Dear fellow bee lovers,
It’s no secret that bees are in trouble. All around the world, people are mobilizing to try to do something about it: hundreds of studies and thousands of people are focusing on how to help alleviate the stresses that are causing native and commercial bees alike to die off in alarming numbers. Europe has taken an important step in banning neonicotinoid pesticides, but here in the U.S. we aren’t doing as well. To wit:
Pesticide giant Syngenta just asked the EPA to raise the “acceptable” level for neonic residues by 40,000%. Say what??
Syngenta is arguing that they need the increase so they can spray it rather than coat the seed in it, which might actually be good for bees – seed treatments affect the entire plant, whereas sprays “should” stick to the leaf. The big caveat here is that, for this to actually work for bees, it couldn’t be administered when the crop was flowering, nor while any other plant was flowering nearby. I personally have zero confidence in that scenario playing out – what does a Big Ag farmer care about some weeds flowering in his ditches? (Not to mention these crops are often sprayed while flowering anyway, despite very clear labels prohibiting it.)
So, what can we do? Three things.
1) Submit a public comment to the EPA. Go here: http://www.regulations.gov, and in the search field enter the docket number EPA–HQ–OPP–2014–0008. Several seemingly identical search results are returned; click “comment now” on the uppermost one. The comment period closes on October 6.
2) Donate to Sum Of Us, which is doing tremendous work on our pollinators’ behalf.
3) Buy organic seeds and plants. These days, even plants marked “bee friendly” are likely to have been treated with a pesticide, which creates toxic pollen. The only surefire way to provide SAFE forage is to buy organic.
Thanks for everything you do to help our pollinators!