Neonicotinoids, which belong to a systemic class of neuro active chemicals related to nicotine, have been proven to be highly toxic to honeybees. Honeybees are NJ's honorary state insect. They perform the important task of pollinating our food crops. Honeybees are dying and we need to act now. New Jersey beekeepers are struggling to stay in business. If pollination fails, who will pollinate our food?
Everyone by now knows that honeybee populations are in perilous decline. Beekeepers are experiencing massive, unprecedented losses of their colonies. This malady is called "Colony Collapse Disorder" or CCD. Neonicotinoids, which are a class of systemic neurotoxic insecticides, have been implicated in the disappearance of honeybees and in CCD. These pesticides target the insects' nervous system by activating a receptor blocker which interferes with communication, feeding, navigation, immunity, reproductive and developmental health and eventually causes paralysis and death. The family of neonicotinoids include clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, thiacloprid and acetamiprid.
In Europe, beekeepers rallied to the bees' aid and asked their ministries to ban the suspect chemicals. In response, France, Germany, Italy and Poland have banned or limited the use of neonicotinoids. Because of this common sense precaution, honeybees have rebounded.
Professor of entomology Jim Frazier at Penn State University states that the use of clothianidin and other neonicotinoids is most worrisome because the chemicals treat millions of acres of corn and other genetically modified plants thoughout the USA. Data shows that the chemicals build up over time in the soil, plants and trees.
Neonicotinoids are also combining with numerous other pesticides in the environment, including fungicides, and herbicides used in agriculture and landscaping. Thus, our pollinators are continuously exposed to toxic chemical cocktails. We now know bees cannot cope with this chemical warfare. The declines of pollinator populations experienced in this country are now putting the web of life and our food system at risk.
Meanwhile, the EPA has not done it's job. Almost two years ago a leaked government document, explicitly stating the toxicity of clothiandin to honeybees, confirmed that the EPA failed to listen to the warnings of its own scientists when it registered the chemical for use back in 2003.
Many citizens, environmental groups and beekeepers have expressed their disappointment with the EPA 's failure to address their concerns while our pollinators continue to decline.
We ask Governor Chris Christie for his aid in suspending the registration of neurotoxic neonicotinoid insecticides in New Jersey, in order to help our honeybees reach a full recovery in the Garden State. We the beekeepers and residents of New Jersey also feel that our state insect, the honeybee, requires a proactive pollinator protection plan. This would put our pollinators and our health first. Pesticides policies must serve the pollinators on whom we depend.
On behalf of our honeybees and the health of our future generations, please heed our appeal.