4 Reasons Pesticides Are Bad for Bees
Beekeepers: Poisons May Not Cause Colony Collapse Disorder, but They Contribute
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The Beekeeper reports from the first ever National Beekeeping Conference:
Now, what everyone has been waiting for ... beekeepers telling beekeepers about their personal experiences with Colony collapse Disorder (CCD). But wait! There’s more here than just a mystery. There’s pesticides aplenty here, and even if they aren’t the CCD curse, they are killing bees faster than beekeepers can make them.
1. Chemical Companies Approve Their Own Pesticides
David Mendes, a Massachusetts/Florida beekeeper with 7,000 colonies, talked about pesticides in the environments his bees must visit when pollinating crops and how these chemicals may be contributing to his problems ... and his problems are significant this year, as they were last year. His first comment was that pesticides aren’t tested by the EPA, nope. Pesticides are tested by the Chemical companies that make them, and then the EPA approves them for use, or not. Any guesses on how those results come out?
He talked about not only the financial but emotional stress loosing 60 – 80% of your bees has on beekeepers ... anything more than 50% in a year and it gets real, real hard to recover. Two years in a row and you could be looking for a job as a greeter at Wal-Mart. What’s different now, he asks ... And why me?
2. "Big Ag," with Chemical Henchmen, Control the USDA
David Hackenburg, the first to report Colony Collapse Disorder (but not the first to watch it run through his hives, certainly), first told about the 2,000 or so colonies he had moved to Florida last week. This week, 80% were gone ... again. Gone with the same symptoms of CCD he saw in his bees last year.
He quoted Jerry Hayes, the State Apiary Inspector from Florida (where CCD is common) who said that “beekeeping was the ugly step-child of American agriculture”. How so? The government has made lots of promises about studying and fixing the CCD problem so far, Hackenburg said ... but so far not much has happened. He said he hasn’t been too happy with Australian bees so far – not saying anything about their implication in CCD (one disputed study suggested an Australian virus is connected to hives affected by CCD). He also mentioned pesticides, specifically Imadacloprid (banned in France, but not here), and how it was used everywhere, by everybody. But he went on, and I quote ... ”Big Ag has control of the USDA from the Secretary right on down to almost the lowest guys on the totem pole.” What to do? Get a hold of your congress folks and get them to take some action ... get the money out, get control of the chemicals.