An image is making the rounds on some Facebook groups:

anti-gmo image

It appears to have originated from an anti-GMO website.

Although the image is making multiple claims, there is an implied claim that GMOs are harmful to bees in and of themselves, not just with the use of neonicotinoids or pesticides. Else, it would make no sense to make bold "Stop Using GMOs" if the premise were that it's those chemicals alone that are killing the bees.

From what I have read, there isn't anything to suggest that neonicotinoids are only used on GMOs or that GMOs require the use of that chemical, specifically. A quick Google search on an actual link between GMOs and bee deaths turns up primarily unreliable sources.

  • The best lead that I've found on this claim is that imidacloprids, which are a type of neonicotinoids, are sometimes applied even when not needed as pesticide because they can provide a "stress shield" effect for crops to resist stuff like droughts. "Imidacloprid has been shown to stimulate plant growth of genetically modified stress tolerant plants, even in the absence of damaging pest species, leading to increase in crop yield.", Systemic insecticides (neonicotinoids and fipronil): trends, uses, mode of action and metabolites (2015).
    – Nat
    Mar 21, 2017 at 20:27
  • 3
    I'd suspect that a thorough analysis would find the anti-GMO group's claim to be unfounded, if not the opposite as GMO's tend to have higher yields, requiring less land and pesticide to get a target output. But, proving that might require looking up a lot of numbers to build up a decent model for net-pesticide-use-per-unit-of-production for GMO's versus non-GMO's. If GMO's do use more of these pesticides to give them resilience, then that'd have to be weighed against their higher yields, greater survivability, reduced land use, etc., to calculate the net effect of their use.
    – Nat
    Mar 21, 2017 at 20:29
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    You may be able to find more direct anti-GMO claims, but this particular claim appears to be not that GMO plants are inherently bad, but that the subset that promote the use of certain chemicals are bad because those chemicals are bad.
    – Oddthinking
    Mar 21, 2017 at 21:45
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    The first documented colony collapse was in 1869. There was a pretty bad one in 2005/6 due to a virus. There are at least five different causes of colony collapse known before one started supposing that neonicotinoids might be related to colony collapse, a controversial claim that hasn't been proven to my knowledge. However, GMO crops don't tend to "add nicotine derivatives" to food for obvious reasons, so the GMO bee collapse claim seems even more tenuous, and GMO crops tend to use less pesticides (they are aiming for built-in resistance)
    – Edwin Buck
    Mar 22, 2017 at 4:06
  • @Oddthinking I'm sorry, I may be missing something. Why you put this question on hold?
    – T. Sar
    Mar 23, 2017 at 12:53


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