Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Are We Killing the Bees?

For the past couple of years, our honeybee populations have been dropping dramatically.  There is the dangerous possibility of us no longer having bees that pollinate the very food that keeps us alive.  Already in some areas of China there are no longer bees and trees must be hand-pollinated by humans.  This can be an already difficult solution for maybe one or two trees in your backyard, but imagine trying to do that all over America.

Currently, one of the suspects in the collapse in bee populations are pesticides called neonicotinoids.  Originally created to be a safer alternative to DDT, they are turning out to be not only just as dangerous but possibly even more toxic.  Just as frightening is the fact that an EPA document leaked showing that they already suspected the dangers these pesticides caused to bees, harming the very thing that makes our food possible and doing great damage to the environment.  And it's not just the EPA finding these links.  A researcher at the USDA has made a link between a Bayer made pesticide and colony collapse.

Many scientists suspect that it is a mix of different things causing colony collapse beyond pesticides like the way in which honeybees are farmed by large industrial companies, the fact that many bees no longer have access to a wide range of food sources and possibly viral and fungal diseaseNature had a great episode called Silence of the Bees (full episode can be watched here) that discusses many of these possibilities.

There are many things you can do to help.  One is to purchase local honey from smaller producers that can be found at green markets and many local stores.  You can plant your own bee habitat to help provide for both wild and farmed bees in the New York area.  We give seeds away for free, just email us your information at and we'll send you flower seeds free of charge.  You can also consider raising your own rooftop or backyard bees now that that is perfectly legal in New York City.

Help make a change and save our bees.

No comments:

Post a Comment