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Why Honeybees Matter


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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
06 December 2013, 9:43 AM
Collapsed colonies spell disaster for our food system, and toxic pesticide is to blame
Honeybee visits a mountain mint blossom. (Photo courtesy of Penn State)

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:

I have to agree in this case. EPA should really stand for Environmental Destruction Agency.

We are the only creature which deliberately destroys its environment. Insanity is the only word for it.

It is incredible that this lethal pesticide is allowed to be used. Taking away a third of our food supply by killing the bees that are essential to its production should be considered a criminal act.
Marian H. Rose, PhD

How ahortsighted can the EPA get? Cutting off the precious lives of bees---the direct connection to our daily food!--is suicidal by the EPA.

Do not EPA official and workers want their families to have nature's bounty of food or just chemical pills for food.

Yes the EPA needs more fubding and staff that does not decide important factors one at a time but in relation to the whole food chain.

How can the EPA not know that????

In dispair for our precious bees!

Sharry UNderwood

Another potentially disastrous addition to our massive inventory of toxic substances? No thank you. I have more than enough toxins in my environment. Oh! You say that Big Chem is creating more jobs? Well, how about investing in research and development of natural methods of insect control that won't crash our crops. Not patentable? Ohh! I feel your pain, but not the pain I would feel from a world without bees.

How ahortsighted can the EPA get? Cutting off the precious lives of bees---the direct connection to our daily food!--is suicidal by the EPA.

Do not EPA official and workers want their families to have nature's bounty of food or just chemical pills for food.

Yes the EPA needs more fubding and staff that does not decide important factors one at a time but in relation to the whole food chain.

How can the EPA not know that????

In dispair for our precious bees!

Sharry UNderwood

Help us to trust you EPA. Get rid of these toxic pesticides!

I'm embarrassed that it's taken me until my senior years to finally understand the critical role that bees play in our life. I highly recommend a recent documentary film called, "More Than Honey" which, hopefully, will motivate us get us off our collective asses and do whatever necessary to protect our bee pals.

This fact about the loss of bees has NOT been publicized enough! It should be a continueous front page news! This effects our world food supply!

It is inconceivable that selling pesticides is more important than the food supply.
Poison the food you are spraying with pesticides.Get rid of a third of our food supply because honeybees are dying everywhere. Get rid of the honeybees, poison people. water, the environment. Just a lose lose all around.
Why would any sane person want that?

We already know that bees are essential to pollination of flowering plants to produce crops and reproduce. Why are we allowing pesticides that are toxic to bees to be used in any way?

This is crazy that the EPA is setting forth more toxic chemicals that are killing the bees! These guys must be taken out of office now! It is obvious they are just getting paid off by the pesticide and chemical corrupt lobbyists!

The Obama administration appointed a former Monsanto executive to the FDA...which gives Monsanto and Bayer better representation than pollinator supporters. This new poison can only allow further decline of precious pollinators of all kinds. These toxic concoctions are designed to increase crop production only, at the expense of a healthy environment.

So how many people in the EPA BEEN BOUGHT? HOW MUCH OF A BRIBE DID THEY GIVE TO GET THEIR WAY WITH POISON?
YES I AM EXTREMELY ANGRY WITH THIS GROSS MISMANAGEMENT OF OUR ENTIRE REGULATORY PROCESSES
HOW MANY PEOPLE IN TH EPA DOES MONSANTO OWN?
You don't even have to be a scientist to see this is ULTRA STUPID!

P L E A S E STOP THIS COMPLETE MADNESS N O W !!

It is inconceivable that selling pesticides is more important than the food supply.
Poison the food you are spraying with pesticides.Get rid of a third of our food supply because honeybees are dying everywhere. Get rid of the honeybees, poison people. water, the environment. Just a lose lose all around.
Why would any sane person want that?

We already know that bees are essential to pollination of flowering plants to produce crops and reproduce. Why are we allowing pesticides that are toxic to bees to be used in any way?

This is crazy that the EPA is setting forth more toxic chemicals that are killing the bees! These guys must be taken out of office now! It is obvious they are just getting paid off by the pesticide and chemical corrupt lobbyists!

The Obama administration appointed a former Monsanto executive to the FDA...which gives Monsanto and Bayer better representation than pollinator supporters. This new poison can only allow further decline of precious pollinators of all kinds. These toxic concoctions are designed to increase crop production only, at the expense of a healthy environment.

So how many people in the EPA BEEN BOUGHT? HOW MUCH OF A BRIBE DID THEY GIVE TO GET THEIR WAY WITH POISON?
YES I AM EXTREMELY ANGRY WITH THIS GROSS MISMANAGEMENT OF OUR ENTIRE REGULATORY PROCESSES
HOW MANY PEOPLE IN TH EPA DOES MONSANTO OWN?
You don't even have to be a scientist to see this is ULTRA STUPID!

P L E A S E STOP THIS COMPLETE MADNESS N O W !!

I understand the Japanese are having to hand-pollinate some crops now. Any idea how pesticides effect silk worms? That should worry the silk industry. One many's enemy is another man's friend. If TPP passes and corporations can sue for the right to wreck our environment in pursue of profit, how will the silk and food industries rate against chemical industries?

What a mess that will be.

Please reconsider.

Perhaps the EPA and all the pesticide sprayers should be sprayed with the deadly toxins they approve. Spray their homes, their offices, the food on their plates, then see how long they live from all that toxic spray. They are killing the bees by poisoning their environment and their food supply. IT NEEDS TO STOP. Petitions and treading lightly don't drive the point home.

Earthjustice has to win these law suit!

Protection of bees and other pollinators is critical to the survival of our food sources and us.

Will they ever learn? By then it will be to late.

Since bees are a big chunk of the ecosystem's pollinators, the world's food system will be forever drastically changed and will imperil millions. We can't let this happen. It's egregious and morally wrong.

Perhaps the United States needs to look to Europe and how they are trying to protect their bees. The EPA apparently doesn't care how approving this pesticide will affect people, the bees or food. Perhaps someone there should read "Silent Spring" again.

Maybe the EPA just does not care. They probably think bees are just bees. They do not correlate it to our food and ecosystem. This agency should be overhauled. If Europe are more informed, then for heaven's sake, EPA should send somebody to take a good look.

No more toxic pesticides please.

No Toxic Pesticides Please

Isn't it time that consumers use the most powerful weapon we have? We MUST begin boycotting these companies who do not act in the best interests of all of us. We must also begin boycotting companies who continue to purchase their products from them.

Chemical companies would be wise to come up with a natural non-toxic pesticide. Something that won't hurt the environment or living creatures on our earth. Can you imagine how happy that would make everyone and all living creatures?

Chemical companies would be wise to come up with a natural non-toxic pesticide. Something that won't hurt the environment or living creatures on our earth. Can you imagine how happy that would make everyone and all living creatures?

Bees are essential for life on this planet. I recognize that the EPA is under political pressure but this is not a sensible decision. Please rethink your policy on neonicotinoid and products similar to neonicotinoid, which are toxic to bees.

Thank you for listening to my point on this matter.

they must think they can eat their money...the only thought that comes to my mind when i read about the stupid decisions of bureaucrats...who seem to side with the evil chemical companies such as Bayer for some insane reason...is greed...

It is my belief that the EPA should be dismantled entirely and a new agency be established from the department Secretary to the file clerk. This country is entitled to an agency that has as its sole purpose the protection of the environment. The current agency's sole purpose seems to be to do whatever the pesticide companies and the NRA, etc want.

a good idea...dismantle it...a bureau that goes against its stated purpose and responsibility...for any reason...is completely unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer money...but to dismantle it would take who knows what to accomplish...unfortunately some people in high places are set in their ways...evil or not...

I cannot believe that people continue to find ways to destroy our environment; our natural wildlife, ourselves. More toxic pesticides means more toxic food and water which all life requires. Clearly, we are heading toward ending all life....hopefully, whatever humans do manage to survive the destruction of our earth and its resources...will have to respect whatever is left of life if they want to survive.

I won't be around when all this happen....and yet, I just may be. I know, ultimately, without humans, the Earth will regenerate itself and life will return....a haven of lush and teaming natural balance of life and all, as a result of the self-destruction of humans.

People all over the world: Take action now to stop this destruction of our bees, and all natural wildlife. Do it now and perhaps, we may have a chance to live in harmony with all of Nature for a bit longer.

Please do something to help!

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals and environment are treated. How will you rate?

This is a seriously bad thing the EPA continues too
Dish out poison towards nature . They should not
Be even allowed to entitle themselves
' environmental Protection Agency' They D0 Not
protect the Environment!!!! They also hurt Foxes and streams
And birds and so on and soon with their careless usage of
leftover Chemicals.

So is the governments idea to replace the honeybee with GMO products??? With GMO's, you really don't need bees anymore. Has these scientist that create this crap realize that the "birds and the bees" are a critical life source for human survival??? Even the earths survival? really wonder how much incentives our government is really receiving from Monsanto. Why would the allow such a thing to take place and put in our food? Why don't these people think long term and learn from our past mistakes??? Do they not care about the welfare of their grandchildren? This is our home and the only one we have. WTF???? Human destruction is just a form of greediness that will end up killing us.

So is the governments idea to replace the honeybee with GMO products??? With GMO's, you really don't need bees anymore. Has these scientist that create this crap realize that the "birds and the bees" are a critical life source for human survival??? Even the earths survival? really wonder how much incentives our government is really receiving from Monsanto. Why would the allow such a thing to take place and put in our food? Why don't these people think long term and learn from our past mistakes??? Do they not care about the welfare of their grandchildren? This is our home and the only one we have. WTF???? Human destruction is just a form of greediness that will end up killing us.

I only recently came to grasp just how feeble, underfunded and understaffed the EPA is. What shocked me was to learn that in their history they have permitted some 80,000 toxic chemicals, barring only FIVE.
Astounding.
If we're going to police industry, we have got to strengthen the EPA.
Please let me know what I can do to politically support your stand for bees.

In deep appreciation for earthjustice,
Ms. Barcilon

I only recently came to grasp just how feeble, underfunded and understaffed the EPA is. What shocked me was to learn that in their history they have permitted some 80,000 toxic chemicals, barring only FIVE.
Astounding.
If we're going to police industry, we have got to strengthen the EPA.
Please let me know what I can do to politically support your stand for bees.

In deep appreciation for earthjustice,
Ms. Barcilon

I only recently came to grasp just how feeble, underfunded and understaffed the EPA is. What shocked me was to learn that in their history they have permitted some 80,000 toxic chemicals, barring only FIVE.
Astounding.
If we're going to police industry, we have got to strengthen the EPA.
Please let me know what I can do to politically support your stand for bees.

In deep appreciation for earthjustice,
Ms. Barcilon

I only recently came to grasp just how feeble, underfunded and understaffed the EPA is. What shocked me was to learn that in their history they have permitted some 80,000 toxic chemicals, barring only FIVE.
Astounding.
If we're going to police industry, we have got to strengthen the EPA.
Please let me know what I can do to politically support your stand for bees.

In deep appreciation for earthjustice,
Ms. Barcilon

If people would put their health first in all decisions, then the health of all living creatures would be protected. Toxic pesticides are responsible for many diseases. Feeding your children with poison laced food makes you guilty of destroying their health.
Without he bees and the trees we have nothing.

Everyone should be worried

The people at FDA,EPA and biotech companies (all the same thing), aren't stupid. They know this threatens our food supply. They're knowingly allowing it. Why?

Any farmer of any worth knows the value of bees. We pledge to continue to plant bee friendly plants and not use pesticides nor herbicides.

What I'm going to say sounds really paranoid, but I think the chemical industry (CI) and the FDA is in cahoots. Why does the CI want the bees and other polinators destroyed? So they can take control of our food supply and us.

Please license only pesticides that demonstrate limited or no impact on honey bees. The long term national agricultural mission must tend to broader long-term matters of environmental sustainability. That simple guiding principle is critical even to our own long-term well being.

stop killing bees. It will be better for everyone. We need to clean up our environment.

Fod God's sake stop this insanity! We need our bees. Don't allow them to be poisoned.

For our human generations to come as well as for the sake of the bees and other creatures. we need to protect our environment, and the EPA has been trusted by us to help to do that.

For Shame EPA and your cronies.... The almighty dollar means nothing at judgment Day !!!!

bees are what make our vegetables pollinate and bloom, and who make our gardens so spectaculor in the spring, summer, fall with sll the blooms

debbiemeadows001@gmail.coms

Since the EPA, FDA & government entities are taking money from the chemical companies & we cannot trust the powers that be to protect our environmental & citizens rights or well being, we must begin in our own homes, communities & wherever we can ,to protect ourselves & our environments.
Keeping bees, using only heirloom & organic means & methods to grow our own foods, supporting also the local co-ops & organic farmers, eating organically, teaching anyone, esp. children how to grow real foods & trying to elect folks whom represent clean environments, foods & good health of peoples is where we need to concentrate.
So we must begin in our own homes & communities with like minded peoples to ensure our health & the health of our environments.
I use organic vegetable, leaf & fruit compost that I make myself or buy ,if need be, to fertilize my organic home grown crops, I leave flowering broccoli or whatever I can to keep the bees around, easier done on my western coastal property where temps. are milder but do what one can.

At a time when we see the frightening rate of honeybee decline, you add yet another killer pesticide to the toxic mix?? We are poisoning this amazing planet at faster than ever rates. Greed and profits are more important than protecting our world and all who live on it. Wake up! There are consequences to these damaging actions. The longer we continue to blind ourselves to the consequences the greater the damage and the more difficult to undo. Stop letting the pressure of big business keep you from doing the right thing. This is what you're there for - to protect us from the very groups who apparently have you in their pockets. Or better said, their wallets.

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