Tale of two neonicotinoid bumble bee studies—And how science can be massaged

September 26, 2017

From: Genetic Literacy Project


The ‘other’ study

Only this time, on the very same day that Nature published Gemma Baron’s team’s study, it also published a study by Dara Stanley, also teamed with Nigel Raine. More prosaically titled, ‘Bumblebee colony development following chronic exposure to field-realistic levels of the neonicotinoid pesticide thiamethoxam under laboratory conditions,’ this study subjected different groups of mature Bombus terrestris colonies to two different neonic exposure levels—2.4 ppb and 10 ppb—or up to 27 days. The study didn’t benefit from advance press advisories—and predictably, unlike its sister study, it was not heavily promoted by Guelph and received no press attention.

Could it be because its conclusion was remarkable, but in a different way—the study identified no negative effects. “We found no impact of insecticide exposure on colony weight gain or the number and mass of sexual produced, although colonies exposed to 2.4 ppb produced larger males.”

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