Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Restored Bee Populations in Pesticide-Free Italy

Have you heard the buzz on bees dying at an alarmingly-rapid rate in the U.S. due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)?

Bees barely hang on before collapsing.
If not, we wrote a post on the topic a few weeks ago. Most beekeepers and environmentalists believe pesticides (specifically neonicotinoids) are the culprit. In fact, these harmful toxins, which are chemically similar to nicotine, have already been shown to interfere with bees' capacity to learn scents, hampering their efforts to collect food. A recent study published by the American Bird Conservancy suggested that the pesticides may also negatively impact birds and water-borne insects.

Large pesticide producers Bayer and Syngenta have lobbied against a proposed ban on pesticides in the European Union. However, a study performed in Italy in 2009 offers more substatiation for the claim that neocinotinoids are responsible for killing bees. **Update 4/29/2013: The EU became the first continent to ban widely-used insecticides that have been linked to bee deaths. Can the U.S. hop on board?!

The Study

Following France and Germany, in 2009, the Italian Agriculture Ministry suspended the use of neonicotinoids during corn-sowing season as a "precautionary measure." The compelling results? Restored bee populations in apiaries around the crops, which prompted the government to uphold the ban.

Despite this groundbreaking evidence the U.S. has been aware of for years, why does CCD remain a 'mystery' and why are pesticides still allowed to be used on our crops?

You Can Help

Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) promotes healthy communities and a safe, fair and clean food system. Donate now to help PANNA develop campaigns to replace all the highly hazardous pesticides out there with ecologically sound, socially just solutions -- for future generations (and the bees!).

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