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Neonicotinoids and the Honey Bee

Although chemical companies say that neonicotinoids are safe when properly applied internal memos suggest that further studies should be conducted to test the toxic effects they may have on honey bees.

In recent years honey bee populations have declined substantially in Europe and the United States, a detriment to agricultural communities that rely upon these pollinators. According to Bayer, it is not one thing that is killing these bees, but rather a number of factors including diseases, parasites, extreme climatic and environmental factors and also certain agricultural and apicultural practices.

However, another news source says Bayer pesticides are directly linked to the die off of bees in Germany's Baden-Wurttemberg region; the government in turn banned an entire family of pesticides.

It is said researchers found a buildup of the pesticide Clothianidin, manufactured by Bayer, in the tissues of 99 percent of dead bees in Baden-Wurttemberg state. Clothianidin, a neonicotinoid insecticide is chemically similar to nicotine and attacks the central nervous system. The German Research Center for Cultivated Plants concluded that nearly 97 percent of honey bee deaths had been caused directly by contact with this insecticide.

Bayer responded to the accusations saying, the application of the pesticide was done incorrectly. Perhaps this is what prompted Bayer CropScience, a subsidiary of Bayer to launch a new program to promote bee health. The global "Bee Care Program" will open research centers in Monheim, Germany and North Carolina, United States.

The new centers are to serve as scientific and communication platforms to consolidate existing and future bee health projects from Bayer companies in cooperation with external partners.

The "Bayer Bee Care Center" in Monheim will have a dedicated full-time team of specialists, including two experienced beekeepers. It will use state-of-the-art technology to provide a modern meeting and workshop environment, bringing together beekeepers, farmers, research institutions, educational professionals and others concerned with the health and welfare of bees. Additional activities will be progressively rolled out by the "Bayer Bee Care Program", including educational projects and bee health promotion schemes such as the planting of flowers and natural habitat which is essential for bees to thrive.

Dr. Wolfgang Plischke, member of the Bayer AG Board of Management says, "As a company with long-standing expertise in both animal health and crop protection, Bayer is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainable agricultural practices, including protection of beneficial insects such as honey bees."

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December 14, 2019, 8:39 am PDT

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