Mother Jones: A study from Purdue researchers casts further suspicion on Bayer’s money-minting concoctions. To understand the new paper—published in the peer-reviewed journal Plos One—it’s important to know how seed treatments work: The pesticides are applied directly to seeds before planting, and then get absorbed by the plant’s vascular system. They are “expressed” in the pollen and nectar, where they attack the nervous systems of insects. Bayer targeted its treatments at the most prolific US crop—corn—and since 2003, corn farmers have been blanketing millions of acres of farmland with neonic-treated seeds.
No one disputes that neonics are highly toxic to bees. But Bayer insists—and so far, the EPA concurs—that little if any neonic-laced pollen actually makes it into bee hives; and that exposure to tiny amounts has no discernible effect on hive health. Bayer also claims that bees don’t forage much on corn pollen.