In recent months I have been researching the bee decline problem.
beesMost of you know about the bee colony collapse happening world wide, millions and millions of bees dying and no one knows why.
Theories abound, parasites, fungus, global warming, insecticides. The list goes on.
There is ongoing research to identify the problem.
As a researcher , there is a tendency to adopt a theory and support it no matter what because your reputation is at stake.
Some of the studies feel like another scare a few years back.
I remember the big scare about vaccines a few years ago,do they cause autism…
So, I read studies with a bit of skepticism.
But, There is a growing consensus among many that one specific insecticide may be the culprit: Imidacloprid.
I remember years ago the city of Seabrook sprayed for mosquitos and killed my bee hives. So it isn’t unheard of for unintended consequences to be at work.
Imidacloprid is a systemic neonictinoid pesticide. it may be one of the most used insecticides in the world. It is a great way to kill bad insects. The problem is that it could be killing some of the good ones too. It is only a partial exaggeration to quote the bee keepers by saying no bees no food. Bee pollination likely accounts for 1/3 to 1/2 of the planet’s food supplies.

On one side of the argument against imidacloprid are the researchers and activists who are staking their reputations on being right that imidacloprid is killing hives.

On the other side are the big manufacturers of the product. Literally billions of dollars are at stake for them.

To confuse and skew the issue further, the major ag universities, my alma mater included, are massively funded by the manufacturers of chemical fertilizers and insecticides. You can’t tell me that that doesn’t influence what is researched and how the results are presented.  I don’t choose to believe that any one would lie about results, but I also do not think that any ag university will be too likely to try to prove that imidacloprid is causing the massive world wide bee die off. Too much money is involved.

Much of the activist research has seemed anecdotal. But some is now sounding more scientific. I do realize that big money research grants are hard to get, and research is expensive.

My personal conclusion is that the jury is still out.

But I am concerned enough that we are phasing out all the products that we carry that have systemic insecticides as an extra ingredient, like rose food with systemic insecticide. For now we are still going to stock systemic insecticide drench. You will consciously have to use it, it won’t be promoted with every fertilizer sold.

From now on, you decide if you are convinced enough by the research one way or the other. If in doubt, I’d say don’t use it.