Native Village Youth and Education News
November, 2009 Volume 4

Does Film Solve Honey Bee Mystery?
Condensed by Native Village

In recent years, scientists have been grappling with a biological mystery: the death of honey bees throughout the world. Now a new film proposes a culprit.

According to the film, "Vanishing of the Bees," the latest generation of pesticides is at fault.

Honey bees around the world have been mysteriously dying off for the past five years.  The filmmakers pin the rap on neonicotinoid pesticides. These compounds, which are used widely in Britain and the U.S., have been banned in France.

Many neonicotinoid compounds are made by Bayer

Many believe neonicotinoids should not affect honey bees. But filmmakers George Langworthy and Maryam Henein believe that even a low-level dose may be taking a toll.

For years bees were weakened by the nosema fungus, the varroa mite, and other viruses. Today, the film argues, that honey bees are unable to cope with the additional strain of neonicotinoid exposure.

Langworthy and Henein are not the only ones blaming neonicotinoids and Bayer. More than two years ago, both researchers and commercial beekeepers expressed similar concerns.

Bayer, a pharmaceutical giant, defended its product.

"Everybody knows this is about the varroa mite, the nosema pest and a number of fungal and viral diseases," said a Bayer representative. "The healthiest bees in the world are in Australia, where they have lots of neonicotinoids but they don't have varroa."

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