Bees are our friends. Sure, they’ve been prominent villains in bad movies such as The Swarm. And yes, some of us (like me) are deathly allergic to them. But let’s face it: Bees do us a big favor by pollinating plants, which allows us to enjoy those little luxuries in life such as food.
Alas, the little black and gold insects are threatened. It appears they are being killed off by a type of pesticide called neonicotinoids. (Notice a familiar, cigarette-related word there? Yes, neonicotinoids are based on nicotine.) Made by corporate giant Bayer and sold under brand names such as Clothianidin and Imidacloprid, these pesticides are used on crops of soybeans and corn.
According to the New York Times, these pesticides “permeate all of the plants’ systems,” leading to bees and other pollinating insects absorbing the poison and carrying it back to their hives or nests. This is bad news for the bees. The Environmental Protection Agency knows it, but hasn’t done anything about it yet.