Update #4 ·

Follow the Honey

What with Monsanto's Honeybee Advisory Council and Bayer's Bee Care Centers, you might think the world's largest pesticide-makers were too busy caring about bees to manufacture or use the pesticides that kill them.   

Not true, of course. Here's what is true. Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto have launched a massive public relations campaign to convince consumers that, despite the science, their pesticides aren't to blame for Colony Collapse Disorder. And it looks like the U.S. Department of Agriculture is following their lead, by trying to shift the blame for bee deaths to mites, not poisons.  

According to a new Friends of the Earth report, the pesticide industry's "distraction" campaign looks a lot like what the tobacco industry did to convince consumers that cigarettes weren't giving them lung cancer. (Coincidentally, neonicotinoids are synthetic derivatives of nicotine, a toxin produced by the tobacco plant).  

How can industry afford such a big PR campaign? By selling billions of dollars' worth of pesticides every year.  

Bayer alone sold $10 billion of "Crop Protection" products (including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and seed growth) in 2012.  

While Monsanto does not manufacture neonics per se, as the world's largest seed corporation and a top agrochemical manufacturer, Monsanto has a lot of business at stake in the bee crisis because it sells seeds pre-treated with neonics. Sales in the corporation's "Seeds and Genomics" segment netted $9.8 billion in 2012. In the U.S., roughly 90 percent of corn is treated with neonicotinoids. Monsanto promotes "Acceleron®" as a designer seed treatment for its genetically-modified seeds -- corn, soy and cotton. Several Acceleron® seed treatments contain the neonicotinoids imidacloprid and clothianadin. 

Just one more reason to join March Against Monsanto on May 24.

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