Jon Entine debunks theory linking neonic pesticides to honeybee collapse

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Bee-apisIn a masterful example of thorough scientific reporting, Jon Entine makes it clear that the recent accusations that the group of pesticides called neonicotinoids (neonics) is responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) of honeybees are baseless.

Such accusations are bound to be concerning, since honeybees are responsible for pollinating many crops both here and in Europe. But should we or entomologists (scientists who study insects), farmers, or beekeepers for that matter, really be concerned? Jon Entine says no, and tells us why not. Entine points out, for example, that in the period between 1995 (when neonics were introduced) and 2012, the overall number of beehives in the European Union actually increased. The same is true for the US and Canada. These data certainly don t support any theory of widespread CCD.

Entine points to the somewhat obsessive efforts of a Dr. Chensheng Lu of the Harvard School of Public Health in spreading the myths denigrating neonics . Dr. Lu published two reports in an obscure journal supposedly finding neonics to blame for CCD. However, entomologists interviewed by Entine don t think much of these studies, criticizing them as prime examples of junk science.

There is much more to Entine s essay such as the role of biased reporting, and the eager acceptance of these junk theories by anti-pesticide activist groups, in spreading the scare about neonics. But Entine takes it all apart, and shows how it was done. His report should be read by all who care about giving the public scientifically accurate information.