Honeybees are among the most fruitful and amazing creatures. Though their brains are fairly small, they engage in a complicated geometric “waggle dance” to communicate the location of food sources to members of their hive. As pollinators, they play an indispensable role in sustaining crop production and the food chain.
Conservationists have been warning about the negative impact pesticides are having on bees for years and have urged people to help them and other pollinators out by not using them in their gardens. Unfortunately, in our effort to help, we’ve actually been unwittingly contributing to the problem by buying flowering plants and trees that are pre-treated with them.
Bees and other pollinators are the backbone of our food system — essential for nutritious crops such as apples, almonds and blueberries. The portion of our food supply dependent on pollinators has grown by 300 percent in the last 50 years and $577 billion of annual global food production relies on direct contributions by pollinators. However, pollinators are dying at an alarming and unsustainable rate.
Environmentalists, beekeepers, farmworkers, farmers, fisheries, and food safety advocates sent a letter to the USDA Inspector General and the co-chairs of the White House Task Force on Pollinator Health today, urging an investigation into recent reports that USDA scientists are being harassed and their research is being censored or suppressed, especially research related to neonicotinoid insecticides -- a leading driver of bee declines globally. -