Reclaiming the future of food and farming

Bees Campaign

Pesticide Action Network's picture

Europe steps up for bees. EPA, your turn!

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In a historic vote on Monday, the European Union (EU) passed a continent-wide restriction on the use of bee-harming pesticides. Despite immense pressure from the pesticide industry, a majority of EU countries sided with bees.

Here in the U.S., policymakers have yet to step up. And with beekeepers in this country reporting record-breaking bee losses this year — up to 40% or more — action to protect honey bees is more urgent than ever.

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Paul Towers's picture

Bees need help now! Time to up the ante.

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With other options exhausted over the past two years, beekeepers and partner organizations are now suing EPA to protect pollinators. We've filed over a million signatures from concerned individuals, a legal petition and a notice of intent to sue. And all to little avail. Now we're upping the ante.

There's too much at stake for EPA to stay stuck. Bees are in trouble, and they're vital to our food system and our agricultural economy. They're responsible for pollinating one in three bites of food we eat, including 95 types of fruits and nuts in North America. And commercial beekeepers report that their industry is on the verge of collapse.

Paul Towers
Pesticide Action Network's picture

Bee-harming pesticides are bad news for birds, too

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Turns out, the pesticides that harm bees are also harming birds. According to a report out this week, the class of widely used, systemic insecticides that science shows are a key factor in dramatic bee die-offs are also contributing to falling bird populations.

At a congressional briefing yesterday, an expert panel highlighted the damage that neonicotinoid pesticides — or "neonics" — inflict on bees, birds and the agricultural economy. Beekeepers, scientists and public interest organizations called on elected officials to take action, and soon.

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Paul Towers's picture

Beekeepers expect "worst year for bees"

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“We’re facing the extinction of a species.” That’s what one Midwest-based large-scale commercial beekeeper told me last week at the annual gathering of the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA). And he meant it.

Bee losses have been dramatic, especially in recent years. And beekeepers are feeling the sting. According to many who manage hives, commercial beekeeping won’t pencil out in the future unless things change, and soon.

Paul Towers
Pesticide Action Network's picture

At EPA’s front door: “Protect bees from pesticides”

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Standing outside EPA headquarters in Washington DC yesterday, beekeepers — flanked by Center for Food Safety, PAN and Beyond Pesticides — called for immediate action to protect bees from hazardous pesticides.

It’s not the first time EPA has been asked to take action. Far from it. For the past two years beekeepers, PAN and allies — including more than a million people across the country — have submitted numerous public and legal petitions urging the Agency to move more quickly in its evaluation of bee-harming pesticides, and fix the flawed process for allowing them on the market in the first place.

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Heather Pilatic's picture

Pesticides & the silencing of the bees

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This month marks the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the book that galvanized an extraordinary cross-section of the American public into what we now call the environmental movement. Fifty years later, her courage, skill and sacrifice still inspire, and her legacy remains the contested terrain of some of our country’s most disabling rituals of political partisanship. Pesticides still function as a kind of litmus test: either you’re for farmers and progress and “sound science,” or you’re in the camp of those reflexively “chemophobic” tree-hugging “environmentalists.” And your loyalties to one or the other of these tribes can be indexed to how you feel about pesticides.

Heather Pilatic

Toolkit: Protecting Honey Bees

Bees are in trouble. In the U.S., they’ve been dying off at alarming rates since 2006 and beekeepers continue to report staggering annual losses.

While policymakers remain resolutely stuck — and have yet to take swift action to address the known causes of bee die-offs — home gardeners, backyard beekeepers and concerned individuals across the country have been stepping up to protect our favorite pollinators.

View this toolkit for simple tips and actions to help protect honey bees from harmful pesticides and keep the pressure on policymakers.

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EPA sidesteps chance to protect bees

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All too often, the rules of pesticide regulation are cumbersome and make for slow change. But EPA had an opportunity to take swift, decisive action to protect bees — and they let it pass. 

Today, the agency announced it is denying the request by beekeepers to declare Bayer's pesticide, clothianidin, an "imminent hazard" to bees and will not be suspending the chemical's use.  

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Report: Pesticides & Honey Bees

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Honey Bees and Pesticides: State of the Science, a 22-page report on the factors behind colony collapse disorder (CCD) with a sustained focus on the particular role of pesticides. The report documents evidence that pesticides are a key factor in explaining honey bee declines, both directly and in tandem with two leading co-factors, pathogens and poor nutrition. These studies, in U.S.

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