Today, Bayer AG apologized for the damage to pollinators caused by years of aggressive marketing and sales of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides; now the most widely used class of insecticides in the world.
To help restore and revitalize the bee populations harmed by their products — and in a good faith gesture to beekeepers whose livelihoods have been threatened by declining honey bee populations — the German-based corporation formally announced the unveiling of the world’s first bee spa.
Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers issued the following statement today:
“As CEO of one of the largest producers of neonics in the world, we cannot ignore the plight of millions of bees whose health is suffering. That’s why we’ve decided to open the doors of #HiveRetreat – the world’s first and only bee spa.
Bees of all ages, shapes and sizes are welcome to enjoy and indulge their senses. The spa offers any treatment they desire — from complimentary foot scrubs to massage treatments. We can only hope that these valuable pollinators will forgive our harmful ways.”
At PAN we’re always excited when a corporation accepts past mistakes — and Bayer’s move is unprecedented. Who would expect one of the largest pesticide corporations in the world to care so ardently for the well-being of tiny pollinators?
Please join us in showing your appreciation for their efforts by spreading the word: tweet @Bayer using hashtags #Bayerregrets and #HiveRetreat to say “thanks!”
Not so pampered, in fact
As you’ve probably guessed by now, we’ve been doing some wishful thinking this April 1st. Unfortunately, Bayer continues to manufacture and promote its bee-harming neonicotinoids — with no regrets or #HiveRetreat in sight.
The studies connecting neonics with harm to honey bees and other pollinators keep rolling in. Some exposures to these systemic insecticides can kill bees outright; at lower levels, neonics can depress bee immune systems, inhibit the ability to navigate, and much more.
While neonics and other pesticides aren't the only challenge bees face — many factors are at play, including habitat loss, pathogens and nutrition — there is a direct link between these chemicals and dramatically declining bee populations. The science on this front is incredibly clear.
So far, Bayer has stood unapologetically by its neonic products. Why? Neonics are the most widely used insecticide in the world — and a major contributor to Bayer’s bottom line. In 2009, Bayer posted $1.1 billion from sales of imidacloprid and $439 million from clothianidin — both neonicitinoid pesticides. Together, corporations Bayer and Syngenta dominate the global neonic market.
The tide is turning for bees
Grassroots momentum to protect bees is building across the country. Sacramento, California is the latest municipality to become an official “honey bee haven,” joining cities across the country that are standing up for bees. By becoming a haven, a city pledges that bees will have a safe refuge on city property — including protection from bee-harming pesticides.
Minnesota is also stepping up to protect bees. Last week, three members of the state House of Representatives introduced a bill that would suspend the use of neonicotinoids and fipronil — systemic insecticides that are among the driving factors behind bee declines.
Two weeks ago, along with our national coalition, we delivered four million signatures to the White House, calling for meaningful protections for bees. PAN and our partners plan to keep the pressure on — including collecting and delivering more signatures — until the the Obama administration steps up to protect bees, beekeepers and our food system.