It's springtime, and farmers throughout the Midwest and South are preparing to plant corn—and lots of it. The USDA projects this year's corn crop will cover 94 million acres, the most in 68 years. (By comparison, the state of California occupies a land mass of about 101 million acres.) Nearly all of that immense stand of corn will be planted with seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides produced by the German chemical giant Bayer.
And that may be very bad news for honey bees, which remain in a dire state of health, riddled by large annual die-offs that have become known as "colony collapse disorder" (CCD).
In the past months, three separate studies—two of them just out in the prestigious journal Science—have added to a substantial body of literature linking widespread use of neonicotinoids to CCD.