For years now, various pesticides have been largely to blame for the massive loss in honey bees. Study after study has been done pointing the impact neonics have had on the honey bee population. With a recent study coming from Penn State now saying these insecticides are stronger than ever, the pesticide industry has decided to push back on the fact its poison is the reason so many beekeepers are seeing such massive losses in honey bee populations.
Going back to 2009, studies were completed showing that even minimal doses of these neonics were harmful to pollinators. This was specifically conducted to see how harmful many of the seeds that are pre-coated with these insecticides can be damaging to honey bees even if the farmers are not actually spraying their crops with this poison. In 2018, many of these insecticides had been banned in the UK and use was either restricted or banned here in the United States as well.
Recently, the EPA lifted some of the restrictions on insecticides that have been proven to be harmful to pollinators, causing outrage among activists while drawing the applause of the pesticide industry. The industry, however, is also taking other measures to counter the claims of these studies as well as how bee enthusiasts are portraying the industry. The Intercept just published a rather explosive report detailing the strategy of the pesticide industry to undermine all of these studies.
The report stated, “Lobbying documents and emails obtained by The Intercept show a vast strategy by the pesticide industry to influence academics, beekeepers, and regulators, and to divert attention away from the potential harm caused by pesticides. As a result, the global neonic industry generated $4.42 billion in revenue in 2018. In the meantime, the effects are being seen in massive die-offs. Certain insect species are nearing extinction.”
While the rest of the world sees declining honey bee populations, the pesticide industry is trying to claim honey bee populations are actually increasing in recent years. It sure would be nice to hear them explain the national average of about 40 percent losses this past winter with some states and other countries reporting 60-90 percent losses.
Now, it would be foolish to say pesticides are the ONLY contributing factor, but there is no doubting the fact they are playing a significant part. If we did not have to worry about the loss of life due to the pesticides, even these troubling years may have been limited to only 20 percent or so loss instead of the 40 and higher we are still seeing in the industry.
To read the full report on The Intercept, click here.