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Q:
Do Biotech companies feel they are responsible for the declining bee population? Use of pesticides are very high on GMO crops as well as mono crops not being healthy for the soil and pollinators. "The danger that the decline of bees and other pollinators represents to the world’s food supply was highlighted this week when the European Commission decided to ban a class of pesticides suspected of playing a role in so-called “colony collapse disorder.” http://e360.yale.edu/feature/declining_bee_populations_pose_a_threat_to_global_agriculture/2645/
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A:Expert Answer

 Thank you for allowing me to clear up some misinformation.

 

While it’s true some commercial beekeepers have experienced problems with overwinter losses in bee colonies, the popular press has greatly exaggerated the situation by suggesting a possible “beepocalypse” or threat of extinction. Believe it or not, statistics kept by government and international bodies show honey bee populations are stable in the U.S. and Europe and dramatically rising worldwide (USDA, government of Canada and FAO).

 

As for the European Commission, it did not ban but did restrict some uses of neonicotinoid insecticides on bee-attractive crops for two years, effective Dec. 1, 2013.

 

Most scientists, including EPA and USDA experts, believe bee health is affected by a variety of stressors. These include pests and diseases; viruses carried by mites and fungus; lack of diverse habitats and poor nutrition; unusual weather conditions, errors in hive management and other beekeeping practices, lack of genetic diversity in bee populations; as well as possible pesticide exposure. Of particular concern is the presence of the Varroa mite, cited in the National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health report (USDA/EPA, May 2013) as the “single most detrimental pest of honey bees and is closely associated with overwintering colony decline.” 

 

The truth is no one individual factor has been proven to cause bee declines. 

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