*This is a sponsored blogger campaign on behalf of Mamavation. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in anyway. #BeeBold
For the last five years, my husband and I have been apart of our town’s community garden. Living in a condo, we have always been sad we haven’t been able to have our own garden and this has enabled us to grow organic produce.
The problem we are faced with:
Something we have been noticing is the decline in the number of bees coming to our garden. We’ve partnered with Friends of the Earth and their BeeAction campaign to help spread the word about changing the laws to restrict neonic pesticides in the United States, just like our friends in Europe and Canada have already done. We’re calling on the Obama administration to immediately ban pesticides linked to global bee declines to protect the nation’s food supply, environment and economy.
Friends of the Earth is very concerned about the continued and unsustainable losses of bees and and other essential pollinators and what effects this will have on our food system and the environment. Bees are dying at alarming rates, and neonic pesticides are a key contributor to the problem based on a strong and growing body of science. Neonics are toxic to bees, long-lived, and systemic – meaning they move through the plant and are in pollen – plus they widely used both in agriculture and around the home. Neonics have four strikes against them. A study by Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute found 36 out of 71 “bee friendly” garden plants – 51% — contained neonic pesticides that are harmful to bees, with no warning to gardeners.
People should buy organic products or talk to businesses to ensure they are selling products that do not contain neonics
Bees are essential for our food system:
- Bees and other pollinators are essential for two-thirds of the food crops humans eat everyday such as almonds, squash, cucumbers, apples, oranges, blueberries, and peaches.
- One out of every three bites of food we eat is pollinated by honeybees.
Bees contribute over $20 billion to the U.S. economy and $217 billion to the global economy.
Bees are dying at alarming rates, and neonic pesticides are a key contributor to the problem based on a strong and growing body of science:
- Beekeepers have lost an average of 30% of their hives in recent years, with some beekeepers losing all of their hives and many leaving the industry. This is too high to be sustainable.
- Recent losses are staggering making it difficult for beekeepers to stay in business and for farmers to meet their pollination needs for important crops like almonds and berries.
- A growing body of science implicates neonic pesticides – one of the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, manufactured by Bayer and Syngenta – as a key factor in recent bee die-offs.
- Neonics can kill bees outright and make them more vulnerable to pests, pathogens and other stressors while impair their foraging and feeding abilities, reproduction and memory.
- Neonics are widely used in the U.S. on 140 crops and for cosmetic use in gardens. Neonics can last in soil, water and the environment for months to years to come.
- Neonics are also harming other helpful insects and animals critical to sustainable food production and healthy ecosystems, like wild bees, butterflies, dragonflies, lacewings, and ladybugs, birds, earthworms, mammals and aquatic insects.
In the face of mounting evidence and growing consumer demand, a growing number of responsible retailers have decided to be part of the solution to the bee crisis and are taking bee-harming pesticides off their sonics from plants by the end of 2014 or else they will carry warning labels.
- Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement store has decided to label plants with neonicotinoids and is working with its suppliers to “find alternative insecticides for protecting live goods and bees.
- Lowe’s, the second largest home improvement retailer in the world, made a public commitment to eliminate neonicotinoid pesticides from its stores including products and plants treated with them, redouble existing integrated pest management practices for suppliers and provide additional material educating customers about pollinator health.
- Whole Foods issued a new product rating system, which identifies pollinator protection as a priority by restricting neonicotinoid pesticides.
What am I doing about this problem?
We are creating a safe haven for bees at our community garden with a Friends of the Earth beautiful bamboo bee house. The bee house is designed to attract mason bees, who are non-stinging super-pollinators. Each mason bee can visit as many as 1,000 blooms everyday! That is 20 times more than a honeybee!
In addition to the bee house, we’ve done our best to make a sanctuary for the bees.
- Provided a habitat like a diverse range of organic native and pollinator friendly plants and flowers,
- Provided a water source. Bees need lots of water to help them make honey and to keep the hive cool and healthy. A hive on a hot day can use over a quart of water!
- Provided a nest with our bee house, that is protected from wind,
- We’ve gone chemical free and have avoided all pesticides,
- We are trying to embrace weeds since bees, butterflies and beneficial insects need dandelions, clovers and other weeds.
What can you do?
Besides creating a safe haven in your own yard, you are urged to:
- Ask local garden retailers to stop selling neonicotinoids and pants pre-treated with pesticides. Visit beeaction.org for a sample letter to bring to your local retailer,
- Call President Obama and urge him to direct his administration to protect bees from toxic pesticides at 202-456-1111
- Contact your Members of Congress and encourge them to support the Saving America’s Pollinators Act at 202-224-3121.
- Over the month of August, Friends of the Earth is encouraging folks to host a brunch for bees to ramp up pressure on Ace and True Value to urge them to stop selling bee-killing pesticides. Sign up to host a brunch: http://action.foe.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18183
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