In spite of not ‘flowering’ Honey Bees and other wild pollinators consume corn pollen. Just walk into a field while the tassels are out and you’ll see.
Neonicotinoid pre-treated corn seed is coated with a pesticide that is absorbed into the plant as it grows, and winds up in every part of the plant, the pollen, the fruit, the leaves, so although there’s no chance of ‘over spray’ and less of a chance of acute poisoning due to direct exposure to the pesticide (except by inhalation when seeding) any insect that comes into contact with part of the plant will be exposed to the insecticide, and it’s now been shown that very low ‘sub-lethal’ concentrations of neonicotinoid insecticides are harmful to honey bees:
What the bigger picture? Honey bees alone are given credit for pollinating one third of all food consumed by humans. These insecticides are directly impacting pollinator’s ability to survive. Without pollination, the global food system is at risk–our ability to feed humanity is at risk.
New York Times:Decline of Pollinators Poses Threat to World Food Supply, Report Says
He poses the question, found in the URL above, “Since I couldn’t find a single controlled study in which the effects of the crushing of bees in the hive was clearly determined, I decided to use some of your donations to run a trial…” and the short answer to his bit of direct research is ‘yes, in winter’.
Control colonies with no crushed bees were stronger after the study ended than colonies where bees were crushed. Colony strength only diverged in the winter however…
When French Beekeepers first saw evidence of insecticide poisoning immediately after the release of neonicotinoid insecticides in the 1990’s (what we now call CCD in the US), rumor has it that the beekeepers took their empty hives to Bayer Crop Science headquarters in Lyon, threw them over the locked gate, and set them on fire (I was unable to quickly find news supporting this online, but was told the story by a friend from France).
This got the attention of France’s environmental minister and the neonicotinoid class of pesticides are now on track to be permanently banned in France by 2018, thanks in part to their more sensible precautionary based risk assessment system which contrasts the US EPA’s ‘wait and see’ approach (http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/vogel/uk%20oct.pdf).
This isn’t rocket science, “Pesticides” are created to kill insects. How would the health of pollinators in the U. S. look at this point if American beekeepers were as outspoken and pro-active about their livestock as our counterparts in France?
The links below are more ‘popular press’ light reading, most with references. For some more scientific data, search around on scholar.google.com. We also have a smattering of scientific papers listed on the ‘bee‘ page of this site.