Here’s the buzz: American honey bees are disappearing at an alarming rate and the government knows why.
Scientists say a pesticide called clothianidin, made by chemical giant Bayer, is strongly linked to the rapid decline in bee populations. When exposed to the chemical, bees get lost: they are literally unable to find their way home back to the hive and drop dead from exhaustion.
Susan Mariner uses her backyard garden to grow extra fruits and veggies for her family and teach her children where their food comes from — and in the past few years, she’s seen the decline in bees firsthand.
When Susan heard about the recent studies linking this specific chemical to the widespread death of the bees who pollinate our food, she started a petition on Change.org to get the chemical banned. Click here to sign Susan’s petition asking the Environmental Protection Agency to ban these bee-killing pesticides ASAP.
One-third of the U.S. food supply relies on honey bees. Without bees to pollinate crops, many essential (and favorite) foods are at risk, including apples, squash, tomatoes, strawberries, almonds, and even chocolate.
Several countries, including Germany and France, have already banned clothianidin. And after the bans, bee populations began to rise again.
But in the U.S., clothianidin is used on millions of acres of crops and American beekeepers report losses of up to 90% of their bees. Many worry that their hives won’t survive another season. Sign Susan’s petition urging the EPA to save the bees and immediately end the harmful pesticide’s use.
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Corinne and the Change.org team
The bee population is on the verge of collapse.
Clicking here will automatically add your name to this petition to the E.P.A.:
The E.P.A. must immediately ban clothianidin and conduct a full, independently verified scientific review on the effect of this pesticide and other neonicotenoids’ impact on honey bees and other non-target species.
Since 2006, U.S. honey bee populations have been in precipitous decline, with some estimates suggesting losses as high as 30% per year.1 While that’s terrible, the problem is far greater than just the loss of a species. Without bees, a big piece of our food supply is in serious danger. Pollination by honey bees is key in cultivating the crops that produce a full one-third of our food.
Scientists have been scrambling to understand the crisis — termed Colony Collapse Disorder — but have yet to find a single, definitive cause. There are likely multiple interacting causes, and mounting evidence suggests that one widely used class of pesticides may be a critical factor.
One such chemical, called clothianidin, is produced by the German corporation Bayer CropScience. It is used as a treatment on crop seeds, including corn and canola, and works by expressing itself in the plants’ pollen and nectar. Not coincidentally, these are honey bees’ favorite sources of food.
Shockingly, no major independent study has verified the safety of this pesticide. While clothianidin has been used on corn — the largest crop in the U.S. — since 2003, it was officially approved by the Environmental Protection Agency last year on the basis of a single study, conducted by Bayer. However, recently leaked documents show that the study was actually debunked by the agency’s own scientists, so the pesticide was effectively approved with no scientific backing.2
It is outrageous that the E.P.A. is putting a vital species, the livelihoods of farmers and beekeepers, and our very food supply at risk just so Bayer can peddle its pesticide. Click here to automatically sign the petition asking the E.P.A. to immediately issue a ban on clothianidin.
When clothianidin first came to market, there was little or no scientific review of its effect on the environment. The E.P.A. allowed “conditional registration” in 2003 but requested additional study to establish the safety of the chemical. Bayer, the producer of the chemical, conducted one such study, and without public notice, the E.P.A. granted unconditional use in early 2010.
But E.P.A. documents3 leaked at the end of last year expose a more sordid story. Agency scientists who reviewed Bayer’s study determined that the evidence was by no means sound, and even downgraded the study to a level at which it should not have been allowed as the basis for an unconditional approval of the pesticide.
Additional independent studies have shown that neonicotinoid pesticides like clothianidin are highly toxic to honey bees, providing compelling evidence that they should be immediately taken off the market until the E.P.A. can conduct a full and valid scientific review.
This appears to be a case of the E.P.A. catering to the needs of a large chemical corporation at the expense of a lynchpin species in our ecosystem. France, Italy, Slovenia, and Germany — the home of Bayer — have already banned clothianidin.
The stakes are simply too high to continue the use of this chemical in the absence of any scientifically verified evidence that it is safe to use. Click here to automatically sign the petition telling the E.P.A. to immediately prohibit the use of clothianidin and conduct a full scientific review to determine its impact on honey bee and other non-target populations.
Thank you for speaking out to protect the honey bees and our food supply.
Adam Klaus, Campaign Manager