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Bee Evidence Builds . . . The Government Sleeps . . . And YOU Need to Take Action

Will you help?

It’s been five years since SafeLawns blew the whistle on the fact that a group of pesticides was responsible for the sudden die-off of bees known as colony collapse disorder. We were threatened with lawsuits and endured a smear campaign, but ultimately our bee story has been picked up by thousands of other media outlets.

It’s been a year since America’s top bee scientist finally agreed with us and all the other organizations that had reached the conclusion that these pesticides — synthetic nicotines known as imidacloprid and clothianidin — were killing bees. This was the “smoking gun” research that SHOULD have compelled our government to finally take action to protect the bees once and for all.

But nothing. Several films have been produced to draw attention to the matter. Bee keepers have visited Washington, D.C., to beg the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture to take action. But still nothing.

Most recently on Jan. 3 a new study out of Purdue University signed, sealed and delivered the bee science. In lay terms, the scientists found that bees get poisoned: 1) when the synthetic pesticides are applied to fields and lawns; 2) when the pesticides wind up in the pollen of dandelions and other flowers in and around the fields and lawns; and 3) when bees drink water contaminated by pesticides. In other words, if the pesticides are applied, the bees will find them.

The national pesticide group Beyond Pesticides is trying to get the word out about this new study. Mother Jones and its excellent environmental writer, Tom Philpott, is also staying on top of the case:
http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/01/purdue-study-implicates-bayer-pesticide-bee-die-offs. Meanwhile, as Philpott reports, the manufacturer of these pesticides, Bayer, continues to accumulate record sales.

This comes down to the health of our food system and planet vs. the health of Bayer’s bottom line. Five years ago our first headline asked: “Is Bayer Killing the Bees?” The answer has proven to be yes.

The government is still sitting idly by . . . but we can’t let it.

In this, a campaign year, ask all your elected officials if they understand colony collapse disorder and the fact that bees are necessary for at least a third of the meals we consume. Take a few minutes of your own time to send a comment to this link: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0865-0001.

Better still, contact EPA’s Jim Jones at Jones.jim@epa.gov or call him at 1-202-564-2902 to demand that the agency bans synthetic nicotine pesticides — just like they did years ago in France, Germany and several other countries. If enough of you call or email, you will get noticed.

You can make a difference.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

Number of Entries : 1023
  • minerva terris

    Thank you for posting this, Paul. I think it would be good thing to get all neonicotinamide products out of the hands of the home gardener. It would be a start. In Maine, there are over 300 products containing imidacloprid registered alone, and that is just one neonic pesticide. Not all are for gardens, but it is an example of the scope of the availability. I have read that neonic residues are likely to be high on some nursery-grown products. We as gardeners plant these plants not knowing what damage they could be doing not only to honeybees but to our native bees most of which are smaller and therefore more vulnerable and about which we know very little. As a beekeeper and advocate for native pollinators, I am very concerned about the use of these products. True, they are less toxic to people and have a very long-lasting effect which means they don’t have to be used as much. But if they are harming important insects that truly are a critical link in not only our food supply but in all our terrestrial ecosystems, we shouldn’t be using them. I hope your post will encourage gardeners and beekeepers alike to take action.

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