Swiss bee expert: focus on vorra mites, not pesticides

A bee specialist out of Switzerland named Jean-Daniel Charrière was interviewed by Swissinfo in which Dr. Charrière states that while neonic pesticides should be concerned about neonic pesticides, but the biggest threat to bee populations and the focus of policies to help them should be on vorra mites. He is quoted as saying:

For the honey bee, the primary cause of death is the varroa miteexternal link and viruses transported by it. Lots of studies confirm this. Systematically, they show that the presence of varroa is critical to determining whether they survive winter.

This doesn’t mean that pesticides have no impact. I can imagine that bees’ exposition to pesticides weakens their immune system, making them more susceptible to viruses, for example. But it’s a complex issue where several causes are involved, and they differ, depending of the location and the year.

Unfortunately, Dr. Charrière’s conclusion will not get much traction in terms of public policy or exposure in the press. The media purposely misreports and environmentalists skew or outright lie about bee population declines (if any) and the results of scientific research or the fact that vorra mites, not pesticides, are the biggest threat to bees.

Green opposition to pesticides is ultimately geared not only to make humans more susceptible insect attacks but also affect the human food supply. Restrict pesticides and crop production shrinks, leading to starvation and death.