Is Corn Syrup Stopping Bees From Going Home?


For over half a decade now beekeepers all over America have been finding many of their beloved boxed hives abandoned, with all the workers no where to be seen. This is known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), two recently published papers have found a culprit. That is an insecticide called neonicotinoids, and strangely it is getting to the bees through high-fructose corn syrup.

This really is not a new phenomenon as the wild bee population has been declining for over half a century, but the commercial bees have seen a decline also but over last half decade they have seen a rapid decline.

Getting to the bottom of CCD is a difficult problem; the effects to a hive are simple yet devastating. The bees will set out to forage like normal, except they never return to the hive. The popular theory is that neonciotinoids causes the bees to become disorientated and basically forget the way home.

High-fructose corn syrup which has been used for over a decade now by beekeepers has been put under the microscope by environmental scientist Chensheng Lu. A huge amount of the corn crop is in fact treated with pesticides that contain neonicotinoids. So small amounts of this are found in the syrup that is used in commercial beekeeping.

German company Bayer who supply neonicotinoids really can't take all the blame, as it is the beekeepers themselves who have decided to use this cheaper corn syrup instead of the more expensive bee honey. Bayer has issued a statement claiming that the sample size was far too small to give any concrete evidence. Scientists are still struggling to find all of the causes of CCD but they are getting more and more concerned as each year passes, and they really do have a good reason to be concerned.

It is pretty much universally thought that the honeybee is the most important pollinator in the world not just the USA. They are phenomenal little workers who not only collect the pollen and nectar but they transport it also. Beekeepers can keep them very easily and beekeeping has proved to be a very popular hobby. As bees are not seasonal insects they service a vast amount of different plants all year round. To put it bluntly it really is hard to imagine a way in which a large farm could function without a good set of hard working bees.