Over the past decade, the issue of colony collapse has come to the forefront of environmental conversation (even spawning a Jerry Seinfeld-voiced animated film in 2007- Bee Movie.) Much of this conversation has been bad news- unexplained deaths of whole colonies of bees, drastic reduction in the overall population, and laced throughout the sobering fact- our food is inextricably linked with our pollinating friends.
It is with great relief, then, that I share these two different pieces of good news for bees:
A recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health has “strengthened the link between neonicotinoids and the collapse of honey bee colonies.” Despite their non-lethality (ie, bugs do not die instantly from coming into contact with them), this class of pesticide is believed to impair the neurological functions of bees and thus lead to colony collapse disorder.
Why is this good news? Well, they do say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it, and once you know the source you can address the issue. This study also replicated the results of a 2012 study by the same school, lending credence to the findings.
Studies of this kind have also led to our second piece of good news for bees: Following several mass bee-kill incidents (including one that killed 50,000 bumblebees), Eugene, Oregon is the first City in the U.S. to ban the use of neonicotinoids.
As bonus good-news-in-the-making: Following closely behind Oregon, several other states (including California, Maryland, New York and New Jersey) are working on local policies to restrict or eliminate neonicotinoids. In Congress, H.R. 2692: Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2013 appears to have stalled, but is still kicking.
For tips on how to make your garden honeybee friendly, check out:
For more on neonicotinoids and bees: