I recently came across this opinion piece by beekeeper and independent research scientist Randy Oliver. His opinion is well founded and I enjoyed the article. He basically says not so fast on the widespread blame of the neonics as the main cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. Were it only that simple! Interestingly enough, he also says that honeybees are not on the brink of extinction, that bee colony numbers are actually on the rise, but that keeping them alive is becoming more difficult.
Here is a brief excerpt from Oliver’s article followed by a link to the original. I highly recommend this piece!
I’m also a lifelong environmentalist and organic gardener, coming of age at the time Silent Spring was published. So when bee colonies — including my own — started to die at an increased rate in the winter of 2004-5, roughly coinciding with the introduction of the neonicotinoid insecticides, the claim that they were killing off the bees resonated with me. But my scientific training called for me to actually check the facts of the situation.
The first inconvenient truth is that honey bees are not going extinct — colony numbers are actually increasing in both the U.S. and around the world. But it is tougher to keep them alive these days, even in the absence of pesticide exposure, due to novel parasites and declining forage.
Read more here
If you’re dying to know who or what the culprits really are, I’ll name two of the known worst – as stated by Oliver:
Oliver includes a link to information about pyrethoids and has posted a follow up article which focuses on the Varroa.
This article was updated at 1:35 PST