Pesticides poison bees — let’s give them a chance

Bees are some of the hardest working pollinators on Earth — we can’t afford to lose them to pesticides.

Save the bees

Stephen Rahn via Flickr | Public Domain
Pesticides are poisoning bees and contributing to population collapses across the continent.

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Bees are famously hard workers — but scientists are learning they like to have a little fun, too.

Between long hours spent pollinating most flowering plants, bees dance to communicate with each other and even play games, seemingly just for the joy of it.

But one thing these precious pollinators can’t do is protect themselves from the deadly pesticides that are causing them to die off at devastating rates. We need to save the bees before it’s too late.

Pesticides are poisoning bees

Bees carry entire ecosystems on their small shoulders as they pollinate all kinds of plant life and even crops we rely on for food. They’re also vanishing before our eyes.

Beekeepers across the United States reported losing more than 39% of their honeybee colonies last year. The American bumblebee has declined by 89% over the past 20 years and disappeared completely in eight states.

It’s no mystery why. Climate change and habitat loss play a role, but experts point to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides (called neonics for short) as a major factor. As the use of neonics has surged in recent decades, agriculture in the U.S. has become 48 times more toxic to bees.

Neonics attack bees’ brains and cause permanent, irreversible damage. It makes everything a little harder for bees — pollinating, reproducing, communicating by dance, even finding their way back home. And to make matters worse, the damage is felt across generations of bees, contributing to their dramatic decline.

Let’s give bees a chance 

Thanks to the support of people like you, our campaigns to save the bees have already come so far:

  • Earlier this year, our national network helped win laws restricting bee-killing neonics in New Jersey and New York. Those states now join Connecticut, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine on the list of states with similar restrictions.
  • We helped win commitments from Lowe’s and The Home Depot to take bee-killing neonics off their shelves, and we’ve generated more than 100,000 petition signatures to Amazon urging it to do the same.
  • We helped win federal protections for pollinators on 11 million acres of Department of Defense-owned land. We’re also calling on the government to reinstate a ban on the use of neonics in wildlife refuges — the places where bees should be safest.

But there’s still so much more to do. 

We’re ready to go even bigger and bolder in our campaigns to save the bees — but what we’re able to accomplish in 2023 depends in part on the resources we have at hand going into the new year.

Will you donate today to help us ensure we have the resources to take on 2023 and do everything we can to protect our country’s bees?

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Authors

Steve Blackledge

Senior Director, Conservation America Campaign, Environment America

Steve directs Environment America’s efforts to protect our public lands and waters and the species that depend on them. He led our successful campaign to win full and permanent funding for our nation’s best conservation and recreation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He previously oversaw U.S. PIRG’s public health campaigns. Steve lives in Sacramento, California, with his family, where he enjoys biking and exploring Northern California.

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