Great news! Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a Proclamation declaring August 15th, 2015 Oregon Native Bees Conservation Awareness Day!
The success of environmental restoration efforts depends on a healthy and diverse population of native pollinators. Pollinators are critical for seed production and the perpetuation of native plants–and our food crops. Bees are our most important pollinators in North America.*
While a great deal of attention has been focused on honeybees for their pivotal role in agriculture, less attention has been given to native bee species, like bumblebees, which are also in decline. In fact, native bumble bees have been facing even more alarming declines across the continent.**
Researchers are finding that bumbles and other native bees are in jeopardy from environmental stresses including habitat loss and pesticides. An estimated 100,000 native bumble bees died from twelve acute neonicotinoid pesticide exposures in Eugene and parts of Portland between 2013 and 2015.
What you can do…
Write your representatives in Congress and ask them to support a national proclamation making August 15th “Native Bees Conservation Awareness Day.”
- Find your representative in the US House of representatives (Washington, DC)
- Find your Senators in the US Senate (Washington, DC)
- MODEL language to use in your communication
Pollinators are vitally important to Oregon
Pollinators are essential for Oregon’s vibrant agricultural sector, supporting over $600 million of insect-pollinated crops grown by Oregon farmers each year. Their crops include small fruits such as blueberries, marionberries, loganberries, and black raspberries; tree fruits such as apples, pears, and cherries; as well as watermelon and seed for crimson clover, red clover, and alfalfa. All of this farm production depends heavily on the pollination services of both European honey bees and native pollinators such as bumble bees. These bees also ensure that Oregon home gardeners can produce fruit, vegetables, and flowers.
Furthermore, pollinators play a central role in maintaining a healthy environment. Pollinators help 85% of plants to reproduce and they are responsible for the abundant nuts, seeds, and fruit that feed wildlife, from birds to bears.
Bee Kills Demonstrate the Need to Take Action
In Oregon, at least half a dozen neonicotinoid insecticide applications in the summers of 2013 and 2014 caused the death of nearly a 100,000 bumble bees representing hundreds of colonies. Poisoning incidents occurred in Beaverton, Eugene, Wilsonville and other cities. High-profile investigations by the Oregon Department of Agriculture implicated dinotefuran in two of the kills and a closely related pesticide, imidacloprid, in the others. These insecticides, along with clothianidin and thiamethoxam, are neonicotinoids, the most widely used group of insecticides in the world. They are highly toxic to honey bees, as well as many native pollinators, including bumble bees.
Compounding the risk, these four neonicotinoid insecticides are particularly long lasting. They can persist in plants up to six years after a single application, and have been found in soil up to two years after an application. They are also proving to be highly bio-persistent in water. This means they can continue to harm bees and other beneficial insects such as butterflies long after their initial use.
“Bees are as important to Oregon’s agricultural sector as water and the sun.”
– Alan Turanski, VP, GloryBee Foods
What YOU can do…
BREAKING NEWS: City of Portland passes an ordinance banning neonicotinoid pesticides on city property…
Current full text of proposed Portland ordinance to…“Prohibit the use and purchase of neonicotinoid pesticides by the City of Portland; amend Integrated Pest Management strategies; and urge retailers operating within the City of Portland to label plants, seeds, and products containing neonicotinoid pesticides.”
Please join our Save Oregon’s Bees Campaign. Our work to save bees is a grassroots-based, statewide project. Now you can show your support by signing our pledge and become a friend of Save Oregon’s Bees…(see who has already pledged!)
Beyond Toxics is dedicated to protecting public health and the environment from toxic pesticides. We do so by educating the public, working with local beekeepers, and advocating for change in policies and laws to protect bees. Your action and the actions of your neighbors today will set the standard for our government tomorrow.
TAKE ACTION TODAY to help Save Oregon’s Bees!
(TOP) Photo Credit: “Bee and Borage” by Catia Juliana
There’s an important way to help our work to save Oregon’s bees! Become a member of Beyond Toxics TODAY!
Beyond Toxics is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all contributions are fully tax-deductible. Please
consider giving a gift of a Beyond Toxics membership to a friend or family member!
- Recommended resources
- Background: The threat to bees
- Read about Cultivating Bee-Friendly Gardens
- Read about Consumer Products to Avoid
- Take action to help Save Oregon’s Bees!
- Beyond Toxics blogs about the decline of bees and the dangers of neonicotinoid pesticides
- What are neonicotinoid pesticides?
- Read about the economics of saving bees: Bees by the numbers
- Gardeners Beware 2014 Report
- Read about Eugene, Oregon’s ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, the first of it’s kind in the nation
- Join Beyond Toxics
- Contact us
Beyond Toxics is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all contributions are fully tax-deductible. Please consider giving a gift of a Beyond Toxics membership to a friend or family member!