Recent results have again raised the specter of it being all about Bayer pesticides.
There’s a Dr Alan Dove who is some flavor of microbiologist who has looked into it. He isn’t impressed.
Of course the pesticide industry hasn’t been taking this lying down. Agrochemical giant Bayer, for one, has been issuing testy press releases faulting the new studies. Bayer is a leading supplier of imidacloprid, a very popular neonicotinoid compound that is used in both agricultural and home pesticides.
Imidacloprid was also the focus of the most recent scientific study to pin CCD on pesticides, and in this case, at least, Bayer may have a point.
Let’s take this a little bit at a time. First, we’re being told the “likely culprit” has been found in a condition that’s baffled researchers for several years. That’s an extraordinary claim, so I’m expecting extraordinary data to back it up. Apparently the new paper will contain just that, because it’s supposed to be “convincing evidence.” Anyone setting the bar that high is either sitting on rock-solid results, or full of shit. In my experience the latter is much more common, so my skeptic senses are already tingling.
Then things really start to go pear-shape. The Bulletin of Insectology? I try to avoid being a journal snob, but come on, insectology? The name of the field is entomology, and a quick Google search confirms that “insectology” appears nowhere else in science except for the title of this journal.
Then it gets even worse.
When there is a raging controversy, it appears likely that one side or another is populated by charlatans. But there is no reliable rule of thumb to determine which side that is. Certainly culture war affinities are no indicator.