I was first made aware of the issue after coming across the documentary Vanishing of the Bees on Netflix. The movie focused on colony collapse disorder, the effect of ccd on the environment as a whole, as well as on the bees, and the causes of ccd. Here's the trailer for those that want a quick look-see.
A beekeeper by the name of David Hackenberg has been at the forefront of the fight against ccd. In Vanishing of the Bees, Hackenberg explains that the main cause of this wave of destruction that's decimating entire honeybee populations is the use of neonicotinoids in our agricultural fields.
Indeed, this year's losses are staggering.
Colony losses are higher than ever before, averaging at around 40-50%. Every year it gets worse. Just three hours away from me, in Barrett, MN, Steve Ellis, owner of Old Mill Honey Company reports that 65% of his bees died off this year.
That's almost two thirds of them!
He has become very vocal in the fight against neonicotinoids, as well, and just added his name to a lawsuit filed against the EPA on March 21st.
"The coalition wants EPA to immediately suspend the registrations of the insecticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The pesticides have been “repeatedly identified as highly toxic to honey bees, clear causes of major bee kills and significant contributors to the devastating ongoing mortality of bees known as colony collapse disorder,” the groups said.
Clothianidin and its parent compound, thiamethoxam, are in a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, and have been shown to harm the survival, growth, and health of honey bees and other pollinators and have harmful effects on other animals, including threatened and endangered species, according to the lawsuit. More than two million pounds of the pesticides are used annually on more than 100 million acres in the United States, according to the lawsuit." (via Bloomberg)More on that "harmful effects on other animals" part, Sunday. Trust me - it's a full post's worth of information. You don't want me to reduce it to a quick paragraph.
But back to the bees...
Ellis explains that colony collapse disorder isn't just our problem - it's global. Neonics are used all over the world. Even if we could stop their use at this very moment, their effects would last for quite some time. It's imperative that immediate action be taken.
Indeed, just a few hours ago in London the March of The Beekeepers. Why, you ask?
"To grab the weekend headlines and pile the pressure on the Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs, ahead of a vital EU vote banning neonicotinoid pesticides on Monday 29th April. Even the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has concluded certain neonicotinoids are harmful to bees and The March of the Beekeepers will show Mr Paterson the full weight of public, expert and Government opinion and persuade him to now support a European ban."Sounds like a good reason to me! Hopefully, it'll work. The U.K.'s bee population has dropped by about 50%, this year. This will be a huge event, complete with celebrities. People are encoraged to dress up in a way that shows their support of bees.
Beehive hairdo, anyone?
If only I was there...