Save our Pollinators

Do you enjoy biting into a crisp apple? Snacking on sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts or cashews? Is dinner not
complete without a side of squash, peas or green beans? Would you miss munching on a cool slice of melon or having
the bright flavors of berries burst on your tongue? None of these foods would exist without the help of a pollinator.
Pollinators transfer pollen from one flower to another, fertilizing the plant so it can grow and produce fruit. "Honeybees,
among other pollinators such as bats, birds, butterflies, and bumblebees, are responsible in one way or another for the
pollination of approximately 100 crops," states conservation biologist, Dr. Reese Halter, Ph.D.

Most pollinators are beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, flies, beetles, wasps, ants, and moths. Their existence is
invaluable for without them our food supply would end. According to E.O Wilson author of Forgotten Pollinators, "Every
third bite of food you take, you can thank a bee or other pollinator for." Without the work of bees many plants, including
many of our food crops, would die off.

But the times they are a changing… Corporate giants are in the process of poisoning the environment, killing our
pollinators and putting our food production in danger. On March 10, 2011 scientists working for the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) cited in a report titled Bees Under Bombardment (1) that the collapse of honey bee
colonies had become a world wide phenomena and would continue unless humans worked to restore habitats for bees
and stopped using harmful pesticides. The report called for profound changes in how humans manage the planet.

"A new class of systemic, neurotoxic pesticides – neonicotinoids – is known to be particularly toxic to bees. And since
their introduction in the 1990s, neonicotinoids have rapidly taken over the global insecticide market. Neonicotinoids like
imidacloprid and its successor product clothianidin are used as seed treatments in hundreds of crops from corn to
almonds, as well as in lawn care and flea products. These products can persist for years in the soil, and, as systemics,
permeate the plants to which they are applied to be expressed as pollen, nectar and guttation droplets (like pesticide
dew). In other words, this class of pesticides is nearly pervasive, and honey bees are exposed in many different ways."

"Two prominent examples, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, are used as seed treatments in hundreds of crops, and virtually
all of today's genetically engineered Bt corn is treated with neonicotinoids. Bee colonies began to vanish in the U.S.
shortly after the Environmental Protection Agency allowed these new insecticides on the market. Even the EPA itself
admits that "pesticide poisoning" is a likely cause of bee colony collapse." (
3) Yet, they refuse to act.

Birds are being affected too. According to a report written by Pierre Mineau, a retired senior research scientist at
Environment Canada, published by the American Bird Conservancy. These chemicals are dangerous not only "for the most
vulnerable bird species, they found, consuming even two corn seeds coated with Bayer's blockbuster neonic clothianidin
can have lethal effects." His conclusion: Neonics are highly mobile and persistent once they are unleashed into
ecosystems, they pose a serious threat to birds and the insects they feed on. The EPA has severely underestimated the
danger and in other cases simply ignored it. (

Numbers of moths and butterflies are also suffering... On March 13, 2013, a story by Michael Wines in The New York
Times (
5) cites that the Monarch Migration Plunged to the lowest level in decades, a staggering 59 percent decline from
the 7.14 acres of butterflies measured in December 2011. The decline in the North American monarch butterfly population
has been linked to increased plantings of herbicide-tolerant GM crops, and overuse of the herbicide glyphosate, which is
the key chemical in Monsanto's Roundup. Glyphosate is killing milkweed plants, upon which monarchs rely for habitat and
food. Chip Taylor, director of the conservation group Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas and Omar Vidal, the head
of the wildlife group’s Mexico operation both find the explosive increase in American farmland planted in soybean and
corn genetically modified to tolerate herbicides alarming. “This is one of the world’s great migrations,” Taylor states. “It
would be a shame to lose it.”

What can you do?
1. Stop poisoning your environment.
Have you noticed large numbers of bees dead and dying on the ground? This is the result of pesticide use. Ban personal
pesticide and fungicide use. Instead opt for organic solutions. You don't have to poison your environment to combat
unwanted blights. Fight insect attacks with Neem Oil Extract Concentrate, an all natural, effective fungicide/pesticide
made from the oil of the Indian Neem tree. Soap-Shield is another natural alternative. One of the oldest fungicides and
bactericides, this fixed copper fungicide is a soluble copper fertilizer combined with a naturally occurring fatty acid that is
PCO approved and will protect your plants from aphid attacks and other garden blights like powdery mildew, rust and
black spot.

2. Support businesses that respect the environment. Buy organic brands. Selecting the organic choice not only supports
companies that respect the environment, it keeps more pesticides from being introduced into the environment and
encourages sustainable farming practices.

3. Buy Local and grow your own. Most smaller-scale farmers practice conscientious methods and engaging in practices
that comply or exceed the requirements of organic farming. And you become god of all small things when you take on a
garden of your own. The act of working with the earth, under the blue sky and helping something grow is very
therapeutic. To witness the seed that you planted, peek through the soil as it becomes a young sprout is a joy everyone
should experience. Tending a garden as your plants grow, flower, fruit and seed, is a way to forge a connection with
nature that allows us to become grounded in the turning of the seasons. And what a better way to know what is being
used in your environment and on your food?

4. Plant flowers. Provide a safe haven by planting plants that encourage bees and butterflies. If you have the space,
leave a wild corner in your garden creating a habitat for birds and insects. Remember the definition of a weed is any
plant that grows where you do not want it to grow. Milkweeds are the host plant for the monarch butterfly. Without
milkweed, the monarch cannot exist. Contact the Live Monarch Foundation for a pack of free seeds. Simply send a self
addressed stamped envelope to their address.  Live Monarch Foundation – Seeds 3003-C8 Yamato Road #1015 Boca
Raton, Florida 33434 OR visit their website  

5. Provide a home for your garden's pollinators by hanging a bat house or a bee box. Bats not only will pollinate your
plants, they eat insects. In fact, one bat can eat between 600 and 1,000 mosquitoes and other insect pests in just one
hour. The National Wildlife Federation has posted plans for making an inhabitable bat box at this link:
Build a Bat Box

Many wild bees do not live in a hive but in small holes. Solitary bees, Mason Bees and Leafcutter Bees find holes that
already exist and use them as homes. You can encourage these bees to live in your garden by providing nesting places.
Hanging a bee box or providing hollow pieces of bamboo will welcome these small creatures to your garden. And there is
no reason to be afraid of these bees. If left to themselves, they will not bother you but go about their work making
honey and pollinating the flowers in the area they live.  Check out this site for directions.
Build a Bee Box

6. Host a Hive. Teem up with Habitat for Honeybees by allotting a place in your yard for a hive. Not only will this grant
you the benefits of having healthy pollinators in your garden, it will provide a safe place for the hive to thrive. Hive
hosting is gaining in popularity as more become aware of the plight of the honey bee and laws are being rewritten to
allow urban beekeeping. New York City, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago all have lifted the ban on urban

7. Educate yourself. Stay in the know. The time to act is now so add your voice, sign petitions and vote for change! April
16, 2013 the biotech seed giants Monsanto and Bayer signed a series of cross-licensing deals to share certain crop
biotechnology for weed and pest control. (
6) These giants are not working for the good of the environment but for a
profit. They need to be closely monitored by the public who is acting as their guinea pigs. (
7) The EPA has grown
increasingly lenient when it comes to regulating big Agra. It's time we hold them accountable. On March 18, 2013 the
American Bird Conservancy called for a ban on neonicotinoids citing "significant environmental concerns" (
8) forcing the
EPA to reevaluate its registration of this class of insecticide. Manufacturers claim the American Bird Conservancy report
depends on suspect science, and that a ban would be destructive to global agricultural production. The fight is on! Now is
the time to add your voice. Write your congressman. Enlist them to act.
Use this letter Congressman Ed Markey,
Massachusetts 5th District wrote questioning EPA's Lisa Jackson as an example.

1. UNEP. March 10, 2011, Bees Under Bombardment

2. Shelley Stonebrook. Sept 2012, It’s Time to Ban Dangerous Neonicotinoid Pesticides, Mother Earth News

3. Dr. Mercola. January 1, 2013, Photographic Adventure Reveals the Frightening Deadness of Genetically Engineered Corn

4. Tom Philpott. March 27, 2013, Not Just the Bees: Bayer's Pesticide May Harm Birds, Too.

5. Michael Wines. March 13, 2013, Monarch Migration Plunges to Lowest Level in Decades

6. April 16, 2013 Monsanto and Bayer CropScience in deals to share technology

7. Sandra Ristow, Eugene A. Rosa and Michael J Burke. Highlights of NABC 15, biotechnology: Science and Society at a

8. Chuck Raasch. March 18, 2013, USA Today

Further reading :
For breaking news check out The Bee Guardian at

Creating Opportunities for Disadvantaged Honeybees

Why We Need Bees

PAN's report Honey Bees and Pesticides: State of the Science presents findings from dozens of scientific studies, focusing
on the link between pesticides and Colony Collapse Disorder

Pollinator-Dependent Crops: An Increasingly Risky Business

Pesticides & pollinator decline

The Buzz about Honey Bees and Food Production

UNEP Emerging Issues
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