Send honeybees a Valentine this year

by Jason Schwartz

February 14, 2014

Honeybees need your love now more than ever.

Its not just because they like digging their faces into flowers and making honey for a living.

Its also because a third of all the food we eat in this country is made possible by the pollination that they do so well. Without bees, we would have no fruits, vegetables, or tree nuts to eat. Its because of bees that many flowers even exist. And a low estimate is that their services are worth $15 billion to the US economy.

Do you like vegetables? Do you like flowers? Do you like a healthy economy? Then you should be thankful for bees.

But bees are going through some seriously tough times these days, and anybody with a heart can relate to that. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is still decimating their hives. In America alone, beekeepers reported that they lost 33% of all their bees every year between the years 2006-2011. Eventually this is all going to come to a very tragic tipping point.

It is widely believed that a kind of pesticide known as neonicotinoids are a major culprit behind CCD, weakening bees and their immune systems, if not killing them outright. After all, pesticides are designed to kill insects.

The new normal is getting to be scary, for bees and for us.

valentine card bees 2Here are some reasons why honeybees should be everybodys Valentine this year:

  • A new study by scientists in the UK shows that one of the reasons neonicotinoids are so harmful is that they prevent bees from collecting enough pollen to bring back to the hive. Pollen is what bees eat. Which means that theyre starving.
  • Another study, this time by American scientists, shows that the same pesticides are lethal to bee larvae. When adults bring contaminated pollen back to the hive, they are inadvertently poisoning their young.
  • Even another study shows that the same pesticides are making bumblebees smaller. Smaller bees means they can collect less pollen. It also means they are less effective at pollinating plants. Smaller bees? Its not like they need to be any more cute.
  • Celebrations over the EU banning three neonicotinoids have been half-hearted. The loopholes are big enough to fly a crop-duster through. Say it like you mean it, EU!
  • American bees have it even worse! Despite overwhelming evidence that neonicotinoids are harmful to bees, the EPA continues to let them be used unchallenged. In fact the agency just approved a NEW neonicotinoid for use. WHAT??? How could they?

Want to send bees a little sign of your affection this Valentines Day? Sign this petition and say no to new neonicotinoids.

Jason Schwartz

By Jason Schwartz

Jason Schwartz is a media officer for Greenpeace USA based in New York City.

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