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Honeybee Health Requires More Than One-Sided Approach | Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

In the April 7 op-ed by Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and Michael Shank (Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse), the authors present an ill-informed attempt to solve the complex problem of honeybee health. Without honeybees, our food supply would be in danger, but any proposed ban on crop protection products will not solve the issue.

Ongoing research and field studies have consistently found no lasting adverse effects on bee colonies from neonicotinoid insecticides when they are applied in the field according to label directions. These label directions are carefully crafted by the Environmental Protection Agency using the best science. The one thing that can conclusively be said about bee colony health is that it is a complex problem influenced by multiple factors.

We need to redirect our focus to the real culprits behind poor honeybee health, including the parasitic Varroa mite, which USDA and EPA list as one of the biggest threats to honeybees and can be controlled by carefully administering specialized products called miticides inside hives. Additional threats include inadequate forage and lack of genetic diversity. Only by addressing these complex factors together can we truly advance bee health and our overall food supply. CropLife America will call Rep. Conyers to have an additional conversation about “the rest of the story.”

— Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America

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