What’s really killing bees?

May 16, 2014

From: Bloomberg News (via HeraldOnline)

By Lisa Beyer

For activists eager to blame pesticides for the declining health of bees, researcher Chensheng Lu has offered what looks like valuable ammunition and the credibility provided by his affiliation with Harvard’s School of Public Health. Lu and his associates have just published a second study implicating a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids. What Lu’s research actually does, however, is distract attention from the need to limit more of the real causes of bee deaths.

To test that hypothesis, Lu has twice conducted studies in which he and his co-researchers have fed bees neonicotinoid-laced syrup. Yet in both trials, they used dosages far in excess of anything bees would encounter in agricultural fields.


What’s more, the focus on neonics draws attention away from more plausible causes of bee deaths. First is the Varroa mite, which spreads lethal infections and has developed resistance to miticides. More research is needed on strategies to defeat this parasite.

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