Conversation Questions About Honey Bees

By Monsanto

Here are some of the top questions we’ve received about honey bees through The Conversation.

Still have questions of your own? Feel free to ask us.

Is Monsanto involved in trying to find the cause or a solution to the ongoing bee problem?

Yes! We are directly affected by declining honey bee health — our vegetable, fruit and canola seed businesses depend on healthy pollinators. Our research focuses on the number one issue facing honey bees: the Varroa mite. As a founding member of the Honey Bee Health Coalition — a public-private partnership dedicated to improving honey bee health — we work with farmers and beekeepers to find sound, evidence-based and long-term solutions for improving honey bee health. The challenges facing pollinators are complex and require a joint, collective response from agriculture, government and the public — we have to work together.

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Why is Monsanto focusing on parasitic mites when scientific research shows that neonicotinoid pesticides are causing the honey bee die-off?

Much research has been done to determine all the factors that impact honey bee health, which include Varroa mites, diseases, poor nutrition, intentional and unintentional pesticide exposures and challenging weather conditions. We're very invested in working with others to find a solution to this ongoing problem, especially the Honey Bee Health Coalition. One of our areas of focus is to create better communication between farmers and beekeepers. We’re establishing best practices and training for planting treated seed and helping create incentives for restoring honey bee habitats.

Learn more about how we’re helping this crucial pollinator.

View Original Question

Why is Monsanto focusing on parasitic mites when scientific research shows that neonicotinoid pesticides are causing the honey bee die-off?

Much research has been done to determine all the factors that impact honey bee health, which include Varroa mites, diseases, poor nutrition, intentional and unintentional pesticide exposures and challenging weather conditions. We're very invested in working with others to find a solution to this ongoing problem, especially the Honey Bee Health Coalition. One of our areas of focus is to create better communication between farmers and beekeepers. We’re establishing best practices and training for planting treated seed and helping create incentives for restoring honey bee habitats.

Learn more about how we’re helping this crucial pollinator.

View Original Question

Is it true that non-targeted species of insects are going extinct because of GMO crops? Does this matter to you?

You might be referring to the recent fluctuations in monarch butterfly populations — and if so, you’re not alone in wondering about this. The truth is, scientists who’ve studied recent declines in monarch butterfly populations think a number of factors are contributing to the decline, including the destruction of habitats in Mexico (where the butterflies spend the winter), weather events such as strong storms, extreme climatic changes, shortages of nectar sources when they migrate back to Mexico in the fall, and a reduction in the number of milkweed plants in farmland across the Midwest. We’re focusing on honey bee populations as well, and we, along with many researchers and scientists, have been able to identify Varroa mites as the number one challenge they are currently facing. We’re committed to a continuous investment of time and money into developing solutions that will help pollinators flourish.

View Original Question

Is it true that non-targeted species of insects are going extinct because of GMO crops? Does this matter to you?

You might be referring to the recent fluctuations in monarch butterfly populations — and if so, you’re not alone in wondering about this. The truth is, scientists who’ve studied recent declines in monarch butterfly populations think a number of factors are contributing to the decline, including the destruction of habitats in Mexico (where the butterflies spend the winter), weather events such as strong storms, extreme climatic changes, shortages of nectar sources when they migrate back to Mexico in the fall, and a reduction in the number of milkweed plants in farmland across the Midwest. We’re focusing on honey bee populations as well, and we, along with many researchers and scientists, have been able to identify Varroa mites as the number one challenge they are currently facing. We’re committed to a continuous investment of time and money into developing solutions that will help pollinators flourish.

View Original Question

Is biodiversity affected by crops that have been genetically modified?

GM crops can help boost biodiversity by reducing agriculture’s impact on the land. For example, farmers using GM crops can often be more efficient with their resources, growing food on less land, reducing the need to convert more land for farming. Check out how we are working alongside farmers, consumers, universities, nonprofits and others to bring diverse perspectives to preserve biodiversity.

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