Neonicotinoids are fortunate to have Pat Vittum in their corner.

Neonicotinoids have been blamed by environmentalists for causing colony collapse disorder (CCD) in honeybee hives. Vittum, Ph.D., one of the most respected entomologists in the turf industry, says neonicotinoids are not to blame for CCD in the United States during a seminar she gave on pesticide stewardship in February at the Golf Industry Show.

Vittum, a professor and researcher at the University of Massachusetts, cited the country of Australia as “exhibit A” proving that neonics are not the problem

“Australia uses a lot of neonics in production agriculture and in turf, just life we do. And Australia has not at any experiences with colony collapse disorder,” Vittum said.

Vittum also pointed out that Australia does not have varroa mites and tracheal mites, well-known parasites of honeybees in the U.S., that are largely suspected by many for causing CCD here.

“I personally suspect that the mite activity and the general pathogen activity in the bee colonies may be a major part of [what is causing CCD in the U.S.],” she said. “That is the opinion according to Vittum.”