It’s a simple equation:
One pesticide + another pesticide = 2x the effects of each of them
And when pesticides such as neonicotinoids — which have been linked to bee die-offs — are part of the mix, it spells trouble for our food supply. Imagine: no more apples, almonds or alfalfa, to name just a few.
When we get into the fine print of exactly how bees affect our food supply, out of the top 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food, bees pollinate 71 of them. Yet, a billion pounds of pesticides are sprayed across the United States each year, contributing to bee-die offs with alarming consequences for our food supply.
Neonicotinoids — or neonics for short — are a common class of pesticides used in agriculture as well as on our parks, lawns and gardens. On their own, neonics are already toxic to bees – making them sick, infecting the hive and consequently hindering the ability to reproduce for honeybees, forager bees and nurse bees alike.
It simply makes no sense to continue spraying a pesticide known to harm bees on our crops and gardens when we count on bees to make so many of our foods possible.
And yet, we continue to make matters worse. Farmers commonly mix insecticides with other pesticides before treating their fields, which amplifies their effects. Research has shown that fungicides make neonics even more deadly for bees. With this chemical combination, it takes half as much of the chemicals to kill just as many bees.
These are statistics that our food supply can’t afford to face, but we know what we need to do to tackle this issue. The Environmental Protection Agency has the power to step up and regulate the uses of chemicals like neonics to prevent massive bee die-offs. If the EPA can take this next step, we can safeguard our critical pollinators and protect our food supply.
Tell Your Governor: Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides
Join us in calling on your state's governor to protect bees and our food, and send a message that it’s time to take action for our health, and the health of the planet.
Creative Associate, Editorial & Creative Team, The Public Interest Network
Gina writes, edits and designs materials for the PIRG state groups. Gina lives in Boston where she enjoys reading, running and spending time with friends.