Small Victory for Bees in EU – Yes or No?

The Bee Population is Being Scrutinised In Europe. Here’s Why…

According to Greenpeace, the European Commission adopted a two-year ban on three bee-toxic pesticides. Scientists will use the two year timeframe to watch the recovery rate of the bees and they may consider a longer-term ban on these and other pesticides. Eight European countries have also banned genetically modified foods.

According to a review in the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law, despite petitions, the EPA has decided to leave the pesticide on the market and in use while there is further research done. The pesticide manufacturers and agribusiness companies claim that there is not enough evidence to show that there is a real problem with pesticides and the bee population.

Pesticides that kill bees

The bee-toxic insecticides and pesticides that are sprayed, dripped, or irrigated into plants are known as neonicotinoids. The word nicotine is in there because these are made from a derivative of nicotine. The chemicals are made by Bayer (patented in 1986) and Syngenta. Pesticides like these are, according to one toxicity study from the University of Florida, highly toxic to bees, and can be mildly toxic to birds and fish.

If you aren’t eating organic, you’re eating pesticides

Because these insecticides/pesticides are systemic, the entire plant absorbs them, from root to fruit to pollen. If you wash your produce, this means that you can’t wash off this kind of sneaky pesticide. Unless you specifically purchase produce that was grown organically and without pesticides, you are probably eating this bee-killer.

According to a BBC report, ‘Pesticides made in this way are water soluble, which means they can be applied to the soil and taken up by the whole plant – they are called “systemic”, meaning they turn the plant itself into a poison factory, with toxins coming from roots, leaves, stems and pollen. Neonicotinoids are often applied as seed treatments, which means coating the seeds before planting.’

There were 1142 accidental poisonings with these specific bee-killing pesticides reported to six Texas poison control centers between 2000-2012. These accidental poisonings are believed to be from farm workers who were exposed to the chemicals while working for farmers who used the products.

What you can do to help

Share what you have learned with others and spread the word about protecting our food production. Here’s how to help create a resurging bee population here as well:

* Buy organic, pesticide-free produce

* Request organic produce whenever possible dining out

* Grow your own organic produce

* Support local organic farmers

* Plant bee-friendly flowers

* Allow some natural areas in your yard or garden that aren’t weeded

* Make fresh water sources available

* Don’t use chemicals in your garden

* Tell legislators about your health preferences when it comes to how your food is produced

In June 2014, President Obama announced the formation of a task force to identify a Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. Although the goals of the group are impressive, if more people followed the above steps, the honeybee population could see a resurgence here in America as well.

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