The online journal PLoS One released two bee studies last week: one on an old parasite newly found in honey bees, the other confirming that bees are being poisoned by the controversial pesticide clothianidin in and around the 88 million acres of U.S. countryside planted with treated corn seeds.

The parasite study was covered by Associated Press and has been widely circulated in USA Today, UK Telegraph and elsewhere under the provocative title: “Zombie fly hijacks bees’ bodies and may explain die-off.” On a near-annual basis since colony collapse disorder (CCD) first hit the news in 2005, media have reported the discovery of one pathogen or another “solving” the mystery behind the recent, catastrophic bee die-offs in which U.S. honey bee hives are disappearing at an average annual rate of 32%.

The current consensus, however, is that the die-offs are likely driven by a causal complex in which pesticides, pathogens and nutrition each play a role.

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