Pesticide Linked to Dying Bees


A bestselling Bayer pesticide is the cause of the catastrophic die-off of honeybees across the Baden-Württemberg region, the German government concluded this autumn. In response, it banned clothianidin and related chemicals, supporting speculation that pesticides may be responsible for the current worldwide epidemic of vanishing bees.

Researchers found clothianidin build up in the tissues of 99 percent of dead bees in Baden-Württemberg state. The German Research Center for Cultivated Plants concluded that nearly 97 percent of honeybee deaths had been caused directly by contact with the insecticide. The pesticide was applied to rapeseed and sweet corn seeds along the Rhine River Valley. “Beekeepers in the region started finding piles of dead bees at the entrance of hives in early May, right around the time corn seeding takes place,” said Walter Haefeker, president of the European Professional Beekeepers Association.

Two-thirds of all bees in the state are believed to have died from exposure to th deadly chemical. In the United States, 25% of all honeybees have vanished in the last two years, and massive die-offs reported in China, Mexico, and many other countries. Albert Einstein reputedly stated that if bees disappeared, humanity would have at most four years to survive because we are dependent on them and other pollinators for the vast majority of our food.