The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a study regarding the 23% loss of hives experienced by America's beekeepers during the winter of 2013-2014. The conclusion was that neonicotinoids were to blame.
What are neonicotinoids?
Often simply called neonics, this is a widely-used class of neuro-toxic pesticides marketed by Bayer (yes, BAYER!!). It's a type of insecticide that affects the central nervous system of insects, paralyzing and killing them. The plants' seeds are coated with the neonicotinoids, which then spreads to the leaves, flowers, pollen, and nectar. According to multiple studies, the chronic exposure to the neonics is killing the bees, by disrupting their immune and nervous systems.
Beekeepers noticed something strange going on a decade ago when their foraging bees would fly off in search of pollen and nectar. Many never returned. For social insects, this is abnormal and something bees simply do not do... unless something happens to them that prevents their return.
Neonics cause bees to have problems with their mobility, navigation, feeding, foraging, memory, and learning. That means, obviously, the pesticides destroy any hope of a honeybee's survival. Thanks, Bayer.
While there are certainly other factors contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder, it is clear that Bayer's neonicotinoids are largely to blame. The European Union banned the use of most widely used neonics. But the U.S. EPA refused to do so. Hmmm... could Bayer be lining someone's pockets??
So, as the EPA drags its feet on this important issue, more and more honeybees are dying and crops are failing. The result is, sadly, more and more small family farms and beekeepers are going out of business. Does anyone even care?
Well I know I do. And I bet you do, too. That's why my husband and I refuse to buy any products manufactured by Bayer. I hope you'll join us in this boycott. Bayer does not deserve our money.
And when planting time rolls around next spring, make sure you buy seeds and plants not treated with neonicotinoids. If your local nursery doesn't know what you're talking about, run away empty-handed. Only those who are proactively avoiding the neonics are protecting their plants from them.
Let's join forces to save the bees!