Native Village 
Youth and Education News

April 1, 2013

Worst bee die-off in 40 years
Condensed by Native Village

Bees are a keystone species. One out of every three bites of food we eat is pollinated by honeybees. In fact, bees and other pollinators are necessary for 75% of our global food crops. From nuts and soybeans, to squash and cucumbers, from apples, oranges, cherries and blueberries, to avocados, peaches and melons, bees play a critical role in producing the food we eat.

Almost 80% of all flowering plants on earth rely on pollinators to reproduce. If we lose bees we will lose other important species.

Today, these critical pollinators are in huge trouble, victims of Colony Collapse Disorder -- or CCD. CCD is a phenomenon in which bee colonies mysteriously collapse when adult bees abandon their hives. Last winter, beekeepers reported bee die-offs of more than 50% -- the worst loss in more than 40 years.

CCD has pushed the beekeeping industry in the U.S. to the verge of collapse. This could spell trouble for the world's food supply.

Scientific evidence is pointing to a key factor
: neurotoxic pesticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics. In fact, a European Food Safety Authority report labeled them as an 'unacceptable' danger to bees. And a new report from the American Bird Conservancy offers strong evidence that neonics also harm birds.

Neonics are the fastest-growing class of synthetic pesticides in history. One, Bayer CropScience's top-selling product, is the most widely used insecticide in the world.

Neonics are
Used as seed treatments on more than
140 crop varieties, as well as on termites, cat and dog flea treatments, lawns, landscapes and gardens
Persistent and last for years in the soil
Permeate the entire plant and are expressed in pollen, nectar and guttation droplets
Canít be washed off food, meaning that we are all eating them.

Even worse, neonics are used outside commercial agriculture. Many plants and seeds sold in U.S. nurseries have been pre-treated with neonics at much higher doses than used on farms.





So when we plant our gardens we may unwittingly be harming bees!

The EPA approved Bayer's products based on the company's own studies. Despite growing evidence,
1,250,000 public comments, and a memo by the EPA scientists that discredits Bayerís original study, the EPA has delayed action on neonics until 2018!

Other governments havenít been so slow to act.

Italy, Germany, France and other have already taken action to limit neonics. Beekeepers there are reporting recovery.

The EU Parliament is considering a two-year ban on three popular neonics.

Wales, Northern Ireland, and major home and garden retailers in the UK have pledged to stop selling neonics.

A new USDA study shows how we can drop chemicals for a system of ecologically friendly agriculture and continue to produce enough food for us all.

In the meantime,buy organic food as much as possible, and choose certified organic seeds and plants to help protect bees and other pollinators!

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