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Friday, May 16, 2014

Bees, please....

About a quarter of America's food crop depends on pollination from honeybees – including almonds, apples and beans.
"Honeybees are dying off at too high a rate to guarantee their long-term survival, even though fewer were lost last winter, a US government report said on Thursday. The total losses among hive honeybees across the country was 23.2% over the 2013-14 winter, the annual report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found. That is better than the 30.5% loss over the 2012-13 winter, but the report said the death rate among honeybees over the last eight years was still too high for the bees' long-term survival. “While we are glad to see improvement this year, losses are still too high, and there is still much more work to be done to stabilise bee populations,” the agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, said in a statement.

A number of studies – including one from Harvard researchers last week – have linked the collapse of honeybee populations to a widely used class of insecticides, which either kill the bees outright or make them more susceptible to pests and disease. The insecticides, known as neonicotinoids, are used to increase the yields of staple crops such as corn. The European Union banned the three most widely used neonicotinoids last year. However, the chemicals are still in use in America. Agrichemical companies such as Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta and Bayer – which either make the pesticides or use them for their seed products – say the collapse of the honeybees is due to other factors*, including mites."

*Of course they say that. Imagine a quarter of what we eat gone; imagine the ripple effect of those foods not being available within "system." Join efforts to pressure agribusiness to take responsibility for the devastation their products cause. Insecticides are carcinogenic, too, of course, not just destroying bee populations, but outright killing people "quietly" over time with cancers. Please wake up, Americans; draw a line in the sand and begin to protect your watershed, protect your foodshed, protect your air...use your wallet and buy responsibly -that's the easy part for those with money - and more urgently, stand up against the flagrant irresponsibility of "profits over life itself".

Your grandchildren deserve no less.