Most of those seeds have been coated with pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics for short. And despite attempts by pesticide makers to reduce this, some of that coating is getting rubbed off the seeds and blown into the air.
Several years ago, Christian Krupke, an insect specialist at Purdue University in Indiana, became one of the first researchers to discover that rogue [neonicotinoid insectide] dust was wiping out bee colonies. At first, Art Schaafsma, an entomologist at the University of Guelph, in Canada, didn't believe it was true.
"Unfortunately — myself included — in the early days there was a lot of skepticism," Schaafsma says. He regrets that reaction now. "We do have a problem, and we've got to fix it," he tells me.
There are a lot of things that Krupke and Schaafsma disagree about when it comes to neonicotinoids. Krupke believes — while Schaafsma does not — that bees may also be harmed by exposure to smaller quantities of neonicotinoids that show up in the leaves and pollen of plants grown from coated seeds, or even in wildflowers that grow in or near fields where the crops are planted.
They do agree that the dust is a problem. They just have different ideas about how to fix it.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: 2 Scientists, 2 Different Approaches To Saving Bees From Poison Dust