It’s Time To Protect Our Bees

July 23, 2013 | By | 2 Replies More

Flickr - bee - wwarbyApril McCarthy, Prevent Disease
Waking Times

EU commissioners, Capitol Hill and international agencies are finally taking notice to mass bee deaths around the world. A few months after the groundbreaking decision to suspend the use of three neonicotinoids shown to be highly toxic to bees, the European Commission is moving forward again with a proposal to restrict the use of the insecticide fipronil, which has also been identified as posing an acute risk to honey bees. America’s imperiled pollinators will also soon receive long overdue protection after a new bill passes aimed to suspend neonicotinoids, a class of systemic pesticides that are killing bees.

Simple, straightforward and commonsense protections have not been updated for more than 20 years. In February 2013, Beyond Pesticidesjoined with a coalition of environmental and farmworker organizations tosubmit a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging the agency implement these long overdue revisions to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). An estimated 5.1 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops annually in the United States, and farmworkers face the greatest threat from these chemicals than any other sector of society, with thousands of farmworkers each year experiencing pesticide poisoning.

The federal government estimates that there are 10,000-20,000 acute pesticide poisonings among workers in the agricultural industry annually, a figure that likely understates the actual number of acute poisonings since many affected farmworkers may not seek care from a physician. As a result of cumulative long-term exposures, they and their children, who often times also work on the farm or live nearby, are at risk of developing serious chronic health problems such as cancer, neurological impairments and Parkinson’s disease. Children, according to a recentAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report, face even greater health risks compared to adults when exposed to pesticides.

The United States is lagging behind our European neighbors when it comes to the protection of pollinator health. Earlier this year, the EU announced a two-year suspension on these bee-killing pesticides. Now it’s time for the U.S. to act.

A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientific risk assessment, published on May 27, 2013, found that seeds treated with pesticides containing fipronil pose an acute risk to Europe’s honey bee population. According to this assessment, it was found that fipronil poses a high acute risk to honeybees when used as a seed treatment for corn. Specifically, EFSA concluded that high acute risk from dust drift resulting from treated corn exists, and identified several data gaps and study limitations for other field crops. Data on nectar and pollen could not be evaluated.

23 Member States supported the fipronil restriction, 2 Member States voted against and 3 Member States abstained during the standing committee vote. This latest EU-wide restriction comes in the wake of a recent Commission decision to restrict the use of three pesticides that belong to the neonicotinoid family — imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, which will come into force on December 1, 2013 as well as a guidance document on a risk assessment of plant protection products on bees published by EFSA on July 12, 2013.

The EU’s proposed measure does the following:

  • Restricts the crops where fipronil can be used as a seed treatment;
  • Authorizations may be granted for the treatment of seeds that will only be sown in greenhouses. However, this exception does not apply to leeks, shallots, onions and brassica vegetables (such as brussel sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli), where treated seeds can also be sown in the field, as the harvest of these crops takes place before flowering;
  • The treatment of maize and sunflower seeds will no longer be authorized.

According to Beyond Pesticides’ BEE Protective campaign, outside the neonicotinoid class of insecticides, fipronil has been heavily implicated in elevated bee toxicity and decline. The chemical is widely used for indoor and turf pest control in the U.S., and is a generation of insecticide that is highly toxic. Fipronil has been shown to reduce behavioral function and learning performances in honeybees. One 2011 French study reported that newly emerged honey bees exposed to low doses of fipronil andthiacloprid succumbed more readily to the parasite Nosema ceranaecompared to healthy bees, supporting the hypothesis that the synergistic combination of parasitic infection and high pesticide exposures in beehives may contribute to colony decline. An extensive overview of themajor studies showing the effects of pesticides on pollinator health can be found on Beyond Pesticides’ What the Science Show webpage.

So what is the U.S. doing? The Save America’s Pollinators Act will suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides until a full review of scientific evidence and a field study demonstrates no harmful impacts to pollinators.

“For over a decade now, honey bees have been suffering rapid population losses as a result of a phenomenon known as ‘colony collapse disorder.’ Another decade of these mass die-offs will severely threaten our agricultural economy and food supply. Scientists have reported that common symptoms of this decline are attributed to the use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. The ‘Saving America’s Pollinators Act’ will address this threat to honey bee populations by suspending the use of certain neonicotinoids and by requiring the EPA to conduct a full review of the scientific evidence before allowing the entry of other neonicotinoids into the market.”

The systemic residues of these pesticides not only contaminate pollen, nectar, and the wider environment, but have repeatedly been identified as highly toxic to honey bees.

With one in three bites of food reliant on bees and other beneficial species for pollination, the decline of honey bees and other pollinatorsdemands swift action. Mounting scientific evidence, along with unprecedented annual colony losses at 40 to 90 percent this year, demonstrate the impacts that these pesticides are having on these fragile species.

4 Ways You Can Help Bees 

  • Cut Back (or Out) Lawn Pesticides and Fertilizers Many common lawn and garden chemicals are lethal to bees, while others may weaken their immune systems, allowing parasites, disease or other stresses to finish them off. Instead, switch to a strategy of integrated pest management or opt for natural, organic fertilizers and biological controls.
  • Cultivate Bee-Friendly Plants Just as many plants need bees for pollination, bees need plants for nectar and pollen. Not anything green will do, however. In fact, bees tend to be attracted to blue, purple and yellow flowers. Consult with your local nursery or university extension to select appropriate varieties for your area (and view a suggested listhere). Research shows gardens with 10 or more bee-friendly plants support the most visitors.
  • Let There Be Weeds Many common weeds, such as dandelions and clover, are popular with bees. Go ahead and let some flower, then to keep things tidy, pull them up after they”ve gone to seed. Avoid Mulch Madness Many native bees tunnel and live in the soil, but can be blocked by heavy layers of woodchips or plastic liners. Learn to edge your lawn tastefully without completely shutting out bees.
  • Help Your Town Protect Bee Habitat Some of the biggest threats to bees are urban sprawl and intensive land management. But you can reduce this trend by volunteering to plant wildflowers and other native vegetation along roadways and other common areas, and advocating for smart growth and sensible limits to development where you live.

The Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2013 has been endorsed by the American Bird Conservancy, Beyond Pesticides, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Environmental Health, the Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice, Equal Exchange, Family Farm Defenders, Friends of the Earth, Food Democracy Now!, Food and Water Watch, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, the National Cooperative Grocers Association, the Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network North America, the Sierra Club, and the Xerces Society.

About the Author

April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.

Sources:
thedailygreen.com
beyondpesticides.org

~~ Help Waking Times to raise the vibration by sharing this article with the buttons below…

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: Uncategorized

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. mona seering says:

    How do I forward this very well written article to congressman Dave camp? I don’t see gmail as an option in my list. I have decided to follow ted Nugent’s advice and become a daily constituent. He is republican and most likely has no idea how important my neighbors and I feel about the pesticides used on the girls across the road and GMO corn grown EVErY year is killing our bees. Molly has to buy a new hive every year. At 500.00 this is a big commitment for her family. Thank you.:)

  2. mona seering says:

    Girls is supposed to be field. Auto word selection can be misleading…

Leave a Reply

Must Watch Videos

Mass Produced Security Robots Introduced in U.S.

Mass Produced Security Robots Introduced in U.S.













Waking Times

While debate continues to rage about the threat of autonomous “killer robots,” the mechanized replacement of humans continues across the workforce. In fact, the robotics industry notched record sales in the first half of 2014 in North America, and there appears to be no indications of a slowdown.… More

August 19, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
The Bitcoin Novelty – A Revolutionary Idea

The Bitcoin Novelty – A Revolutionary Idea













Kevin Sterne, Contributor
Waking Times

Even though the crypto currency, Bitcoin, isn’t exactly new, it still hasn’t infiltrated the mainstream ethos. But it’s getting there. You may have heard the term outside the fringe Internet message boards, or dark bar alleyways—that seemingly hacker-fancied geekdom thing that probably sprang from … More

August 19, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
Happy Ending? Or Happy Now

Happy Ending? Or Happy Now













Zen Gardener, Guest
Waking Times

No matter where I turn the awakening is screaming out at me. Every event and announcement of intention by the dark side, no matter how destructive and disturbing, is only precipitating more conscious awareness and very present, personal involvement by humanity. It’s a thrilling … More

August 14, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
Could This be the First News Channel Run by Teens?

Could This be the First News Channel Run by Teens?













Heather Callaghan, Contributor
Waking Times

Politics affects everyone, so everyone deserves a voice; especially the youth…

It seems like everywhere I go online, I am met with the diligence of Andrew Demeter. I wrote about his award-winning mini-documentary “We The People, Genetically Modified.” Expertly produced, it encompassed a … More

August 12, 2014 | By | Reply More
How to Create a Self-Sustainable Food System

How to Create a Self-Sustainable Food System













Dr. Mercola
Waking Times

Industrial chemical-based agriculture, which produces the vast majority of US food crops, is actually destroying the soil that makes the growing of food possible in the first place.

This is not true in other countries. Worldwide, 70 percent of the food is grown in backyards or … More

August 11, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More

Activism Works

As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry

As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry













, EcoWatch
Waking Times

We’ve got this.

Thanks to the courageous and indefatigable efforts of pipeline fighters everywhere, the tide has finally turned on Keystone XL. As it becomes increasingly clear that Keystone XL’s northern leg is not going through, it is time to set our sights … More

August 4, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
Seizing Control of Our Destinies

Seizing Control of Our Destinies













Julian Rose, Contributor
Waking Times

In 1381, at a time of great repression for the British agricultural work force, an extraordinary people’s revolutionary named Wat Tyler sprang to his feet and announced, “England should be a nation of self governing communities,” to which he added, “ No lord shall exercise … More

July 28, 2014 | By | 5 Replies More
Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project

Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project













Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog
Waking Times

On Friday morning, Dan A. Hughes Oil Company and the Collier Resources Company agreed to terminate their lease agreement, with the exception of the Collier Hogan 20-3H well, next to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida.

Hughes Oil dropped its plans to drill … More

July 14, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
A Forgotten Community in New Orleans: Life on a Superfund Site

A Forgotten Community in New Orleans: Life on a Superfund Site













Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog
Waking Times

Shannon Rainey lives in a house that was built on top of a Superfund site in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

“I bought my house when I was 25, and thirty years later, I still can’t get out,” she told DeSmogBlog.

Rainey’s … More

June 23, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More
Wave of GMO Labeling Victories Emboldens Movement to Take Back Food Democracy

Wave of GMO Labeling Victories Emboldens Movement to Take Back Food Democracy













Michele Simon, EcoWatch
Waking Times

The East Coast has been getting most of the attention lately on the state by state effort to label genetically-engineered food. Vermont recently passed a bill and New York State’s bill is now moving. But let’s not forget about the western states, which are also … More

June 11, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More