By now, the whole world knows that seven documented bumble bee kill incidents happened in Oregon during 2013-2014. These bee slaughters were caused by applications of neonicotinoid insecticides.
Here it is summer time, when the flowers and trees are in bloom and jamborees of pollinators are busily buzzing in the flowers. It is also National Pollinator Week, a time to celebrate what bees, butterflies and other blossom-visiting species contribute to a healthy environment.
But we in Eugene, Oregon are mourning the loss of thousands of bees today.
It started eighteen months ago, when a group of passionate and dedicated bee keepers came to the Beyond Toxics office to talk with us about the bees. They were well informed and brought published studies revealing the role pesticides play in the demise of honey bee colonies.
Our freedoms come with responsibilities when our actions may affect, directly or indirectly, people’s welfare and the environment. The responsible person asks the question of what is at risk. We think that Oregonians want responsible legislation that helps prevent unintended harm and death to the hard working bees that make home gardens and bountiful harvests possible.
There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about the rapid decline of many species of bees worldwide. Honey bees and bumble bees have played a crucial role in human cultures for thousands of years. Today, even with more industrialized modern agriculture, the humble bee (both native and domesticated bee species) still plays a remarkably important role in bringing food to the tables of people all around the world.
The Legislative hearing on Bee Health and Pesticide Use on November 21 was an important milestone. Lawmakers heard from a number of panelists that pesticides are harming bees.