trance, here is oliver's latest paper on colony losses in general including a review on what is know about neonics as it relates to bees:
i find oliver's objectivity refreshing. some have questioned his objectivity as being suspect since he receives research dollars from big companies. here's how he responds to that (quoted with permission):
"I've personally wrestled with this aspect of publicity of proprietary data.
In the case of Bayer Cropscience, Bayer set up a dedicated website for the members of the original Bayer-Beekeeper Dialog Group set up by Jerry Bromenshenk and David Fischer of Bayer. The only limitation placed upon us what that we couldn't copy and forward the actual data to their competitors, who could have then used that data to register competing products. I commend Bayer on their openness. I have yet to find Bayer to withhold any information that I have ever requested, even when such information may appear to involve potential negative aspects of their products.
I recently asked the manufacturer of Dimilin insecticide to review their proprietary data, and was granted a conference call a few days ago with their lead scientists in Europe. The plan is for me to sign an NDA and be given access to that data, so that I can summarize the results for the benefit of the beekeeping community (I will work in conjunction with Drs Eric Mussen and Reed Johnson).
Trickier is when I get paid to run a field trial for a company with a product to sell to beekeepers. My agreement with Beeologics was that I would be free to publish the results of the trials, good, bad, or indifferent--which I have or are in the process of. Luckily for them, the product was clearly effective!
When Beeologics was acquired by Monsanto, I only agreed to continue if they agreed in writing to give me access to the data from the control group--again potentially to the great benefit of the bee scientific community.
I've also run trials for products in development. In this case, I feel that the data can remain proprietary, since the product is not on the market. Trust me, if it later came to market and I knew something negative about it, I would then run my own independent trial, funded by donations to my website, to bring that fact to the beekeeping community's attention!
The situation is different for products on the market. I do not want to be put into the position of finding that a product is mere snake oil (or harmful to colonies) and not be able to say so! I am currently in negotiation with a company to run an expensive year-long trial of their product, which is already on the market. We are currently working out whether they will accept my condition of freedom to publish the results should they be negative.
The beauty of my position is that I don't care about the money, since I make more from the hives if I don't engage them in trials. Running a proper field trial is a real pain, and finding time for data collection this week when my other hives cry for attention has forced us to work long hours six or seven days a week--who looks forward to weighing and grading
150 hives in a trial when the rest of your colonies are about to swarm!
So no manufacturer has any leverage over me, since I have no financial interest. The only reason that I run field trials is for the benefit of beekeepers who trust in my to give them accurate information. I take that trust very seriously."
he has earned my trust, and i value the contribution he has made to beekeeping.