Over the past twenty years or so bees have been facing some major headwinds (pun intended) and many believe that neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) are a big part of their problem. A little history…
Neonics are a class of insecticides that attack the central nervous systems of insects, they are known to be particularly effective with sucking and chewing insects such as aphids. As the name implies, the active ingredient is basically an evil cousin of nicotine and they’ve been in use since the mid-1980’s. Today neonics are the most ubiquitous pesticides in the world. Some products can be sprayed on plants directly, others applied to the soil then absorbed through the plant roots for long-term effectiveness. It’s estimated that as of 2013, virtually all commercial corn in the US is treated with some form of neonic.
In spite of their current EPA approval for use in the United States, many researchers believe that neonicotinoid pesticides are a major factor in colony collapse disorder for bees. While bees subjected to neonics don’t immediately die, most researchers and enlightened governmental organizations agree that they’re not good for bees in any way. For example, some studies have revealed that neonics effect the bee’s ability to navigate. In other words, they can’t find their way home. Inspired by a 2018 report from the European Food Safety Authority, the outdoor use of neonicotinoids is now banned in all European Union countries.
So, what can we do?
If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re interested in the health and welfare of bees. In this 2021 session, the Nevada State Legislature is debating A.B 275 which would establish stricter provisions for the application of neonics. You can read and possibly comment here if you’d like to share your opinion with our sate leadership. Perhaps a bigger impact could be made if we, the environmentally minded, share this information with everyone that would listen. Keep in mind that most if not all flowering plants sold in the big-box stores have been treated with neonics so shop local seedling sales and ask the right questions of your nurseryperson whenever possible. Or, call me crazy, start your own flowering plants from untreated seeds and then you’ll know without a doubt. Lastly, I think we all need to steer clear from the application of these chemicals, please check your labels for…
Humans love flowers, humans need bees, that’s the problem. Let’s solve it together. For info on our organization got to: The Help Save The Bees Foundation