Bees are becoming endangered causing coverage by every type of global news source, and the fact that Monsanto does not seem phased is because of their suspicious buyout of the Israeli company, Beeologics. Monsanto became the owner of Beeologics, a company worth 113 million, in September 2011. The corporation has used, what some are calling, “Tobacco-Style Tactics” to divert public attention away from implicating large pesticide and herbicide producers as the perpetrators of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
“Follow the Honey: 7 Ways Pesticide Companies are Spinning the Bee Crisis to Protect Profits,” is a report released by the environmental organization Friends of the Earth which was published in April 2014 by Michele Simon. The report includes a detailed description of how biotech corporations, like Monsanto, have purposefully hidden the negative impact their agrichemical products have on the global bee population in order to, “ delay action, or defeat bans or limits on neonic pesticides.” The document aims to prove that these corporations choose profits over the protection of the environment which is non distinct from the destruction of the world’s food sources.
Even though Monsanto does not manufacture neonicotinoids (neonics), the report affirms that the corporation has a huge stake in the neonic market. Monsanto coats its Roundup Ready® seeds with neonics like, imidacloprid and clothianidin, produced by Bayer CropScience. Monsanto bought Beeologics and held a mock conference called the Honey Bee Health Summit to divert public attention away from the devastating effects neonics have on the bee population,“with the goal of bolstering the legitimacy of their arguments and positioning themselves as ‘friends of the bees’.” Monsanto’s use of agrichemicals is also significant because of studies that link the company’s herbicide Roundup® (glyphosate) to health problems in humans.
Monsanto should be careful because expert concerns about Roundup® and reports like the one published by Friends of the Earth will surely garner more attention about why the Beeologics buyout is suspicious which has already created a controversy around Monsanto’s role in the endangerment of bees. Before Beeologics became absorbed into Monsanto, the bee firm mainly researched diseases caused by varroa mites in bees. The report asserts that Monsanto obtained Beeologics to create, “both internal and broader public credibility,” allowing Monsanto to distort how it, “positions itself as a key driver of solutions.” This ploy deflects any questions on whether the company is the, “source of the problem as a major pesticide manufacturer and a distributor of neonic coated seeds.”
Anyone troubled by the conflict of interests inherent in a mega corporation that started off manufacturing nuclear bombs and Agent Orange that also declares to be the most worried about bee health should read the article titled, “The Buzz on Beeologics.” The article lightheartedly begins with the introduction, “ What do Monsanto and honey bees have in common? Beeologics.” The non-threatening tone attempts to establish Monsanto, “as a conscientious and effective leader in addressing the bee crisis.” This is dangerous because of Monsanto’s history with producing nuclear weapons as a part of the Dayton Project in 1943. Earlier chemical products manufactured by Monsanto, like the notorious chemical Agent Orange, were used as weapons in herbicidal warfare not too long ago during the Vietnam War.
If Monsanto is not careful, more people will challenge the suspicious buyout of Beeologics and connect Monsanto’s control of the respected company’s bee research with the agrichemical industry’s efforts to fabricate science about the endangerment of bees due to the varroa mite. Monsanto may be in the lead for now. However, look back and research the history of weapons of mass destruction and Monsanto’s position as a guardian of safety will appear debatable. The possibility the corporation will remain in the race to control the world’s food production seems unlikely as long as more ordinary citizens boldly step up to support science that is not funded by Monsanto.
By Reivin Johnson