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
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer Warehouse
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Move To Colorado Complete
January 20, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co. announces the opening of its new Agribusiness Division location in the Denver, CO, Metro Area. The new facility will host key personnel as the company shifts the base of its Agribusiness operations from California to Colorado. Read More
CropLife 100United Suppliers, McGregor Co., Five Others To Form Aligned Ag Distributors
January 20, 2015
These companies will continue to operate as independently owned and operated businesses, however, their crop protection divisions will now be formally aligned under the umbrella of Aligned Ag Distributors. Read More
CropLife 100Bozeman Named SEEDWAY Chief Operating Officer
January 16, 2015
He succeeds Donald Wertman, who will retire at the end of August 2015 after 40 years with the GROWMARK subsidiary. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis’ Craig Bair Honored For Safety Contributions To Ag Aviation
January 14, 2015
The William O. Marsh Safety Award recognizes significant achievements in safety, safety education or an outstanding operational safety program. Read More
Latest News
Seed/BiotechDow Details Enlist Trait Stacking Standards
January 30, 2015
Dow says it will allow the Enlist trait to be stacked with advanced glyphosate traits only, and will not allow stacking with the first generation of the Roundup Ready trait. Read More
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: IFCA’s Jean Payne on Illinois wat…
January 30, 2015
Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares insight from the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association conference including a chat with IFCA President Jean Read More
ManagementOABA Conference Set To Highlight Trends, Technology And…
January 29, 2015
The third annual Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) Industry Conference is set to take place February 4-5. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute President Jahn Testifies Befor…
January 28, 2015
The committee hearing, "Freight Rail Transportation: Enhancing Safety, Efficiency, and Commerce," looked at challenges facing our nation's freight rail network created by higher demand, rules and regulations and infrastructure needs. Read More
HerbicidesPurdue University Acquires Technology For Herbicide Mol…
January 28, 2015
Protea's LAESI DP-1000 Instrument System will be used in Purdue's College of Agriculture, the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, for the molecular imaging of herbicide active ingredients and other related compounds to optimize herbicide applications and improve weed management.  Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Hires New Crop Peformance Marketing Manager
January 27, 2015
As Marketing Manager for the Crop Performance division, Usman Khalid will work out of H.J. Baker’s global headquarters in Westport, CT, and will drive new initiatives for the division. Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Starts Venture Capital Subsidiary
January 26, 2015
The Andersons has established Maumee Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary designed to foster promising innovations that strategically align with the company’s core businesses. Read More
Exclusive state-of-the art Stueve Construction designed “Vista View” Elevated Control Room.
Eric Sfiligoj2015 Agricultural Market Read: Mixed
January 26, 2015
The agricultural market could look radically different this year, profit-wise, depending upon which segment you do business in. Read More
Edward Chell Biosafe
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Names Ed Chell California Territory Man…
January 26, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the recent addition of Ed Chell as California Territory Manager for the agrichemical division, supporting the crop protection, water treatment and food safety business segments. Read More
InsecticidesBayer CropScience Introduces Sivanto Insecticide
January 26, 2015
Sivanto precisely targets key damaging pests at multiple insect life stages to prevent damage to plants and help minimize the spread of diseases from insect carriers. Read More
ManagementRetail Collaboration, Communicating Agriculture’s Good …
January 23, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the recent creation of Aligned Ag Distributors, and the US Farmers and Ranchers Read More
FertilizerOSU Expert: Toledo Water Crisis A Turning Point For Ohi…
January 23, 2015
The August 2014 water crisis in Toledo, OH, impacted Ohioans’ views of Lake Erie algae problems by increasing the attribution of blame of algae growth on agriculture. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Launching TIGER XP
January 22, 2015
Tiger-Sul introduces this next generation sulphur-bentonite product with a proprietary activator – ensuring farmers have a well-balanced nutrient replacement program. Read More
Crop InputsH.J. Baker Expands China Sales Force
January 21, 2015
Global Agricultural firm H.J. Baker announced that sales veteran Shi Dongshen has joined their Shanghai office in China. This newest hire follows the recent opening of their Lianyungang Sulphur Bentonite Plant. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Partners With Northern Partners Coop On Fertilizer …
January 21, 2015
In addition, the two companies will form a joint venture to build and operate a grain barge loading facility that will handle corn, soybeans and wheat for export through the CHS terminal at Myrtle Grove, LA. Read More
Matt Hopkins5 Bold Predictions For Ag Retail In 2015
January 21, 2015
This past year was filled with ups and downs for the nation’s top ag retailers, but what will 2015 have in store? Read More
SoftwareDeere Launches App Center
January 20, 2015
The John Deere App Center provides users the ability to search and find apps most useful to their business or operations. Read More
Crop InputsNew Syngenta Herbicide Approved In Soybeans, Sunflowers
January 20, 2015
Syngenta will sell BroadAxe XC herbicide in 2015 for use on soybeans, sunflowers and dry peas Read More