President Obama, Bees Need Decisive Action

Pesticide Action Network   July 3, 2014

Make Sure the New Federal Strategy for Bees Addresses Pesticides

Did you hear? President Obama recently announced a new federal task force to "promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators." Let’s make sure it makes a difference.

It’s encouraging that the White House recognizes the importance of bees for food, farming and our economy. But we need to ensure this task force results in real, long-lasting protections for pollinators — and we need your help to deliver this message loud and clear.

Bees need protections that count» In the President’s memo he emphasizes public education, additional research and habitat expansion. All important, to be sure. But there isn’t much clarity about how the task force will address one of the primary threats to bees and other pollinators: pesticide exposure.

Numerous independent studies clearly show a link between pesticides and bee declines, with neonicotinoids (or “neonics”) leading the pack of bee-toxic chemicals. Not only can neonics kill bees outright, but they can impair bee brain function and suppress immunity to common pathogens in smaller doses. And they’re the most widely used insecticides in the world.

Studies show neonics are also harmful to other pollinators like birds and butterflies, with enough pesticide on one single neonic-coated seed to kill a songbird.

Based on the growing body of evidence, including a newly released “worldwide assessment” of the impact of neonics, scientists around the globe are calling for immediate action to restrict the use of neonics. Are U.S. decisionmakers listening?

The science is clear. Time for action» While the European Union and other governments have taken decisive action to protect pollinators based on the emerging scientific evidence, U.S. policymakers have been doggedly slow to act. Time for that to change!

Urge President Obama to ensure that the new pollinator task force steps up and enacts meaningful and rapid protections for bees. Pesticides are a very real threat to bee health that urgently needs to be addressed.

Thanks for keeping this important issue front and center.