Wageningen scientists should stop denying that a link exists between agricultural toxins and bee mortality, wrote Esther Ouwehand of the Party for the Animals (PvdD) to Aalt Dijkhuizen.
The letter to Dijkhuizen suggests that Wageningen bee researchers expressly close their eyes to the dangers of neonicotinoids for bees. These are toxic substances used to protect plants (seeds) against insects. The PvdD points specifically to a study by scientist Tjeed Blacquière which brings forward the conclusion that there is no evidence that neonicotinoids can cause large-scale bee mortality.
The letter calls on Dijkhuizen to take responsibility. 'Would you be able to shoulder the responsibility for a failure to tackle one of the apparent causes of bee mortality, partly because a statement from your institution says that there is no reason for action?' According to spokesperson Simon Vink, Wageningen UR shares the concerns of the PvdD for bee mortality. 'But we disagree about the causes.'
Vink says that Wageningen UR does see a link between bee mortality and the use of neonicotinoids. 'Yes, there is a link. Neonicotinoids are indeed used to kill insects. But no, their use thereof is not the major cause of bee mortality. Our researchers have discovered what they have discovered and have put up a report. Should they make a sudden about-turn in their thinking now?'