« "You want a physicist to speak at your funeral." | Main | The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Fifty Shades of Grey »

Bayer's pesticides are driving bees to extinction

And without bees we have no fruits or vegetables.

3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide | Mother Jones


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.

And it's not just corn. In addition to the vast corn crop mentioned above, Bayer's neonics have worked their way into substantial portions of the soy, wheat, cotton, sorghum, and peanut seed markets. In 2010, according to research by the Pesticide Action Network of North America, at least 142 million total acres were planted in neonic-treated seeds—a trend that will continue if not increase in the 2012 growing season. That represents a landmass equal to the footprints of California and Washington State.

But even that's not all. As I showed in this January post, Bayer's neonics are also common in home-garden and landscaping products.

The ubiquitous pesticides appear to affect bees in two ways: in big lethal doses that occur at the time of seed planting, when neonic-infused dust wafts around in growing areas; and in tiny doses that happen when bees bring neonic-infused pollen into hives, which don't kill them immediately but appears to damage their immune systems and homing abilities.