Myths and truths about bees: There is no dangerous recent decline in the global honey bee population and a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids are not fostering a global pollinator crisis.
For years, environmental activists and the media have been warning of an impending “bee-pocalypse” in which a drastic fall in the honey bee population, which they claimed was already underway, would threaten bees with extinction and – because bees pollinate much of the food we eat – the word with starvation. The number one culprit in this extinction scenario is a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, for short.
In fact, the honey bee population did face a crisis in 2006, when honey bee queens began turning up dead in hives and the hive population dove. It is a phenomenon dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder. First GMOs and then later neonics were fingered as likely drivers of the bee deaths.
First identified in the U.S. in 2006, CCD is a still-mysterious phenomenon in which bees simply abandon the hive, often in the fall. But further research showed the CCD is a periodic phenomenon that dates back hundreds of years. Research shows that CCD under other names has repeatedly occurred in Europe, North America and elsewhere.
However bee populations aren’t declining; they’re rising. According to statistics kept by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, honeybee populations in the United States, Canada and Europe have been stable or growing for the two decades neonics have been on the market.
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