When I wrote a post about 9 things businesses can do to help save bees, one of the suggestions was to give out free wildflower seeds.
Another suggestion, however, was to stop killing bees.
If this photo (above right) is real and not a slightly early April Fools joke, then it seems Bayer CropScience may not just be promoting its free bee-friendly seeds online anymore, but also on the packaging of a product that has been implicated in the deaths of honeybees.
First posted on British Bees' Facebook page last Saturday, commenters have since verified they've seen similar looking packaging in stores across the UK, including Waitrose and Asda.
You see the beautifully named Provado Ultimate Bug Killer contains thiacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide which may increase bees' vulnerability to death from nosema, a deadly parasite that is on the increase in honeybee populations. (Nonlethal exposure to imidacloprid, another neonicotinoid produced by Bayer, has also been shown in tests to increase the risk of bee deaths from nosema.)
Bayer CropScience may continue its charm offensive on beekeepers, and persist in its critique of the research on neonicotinoids. But whether you are applying the precautionary principle regarding the science itself, or even the basics of sensible PR and sound corporate crisis management, you'd think someone at Bayer would realize it's a bad idea to give away bee-friendly wildflower seeds on a product that's been linked to bee deaths.
To make matters worse, Ultimate Bug Killer happens to be approved for use on crops like tomatoes and blueberries that bees visit regularly.