[permaculture] Neonics and bees.

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Thu Feb 5 02:43:00 EST 2015

Canada farmers ad supporting use of Neonicotinoids (i.imgur.com)
Canada farmers ad supporting use of Neonicotinoids
Bee "Ex-Spurts" Dismantle Touted 'Harvard' Neonics-Colony Collapse Disorder
Study As 'Activist Science' (sorry but no cigar)
Chensheng Lu was in his element last month at a speech before a green group
at Harvard Law School. The School of Public Health professor was lecturing
on his favorite topic--his only subject these days, as it has become his
obsession: why he believes bees around the world are in crisis.
Lu is convinced, unequivocally, that a popular pesticide hailed by many
scientists as a less toxic replacement for farm chemicals proven to be far
more dangerous to humans and the environment is actually a killer in its
own right.
"We demonstrated that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible
for triggering Colony Collapse Disorder in bee hives," claimed Lu. The
future of our food system and public health, he said, hangs in the balance.
Lu is the Dr. Doom of bees. According to the nutritionist -- but not clear
to most other experts in the field -- colony collapse disorder (CCD), which
first emerged in 2006, can be directly linked to "neonics," as the now
controversial class of pesticides is often called, and also to genetically
modified crops. Phased in during the 1990s, neonics are most often used by
farmers to control unwanted crop pests. They are coated on seeds, which
then produce plants that systemically fight pests.
To many environmental activists, the pesticide does more harm than good,
and they've found their champion in Chensheng Lu. It's been a busy fall for
the professor, jetting back and forth between Boston and Washington, with
forays around the United States to talk to adoring audiences. He presents
himself as the defender of bees, and this fiery message has transformed a
once obscure academic into a global "green" rock star, feted at events like
last month's lunch talk at Harvard.
The sudden abandoning of hives by honey bees known as Colony Collapse
Disorder has emerged as one of the hottest science mysteries in recent
years. Lu has authored two extremely controversial papers on CCD: one in
2012 and a second published this past spring. He and his two beekeeper
colleagues - there were no entomologists on his tiny research team -
contend that neonicotinoids present a mortal threat to bees. Not only that,
Lu claims, neonics endanger humans as well, accelerating Parkinson's
Lu reached folk hero status among environmentalists last May when the
Harvard School of Public Health launched a promotional campaign touting his
latest, controversial research: "Study strengthens link between
neonicotinoids and collapse of honey bee colonies," the press release
claimed. Before the study was even circulated, stories in some mainstream
publications including Forbes ran the release with only a pretense of a
The story exploded on the Internet. Many environmental and tabloid
journalists painted an alarmist picture based on Lu's research: "New
Harvard Study Proves Why The Bees Are All Disappearing," "Harvard
University scientists have proved that two widely used neonicotinoids harm
honeybee colonies," and "Neonicotinoid Insecticide Impairs Winterization
Leading to Bee Colony Collapse: Harvard Study" are three of hundreds of
blog posts and articles.

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