Nightly News   |  May 10, 2012

Bee deaths linked to pesticides

Honeybees may be victims of widely used insecticides coated on a variety of crop seeds. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> now to an environmental issue we have been covering here. it's as big and urgent as any other. a story we have been talking about for a while. something has bib causing honeybees to disappeu peeappear since 2006 . beekeepers estimate their colony is down 30%. given all that bees do in the natural world , this could be catastrophic. theories have centered on mites and viruses, but now there's a new clue in the mystery. our report from anne thompson .

>> near elbow lake , minnesota , steve ellis tends his honeybees that help pollinate one third of u.s. crops that end up on our dinner tables.

>> they're as fundamental to food production as is water or sunlight.

>> but honeybees are under attack, victims of colony collapse disorder where they disappear from hyphens and now this.

>> normally, in the spring, do you see this many dead bodies ?

>> wetient see this kind of mortality.

>> some of the bees are incapacitates or stunned.

>> these bees are not capable of flying.

>> five miles away , this farmer sees fewing bees around his corn fields.

>> if there was a dand line, there was a bee on it, they have gone down in numbers.

>> now, peer reviewed research suggest honeybees may be victims of neoneck atunoids. when corn is planted by machines to help keep seeds from sticking together, it is in the insecticide and it's released in the air.

>> it's an environment ostal to a honeybee.

>> he said there's enough toxic material on one colonel of corn to kill hundreds of thousands of honeyb honeybees. of the 200 million acres planted with coated seeds, the larger manufacturer said there's not enough toxins in the dust to cause widespread deaths or colony collapse disorder .

>> it doesn't cause colony collapse dish order. there's just not a link there. the evidence isn't there suggesting these products are causing widespread colony losses of honeybees.

>> minnesota officials are looking into the deaths at steve ellis ' hives along with other beekeep beekeepers, heetz. asking the epa to investigate, in an effort to keep alive these workers so crucial to our food supply . anne thompson , nbc news, elbow lake , minnesota .