Thousands of scientific sleuths have been on this case for the last 15 years trying to determine why our honey bees are disappearing in such alarming numbers. 'This is the biggest general threat to our food supply,' according to Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bee and pollination program.
Until recently, the evidence was inconclusive on the cause of the mysterious 'colony collapse disorder' (CCD) that threatens the future of beekeeping worldwide. But three new studies point an accusing finger at a culprit that many have suspected all along, a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. [...]
Honey bees have been likened to the canaries in the coal mine. Their vanishing is nature’s way of telling us that conditions have deteriorated in the world around us. Bees won’t survive for long if we don’t change our commercial breeding practices and remove deadly toxins from their environment. A massive pollinator die-off would imperil world food supplies and devastate ecosystems that depend on them. The loss of these creatures might rival climate change in its impact on life on earth."
— Richard Schiffman, Reuters
"In the past months, three separate studies—two of them just out in the prestigious journal Science—have added to a substantial body of literature linking widespread use of neonicotinoids to CCD. The latest research will renew pressure on the EPA to reconsider its registration of Bayer's products. The EPA green-lighted Bayer's products based largely on a study funded by the chemical giant itself—which was later discredited by the EPA's own scientists, as this leaked memo shows.
When seeds are treated with neonics, the pesticides get absorbed by the plant's vascular system and then ;expressed' in the pollen and nectar, where they attack the nervous systems of insects. Bayer targeted its treatments at the most prolific US crop—corn—and since the late 1990s, corn farmers have been blanketing millions of acres of farmland with neonic-treated seeds."
— Tom Philpott, Mother Jones
"A new kind of genetically modified crop under the brand name of 'Enlist' ― known by its critics as 'Agent Orange corn' ― has opponents pushing U.S. regulators to scrutinize the product more closely and reject an application by Dow AgroSciences to roll out its herbicide-resistant seeds. The corn has been genetically engineered to be immune to 2,4-D, an ingredient used in Agent Orange that some say could pose a serious threat to the environment and to human health. Approval by the United States Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency would allow farmers to spray it far and wide without damaging their crops, boosting profits for the agribusiness giant."
― Lucia Graves, Huffington Post