Where are all the bees?

by Mark Floegel

June 19, 2013

Bees on a Honeycomb in the NetherlandsBijen op een HoningraatHoneybees pollinate many of the nuts, fruits and vegetables we love.But beekeepers like me keep discovering our honeybees whole hives of them gone or dead.
This is no act of God. Our bees are being poisoned. Scientists have linked a powerful class of pesticides called neonics to increases in bee die-offs.Due in part to these deadly toxic chemicals, 31% of hives in the United States collapsed this past winter alone. Last month millions across Europe spoke up for the bees and pressured the European Union (EU) into imposing a two year ban on neonics, defeating the influential pesticide lobby.If we act together, we can convince the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do the same. Help us send 75K comments to the EPA byJune 27thto save the bees that pollinate our crops and that visit your backyard.
Viruses, mites and malnutrition can all contribute to the collapse of a hive. But neonics pose a unique threat to bees.These poisons spread into the pollen and nectar of treated plants, slowly accumulating in the hive with each bees trip to a contaminated flower. By allowing toxic chemicals like neonics to weaken and kill bees, we threaten our food and our environment.
The companies that make these pesticides, Bayer and Syngenta, have spent millions lobbying the United States and European governments that simply commissioning more studies even while bee populations plummet will somehow solve the problem.
Of course more studies are welcome, but action is needed now to prevent an agricultural catastrophe.Tell the EPA to suspend use of all neonic pesticides in order to save the bee population that we all depend on.
Trying to solve all agricultural problems with chemical additives is shortsighted and reckless.To ensure that we have safe and reliable food, we must strive for sustainable agriculture that works with nature, rather than manipulates and destroys it. The elimination of bee-killing pesticides is major progress towards that goal.Every step that helps restore the balance between the natural world and the agricultural world is an important one.
Mark Floegel

By Mark Floegel

Mark Floegel is the research director with Greenpeace USA. He has been working on public advocacy issues since 1987. Particular areas of issue expertise include: the effects of chlorinated chemicals on human health and the environment pertaining to pulp and paper mills; toxic waste incinerators; sustainable fisheries and forestry; renewable energy; acid rain, and sustainable agriculture.

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