Last year I learned first hand how powerful and important bees are to a garden. My first attempt at a 100% organic garden last summer was enormously fruitful except for the zucchinis – which are pollinated by bees. Nearly every baby zucchini would wither and die because the flower had not been fertilized. Understandably, this was extremely disappointing to me, but even more frightening is the fact that this is becoming an epidemic. Bees are rapidly dying across America due to Colony Collapse Disorder.
It’s so bad that 1/3 of the United States’ bee population dies every year. Many new studies are pointing to the insecticide Clothianidin which is widely used because of its low risk to humans. Though Clothianidin hasn’t been directly related to CCD, it is the currently the prime suspect. The EPA is currently under review to ban the insecticide.
Now before you start pumping your fists in favour of fewer bee stings, consider that 90% of the world’s food supply is from plants pollinated by bees. Not to be overly dramatic, but without bees entire ecosystems would break down… including ones that feed us.
Colony Collapse Disorder first emerged around 2006 when beekeepers reported the sudden disappearance of their bee colonies. Though their have been reported cases of disappearing bees throughout history, nothing so severe as our current dilemma has ever occurred. To give you an idea of the population losses, consider that in 1947 the U.S. bee population was 5.9 million, 4.5 million in 1980, and only 2.44 million in 2008.
Clothianidin is currently banned in France, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia, and despite what the EPA deemed as insufficient testing by parent company Bayer CropScience, we could potentially see this insecticide in use until 2018.
Though you might not be able to physically resuscitate bees (please don’t try), you can help convince the EPA to ban a potential cause of their deaths. Credo Action Network has a great petition, and, as always, write or call your representatives.