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Put your Honey Bee Haven on the map

People across the U.S. are taking a stand for honey bees, and pledging to provide a safe, pesticide-free haven with access to food, water and shelter. Do you have a Honey Bee Haven in your yard, or have bee-friendly plants in containers on your stoop?

Add your Honey Bee Haven to the map below, and show your support for the pollinators that play a key role in providing our food.

Neonics? Not much help to farmers.

on Tue, 12/09/2014 - 20:04

Independent scientists have been saying it for a while now: neonicotinoid pesticides aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. And finally, scientists and economists at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are showing signs that they’re listening to the science.

Last Thursday, EPA released preliminary findings on neonic-coated soybeans — a small part of the agency’s broader review of neonicotinoids. EPA’s headline finding? Neonicotinoid seed treatments “provide negligible overall benefits to soybean production in most situations.”

We know neonics are harmful to bees and other pollinators; a

Even more bee-toxic pesticides?

on Mon, 10/20/2014 - 21:03

Pesticide corporation Syngenta is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow even more use of one of its bee-harming neonicotinoids, thiamethoxam. But with science clearly showing that neonics harm bees and other pollinators — contributing to dramatic die-offs in recent years — allowing increased use of this chemical would be a striking move in the wrong direction.

If EPA grants the request, more thiamethoxam will be applied to common crops — including corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa — that cover over 250 million acres of U.S. farmland, much of it in the Midwest.

Mexican beekeepers vs. Monsanto

on Tue, 09/16/2014 - 19:12

Beekeepers and indigenous groups in the Mexican state of Yucatán recently won an important court decision against Monsanto. A district judge overturned Monsanto's permit for  commercial planting of RoundUp-ready soybeans in the state.

The judge found that "co-existence between honey production and GMO soybeans is not possible," given European restrictions on imports of honey contaminated with GMO pollen. The court also took regulators to task for ignoring the constitutional requirement to consult with indigenous groups on decisions affecting their territory.

According to an in-depth article

Neonics in the water?!

on Thu, 08/07/2014 - 00:00

We've known for some time that neonicotinoids — the class of systemic, bee-harming insecticides — are water soluble. They've been detected in surface water in several agriculture-heavy states. And now they're showing up in Midwestern waters.

Last month, the U.S. Geological Survey released a report finding clothianidin, one of the most widely used neonics, in 75% of Midwest streams surveyed. Other common neonics were detected too. Not good news.

Almost all of the conventional corn seed grown in the U.S., as well as much of the soy, is pre-treated with neonics before planted.

Your (not so) “bee-friendly” plants

on Wed, 06/25/2014 - 00:00

Honey bee collecting nectar
Bee-harming pesticides in our lavender and daisies? In the same week that an international body of scientists released a comprehensive global assessment of the harms of pesticides to bees, a new report shows that these very same pesticides are found in many of our backyard plants — at levels of concern — that are meant to support pollinators.

The report shows that 51% of garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers (Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart) in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contain neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides — a key driver of declining bee populations.

Happy Pollinator Week!

on Mon, 06/16/2014 - 04:33

Pollinator Protection Week is here, folks. And to celebrate, we're kicking off the week with an online townhall discussion about bee declines, the impacts on our food system and what we can do to support thriving pollinator populations.

On top of that, we'll have a lively Twitter chat every day of the week on a range of topics at 10am PT. Hope you can join us for all of it!

Monday, 6/16: eTownhall, live streaming 6pm PT/9pm ET

"What's the buzz about?: A conversation about bee declines, impacts on our food system & what you can do about it"
 
Co-sponsored by Pesticide Action Network, Center

Minnesota for the bees!

on Tue, 05/06/2014 - 00:00

A few weeks ago I heard Dr. Marla Spivak give a “State of the Bees” address to a packed auditorium in Minneapolis. At the end of her presentation, an audience member raised his hand and asked: “What state is doing the most to protect bees?” Dr. Spivak only paused for a moment before answering, “Well, I’d have to say Minnesota.”

Dr. Spivak may be biased, since her Bee Lab is based at the University of Minnesota (and I guess I could be too). But I think she’s onto something: Minnesota is getting a move on protecting its pollinators.

The excitement in Minnesota is due, in no small part, to

Bee aware

on Fri, 05/02/2014 - 15:01

We keep seven Langstroth hives at our home, on 2.2 acres. Our property has 61 organic fruit trees, many berries and about 3,000 sq ft of vegetables, which we mostly donate to the local charity of our choice. Of our seven hives, only three survived the winter, and they are very healthy — with queens imported from Australia, where they do not have a varoa mite infestation. We use no chemicals on our bees.

Two days ago, a big tanker truck pulled up next to our property.

In the spin cycle

on Thu, 05/01/2014 - 20:09

It's no surprise: pesticide corporations go to great lengths to protect the public image of their products. We've been highlighting their PR hijinks for years, and their attempts to spin facts to suit their agenda have only gotten more blatant.

Bees and pesticides provide the latest example. Corporate attempts to reframe the conversation, and subvert independent science, have gone into hyperdrive. Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto in particular are positioning themselves as "bee friendly" — no matter that several top selling pesticide products are directly linked to bee deaths.

Highlighting the

Neonic seed treatments don't add up

on Thu, 04/03/2014 - 00:00

Farmers have been saying it for years: it's nearly impossible to find corn seed that isn't pre-treated with neonicotinoid pesticides. At a Congressional briefing in DC last week, Dr. Christian Krupke of Purdue University presented hard data to support what farmers are reporting: 94% to 98% of corn seed in the U.S. is pre-treated with neonics. This is particularly bad news for pollinators, since we know neonics pose a threat to bees even at low levels.

Dr.

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