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How We Could Prevent Massive Bee Deaths and Save Our Food

Despite scientific evidence indicting certain common pesticides, the EPA continues to allow their use.

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Theobald’s beekeeping business has operated at a loss for several years now, and he expects it will this year, too. His honey crop this year was just 10 percent of what was considered normal before the bees began dying. After the webinar, he said of it, “I want to give the EPA some credit but they're making it awful hard for me. That summit wasn't a summit. It was a propagandizing opportunity for the chemical industry.”

He continued, saying, “What they've done is they've turned the environment into the experiment. The EPA has distorted its sense of its role to this sham they call mitigation. Just release it to the environment… and then purport to mitigate the damages. They're not mitigating the damages… Who's in the driver's seat here? This is horrible mismanagement of a regulatory agency.”

Although there’s little private citizens can do, beyond submitting comments to the EPA about these pesticides, contacting your representatives, and perhaps even getting your own beehive, you might be surprised to find out that these toxic pesticides are widely available for home use. Bayer sells imidacloprid in products sold for use on roses, flowers, shrubs, trees (even fruit and nut trees!), and lawns. Even the flea treatment Advantage sold for your pet contains it!

If you use a landscaping service or hire an arborist, they might have access to even more potent forms of these pesticides. Be sure you know what they are using – and remember that the bees are consuming any nectar or pollen produced by your plants, even if you think of those plants as non-edible.

Jill Richardson is the founder of the blog La Vida Locavore and a member of the Organic Consumers Association policy advisory board. She is the author of "Recipe for America: Why Our Food System Is Broken and What We Can Do to Fix It."

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