News - February 14, 2013

Busy bee debate

It is Monday 4 February, just gone midday, and the Impulse arena is almost full. The publicity called it 'A debate prompted by current affairs.'

A new development intended to encourage internal discussion about 'Wageningen' topics. In this case it is a good opportunity to grill Wageningen's best known bee researcher Tjeerd Blacquière. Is he in league with Bayer? Rubbish, says Blacquière. But try as he might, he cannot get rid of that image. 'People approach me about it even when I'm buying coffee in the supermarket.'
Of course the reason for the meeting was the Zembla TV programme 'Honey-bee murder (II)', broadcast about 10 days previously, which had put Wageningen in a bad light (again). It claimed that the bee group was underestimating the role of neonicotinoids in bee deaths because of the group's links to the insecticide industry.