We are sad to report that chemical giants Bayer CropScience and Syngenta have overturned The European Commission’s ban on a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. This class of chemicals includes acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, sulfoxaflor, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. These are regarded as safer than the previous insecticides used before the 1990’s but this is only true in mammals. And even still, there are measurable harmful effects on humans. In May of 2013 The European Commission put a 2-year ban on this class of pesticides thought to be causing the collapse of hundreds of millions of bees around the world.
Strong scientific evidence has shown that these chemicals make their way into the root systems of the targeted crops and eventually make their way up to the flowers which the bees then ingest while pollinating. These poisonous chemicals have negative effects on the nervous systems of the bees making it hard for them to pollinate efficiently, though bees are normally extremely efficient at this important job. They create pollinating patterns and focus on specific flower clusters before moving on to the next. When they ingest these chemicals the bees’ bodies start trembling to the point where they struggle to even stay on the flowers. They fall off and lose their navigation skills. The chemicals also reduce taste sensitivity, thus making bees less excited to pollinate the crops that make up a third of our food source.
A spokesman for Bayer CropScience, called the link between neonicotinoid compounds and bee-colony declines a “hypothesis” that has not been confirmed by targeted studies. This statement is false by a long shot and Europe had set out to prove this with their 2-year ban on these harmful pesticides. Companies like Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto make yearly profits in the billions of dollars so it’s no wonder they don’t want to see this 2-year ban all the way through.
Just think about it, lots of this information is really quite simple to understand. Bees need diversity in their food supply to survive just like humans. While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when our monoculture systems started it’s safe to say that after the year 1800 we began introducing massive farms that yield only one or two types of crops. Without knowing the scientific evidence of the negative effects this would have on the soil, this seemed like a highly efficient way to produce lots of food for the worlds quickly growing population at the time.
We later learned that monoculture systems make great breeding grounds for pests, hence the reason for introducing pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides. Nothing about these chemicals is natural to the earth’s environment. To ignore the possibility of harmful side effects is simply arrogant. Monoculture has become so deeply embedded into our culture today that the thought of looking back to diverse and organic farming practices is hard to grasp for these large companies.
There have been numerous publications linking these pesticides to poor bee health. The Guardian, Harvard School of Public Health, Science Magazine, and Parliament just to name a few. Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto have not published any of their own “research” disproving these studies and continue to act with inaction. They have been spending millions buying existing bee research labs to conduct their own studies. Some might even argue that this is their way of preventing the real scientists from proving them wrong.
So how do we stop this? It’s no easy task and it will take the majority of our population to realize pesticides and GMO’s are not only harmful to insects but to ourselves as well. We can all start by buying local and organic foods whenever possible and practicing organic gardening techniques in our own backyards to give bees a healthy food supply too. Help spread the word on these topics and bee aware of the choices you are making and the effects they have on the environment.