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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:

If the honeybees disappear, wouldn't that be a great opportunity for GMO companies to "save" the day (not to mention profit greatly)from all their self pollinating franken-seeds?

People should have known by now, that ALL public servant parasites are in the back pockets of the crooked corporations. We are controlled by these corporate crooks and they in turn control OUR public servants!

Abolish all chemicals and poisons from planet Earth, Thank you God, Thank You:)

Any attack on Bees should be hit in lower Calif. , Arizona to stop African Bees that are invading Our USA Honey Bee population. Scientist should know the African Bee is an attack vessel. There fore scientist can use Immediate celluar attack on their DNA. DNA practice is dangerous but when you need to pick out a killer out of 1,000 you must not kill all. Test queens for DNA mix. Test bee nest for DNA MIX. Lots of testing but ends single prick instead of genicide of a species the Human Race is dependent on. Killing all Bees means Killing the Human Race. Very weird that the Federal Government does attack us the last year an half.

Without the pollinators, we have no natural foods and we are done.

Bee's make more than 1\3 of my food, I eat about 60 grams of bee pollen before every meal, and tons of royal jelly as well. And when I get sick, I increase those dosages and add bee propolis to the mix. I always get over my sicknesses rapidly and never need to go to the Doc. Also, I only get sick maybe once every 3 years, so I am very glad to see that you are fighting for them.

No more toxic pesticides. We will all pay dearly for the profits of a few greedy corporations if we do not stop them now.

Approved for what? Because if it's approved for use in baits, then it won't be toxic to bees... If it's approved for arboreal spraying, then that's a different story... Clarification is needed

I looked it up... It's a systemic insecticide that targets sap feeders such as aphids. It is introduced into the root system of the plant, and then is distributed throughout the plant. When an insect feeds on the sap of the plant it gets a fatal dose. It seems like it would also be present in the pollen, so in effect the plant itself would become a poison bait trap for bees. If it were present in the pollen, then it would be taken back to the colony, and would then be ingested by the whole colony. This seems like a terrible idea to me, and I would hope that they did sufficient testing to verify that it is not present in the pollen... I say more study is needed.

THUMBS UP!!!!!

This is an outrage!! They were already disappearing before this!! We need a solution now!!

This is an injustice to our planet that the EPA would allow yet another toxic chemical into our environment. Shame on you and on the people of the USA in allowing this to happen.

SHAME ON THE EPA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We must protect the bees so we have a future.

Having been a beekeeper myself, I can tell you that honeybees are very industrious but also very sensitive to chemicals in the environment. They are our all around BEST pollinators and we would be in serious trouble with our food supply if we exterminated them.
Pesticides are passé, manufacturers! Where there is a will, there IS a way. I garden organically and there are many ways to keep down the bugs and weeds and natural methods to eliminate or minimize the problems which are cost effective and PROMOTE a healthy environment. I use them all and it isn't much more work..plus you don't get the unwanted side effects of pesticides on your own health. It's just common sense! Keep the bees, lose the pesticides....PERIOD!

STUPIDITY has been a prerequisite to the EPA.

Science is kept in the closet, so GREED can flourish.

Stop the outrageous decisions and make the EPA protect not destroy.

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