Bayer Says Bee Study Is “Seriously Flawed”

Bayer CropScience has reviewed the study for publication in the June issue of the Bulletin of Insectology regarding imidacloprid’s supposed impact on honey bee colony health. According to the company, the study is factually inaccurate and is seriously flawed, both in its methodology and conclusions.

Although the study claims to have established a link between imidacloprid and bee colony collapse, the symptoms observed in the study bees are not consistent with, or even remotely similar to, those of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). As such, the authors’ claims that their study explains the causes of CCD are incorrect.

Additionally, the authors assume erroneously that the majority of corn grown in the United States has been treated with imidacloprid. In actuality, over the past 8 years, the annual percentage of total corn acres in the U.S. treated with imidacloprid has been less than half a percent. Thus, the suggestion that imidacloprid is affecting honey bee health via residue found on corn or through corn products is also grossly inaccurate. 

The study’s additional flaws include the following:

  • The imidacloprid concentrations selected for testing were NOT based on measured residues in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), but on a series of implausible and unsubstantiated assumptions.
  • The study bees were fed HFCS spiked with different levels of imidacloprid that were far above real-world exposure levels.
  • In separate research, analysis from actual field grown corn samples, have shown no detectable imidacloprid residues in HFCS.
  • The study lacked replication of test colonies within apiaries and the total number of colonies per treatment group were too few to allow a meaningful statistical analysis of colony survival. 
  • The authors ignored the scientific consensus that bee health is impaired by multiple factors, including inadequate diet, pests and parasites such as the varroa mite, microbial diseases, mismanaged colonies, and loss of genetic diversity.

Imidacloprid and neonicotinoid insecticides, generally, remain safe and effective management tools to control a wide range of destructive insect pests. Throughout the many years that imidacloprid has been commercially available and used, there has been no credible scientific evidence demonstrating a link between this active ingredient – or other neonicotinoids – and increases in honey bee colony losses and declining honey bee colony health. This latest study is no exception.

All new bee research involving bee health is welcome and great care should be taken to avoid sweeping, unsupportable conclusions based on artificial and unrealistic study parameters that are wildly inconsistent with actual field conditions and insecticide use.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

10 comments on “Bayer Says Bee Study Is “Seriously Flawed”

  1. Bayer should have to prove that their products does not harm the environment (i.e. bees) and not the other way around where regulators have to prove that it does.

  2. Bayer Says Bee Study Is "Seriously Flawed" HA HA Of course they do. Those of us who keep bees live with that result every day. Most EU countries have banned neonicotinoids. AW Bayer profits are in danger. I guess they think we're stupid here. I'm personally tired of hearing about all the cancer here in grain farming country–I have unexplained breast cancer. I'm tired of running inside my home to close the windows on a sunny day because the farmers are spraying. Why are we allowing this crap to be sprayed on crops, enter our food supply, kill our precious bees, destroy our bodies? Enough is enough.

  3. I have worked in the Landscape and Parks Industry for over 30 years. I believe nicotine based insecticides were restricted and then banned in the United States at least during the 60's and 70's (maybe longer?) because it was known that nicotine in all it's forms is lethal to bees. Has there been political influence which has reversed the restrictions and been the cause of the several major catastrophic declines in the bee population since the late '80s??

  4. [sbul]: That's an inversion of the presumption of innocence. [rcj112]: They highlighted the claims which they believe didn't comport with reality, why not address that directly? Its not like they dismissed it out of hand, they indicated the *major* flaws of the study (and they are major). If this stuff is so harmful, why didn't the investigators harvest corn which had been treated with the pesticide and use the HFCS directly from that to show it?

  5. Bayer-Monsanto's biggest threat to it's seed/crop monopoly ambitions is the bee. It is not neglect or bad science, it is intentional.

  6. We spend so much time and energy trying to protect ourselves from foreign threats while letting big agribusiness poison us from within at a hefty profit. This country is not "of the people, by the people, for the people" it's completely owned by large corporations, and that will only get worse thanks to Alito and his far right pals on the supreme court.

  7. Seeing as this article was written by someone who stands to lose a great deal should they decide to regulate the use of neonicotinoids, it's about as useful as a poopy flavored lollypop. Why not just write a pro-insecticide article instead? I'm sure you can get all the kids to buy your DDT laced crops. Nice try, Bayer-Monsanto.

Insecticides Stories

InsecticidesHow To Scout For Corn Earworms In Corn
July 28, 2014
In her weekly report, University of Missouri Agronomy Specialist Jill Scheidt discusses what to look for when scouting for corn earworm. Read More
InsecticidesEPA Grants Besiege Insecticide Additional Approvals
June 18, 2014
EPA has granted additional registration approvals for the use of Syngenta's Besiege insecticide on sorghum, cereal grains and peanuts. Read More
InsecticidesPrevathon Insect Control Approved For Cereal Crops
January 13, 2014
DuPont's Prevathon insect control powered by Rynaxypyr has received U.S. EPA registration for use on cereal crops, including wheat, most other small grains and sorghum. Read More
InsecticidesInsecticides 2014: Insect Pressure, Solutions On The Rise
January 2, 2014
Bt resistance, weather concerns and myriad other issues have led to an increase in both traditional pest pressures as well as new pests. Read More

Trending Articles

CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More

Latest News

NIMITZ Treated vs Untreated pepper plant
InsecticidesNIMITZ Nematicide Approved By EPA
September 12, 2014
NIMITZ is a novel, non-fumigant nematicide with simplified application features, user safety and an active ingredient with a unique mode of action. Read More
InsecticidesMarrone Bio Innovations Receives Patent For Chromobacte…
September 11, 2014
The patent is the first step for MBI in developing a commercially viable product to inhibit infestations of corn rootworm larvae across America and other regions. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences: Keeping The Pipeline Stocked
September 11, 2014
Dow AgroSciences is embracing product diversity to drive the company’s future. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Is Official Partner Of New St. Paul Ballpark
September 10, 2014
The new ballpark in St. Paul, MN, officially became CHS Field with Twin Cities-based CHS Inc. revealed as the naming rights partner. Read More
EquipmentHagie Honors Farming Stewardship Leaders
September 10, 2014
The Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award recognizes Iowa farmers as environmental leaders that are committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. Read More
Precision AgPlantBeat: Your Plants’ Pulse In The Palm Of Your Han…
September 10, 2014
A new agronomic monitoring and recommendation service from Phytech could rewrite the book on real-time plant health status monitoring. Read More
StewardshipCCAs Making Headway With 4R Program In Lake Erie Wester…
September 9, 2014
Certified Crop Advisers are implementing the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification program in Lake Erie's Western Basin to improve water quality. Read More
MicronutrientsMicronutrients Going Macro
September 9, 2014
Between 2014’s fantastic growing conditions and a heightened awareness on plant nutrition, the major players in micronutrients are gearing up for another big year. Read More
Crop InputsFMC Announces Cheminova Takeover
September 8, 2014
FMC Corporation today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cheminova, a wholly owned subsidiary of Auriga Industries. Read More
HerbicidesValent’s Fierce XLT Herbicide Receives EPA Approv…
September 8, 2014
Valent U.S.A. Corp. announced today that Fierce XLT Soybean Herbicide is now federally registered for preemergence weed control in soybeans Read More
Eric SfiligojIndustry Consolidation Set To Increase Going Forward
September 8, 2014
As the agricultural marketplace moves into fall, one observer predicts the pace of consolidation will grow at all levels. Read More
LegislationCropLife America Leaders Address Regulatory Landscape, …
September 8, 2014
As CropLife America enters its 81st year, the organization’s leaders have seen another period of rapid and visible policy and public issue activity. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
Precision AgPrecision Agriculture: Finding The Payback
September 6, 2014
Profitability in precision ag is not about any one technology, but the result of employing technology in a total system approach that is agronomically sound. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires North Dakota Retailer
September 5, 2014
Wilbur-Ellis Co. has acquired the assets of Poynter’s Ag Supply, a retail facility and Wilbur-Ellis alliance partner located in Sawyer, ND. Read More
Crop InputsAg Leader Chris Novak To Become NCGA CEO
September 5, 2014
Industry veteran Chris Novak will take the place of 14-year veteran Rick Tolman, who earlier this year announced his intention to retire from the organization. Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakot…
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
Crop InputsBayer CropScience Plans Further Growth In U.S., Opens N…
September 5, 2014
After the official inauguration of Bayer CropScience's new integrated R&D site in West Sacramento, CA, the company aims to grow faster than the U.S. market. Read More