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Why Honeybees Matter

Want to know what else disappears if honeybee colonies continue their alarming rate of collapse? Our food.

According to Time Magazine, honeybees, which pollinate crops like apples, blueberries and cucumbers, are responsible for one-third of the food we eat.

Which is why a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice is so important. We're representing the Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas R. Smith. In the opening brief just filed, groups argue that the EPA failed to measure exactly what risk a toxic pesticide, sulfoxaflor, poses to bees.

At issue is the fact that this potent pesticide—so poisonous that EPA classifies it as “very highly toxic” to honeybees and other insect pollinators—was approved by the EPA despite evidence linking it and similar “neonicotinoid” pesticides to the widespread and massive bee colony collapse. And now, an entire industry is being wiped out, and beekeepers are rightfully angry. As a result, beekeepers enlisted Earthjustice in July as their final recourse to save their struggling industry.

Here is what beekeeper, farmer and Earthjustice client Rick Smith said about this case:

Native and managed pollinators are a national resource providing an irreplaceable service in the production of high quality fruits and vegetables for our families.

Pesticide application is a stewardship responsibility farmers take seriously. The EPA neglected to provide mandatory label instructions which would protect pollinators and allow farmers to proudly live up to that stewardship responsibility.

And if you missed it, listen to an August 2013 interview about the lawsuit with Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie, who discusses what's at stake, alternatives to sulfoxaflor and what consumers can do to help bees:

About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.