In the past 5 years, honeybees worldwide have suffered a dramatic population decline, including a loss of 30% of American bees. This winter was the worst so far, with many U.S. beekeepers reporting the death toll as high as 50% .
Many agricultural crops rely on bee pollination to survive, as do the people and animals that eat those crops. The United Nations reports that of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees .
The recent mass bee deaths, known as colony collapse disorder, have been linked to neonicotinoids , a widely-used insecticide that is incorporated into, among others, Monsanto genetically engineered corn. Following the European Food Safety Authority’s statement that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptably high risk to bees, the European Union placed a two-year ban on neonicotinoids . We demand that the United States also take immediate action to protect our bees by banning the use of neonicotinoids until they can be been proven safe for bees and the environment.
1. "Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms", The New York Times, 28 Mar 2013
2. "Global Honey Bee Disorders & Other Threats to Insect Pollinators", United Nations, 2010
3. "US Rejects EU Claim of Insecticide as Prime Reason for Bee Colony Collapse", The Guardian, 2 May 2013