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Top USDA Bee Researcher Also Found Bayer Pesticide Harmful to Honeybees

Remember the case of the leaked document showing that the EPA's own scientists are concerned about a pesticide it approved that might harm fragile honeybee populations?

Well, it turns that the EPA isn't the only government agency whose researchers are worried about neonicotinoid pesticides. USDA researchers also have good evidence that these nicotine-derived chemicals, marketed by German agrichemical giant Bayer, could be playing a part in Colony Collapse Disorder-the mysterious massive honeybee die-offs that United States and Europe have been experiencing in recent years. So why on earth are they still in use on million of acres of American farmland?

Independent film blockbuster

According to a report by Mike McCarthy, environment editor of the U.K.-based Independent, the lead researcher at the USDA's very own Bee Research Laboratory completed research two years ago suggesting that even extremely low levels of exposure to neonicotinoids makes bees more vulnerable to harm from common pathogens.

For reasons not specified in the Independent article, the USDA's Jeffrey Pettis has so far not published his research. "[It] was completed almost two years ago but it has been too long in getting out," he told the newspaper. "I have submitted my manuscript to a new journal but cannot give a publication date or share more of this with you at this time." (I was not able to speak to Pettis for this post as he is in meetings all day today; but he's agreed to an interview Monday.)