Thursday, April 26, 2007

Of GM crops and honey bees: the great vanishing act

"Certainly, honeybees are declining both in areas where GM crops are widely grown, and in other areas where GM crops are released in small test plots. Is there a common thread that links both areas? Yes there is, the universal use of systemic pesticide seed dressing in GM crops and conventional crops; in particular, the widespread application of a relatively new class of systemic insecticides - the neonicotinoids - that are highly toxic to insects including bees at very low concentrations. Systemic pesticide seed dressings protect the newly sprouted seed at a vulnerable time in the plant’s development. Seed dressings include systemic insecticides and fungicides, which often act synergistically in controlling early seedling pests."

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