Nieuws - 13 maart 2012

Complaint lodged against Wageningen bee expert

Wageningen bee researcher Tjeerd Blacquière is alleged to have purposely overlooked several articles in a review.

This serious allegation is made by toxicologist Henk Tennekes. He has submitted a formal complaint against Blacquière to the Executive Board of Wageningen UR. Tennekes, who studied in Wageningen, bases his allegation on an article in the Ecotoxicology journal. The article is a review carried out for the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, and gives an overview of fifteen years of research into the impact of neonicotinoids in bee mortality.
In this overview article, a group of international researchers - with Blacquière being the chief author - conclude that there is no evidence to show that the insecticide group which imidacloprid belongs to is responsible for large-scale bee mortality. But according to Tennekes, Blacquière chose his articles selectively, and purposely overlooked articles written by Tennekes and others. He calls this a 'flagrant' violation of the Memorandum on Scientific Integrity.
Simon Vink, spokesperson for the Executive Board, says that the complaint will be examined. The board has assigned Professor Herman Eijsackers, in his function as integrity officer, to look into the matter. 'He will submit his findings as soon as possible. The Executive Board will then take a stand and convey this to the complainant. Until then, we will not issue any statements on this issue.'
Tennekes has been fighting against the use of neonicotinoids for some time. He reports in detail on this matter on the website His co-workers on the site include Jeroen van der Sluit from the Copernicus Institute of Utrecht University. Tennekes' complaint listed several articles to show the danger of neonicotinoids for bees. However, some of these articles are not about bees, but about sweet water organisms. Others are published after the review was completed.