“In the five years since I started keeping bees, I’ve seen many hives killed by pesticides,” said James Cook, a Minnesota-based beekeeper who has been driving the truck across the country since last Monday. “If some fundamental things don’t change, it’s going to be really hard for beekeepers to adapt to the environment around us.”
Activists and beekeepers delivered over 4 million signatures urging an immediate ban on bee-killing pesticides.
We are in the middle of a mass genocide of bees. Over 40% of all beehives are lost every year and the culprit seems to be neonicatinoid pesticides. The EPA began assessing the danger of the four types of neonicatinoids in 2015. In January the agency acknowledged that imidacloprid could indeed harm bees, but we have yet to hear official statements about the other three.
“Given the facts we have at hand about the links between neonics and bee die-offs, officials should move boldly and swiftly to stop any and all uses of these dangerous chemicals,” said Anna Aurilio, the director of the Washington, DC, office of Environment America.
Anna Aurilio, the director of the Washington, DC, office of Environment America.
Farmers, beekeepers and food advocates met with officials from the EPA, members of Congress and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wrapping up their Keep the Hives Alive Tour. They delivered letters from nearly 200 businesses and organizations supporting sustainable agriculture and taking action on neonicatinoid pesticides.
“The science is clear and convincing. To be truly effective, we need a nationwide policy to protect our pollinators before the crisis gets completely out of control,” said Del. Anne Healey, sponsor of Maryland’s Pollinator Protection Act, the first bill passed in the U.S. to eliminate consumer use of neonics.
“What’s happening today to pollinators is no different than what happened 50 years ago with the collapse of the osprey, bald eagle and other bird and aquatic animal populations due to the use of DDT,” said Scott Nash, CEO of Mom’s Organic Market. “If we allow the chemical agribusiness industry to continue these short-sighted practices, food costs will increase as food supplies diminish.