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Hoax Alert

Fake News: 37 Million Bees NOT Found Dead After Planting Large GMO Corn Field A Few Weeks Ago

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Wed, 23 May 2018 09:52:37 Z)

Did 37 million bees drop dead after a GMO corn field was planted nearby a few weeks ago? No, that's not true. The story dates back to at least 2013 so it definitely wasn't a few weeks ago, and the sources for the original article never even mentioned GMO corn.

The story reappeared in an article published on May 13, 2018 by DailyNativeNews titled "37 Million Bees Found Dead After Planting Large GMO Corn Field" (archived here) which opened:

Millions of bees dropped dead after GMO corn was planted few weeks ago in Ontario, Canada. The local bee keeper, Dave Schuit who produces honey in Elmwood lost about 37 million bees which are about 600 hives.

"Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions," Schuit said. While many bee keepers blame neonicotinoids, or "neonics." for colony collapse of bees and many countries in EU have banned neonicotinoid class of pesticides, the US Department of Agriculture fails to ban insecticides known as neonicotinoids, manufactured by Bayer CropScience Inc.

Two of Bayer's best-selling pesticides, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, are known to get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees. The marketing of these drugs also coincided with the occurrence of large-scale bee deaths in many European countries and the United States.

Screenshot of http://dailynativenews.site/2018/03/37-million-bees-found-dead-after-planting-large-gmo-corn-field

Snopes already rated the article "unproven" in 2015:

FACT CHECK: 37 Million Bees Found Dead in Ontario, Canada After Planting Large GMO Corn Field

37 million bees died after a large GMO cornfield was planted in Ontario, Canada. UNPROVEN Is this true? Were the bees found dead because of a GMO cornfield or for some other reason? I find this claim very hard to believe.

The Snopes check found the story originated somewhere in 2014 and appeared on a now defunct website "organichealth.co". They weren't able to find confirmation of the GMO-part back then. Apparently someone had taken a real report from 2013 about bees dying (likely because of pesticides) that included several of the same details like the farmer's name and the location and then added the GMO bit to spice up the headline:

Bees dying by the millions

News, Local, Provincial, Canada, World, Sports, High School Sports, Local Hockey, Hockey, Basketball, Baseball, Football, Soccer, Lacrosse, Curling, Other Sports, Entertainment, Local, Movies, Music, Television, Celebrities, Life, Health, Food, Travel, Money, Opinion, Editorial, Letters, Column, Your Newspaper, Social medias, Events, UR, News, Sports, Life, Entertainment, Money, Opinion, Marketplace, Photos, Videos, Contests, Polls, Weather, Sitemap, Event Submission

So:

  • It didn't happen 'a few weeks ago'.
  • The GMO part is still unconfirmed five years later.

Most likely the story was simply rehashed by someone looking to make money thorugh advertising. The site dailynativenews.site was only registered in February 2018 and it is likely it is not actually being run by Native Americans. The site lists no physical address or publisher and the domain name was registered anonymously. The story was suddenly posted to dozens of Facebook groups at the same time as this screenshot from the CrowdTangle browser plugin shows:

beeswarm.png

We wrote about dailynativenews.site before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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