A buzz about honeybees

There are growing concerns that a global problem known as colony collapse disorder, which is ravaging honeybee populations could be due partly to pesticide use. Various factors including climate change, ecosystem loss, viruses and fungi have been blamed for CCD over the last decade or so. But, environmental activists are pointing increasingly to neonicitinoid pesticides as causing changes in bee behavior leading to problems in the hive where larvae fail to thrive and a colony dies out. The debate is muddied by the fact that CCD has existed ever since humans have used honeybees if not before, while studies before these pesticides were widely used hinted at a pathogen carried by a bee mite being to blame. Leaked EPA documents and claims of conflicts of interest among researchers funded by the manufacturer Bayer have also made it difficult to extract the scientific facts from the politics.