Bee Study Sponsor Went Unmentioned in NYT Article

You know that New York Times story that implicated a ‘tag team’ of virus and fungus in the collapse of American bee colonies? And how it implicitly exonerated pesticides, which are among the prime suspects in the bee plague?

CNN reports that it turns out the author of the study on which the NYT depended is funded by Bayer and may have ulterior reasons for downplaying the role of pesticides, some of which were banned in Europe because it was found that they were killing off the bees. The question is why the bees suddenly became vulnerable to fungi and viruses that had long been around. And the pesticides can’t be ruled out.

The NYT reporter on being queried said that the author of the study had not ‘volunteered’ the sources of his funding.

As for bees, they are crucial to pollination and the health of many plant species.

Posted in Environment | 11 Responses | Print |

11 Responses

  1. Yet one more indication of how the NY Times is, as Gore Vidal says, a perennially bad newspaper.

  2. How this subject got onto a your blog, Juan, I do not know. However, it is near & dear to my heart. I got a bee hive in June 2009. It swarmed twice in 2010, and my bee keeper ( link to ) captured the second one, so now I have two hives. I love my bee girls. All organic. Got 12 jars of honey this year, but as Chris (bee keeper) sez: It’s not about the honey, it’s about the bees.

    Why am I not surprised that pesticide producers hide their contributions to ‘studies,’ and that corp media no longer probe such connections. The U.S. system gets more corrupt by the minute.

  3. The ommision of pesticides is intriguing. The readers desperately want to believe that people of science are ethical and not driven by profit.

    With regard to the fungus/virus combo, in reading other articles, 100% of bees included in the report had this combo.

    What’s most important to understand: Sure, we may now realize what is killing the honeybees in colony collapse. However, to know the “smoking gun” does not heal the insect. There needs to be a solution. That is either years away or not at all. We’ve known the word “cancer” for many decades…

    A parallel tract should be to find/fund native bees to help prop the honeybee industry. There are a few small voices in the world suggesting nature has gifted us with local insects that are viable. We need to find them, understand them, manage them, and use them in our local crops. is helping to educate people on this. I hope the voices are echoed.

    It shouldn’t be about the dollar, rather, it should be a societal effort to keep food on our plates. Yes, we do need money to function, but doing so ethically is paramount.

    • Unfortunately, these fungi/viral agents may arise due to the toxic background of the pesticides. Pollen, like the bee, does not obey the property line nor the ORGANIC sign at the front gate.

      Systemic poisons and toxins of all stripes must impact the bees immune systems. Just try to get funding for that study.

  4. I too wonder how this informatien ended up on this blog. It is darned fascinating and important info too. I have serious doubtz that a country that puts teenagers in adult prisons will no what to do with the informatien.

  5. Einstein famously said, if bees are gone humans have only four years to live. No bees no fruits, no fruits no plants, no plants no animals. The colony collapsed disorder is that serious.

  6. One does not find dead bees where no pesticides are being employed. At a particular park, near a certain yard, anywhere where these agents are residual one finds the carcasses of bumble and honey bees.

    Another tragic consequence of the political inertia formed by the lobby-blockade of the petro-chemical mega-complex against sane regulation and measured safety protocols.

    If money is the crack-cocaine of today’s politics, and our political centers have become the crack-houses of same, then what does that make (so many of) our politicians?

  7. That’s asinine. I’m sorry that my first comment here is a negative one (I’ve been reading for a while), but CCD is a topic I’m very interested in, and I hate seeing so much misinformation about it.

    There were 18 authors on this scientific paper, and one of them received funding for a different project one time from Bayer and now suddenly the results of this paper are worthless? That’s not how science works.

    I’ve read the actual paper, not just an op-ed about it from CNNmoney. They don’t say anything about pesticides because that’s not what they set out to study: they set out to study diseases. It’s actually very cool, and their results are strong: All of the bees they studied that were affected by CCD were infected by a specific virus-fungus combination. That’s a stronger finding than any paper on CCD has had to date.

  8. The petro-chemcial mega-complex doesn’t hide the fact that insecticides hurt insects. Unfortunately, bee-keepers often put their hives out right after the farmers spray crops. And even spray their own hives with insecticide to kill mites.

    There is very little evidence that insecticides cause CCD, however, despite plenty of research (and interest and funding) on sub-lethal effects in honey bees (I’d provide a link but there’s too many studies. Go to pubmed and search “sub lethal effects honey bees”).

    • Sorry deary, that sounds like blaming the victims. Besides, I am not at all trying to suggest that the most healthy bee populations are kept-bees. Probably bees, like any portion of the wild planet, deserve thorough-ways that do not cloister and thus endanger the populations through lack of heterogeneity (which could also be a problem-point for the populations under study).

    • Oh, yes, and you and I and the world at work knows that causation is very different from the immune-suppressant effect to which I refer.

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