It wouldn’t surprise anyone (at least here) to find out that chemical poisoning is ultimately to blame for the strange epidemic of honeybee vanishings. That idea gets another boost today from new reports that researchers are zeroing in on the pesticide imidacloprid as the likely cause.
“Research has shown that in sublethal doses imidacloprid and other neonicotinoids can impair honeybees' memory and learning, as well as their motor activity and navigation. Recent studies have reported ``anomalous flying behavior'' in imidacloprid-treated bees, in which the workaholic insects simply fall to the grass or appear unable to fly toward the hive.”
This would explain the twilight zone of empty hives and the spooky lack of bodies, and the mite- and fungus-ravaged condition of those few bodies that are found. That’s how imidacloprid works on insects. It scrambles their homing systems and kills their appetites, which makes them susceptible to parasitic infections. It’s a match, Mr. Holmes. Not only that but it turns out that French beekeepers have even been dealing with an imidacloprid-triggered die-off for years! (I can’t for the life of me understand why it’s proving so hard for the bee people to connect all the dots here…)
Bottom line: We clever human really need to accelerate the the process that culminates in the wisdom that toxic chemicals aren’t the way to go. For anything. It’s now a matter of simple survival. Sooner rather than later, we need to implement the Precautionary Principle as a way of life and start using the gift in our big giant skulls to find and invent alternative materials and processes that get the job done without the scorched earth harm that keeps coming home to roost everytime we meddle (to paraphrase the late great Paddy Chayefsky) with the primal forces of nature.