Responding to an earlier editorial in the Californian daily “Sacramento Bee” on the causes of bee deaths, biologist and researcher Randy Oliver publishes his own findings on the well-being of bees and the impact of neonicotinoids.
After studying “every scientific paper on neonics in full, down to the supplementary material”, after vising beekeepers worldwide, and going over lab analyses and pesticide use reports, his conclusion is that calls for banning neonics are based purely upon speculation, not good science. “Neonics are not as persistent as DDT, nor is there any compelling evidence that they are any more harmful than other insecticides currently in use.” In addition, he argues that the focus on neonics distracts us from more serious environmental issues.
The real problem for the wellbeing of bees, he says, lies in the shift from small farms to large growers, as this trend has resulted in a loss of natural vegetation that can support wildlife and pollinators. So, if we really want to help bees, he adds, we must ensure the conservation of nature reserves, promote environmentally-friendly land management, and put livestock back on pastureland. He concludes by saying: “There are many win-win solutions for farmers, consumers and the environment. But […] demanding the banning of a single insecticide on questionable evidence is not one of them.”
For more information on Randy Oliver, go to his website at scientificbeekeeping.com.
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