You would think what with Monsanto’s Honeybee Advisory Council, and Bayer’s Bee Care Centers, the world’s largest pesticide-makers would be too busy caring about bees to manufacture or use the pesticides that kill them.
Not true, of course. Here’s what is true. Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto have launched a massive public relations campaign to convince consumers that, despite the science, their pesticides aren’t to blame for Colony Collapse Disorder. And it looks like the U.S. Department of Agriculture is following their lead, by trying to shift the blame for bee deaths to mites, not poisons.
According to a new Friends of the Earth report, the pesticide industry’s “distraction” campaign looks a lot like what the tobacco industry did to convince consumers that cigarettes weren’t giving them lung cancer. (Coincidentally, neonicotinoids are synthetic derivatives of nicotine, a toxin produced by the tobacco plant).
How can industry afford such a big PR campaign? By selling billions of dollars’ worth of pesticides every year. Bayer alone sold $10 billion of “Crop Protection” products (including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and seed growth) in 2012.
It’s bad enough these companies sell bee-killing pesticides, and seeds coated in bee-killing pesticides, to farmers. But they also sell them to consumers. And even if you’re a savvy consumer who wouldn’t buy Syngenta’s Maxide (fungicides and herbicides) or Bayer’s “Bayer Advanced” or “Bayer Garden” products, you may be unknowingly buying garden plants that have been treated with these companies’ neonicotinoid poisons.