“If the bee disappears off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.”
– Albert Einstein
according to the sierra club, since 2005 more than 30% of all honeybees have died from colony collapse disorder (CCD). why should you care? because 1 out of 3 bites of food that you take everyday are related to the hard work and pollination by bees.
late last year, time magazine ran an article, “new clues in the mass death of bees“:
In late 2006, something strange began to happen to America’s honeybees. Colonies that were once thriving suddenly went still, almost overnight. The worker bees that make hives run simply disappeared, their bodies never to be found. Over the past couple of years, nearly one-third of all honeybee colonies have collapsed this way, which led to a straightforward name for the phenomenon: colony collapse disorder (CCD).
This might seem like little more than a tantalizing mystery for entomologists, except for one fact: honeybees provide $15 billion worth of value to U.S. farmers, pollinating crops that range from apples to avocados to almonds. Any number of possible causes for CCD have been put forward, from bee viruses to parasites to environmental triggers like pesticides or even cell-phone transmissions. Despite the Department of Agriculture’s allotment of $20 million a year for the next five years to study CCD, it’s still a mystery — and the bees keep dying.
according to the sierra club, the causes of CCD are still unknown, but there is mounting evidence that new seed coatings are fatal to the bees:
At issue are the nicotinyl insecticides (also known as neonicotinoids) being used in a new way — as seed coatings. For years, farmers have been spraying neonicotinoids onto their crops to stop insect infestation. Now huge agribusiness corporations have acquired patents to coat their proprietary corn seeds with these neonicotinoids. These “neonics” are extremely persistent. They enter the plant and are present in pollen and on droplets of water on leaves.Federal agencies in France, Germany and Italy have already taken responsible regulatory actions to suspend use of these pesticides based on the best available scientific evidence. Strikingly, honeybee populations in Italy immediately rebounded when these chemicals were suspended!
The State of California has required that almost all 282 nicotinyl pesticide products be immediately re-evaluated because of toxic concentrations in pollen and nectar, and high residual concentrations in soil. Unfortunately, the EPA is moving too slowly to take action to suspend nicotinyl pesticides.
their “pollinator protection campaign” urges you to see the documentary, nicotine bees and take action by contacting the EPA’s Steve Owens at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or call him at 1-202-564-2902 to request a suspension of the neonicotinoid seed coatings until independent scientists verify safety.
you can also plant bee-friendly plants – here is a list from planet green:
honey bee friendly garden plants:
- Bee Balm
- Lamb’s Ears
honeybee-friendly native & wild plants
- Black-eyed Susan
- Tulip poplar
in recent news, a new survey shows that honeybee colony collapse is declining compared to previous years. but that doesn’t mean that we should rest easy – as long as we allow our food chain to be contaminated by aggressive pesticides (like on the alfalfa that the bees pollinate and the dairy cows eat), then this destruction of our ecosystem will continue. but in this case, it will the smallest among us that matter the most.
Related articles by Zemanta
- New Clues in the Mass Death of Bees (time.com)
- Survey: Honeybee Colony Collapse Losses Declining (abcnews.go.com)
- Bee Colony Collapse May Have Several Causes (wired.com)
- Bee numbers in England fell by more than half over the last 20 years (telegraph.co.uk)