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News Flash: Bees Dropping like Flies!

I don’t eat organic foods all of the time. But I probably would, if I were independently wealthy or had chosen a career in a lucrative field (no one chooses a career in public health to become a millionaire).

Choosing organic food might be better but I’m not scared that eating conventionally grown food is going to kill me. However, it’s not all about me. Or you. It’s about the bees and the bees are dying from pesticides. And we’re not talking enormous quantities of pesticide – even bees exposed to low levels are more likely to die from disease, gather less food, and produce fewer offspring. Now, this may sound relatively insignificant but pollination of plants by bees is one of the most critical components of growing food.

First, why are they so important? Let’s consider a few facts:

  • 1 in every 3 mouthfuls of food that you eat is either directly or indirectly pollinated by honey bees.
  • Honey bees are responsible for pollinating 70% of the crops that produce the worlds’ food.
  • To pollinate 500,000 acres can take over 1 million bee colonies, and at peak season, there can be about 80,000 worker bees collecting pollen in a given colony. That’s 80 billion bees for just 500,000 acres.
  • Pollination is almost wholly responsible for the number of fruits and vegetables produced by the plant (increased yield). There is no other tactic that we have to increase yield; everything else we do (pesticides, herbicides, etc) is to prevent loss.

Not only is it important to address these issues for the sake of the bees, but also for the sake of humans. Though most pesticides are only harmful to humans in large doses, I don’t want toxins, chemicals or poisons in my food. Do you?!

Imidacloprid use began in the United States in the mid-1990’s and the rapid decline of honey bees has been observed in only 15 years. So, how many companies use this Bayer pesticide? Many. And chemically similar pesticides have been banned since 2010. There are now petitions to follow suit with France and ban it from use in the US.

Governmental processes and bans can take years, but how much more can we endure? Maybe this post is a subconscious intent to post a call to action but pesticide use in this country is rampant, regardless of the overwhelming evidence of negative impacts it has on agriculture, biodiversity, and the health of humankind.

*I’d like to thank Kasey Holloway for contributing her invaluable knowledge and skills to this post, without which, it wouldn’t have been possible to adequately address this issue.

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