By Linda Harper, the Honeybee Conservancy
March 4, 2014
In the U.S. alone, more than 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides are applied annually. Researchers have identified traces of more than eighty different pesticide products in nearly all honey bee hives examined in last year’s study. Alarming news for sure as honey bees don’t remake comb every year, the toxins keep building up and comb is not discarded or renewed. Meaning that the chemical buildup in the wax comb becomes so deadly that the bees can’t survive. Last year the Conservancy saw more absconding hives than ever before. Absconding is most visible when swarms are found late season. The bee’s home is so intolerable that they pack up and leave, knowing their chances of survival is nil, still the odds are better than staying in the hive.
The American Beekeeping Federation has ask pointed questions to the EPA about the impact of these toxic substances on honey bees and native pollinators. Adoption of the final recommendations from this latest conference is expected in the next several months. However many conferences they have, it’s always the same answer, they’re going to do something….but when? When will we stop having conferences and act? Agreed, it’s a good first step, but it seems to always end there.
Pollinators have been the focus of several conservation initiatives spearheaded by the Xerces Society and other beekeeping groups in recent years, who point out that the ecological service bees, butterflies and other pollinators provide is necessary for the reproduction of more than 70 percent of the world’s plants. This includes two-thirds of the world’s crops, whose fruits and seeds together provide over thirty percent of the foods that we consume. Dramatic declines of both wild and domesticated bees have resulted in a growing awareness of threats such as habitat loss, diseases and pesticide use.
Please write to your legislators and the EPA voicing your concern over the stalemate these very important issues. We can no longer wait on the sidelines for our legislators to act and continually put these vital issues on the back burner.
John Boehner, House Majority Leader, 202.225.6205, Marcia Fudge, Ag Education, 202.225.7032, Pat Tiberi, Ways and Means, 202.225.5355, Sherrod Brown, Senator, 202.224.2315, Rob Portman, Senator, 202.224.3353, and Rep. Frank Lucas who sponsored the Agricultural Act 2014 (Farm Bill H.R. 2642) at 202.225.5565.