Missing bees

Paul Monaghan, Manchester, UK, The Co-operative

In their article "The truth about the disappearing honeybees" Marcelo Aizen and Lawrence Harder make withering mention of the film Vanishing of the Bees , and go on to assert that there is no pollination crisis (24 October, p 26). Yet no one has so far been able to demonstrate with any confidence what is behind the decline in honeybee numbers in Europe and North America.

One crucial reason for this is that there seems to be an aversion in certain quarters to asking uncomfortable questions. The US and UK governments have yet to commit to a review of the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on honeybees, let alone fund one, despite studies from Italy and France that show these chemicals have a damaging effect.

These are among the factors that have led the Co-operative to back the distribution of the film and petition the UK government to step up research in this area. We feel the situation is so serious that we are funding our own research in the UK and are temporarily prohibiting use of the chemicals by food suppliers.

Source: New Scientist, December 12, 2009, Letters; Pg. 29