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Please sign my friend's important petition -  She is requesting that the EPA use its emergency powers to immediately act to save our bees and our food supply by removing bee killing neonicitinoids from the market.  

At the request of Creosote in this weekend's top of the rec list diary Bees Colony Collapse Disorder. Solved. , here is a message from my friend, who told me that is interested in possibly helping her promote her petition more widely.  Let's help the numbers grow and convince that this issue has sufficient traction to be worthy of their promotion.

As a child, I loved spending time in my father's back yard garden, surrounded by beautiful colors, interesting shapes, and luscious smells.  I got to know insects, worms, and the feel of dirt under my finger nails.  

Unlike some kids, I wasn't afraid of bees.  My father taught me that bees who came to the garden weren't interested in me and wouldn't bother me if gave them the same courtesy.  Bees were just there to collect nectar and pollen.  And while were visiting the garden, bees were doing essential work for the plants, something called "pollination," which allowed the the plants to fruit and make seeds.  But now that vital pollination process, which is responsible for an estimated 1/3 of the food we eat everyday, is in peril.  

Please follow me after the jump.

The lessons I learned in my father's garden were the same lessons my father learned as a boy in his mother's back yard garden.  When I became a mother, I naturally wanted to give my children the same gift that my father had given me -- the knowledge of how to grow what they eat. So I have become a third generation, suburban back yard gardener, and my children, to their extent they are able, have actively participated in growing and harvesting their own food.  

Over time a garden that started out modest has taken over almost every square foot of our back yard and is now expanding into both side yards.  We grow as much food as we can on our 1/4 acre. Our space is packed with tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons, cucumbers, edible gourds, peas (nothing better than Sugar Snaps right off the vine), beans, soybeans, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, kale, onions, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, blueberries, strawberries, kiwis, garlic, and a large assortment of herbs.  

Understanding the dangers of toxins on our food and how chemicals are destructive to our environment, our family uses only organic methods in our garden beds, makes our own compost, etc. We even collect rainwater from our roof, not only to conserve water, but because plants grow better in rain water than they do in our tap water.

We give our garden everything it needs to be healthy and productive.  But we have a problem that years ago would have been incomprehensible..... there are fewer and fewer bees to pollinate our plants.  In the past farmers and gardeners like me never had to worry about the number of bees that would visit their crops.  If there were flowers, there were bees.  But that is no longer the case.  

My children and I have done everything we can to make our garden a haven for these precious and essential pollinators.  We have surrounded our garden beds with beautiful wildflowers that bloom in succession from early spring through the fall.  I've shared with my neighbors the joys and benefits of organic gardening practices, and some have stopped using toxic insecticides.  These actions have helped somewhat, but still, the bee populations continue to diminish.  

Where are all the bees?

The awful fact is they are dead, dying, and disappearing in extraordinary numbers.  Beginning in 2006, bee populations have declined by 30% a year.  These massive declines are exceedingly dangerous for our food supply.  In addition to massive declines in wild bee population, millions of honey bee hives have succumbed to what is generally referred to "Colony Collapse Disorder,"  with beekeepers reporting losing an average of 36% of their hives in 2011.  

A number of conditions are believed to contribute to the imperiled state of bees in the US.  But we now have ample evidence that at the root of these deaths is a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids.  Large coalitions including beekeeper associations, the Sierra Club, the Pesticide Action Network, and other have called on the EPA to take these bee killing chemicals off the market, but so far the EPA has refused to act even though leaked EPA memos show that EPA scientists are aware that neonicotinoids are highly toxic to bees.  

We need the EPA to know that it's not just beekeepers and anti-pesticide organizations that are concerned about this.  It's you and me, regular concerned citizens who demand that the EPA act now to prevent a national catastrophe.  As someone who signed my petition wrote, in very straightforward terms:  "No bees... no us."

From my petition at

Why My Petition Is Important

United States bee populations are in a nationwide free fall -- and this could spell the end of fruits and vegetables grown on our soil.

Not only has the US experienced widespread honeybee deaths and disappearances, called "Colony Collapse Disorder," we have also seen a dramatic decrease in the wild bee population. Massive and continuing declines in the bee population means our food supply is in jeopardy.

As a third generation back yard gardener who is passing the gift of growing food on to my own children, I have witnessed the decline in wild bees first hand. In order to draw more bees to our garden, my children and I have surrounded our vegetable beds with wildflowers, and we never use chemicals in our garden or lawn. My family and I are doing everything we can to help our local bees survive. But, by their inaction, the EPA is working against us.

In the past several months, three separate studies have added substantial weight to the growing body of evidence showing that widespread use of insecticides called neonicotinoids is linked to Colony Collapse Disorder. One study found that colonies exposed to neonicotinoids produced 85 percent fewer queens, meaning the creation of 85 percent fewer hives. United States Department of Agriculture bee expert Jeffery Pettis rightly calls the findings “alarming.”

Bayer AG markets its neonics widely to growers of corn, soy, wheat, cotton, sorghum, peanuts, and other crops. Research by the Pesticide Action Network of North America showed that a minimum of 142 million acres were planted in neonic-treated seeds in the year 2010. 142 million acres is equivalent to the size of California and Oregon combined! And that number is likely to be even higher this year. On top of that, neonics are widely used in home garden and landscaping products.

EPA registration of Bayer's neonicotinoids was primarily based on a study funded by the Bayer Corporation itself, and that study has been discredited by the EPA's own scientists.

The EPA must act now to ban the sale of Bayer's neonicinitoid products. We must do everything possible to protect the bees we have left. Our bees, and our food supply, can't wait.

Please sign and forward the petition

And while you're at it, please sign this one as well

More links for further info on the subject

Thank you!  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Stupid Question... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How would I cross post this to a group?

    I was asked by Creosote to cross post it to gardening groups, but this is only my second diary in my six years on DK, so I don't know how to do it.

  •  Einstein was right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemInDisguise, weck

    even though he never said it: honey bee colony collapse threatens global food security. Caveat: we will not face extinction within 4 years and there will still be plenty of bread to eat.

    Good tests kill flawed theories; we remain alive to guess again. Karl Popper

    by hanswall on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 11:00:51 AM PDT

  •  The Future of the Bees (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemInDisguise, weck, mookins

    I haven't posted or recommended in quite a while but I'm coming out of lurker mode for this. It's very important and is the tip of the iceburg of pesticides and chemicals harming our environment and ourselves. Help get this chemical gone!

  •  Your Statistics Appear To Be... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemInDisguise, weck


    If each year since 2006 the Honey Bee population declined by 30%, we would only have 12% of the Honey Bee population today that we had in 2006.  

    If this is in fact true, the Endangered Species Act should classify them as an endangered species.

    I am aware and acknowledge that Colony Collapse is real, but the population of bees declinig by 87% doesn't seem realistic.

    •  Ah... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      weck, Andrew F Cockburn

      I just spoke with my friend, and she said you're right and that she accidentally misquoted the well known statistic and asked me to change it for her.  

      The actual number of honeybee deaths per year is over 30% a year, but death of 15% of the bee population is normal.  So in fact the population is only declining about 15% percent per year over what it should have been.

      She asked me to tell you that she's very grateful and asked me to edit to reflect the true stat.  Thanks!

      •  Even That Number Appears High... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        At a loss of 15% per year we would only have 38% of the Honey Bee population today compared to 2006.

        The actual life span of a Honey Bee is about 30 days during the active growing season when they are flying nearly all day.  They have a short life span because they wear out their wings.  The next time you are in your garden with your flowers watch the bees while the are inside the flowers and you will see some that only have two thirds of their wings intact.

        Many creatures have life spans determined by how long a specific body part lasts.  White Tailed Deer for instance rarely live more than 6 1/2 years in the wild because they are heavy chewers and wear out their teeth.  without teeth they cannot eat properly, get weak and become food for a predator or die of disease.

        My understanding is that Colony Collapse does not affect every place at the same rate.  Is it possible that your friends numbers come from the worst hit area and not the entire country?

        I worked in the woods in East Texas for 35 years before and after it was invaded by Africanized Bees.  Everyone was concerned that when the Africanized Bees came it would ruin the Honey Bee business in the area.  It didn't because commercial producers adapted.  I checked the web site for Weaver Apiaries in Navasota Texas.  They are one of the largest Queen Bee producers in the country.  Nothing on their web site gives any indication that Colony Collapse is affecting them or their business.

        •  Overall honeybee losses (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In 2010, the USDA reported that data on overall honey bee losses for the year indicate an estimated 34% loss, which is statistically similar to losses reported in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

          2011 was similar.

          •  But it does vary by region (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Some regions are at 50% losses on average, meaning other regions are clearly less impacted.  Maybe it's not such a big problem in the area you worked in.

            National beekeeping organizations have petitioned the EPA to ban the sale of Bayer's neonicotinoid, but they EPA is stalling.  Big Ag is very powerful

        •  Sounds alarmist, but the facts are not disputed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Bayer is not disputing the statistics on the number of bee deaths.  They only dispute that neonicotinoids are causing the problem.  Their own corporate funded studies show much less of a problem than independent studies, which show that neonicotinoids are causing mass be death  Even the EPA's scientists have determined that neonicotinoids are highly lethal to bees.

    •  Fixed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thanks again.  

    •  helpful link (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Most scientists now believe that we have been losing more than a third of our hives each year since 2006 from a combination of factors acting in concert: pathogens, pesticides and nutritional stress. The debate has lately been over which is the more critical catalyst, and in the last year pesticides have rapidly risen to the top."

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