As I write this, Bayer is holding its annual shareholder meeting in Cologne. I'm quite sure that the neonicotinoid pesticides produced by Bayer and their contribution to killing bees is not on the agenda. Quite the opposite, Bayer has started a full-blown PR campaign to convince the public of its supposed concern for the health of bees. Michele Simon and the environmental group Friends of the Earth just released a report entitled "Follow the Honey: 7 ways pesticide companies are spinning the bee crisis to protect profits”, detailing the tactics used by Bayer and other pesticide producers to mislead the public. Following are just a few of the tricks used by Bayer.

 

1. Bayer's Provado, containing neonicotinoids, comes with a free package of save the bees seeds. Now, how ironic is that?

Bayer Provado

 

2. Bayer completely ignores pesticides as a possible threat to bees. Instead it focuses on parasites and varroa mites, the growing decline in pollen and nectar sources and climate change as the main culprits. They of course don't mention that some studies have shown a link between neonicotinoids and the increase of certain mites. Bayer even has a sculpture of the varroa mite in its Bee Care Center in Germany. But lucky for the bees, Bayer produces products to kill these mites.

Bayer Bee Care Center Varroa Mite

Photo: Joanna Nottebrock for The New York Times

 

3. Bayer published a children's book entitled "Toby and the Bees". In the book, a happy beekeeper explains to Toby that the bees are getting sick because of mites. But this problem is easily solved with medicine (conveniently produced by Bayer).

Toby and the Bees

 

The European Union has banned the use of three pesticides belonging to the nenicotinoid family for a period of two years. Please urge the USA to do the same and don't fall ploy to big company tactics. Bees are essential for our global food crops.