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Bees are continuing to die at an alarming rate.  

The AP report on usnews.com states:  “More than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey.

Since April 2014, beekeepers lost 42.1 percent of their colonies, the second highest loss rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”  (May 13, 2015)

That is a tremendous rate of loss and if that keeps up, we (as in, THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE) is in SERIOUS trouble.

ONE IN THREE BITES OF FOOD!!

This post by the Washington Post shows the steady increase of the loss:

Why are honey bees so important?

Honey bees help plants reproduce.  Without this happening, food does not grow.  Bees, and a few other pollinators, carry pollen from bloom to bloom, which is critical for the reproduction of plants.  As this becomes more of a problem, a short-term effect will be higher prices for foods, and a long-term effect will be drastically reduced selection of foods.

 Why are honey bees dying?

A 2014 Harvard study states that “neonicotinoids are killing bees at an exponential rate, they are the direct cause of the phenomenon labeled as colony collapse disorder (CCD). Neonicotinoid’s are the world’s most widely used insecticides.”

“A paper published in the journal Nature discusses how bees are twice as likely to die when exposed to pesticides; two-thirds of the bees are lost when exposed compared to a third when not exposed. The exposed bees are also half as successful in gathering food.”

How can you help?

–One way in which is to support legislation banning pesticides that are killing bees.  Get involved.  There are few causes which impact everyone in the human race in such a widespread and impactful way.

–You can also plant a flowering plants and create a butterfly and bee garden – an area of refuge the pollinators may be drawn to.

There are many plants bees love to pollinate!  Among these are the butterfly bush, bee balm, and many, many others.  This area of pollinator-friendly plants would be a great area to create, adjacent to your garden – your vegetables will thank you AND it’s great for the bees!

–Be sure to buy plants that have NOT been pre-treated with pesticides.

Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute in 2013 found 54 percent of common garden plants purchased at top retailers, including Lowe’s and Home Depot, contained neonicotinoid pesticides, which studies show can harm or kill bees and other pollinators, with no warning to consumers.

Since then, letters were sent and awareness raised to stop this practice.

Lowe’s commitments:

“A time-bound phase out of neonicotinoid (“neonics”) containing products in shelf products and plants, to be completed by the Spring of 2019, as suitable alternatives become available. For nurseries, Lowe’s will phase-out neonics for bee-attractive plants, and plants where regulatory requirements do not require the application of neonics (certain states require the application of neonics on certain plants and nursery material). Lowe’s plans to implement this phase-out as soon as is practicable.

Redoubling pesticide management efforts and the addition of an application reduction plan with plant suppliers, including the collection and sharing of growers’ best practices around use of biological controls and integrated pest management (“IPM”) practices, and research into best alternatives. Nurseries will be required to disclose to Lowe’s the amount of pesticides used per acre, or a similar metric.

Increased focus on consumer education initiatives including in-store distribution of EPA and Pollinator Partnership pesticide brochures and product tags which will highlight the health of bees and other pollinators.

Funding of pollinator gardens through the company’s philanthropic and volunteer programs.

Disclosure of these efforts in its 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Continued dialogue with Domini, Trillium and Friends of the Earth focused on implementation and public reporting of these commitments.”

Get informed.

Celebrate those that make our varied food supply possible.

Spread the word.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Chondra Rankin!  My passion is teaching and inspiring YOU how to become prepared to grasp the luxury of designing your life well - so you can live your life... your way!

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