A trio of recent studies faults a common family of corn pesticides for disorienting honeybees, potentially leading to colony collapse disorder. The German chemical company Bayer, which manufactures the pesticides, disagrees.
Since 2006, something awfully strange has been happening to North America's commercial beehives. Beekeepers are finding that many of the boxed hives ranged throughout their apiaries have been inexplicably abandoned by worker bees. These ghost-hives typically have ample stores of honey and pollen, and hold gestating colony broods, sometimes even a lone queen.
This phenomenon is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and two papers published recently in the journal Science say that it is correlated with the presence of a ubiquitous class of insecticide called neonicotinoids. A newer study published in the Bulletin of Insectology suggests that this insecticide is introduced into bee colonies through, strangely enough, high-fructose corn syrup.
The insecticide was developed by Bayer AG, the German chemical and pharmaceutical giant most recognized for its original brand of aspirin. Today, the $53 billion company has released a rebuttal to the suggested link between neonicotinoids and Colony Collapse Disorder.