Are Neonicotinoids Too Big To Ban?

Sponsored by Eden Organics

Neonicotinoids: A Billion Dollar Industry!

There has been a huge debate over the impact of Neonicotinoids, which are a class of systemic pesticides with a common mode of action that affects the central nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and death. Neonicotinoids are often applied as seed treatments. This basically means that the seeds are coated before planting occurs. Neonicotinoids also generate billions of dollars for the agro-chemical companies that manufacture these chemicals and are available not only for agricultural applications but also can be found in a myriad of garden products available all over the world.

boycott bayer

Photo: Graham White, Friends of the Bees. All these bees and invertebrates are killed by systemic neonicotinoid garden pesticides.

In a new Avaaz petition, pollinator advocates demand that AMAZON  stops selling Bayer’s Bee-Killing Garden pesticides.

Too Big To Ban?

As the peer-reviewed, independent scientific evidence mounts from reputable scientists around the world that neonicotinoids are the cause of global honeybee decline, the industry still claims that they are not to blame. The industry also argues that without these systemic pesticides, agriculture will suffer, resulting in crop failure.  Similar to the big banking conglomerates and other industries that are “too big to fail”, are neonicotinoids the next to join this lineup?

honeybee decline caused by neonicotinoids

photo credit: USDA

During this interview, Walter Haefeker, President of the Professional European Beekeeper’s Association, stated, “I think there is a big parallel, this agricultural disaster, that they are producing, is very similar to the banking crisis. Where we all know what mistakes were made but nothing is being done about it and the argument is, they are too big to fail and their executives are too important to prosecute. So in the case of neonics, the situation is that the industry is claiming our products are ‘too big to ban’.

This is certainly unacceptable to the beekeeping community and should also be unacceptable to anybody caring about pollinators, songbirds and a healthy environment, in general. You have to also keep in mind that their compilation of the all of the negative economic effects of the ban basically assumes that there is no other way to do agriculture but there is plenty of evidence that smart farmers can work without these products.

corn field

(Photo credit: USDA)

In Italy, before they instituted their neonicotinoid ban, they commissioned a study and they not only looked into the impacts that they found on the honeybees but also part of the study was to try to grow corn (which was the main crop that was causing problems there) so they tried to grow corn without neonicotinoids and they did a side by side comparison. The loss in yield was basically non-existent. The corn production in Italy, after they did their local ban, actually increased! So, some of this is just scare tactics.

Certainly farmers for certain crops would have to learn a few new tricks or do some crop rotation. We might have a little more diversity in agriculture afterwards but there are plenty of good reasons to do that anyway.

One of the arguments is that these products are essential, for the current farming economy. Farmers have to have these products available. There are certain crops where no other approved insecticide is available therefore they are assuming that if you take these insecticides away, farmers will suffer severe economic losses.”


“Sustainable Intensification”- The New Industry Buzz Word!

Sustainable agriculture has existed for hundreds of years without chemicals.

County agent and a farmer examine seed corn. The farmer placed the corn seed on his porch to dry in Payette County, Iowa in September 1936. Photo courtesy National Archives and Records Administration.

When I asked Walter Haefeker to explain what the industry’s new buzz word “sustainable intensification” all about, here was his response:

“I first learned about this at an event (Syngenta sponsored event) in Brussels. Right now, they (industry) are trying to convince politicians around the world that the world population is exploding. We are going to have to feed 9 or 10 billion people in a few decades.  The way to do that is to use the available resources, land and water, even more intensively. Since everybody already understands that we’re probably already going too far with this intensification, they have found a new buzz word for what they want to do and this is called ‘sustainable intensification.’

When I first hear it, it reminded me of “clean coal”. It is essentially an oxy-moron. It is also not what a major UN effort a few years ago came up with when they were asked to come up with way to feed the growing world population. There is a world agricultural report that came to very different conclusions than what the industry is pushing right now. “


Listen To The Interview:

Walter Haefeker next to at the honeybee.

Walter Haefeker (left) & Dr. David Mifsud (right) at an ancient apiary in Malta.

In this special series called “The Neonicotinoid View”, hosts June Stoyer and guest co-host, Tom Theobald will be joined by the President of the Professional Beekeeper’s Association, Walter Haefeker to discuss “The Value of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment in the European Union”.  Please listen to the interview below. You can also subscribe to our feed directly by clicking here or on iTunes by clicking here.

24 thoughts on “Are Neonicotinoids Too Big To Ban?

  1. Great information! I had heard about the bee losses but wasn’t sure what was the cause. It makes perfect sense, especially when you look at things like Agent Orange, etc.

  2. I saw the Vanishing of the Bees and first learned about Tom Theobald. It is a shame that the EPA is remaining silent, especially when they are the people who are supposed to protect us. Time for a change!

  3. Albert Einstein predicted this. It is a shame that the government has its head up the corporations arses!

  4. Conventional agriculture is to blame. Organic agriculture has been proven time and time again to produce higher yields and improves soil health. The propaganda has got to stop about the need for man made crops and man made organisms. Walter was spot on about their lines of crap. People need to realize that man is not a god but merely created by one!

  5. The chemical companies are like one huge fraternity and they are having a party at our expense. Time to end their charter and kick them the hell off campus!

    • Let’s haze them instead! See how they like tons of this crap sprayed all over where their food grows. Oh! Wait a minute! They ARE spraying the food they eat.


  6. According to Randy Oliver, neonicotinoids are the last thing you need to be concerned about. In fact, out of all of the pesticides, they are the least harmful to pollinators.

    “That is exactly why the EPA favors neonics, since they kill so fewer birds than previous classes of insecticides!”

      • Oliver is a private political gadfly out of the Central Valley in CA, who represents himself as an apiary “authority” (among other things), and has been very “vocal” in insisting that the world-wide mass bee die-offs are actually attributable to Varroa and other pests. Basically he and a couple of other “experts” are being paid by Monsanto and Agri-business to do field trials and research that creates “doubt” re: the evidence against neonics, not unike the campaigns of “orchestrated uncertainty” that tobacco & petrochemical corps. and global warming deniers have already perfected. BTW, “the Fox” (Monsanto) also recently acquired the “chicken coop” (Beelogics, one of the worlds leading apiary research firms).

  7. If the EPA hasn’t done anything by now, do you really think they are going to do anything after all of this? Let’s face it. It is time to get rid of worthless agencies like the EPA.

    Get me a job where I can sit on my butt all day and ignore my duties!

  8. What will the farmers do when their crops are gone due to pests that wipe them out? Sometimes these chemicals are needed. What then, Walter?

  9. Excellent interview! Keep them coming, June and Tom! Glad someone is doing something to shed spotlight on the scientists and the bastards killing us!

  10. Italy’s corn is of great value to my people. There have been some dishonorable people who wanted to contaminate the pure crops and our government will not tolerate it. There is no need to keep dumping chemicals in order to grow food. It is out of control!

  11. Having money doesn’t give anyone the right to destroy the environment that’s what these neonicotinoids are doing and need to be banned. Hitler thought he was to big to fail also but went down hard!

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