What's the Buzz about a Ban?

Europe took the step to ban and thereby ended a controversy around a class of pesticides derived from the much loathed nerve-agent used during the Vietnam war. For almost a decade now, bees have been disappearing in many industrial countries, in a puzzling way that scientists have tried to understand. They even gave this phenomenon a name - Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Even with half of its bee hives destroyed due to CCD in 2012-2013, the United States has resisted following the lead of European Union in banning Neonicotinoid pesticides.

Instead, beekeepers in Idaho are working even harder to grow more hives. Hives in trucks arrive in California in January for the almond season and then move to Washington state for the apple season in March. Having reached North Dakota two months later, these hives get back to Idaho in November of each year. Some scientists feel that the long road trip that the bees make in trucks in the US weaken their immunity. Nowhere else in the world do bees make such in-human road trips. A few scientists in the US also suspect corn syrup that is being substituted as bee food in place of honey to be a culprit behind CCD.

Food industry is pointing fingers at activists for creating a scare against neonicotinoids, a high profit pesticide solution. Consumer sentiment in Europe and the US is swelling against chemical pesticides and the food industry is finding itself in a defensive position more frequently. Traditional farming techniques used in earlier decades in agrarian societies such as India included effective solutions for pesticide problems which are quickly disappearing like the bees in the US. However a few NGOs, such as BTTR, SSIAST are working in the villages in India, could succeed in reviving native knowledge before becoming extinct. Birds and bees will likely benefit more from this knowledge being revived as much as humans thirsting for more organic food.