Regarding the May 23 Backyard Wildlife column “What you can do to protect bees”: Renee Elder fell prey to Bayer’s corporate greenwashing.
She reported that, according to Bayer, “bee scientists have not been able to link pesticide, when used exactly as intended, to major drops in bee populations.” It’s not surprising that the world’s second-largest agrochemical corporation denies the link between its lucrative insecticides (neonicotinoids) and the demise of honeybees.
There may be multiple factors contributing to the massive die-off of honeybees, but a substantial body of scientific literature links widespread use of Bayer’s neonicotinoids (the world’s best-selling insecticides) to loss of honeybees and pollinators, a trend that imperils food production. That’s why the European Union adopted a two-year moratorium on the use of neonicotinoids as seed coatings on flowering crops that attract bees.
Nationally, beekeepers lost over 40 percent of their hives last year. The Obama administration recently announced plans to reverse the decline of pollinators by restoring bee-friendly habitat on federal lands, but it failed to restrict neonicotinoids.
Efforts to protect honeybees without restricting neonicotinoids is like preventing lung cancer by restricting access to ashtrays instead of cigarettes.