Alex Wild over at Mymercos has posted a thoughtful article in response to the media frenzy surrounding the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) findings published in PLoS One. This study linked CCD to two bee pathogens. The study itself was fairly small scale, and larger studies that will soon be published have been conducted (some at NCSU). What Alex was responding to, however, was not the validity of the work, but rather the media's interpretation, specifically those trying to link pesticides to CCD and who found fault with one of the study author's associations with Bayer Crop Sciences.
The fact is, all applied entomologists have at least some association with pesticide companies. They often provide research funding and materials, and much of the applied work that is conducted at universities would simply not be done without their support. However, no program I have observed, both mine and others, lets this relationship color their research results and interpretation. The reason pesticide companies fund university research is because we are objective. If we lose that objectivity, we would also lose industry funding (and our moral center). Further, at public universities, funding relationships are public as are all the results generated by funded research. I encourage growers, companies, and other researchers to request, view, and use results from my pesticide based trials. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.
Honey bees as pawns