Jumping the Gun on CCD

Nov 29, 2008 by

I just emailed Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine and a wonderful blog on beekeeping in The Daily Green. I asked him about a book that came out this spring about Colony Collapse Disorder, titled A Spring Without Bees, by Michael Schacker. I found this book quite illuminating, especially because it pointed to a specific cause of CCD: An insecticide called Imadacloprid (IMD) produced by Bayer Industries. In the book, Schacker makes the argument that IMD is responsible for CCD, and argues that we need to remove the pesticide from our agricultural production. Now, I'm an organic fan all the way, but I also wondered how Schacker was able to be so confident about his conclusion when I hadn't really come across anyone else as confident in my research. So, this led to my email to the esteemed Mr. Flottum, and he had an interesting comment to make. He said that he felt Schacker jumped the gun, essentially, about IMD as the cause of CCD (could I get anymore acronyms here?). He felt that there was a lot of evidence supporting CCD being caused by a pathogen, not a chemical. However, Mr. Flottum went on to say that he did feel that those pesticides and chemicals were contributing to the worst of the honey bee issues they were facing, and that some recent research has pointed to IMD as one of the major honeybee threats as well. Well, I have to say that I was a little bummed to hear him downplay a definitive answer, but I think his hesitation is important. I really and truly believe that we have to change our agricultural system all together, that it's unsustainable, and that it should begin with pesticides. However, I also think it's important to fully investigate the situation before making hasty conclusions. To me, that is bad science and bad environmental management. But--more than anything, I think it just represents the fear we have that this is a huge dilemma and that we have to do something to act quickly, before we suffer a loss that might be too crippling for the honeybee industry to bear. (P.S. You can see me jump the gun in an earlier blog here. Feeling sheepish. 🙂 Link

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