Bayer Bee Poison Kills Bees
The headline seems like a no brainer, but it actually took a peer reviewed scientific study from Purdue University to confirm this fact.
Really. We live in interesting times.
But let’s back up a bit. First, did you know bees are in trouble? Well, they are. I wrote about this subject last year around this time after a beekeeper got his hands on an internal EPA document. This document called into question the Bayer funded studies that the EPA used as the basis for approving Bayer’s pesticide known as Clothianidin.
There is some suspicion that Clothianidin and its fellow neonic pesticides are in part responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder, which is a serious threat to the bee population. This matters, because you probably like to eat things like fruits and vegetables.
But one recent article brings us a step closer to confirming this suspicion.
You can read the whole thing here. And I really hope that you do. And I really hope that it make you angry. Because I never, ever thought that the EPA under Barack Obama would sit back despite a mounting pile of evidence, and even concern from their own scientists, about the detrimental effect this pesticide is having on our nation’s food security.
I’ll do my best to summarize.
Apparently everyone agrees that neonics are toxic to bees. These pesticides are crazy things. They are applied to corn seed directly. As the seed grows, the pesticide is incorporated into the plants vascular system and expressed in its pollen. You know, the stuff that bees eat.
But Tom Philpott reports, “Bayer insists—and so far, the EPA concurs—that little if any neonic-laced pollen actually makes it into beehives, and that exposure to tiny amounts has no discernible effect on hive health. Bayer also claims that bees don’t forage much on corn pollen.
Except the Purdue study disproves all of that.
The good news is that virtually all of the corn seed planted in the U.S. is treated with neonics and in the 2012 growing season Bayer is expanding treatment to soybeans, cotton and wheat. Plus the EPA doesn’t look like they are going to do anything to reverse their approval of this chemical. So Bayer is likely to improve upon its one billion dollar earnings on this product from a year ago.
The bad news is that should the honeybees survive, the pollen in your honey could come from this poison pollen. Although that’s not likely either since so much honey (including illegal honey potentially laced with lead and antibiotics) comes in from overseas.
[Note: That last paragraph is mostly inflammatory hyperbole as I let off a bit of steam.]
Seriously though, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and started buying honey from our local beekeeper Lloyd Spear. His stuff is great. And given the rising prices of supermarket honey, it’s surprisingly competitive, and even cheaper than some when you purchase in volume.