Chemicals are real bee problem

Published 9:15 am Friday, July 29, 2016

I appreciated your July 25 article “Wildflowers planted to aid bees may now be crippling them.” However, I was disappointed in its title, because it seemed to direct blame toward the wildflowers themselves instead of the actual problem: neonicotinoids.

The finding that these dangerous chemicals are drifting into wildflowers and rendering them harmful to the very organisms they are intended to benefit is alarming, to say the least. Studies have shown that neonicotinoids — which are 6,000 times more toxic than DDT — are a key contributor to bee decline. They can kill off bees directly in addition to disorienting them and making it harder for them to pollinate and find their way back to their hives. It is highly upsetting that neonicotinoids have become so widely and indiscriminately used that even organic sites are poisoned through drift; frighteningly, it seems there is nowhere safe left for bees in our increasingly toxic world.

Jonathan Lundgren said that it has become a question of how we preserve plantings from potential contamination; Chrissy Mogren said we should look for ways to protect the wildflowers from insecticide exposure. At this point, it’s clear to me that the only way to do this is follow the example of the European Union and parts of Canada and eliminate the use of these toxic, uncontainable, persistent pesticides before it’s too late.

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Fortunately, right now, we have a great opportunity to do so. The EPA is currently reviewing neonicotinoids, which won’t happen again for 15 years, so we must call on them to speed up their testing and eventually ban these dangerous chemicals altogether. Failure to ban these bee-killing pesticides will have disastrous effects. After all, bees help pollinate nearly one in every three bites of food we eat — so no bees means no food.


Cashen Conroy

Environment Minnesota Minneapolis