Perhaps you have been following the alarming reports over the last few years of massive die-offs of honeybees. Beekeepers and others in the U.S. and many other countries report steep declines in honeybee populations.¬† In some parts of the U.S, honeybee populations have fallen by as much as 70% in just a few years.
While I always find it painful when any of our fellow species is threatened, this rapid loss of honeybees could have a dire impact on all of us humans.¬† Honeybees pollinate so many food crops that scientists say about one in three mouthfuls we humans eat is made possible by honeybee pollination.
After several years of study, many scientists believe the main reason for what they call ‘colony collapse disorder’ is a pesticide called clothianidin.¬† Used on corn and other agricultural crops, clothianidin is part of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which have been in use since the mid-1990s—the same time mass bee disappearances began occurring.
Scientists believe that honeybees are ingesting clothianidin on their daily pollination rounds.¬† Like other neonicotinoids, clothianidin blocks specific neural pathways in insects’ central nervous system, thus impairing communication, homing and foraging abilities, and also interfering with insects’ flight and their ability to¬† discriminate by smell.
Clothianidin has been banned in Italy, France, and Germany.¬† But in the U.S., clothianidin has been used widely for well over a decade, even though it was never officially licensed by the EPA. While the EPA is required by law to license only pesticides that meet standards for protection of human and environmental health, pesticide law allows EPA to waive those requirements and to allow the use of a new pesticide on a ‘conditional’ basis when health and safety data are lacking.¬† Even though the pesticide manufacturer is required to submit valid safety to the EPA by the end of the conditional use period, clothianidin’s manufacturer Bayer, has never done so.¬† EPA has failed to follow its own rules, failing to protect human and environmental safety.
The future of honeybees and our own future are inextricably linked.¬† Please strengthen the public call for a halt to the use of neonicotinoids like clothianidin.¬†¬† Please help stop honeybees’ decline and restore their populations.¬† You can help by doing the following:
- Contact the Bayer Corporation, and insist that they stop marketing clothianidin because it is a serious threat to our ability to continue to grow the foods we depend on. ¬† https://secure.bayer.com/bayer/contact.aspx?lang=en
- Call EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at 202-564-4700.¬† Urge the agency to suspend the registration of clothianidin to stop the rapid and steep decline of U.S. honeybee populations, essential to the continued pollination of necessary food crops.
- Learn more about honeybees and the threats they face by checking out the Beyond Pesticides website, http://www.beyondpesticides.org/¬†¬† April Moore