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    Posted June 5, 2014 by

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    Bee Worried

    “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” This quote from Albert Einstein has become even more relevant today, with bee populations rapidly deteriorating, leaving our ecosystem increasingly vulnerable.

    The massive demise of bees around the world has been caused by human activity, largely the use of industrial pesticides on farms and gardens. Last year, a Canadian farm witnessed the death of 600 hives, which tallies up to 37 million lost bees. This was due to the introduction of deadly pesticides called neonicotinoids, also known as “neonics”, which are manufactured by Bayer. Neonics work by being absorbed into seeds before spreading into the plant, killing insects that try to feed off of the plant. Bees, as it turns out, are on the receiving end of this poison. Additionally, neonics are chemically similar to nicotine, and may reduce bees’ capacity to learn scents, making it difficult for them to find food. However, these pesticides can be easily replaced by less deadly chemicals that would have less severe consequences on the ecosystem.

    Bayer, one of many companies producing such chemicals, is fighting back against attempts to ban its usage. After facing a ban on selling neonics, Bayer sued the European Commision to overturn its sanction.

    Stateside, home and gardening retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s are continuing to sell products with these pesticides. As a result, bees are continuing to die off. American beekeepers have lost roughly one-third of their bee colonies since 2005. For an insect that pollinates one-third of our agriculture, this is bad news for humans as well.
    It is clear that deadly pesticides are responsible for the extermination of bees. Petitions have been started, and many have called for retailers to cease selling such products. A movement that called on retailers to remove the pesticides from their shelves was what instigated the European ban on neonics. And all of this was done before the ban was put into place. If a movement can successfully get Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop selling Bayer’s deadly pesticide, other vendors will likely stop as well.

    By Kelley Moody
    Photo provided by Pat Greenhouse, The Boston Globe, Getty Images
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