Another doomsaying myth may bite the dust

3 May 2013

We have  all heard in recent weeks, if not days, about the EU directive against certain insecticides used on seeds being banned as a result of environmentalist pressure. Groups like FoE and Green Peace are cock a hoop at the moment, glorying in the smell of victory, and the annoyance of farmers. What this means is that instead of pesticides that biodegrade in the soil as the plant grows and the seed hull is discarded farmers will go back to spraying their crops as they have no choice. Food is an important part of the economy and we all need to eat. Even environmentalists eat vegetables - and presumably they would object to cabbages with holes and green wriggly things crawling around in the hearts. Mind you, rich kids fed on more exotic greens and things might not be so appreciative and environmentalists all seem to be one of a kind.

Honey bees have been suffering from colony collapse disorder, a peculiar affliction that has baffled scientists. Environmentalists, being anti pestcide of any kind immediately latched on to that as the logical reason in the usual kind of illogical way of thinking. Pesticides have been used for a long time so it must be a new kind of pesticide that was responsible - and so the lobbying began and the weak kneed politicos caved in.

At ... a few weeks, or even days, too late to persuade the EU fat cat bureaucrats otherwise, there is an interesting paper that has been published, but why too late is a different story, comes out with a different theory altogether - and one that appears to ring more realistically with the facts than the emotive environmentalist line of thinking. A team of entomologists have found a possible link between the feediong of commercial honey bees with high fructose corn syrup and the subsequent collapse of honey bee colonies. Published this month in PNAS this paper is potentially a bombshell - but it has arrived too late. The political goals of the environmentalists have been won and this paper will be ignored - and beekeepers will stop using corn syrup but environmentalists will gloat that another nasty pesticide has been put out of reach of hard pressed farmers. We live in strange times - how long will it all last?