Bees’ the House Ag Committee ignoring the pesticide factor in colony collapse?


This Tuesday, a subcommittee of the House Agriculture met to discuss the current state of pollinators. The catalyst for the meeting was the real and present threat of colony collapse disorder (CCD), a phenomenon with cause unknown that is drastically affecting our bee population. In an effort to solve the issue, the House Ag Committee report concludes:

The global picture identifies the honey bee parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, as the major factor in colony loss. Regions that have established mite populations have suffered consistently higher colony losses than those without... A general consensus is emerging that this mite, in association with a range of honey bee viruses, is a significant factor in the losses of managed honey bee colonies seen globally.”

Problem solved? Some would say far from it. It seems, according to Michelle Simon, Friends of the Earth (FOE), Bee Action and a number of other organizations centered around saving pollinators, that the House subcommittee is skirting another major issue: neonicotinoids. Currently banned in Europe (and showing little sign of being banned here) this family of pesticides has been shown to harm bees’ immune system and is another prime suspect for CCD. Why, then, might the House subcommittee not even mention it? Read point #7 of Michelle Simon’s FOE Blog - there are some powerful pesticide producers who have it in their best interest to flex their power to make sure that their products stay on the market. And pressuring regulators is just one of their tactics. In her full report, Simon writes:

As this report documents, Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto are using a “kitchen sink” approach to divert attention from the problem of neonic pesticides while creating an elaborate appearance of being “out in front” and taking a lead role in “saving bees.” Accompanying these tactics are relentless lobbying and new litigation based on similar messages of diversion and denial. Their goals: manufacture doubt about their products’ contribution to the bee crisis and delay action, or defeat bans or limits on neonic pesticides, in order to allow them to continue profiting from these products as long as possible.”

Learn more about colony collapse, neonicotinoids and how giant Ag/Chem companies are using their might to confuse the public. If you are as fired up as we are about this, then head over to our Get Involved! section to see what you can do.


Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson


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