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The extinction of the bees has been greatly exaggerated. I have questioned this from my own local perspective: despite a stream of ominous reports regarding colony collapse disorder (CCD), their numbers always seem robust in my neighborhood. While local is not global, fear not for the bees and the fulfillment of their important role in agriculture. The bee population in various parts of the world has been steady. There have been occasional bouts of decline (and later recovery) precipitated by various causes, and winter die-offs can magnify losses. And CCD is a real phenomenon, but it is not the end of the bees. Here is a link to Part I of a two-part series on the “bee death mystery.” Part II is here. Recently, the great bee bruhaha has been inflamed by: “…two controversial studies, both authored by the same researcher, that have become the linchpin for those who argue that bees and potentially the planet are facing a Beemageddon. It addresses:

  • Who is Chensheng Lu, the nutritionist who has become the face of the movement claiming that Big Ag is threatening bees, humans and our food supply?
  • What are neonicotinoids, the supposed time bomb at the center of the controversy?What role have journalists played in mis-reporting the bee death story.
  • Do prominent entomologists and beekeepers endorse Lu’s belief that the world faces a “bee crisis” as Lu’s research, held up by activists as seminal and groundbreaking, contends?
  • Will—or should—’neonics’ be banned as a precautionary measure?

The findings of the nutritionist-cum-bee expert Lu are hyperbolic in light of the bee population numbers, and they receive little support from entomologists. Part II demonstrates that the evidence against the supposed culprit for CCD, neonicotinoids, is rather weak:

“… Lu’s data suggests the opposite of his stated conclusion—bees appear to do fine when exposed to field realistic doses and even increasingly higher amounts of neonics, but ultimately succumb to astronomical levels.

The so-called “bee crisis” thus appears to be a fraud, and the campaign against a whole class of pesticides is without merit and a tremendous waste of resources. This is another misapplications of the precautionary principle by well-meaning advocates of naturalism (who happen to be enemies of agricultural productivity). Just wash your produce, especially if it’s composted organic!