Clark County residents frustrated by speeding drivers
Author: Shari Phiel

BATTLE GROUND — For Ron Prentice, life is full of wonder and amazement. It’s just not the wonder and amazement he expected to find when he moved to his rural home off Allworth Road.

For example, he wonders who demolished his mailbox several times in just the last two years. He wonders if he’s going to make it safely out of his driveway each time he leaves his house. And he’s amazed there hasn’t been a fatal crash on his road.

“There are drivers going in excess of 60 to 80 mph,” Prentice said, noting there had been three fatal car accidents in the past two weeks within a 3-mile radius from his house.

Prentice said he called the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Clark County Public Works but didn’t get the answer he was hoping for. Prentice said he would like to see more officers patrolling for speeders.

“I can’t get Public Works to clean up the county road,” he said. “And the sheriff’s office said their hands are tied.”

Whether east of Battle Ground, north of Camas or south of Ridgefield, Clark County has thousands of miles of rural, two-lane roads. As the county’s population has continued to surge, traffic along these rural roads has equally grown. With narrow widths, sharp curves and the occasional steep hill, most weren’t built to accommodate the increase in drivers.

These rural roads also fall under the state’s “basic rule,” which means speed signs are not posted. The maximum allowable speed for such roads is 60 mph for state highways, 50 mph for county roads and 25 mph for city and town streets.

Despite the need for road improvements, it’s unlikely many will see significant changes any time soon.

“We do have several rural projects that are going forward that are based upon capacity and demonstrated accident problems,” said Rob Klug, engineering division manager for Public Works.

Those projects tend to include heavily traveled intersections with a demonstrated history of wrecks. They also tend to be closer to the Vancouver area.

“We’re looking at what we can do at SR 500 and 182nd Avenue to provide improved safety out there. We’re looking at what we can do for Ward Road at Davis Road — we’re proposing a roundabout out there,” Klug said.

While the more rural areas may not be eligible for big projects like a new roundabout, turn lanes or overpass, there is other work the county says it is doing to make them safer.

Klug said the county looks for smaller, low-cost improvements to enhance safety or mobility that it can get done more quickly. This work can include replacing street signs with new signs designed for better visibility, making sure chip sealing or slurry sealing work is done to keep roads drivable and cleaning out roadway ditches to prevent flooding over roadways.

“There’s actually engineering that goes into all this that people don’t become involved in. Part of the safety work we do is look at what we can do to improve the signs. We evaluate whether the signs are appropriate for the change in conditions, etc. That’s a very low-cost improvement,” Klug said.

No matter how safe the county makes the roads, it can’t make up for drivers speeding along narrow roads with blind spots and wildlife often crossing at dusk and dawn. That requires law enforcement, but Prentice said he rarely sees anyone patrolling his area.

“Given the current climate and situation, we’re not working as much traffic as we used to. Some of that is because of reduced calls, and some is because of reduced staff,” said Sgt. Brent Waddell, public information officer for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

With fewer staff available after budget cuts were made to the department in 2020, Waddell said the sheriff’s office must give priority to calls reporting criminal activity or car accidents.

“Traffic enforcement is something we do as needed, it’s just not the norm lately,” Waddell said.

However, while the sheriff’s office doesn’t currently have a long-range plan to increase patrols in the rural areas, Waddell said they will often increase patrols or put speed-detection equipment in place if they receive multiple calls about a specific road or location.

That’s the route Prentice decided to take to get help with his road. Prentice said he and several of his neighbors all made calls to the sheriff’s office to report excessive speeders. On Wednesday, he said he was told a deputy would be out next week to monitor speeds in the area.

Explore best of director Campion
Author: Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service

Jane Campion’s latest film — the sweeping, uneasy psychological Western “Power of the Dog” — has hit Netflix, an early holiday treat for cinephiles.

“Power of the Dog” cements Campion’s status as one of our finest master filmmakers, though her body of work proves that designation was never in question.

“Power of the Dog,” for which Campion won the Silver Lion prize at this year’s Venice Film Festival, is adapted from the 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as mysterious Montana rancher Phil Burbank, a mercurial figure who affects an outsize influence on the lives of his brother and sister-in-law (Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst) while forging a strange connection with his step-nephew (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Campion tells this story in glances, gesture and song, crafting a carefully studied and breathless mystery. It’s an astonishing achievement anchored by virtuosic performances from Cumberbatch and Dunst.

Wisely, Netflix also has made available to stream three more of Campion’s best films, for anyone who might want to seek out more of her work after (or before) watching “Power of the Dog.” Don’t hesitate to watch “The Piano,” for which Campion was the first female filmmaker to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993, for this stunning historical romantic drama starring Holly Hunter, Sam Neill, Harvey Keitel and Anna Paquin, set in Campion’s native New Zealand. Campion also won the Oscar for the screenplay of “The Piano,” with Hunter and Paquin winning Oscars for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

Also on Netflix is Campion’s 2003 erotic thriller “In the Cut,” starring Meg Ryan playing against type, opposite Mark Ruffalo as a detective investigating a brutal murder.

For something gentler, Campion’s 2009 film “Bright Star,” starring Ben Whishaw as poet John Keats and Abbie Cornish as his lover Fanny Brawne, is a gorgeous swoon of pure cinema.

If you’d like to go back all the way to the beginning of Campion’s remarkable career, her directorial debut — the 1989 film “Sweetie,” about a dysfunctional Australian family — is streaming on HBO Max.

New on DVD: Eastwood saddles up for ‘Cry Macho’
Author: Tribune News Service

The latest outing from Clint Eastwood tops the DVD releases for the week of Dec. 7.

“Cry Macho”: Eastwood, going strong at 91, directs and stars in this 1970s-set film about a former rodeo star and horse breeder who accepts a job to bring a man’s son back from Mexico and away from his alcoholic mother.

“It’s far too much to claim that ‘Cry Macho’ belongs anywhere near work from Eastwood’s greatest streaks,” writes Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips in his review. However, the film “has a few grace notes to remember, in addition to a fine gallery of images of Eastwood in silhouette, at dusk, against a big sky, alone with his thoughts.”

Also new on DVD

“Dear Evan Hansen”: Movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical about a high school student with anxiety who becomes caught up in a lie about a classmate’s suicide, with Ben Platt reprising the lead role.

“Ron’s Gone Wrong”: Animated family feature about an awkward middle school student who new walking, talking digital device.

“The Girl Who Believes in Miracles”: Moved by a pastor’s words about faith, a young girl begins to pray and people in her town are soon mysteriously healed, but with her miraculous gift comes unwanted fame.

“Werewolves Within”: Live-action film adaptation of the video game about a small town attacked by werewolves.

“13 Minutes”: Four families living in the heartland must work together to survive when a tornado hits their town. Starring Amy Smart, Thora Birch and Peter Facinelli.

“Broadcast Signal Intrusion”: A video archivist discovers a pirate broadcast that sends him down a dark rabbit hole of conspiracy.

“Call the Midwife: Season Ten”: Airing on PBS, the British drama follows a group of midwives in East London in the 1960s.

“Creepshow: The Complete Second Season”: The Shudder anthology series returns in this continuation of the Creepshow movies.

“God’s Not Dead: We the People”: A reverend takes up the cause of families home-schooling their children after an inspection by a local government official.

“Last Shoot Out”: Western about a woman who flees after realizing her new husband was actually the one responsible for her father’s death.

“One Night in Miami …”: Regina King makes her directorial debut in this Amazon Prime film that imagines the meeting of Cassius Clay (soon to be Muhammad Ali), Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown the night of a title fight in Miami.

“One Shot”: A team of Navy SEALs on a secret mission to transport a prisoner from a CIA black site become trapped on an island prison when insurgents attack trying to free the prisoner.

“Rick and Morty: The Complete Fifth Season”: The Adult Swim animated comedy continues the adventures of mad scientist Rick and his grandson, Morty.

“Beavis and Butt-Head Do America”: Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the feature film starring the crass MTV duo is available on Blu-ray for the first time.

Pesticides can affect generations of bees
Author: Hanh Truong, The Sacramento Bee

A recently released study by researchers at the University of California Davis revealed that pesticides can have lasting effects on bee health, reducing their reproduction rate.

According to the findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, multiple generations of bees may be needed to recover from one pesticide application.

Here’s a rundown of the study.

  • WHAT ARE THE STUDY’S CONCLUSIONS? It was conducted by exposing blue orchard bees to imidacloprid, a common insect-control chemical, with the label’s recommended amount. The bees were given one application for two years, which is a standard level of exposure, according to the UC Davis article.

“Repeated exposure across two years had an additive negative effect on individual reproduction, which led to a really dramatic reduction in population growth,” said Clara Stuligross, the study’s lead author.

Researchers concluded that bees that came into contact with insecticides as larvae and, as adults, produced 44 percent fewer offspring. And bees that were exposed to the chemical two years straight had a 72 percent reduced population growth rate, compared to bees that did not have any level of exposure.

  • THE STUDY LOOKED AT ONLY ONE PESTICIDE. The research was based on the use of imidacloprid, an insecticide that mimics nicotine, which is toxic to insects.

Stuligross, a UC Davis Ph.D candidate in ecology, said that because there is a large variety of insecticides on the market, you can’t extrapolate the study’s results. But she thinks the effects of imidacloprid on bees will be reflective across similar types of pesticides.

“It also helps us understand, generally, the effects of multiple exposures to pesticides,” she said.

  • THE IMPORTANCE OF BEES: According to the Planet Bee Foundation, an environmental education nonprofit based in San Francisco, bees are the most efficient pollinators in the world. These buzzing insects help plants survive, which, in turn, provides for our food supply, wildlife and environment.

“They’re really important for our ecosystem,” Stuligross said. “And so understanding how this pesticide exposure affects bees over time is important for understanding how to actually support them and how to continue supporting our healthy and sustainable food systems.”

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