“It is terrifying these pesticides are still being used” a witness said of the bee kill she had just seen in her Pleasant View neighborhood (Bees found dead, dying under tree, Daily Camera, May 23). “I saw a few of the living bees kind of walking in circles.” A typical symptom of neonicotinoid poisoning. It is even more terrifying to discover that the EPA, the protector of our environment, has caused the honey bee decline by registering neonicotinoids as insecticides in the first place, knowing full well their effects on insects. Neonicotinoids, the leading cause of the honeybee decline here in the United States are the likely culprit. They are commonly used in urban and agriculture sites throughout the country.
How can you identify neonicotinoids? First, know the chemicals in the insecticides you purchase or that are applied on your property. The active ingredient statement on the label will tell you what the chemicals (active ingredients) are. Look for the chemicals imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam. Second of you see these chemicals don‘t purchase them or allow application on our property. These three chemicals are the most potent bee killers of the neonicotinoids and have recently been banned for all outdoor uses by the EU to protect honey bees and wild bees.
Why beware of these chemicals? They are highly toxic to insects, being between 5,000 and 10,000 times more toxic than DDT. They are water-soluble persistent systemics. This means they remain in the environment with little degradation. Systemics invade the plant tissues. Water soluble means they travel and end up in the soil for the long haul. An example is the linden tree, a major honey source just now coming into bloom. When linden trees have been treated with neonicotinoids the chemical s invade all plant tissues of the trees. This includes roots, sap, leaves, flowers, pollen, and nectar. Pollinators visiting the trees will die. If pollinators survive long enough to bring the chemicals home the hive is likely not to survive the following winter. Among these are the pollinators that service your garden. What else do they harm? Butterflies, birds, bats, aquatic invertibrates.