TAKE ACTION: Save the Bees! Ban Neonics!
The cause of the massive bee die-offs that commercial beekeepers reported this year—and every year since 2006— is no longer a mystery.
The neonicotinoid insecticides sold by Bayer and Syngenta, and used by Monsanto to coat their genetically engineered seeds, are killing pollinators.
TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT April 21: Tell the EPA to Ban Neonics! Fill in the form on this page to sign our petition or text BEE to 97779.
“If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”
That is the urgent warning of Dr. David Goulson of Sussex University, UK, one of the scientists behind a study showing a “horrific decline” in the flying insect populations of Germany’s nature reserves. Seventy-five percent of the insects in those areas have disappeared in the past 25 years.
Ultimately, the collapse of insect populations presage what Goulson described as “ecological Armageddon.”
In the near term, we have enough to worry about with losses among the insects we need most, the pollinators we rely on for 35 percent of global crop production and U.S. crops worth more than $15 billion a year.
In 2009, a group of European scientists convened amid growing concern about the rapid decline in insect populations. They investigated all the possible causes of the decline and concluded that neonicotinoid insecticides might be one of the main causes. They formed the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, reviewed all 1,121 published peer-reviewed studies on neonics, as well as data from Bayer and Syngenta, and in 2015, published the Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impact of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems. (The findings are summarized in the LinkTV documentary, “Neonicotinoids: The New DDT?”)
In 2017, the task force updated its review with hundreds more studies. The findings are grim, indicating that it won’t be easy to reverse the impacts of neonics now that they have saturated the environment:
• Neonics contaminate surface waters at levels harmful to aquatic insects and have been found in treated drinking water.
• Neonic pollution is so pervasive that “pollinator strips” planted to provide refuge for bees are contaminated.
• Neonic contamination of honey has persisted since the European Union moratorium went into effect in 2013.
• Chronic exposure to very low levels of neonics can cause a “delayed mortality” effect where insects do not die immediately but start dying in large numbers over time.
• Insect-eating birds can’t survive without insects to eat and neither can other insectivorous animals such as shrews, lizards, and frogs.
• Birds are dying from ingesting neonic-treated seeds.
It won’t be easy to get neonics off the market. Neonics are the most widely used insecticides in the world, representing 40 percent of the market and $2.63 billion in sales.
This year, the EPA will complete its seven-year review of neonicotinoid insecticides and a make a final decision on whether the risks they pose to bees, bats, birds, earthworms, butterflies and human health warrant a ban on their use.
The EPA is currently accepting public comments on preliminary ecological and human health risk assessments for these neonicotinoid insecticides -- clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran -- and a preliminary ecological risk assessment for imidacloprid, assessing risks to birds, mammals, non-target insects, and plants.
TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT April 21: Tell the EPA to Ban Neonics!