Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Take Action to Protect Pollinators

Native bees and honeybees are a vital part of our food web.  In recent years, bee populations have been decimated by Colony Collapse Disorder and widespread use of pesticides. Loss of bees means agricultural crops are not pollinated at a sustainable rate, and natural eco-systems supported by native plants suffer. 

Release of new pesticides recently caused a devastating loss of bees in Wilsonville, Oregon, and bees in nearby counties are also threatened. Please consider taking action to prevent the loss of more bees. Here is a message from Scott Black, Executive Director of the Xerces Society.

"Two weeks ago, the largest native bee kill ever recorded occurred in Wilsonville, Oregon. More than 50,000 bumble bees died when 55 linden trees were sprayed with the pesticide dinotefuran (also known as Safari) in a Target parking lot. This loss represents potentially hundreds of wild bumble bee colonies. Incidents like this one can easily go unnoticed, and may be happening frequently. The pesticide responsible belongs to a relatively new and controversial group of chemicals called neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are highly toxic tobees<>, very long-lasting, and because they make flower nectar and pollen poisonous, there are growing concerns about their safety for pollinators. This year, the European Union cited risks to pollinators and banned certain uses of neonicotinoids for the next two years.

In urban areas, pesticides are used primarily for cosmetic purposes - to have a weed-free lawn, a blemish-free rose, or an aphid-free linden tree. The risk of losing valuable pollinators, such as bees, far outweighs any benefit of this type of cosmetic use.

These products have a wide variety of names (list of names<>). However, they all have one thing in common: they contain toxic neonicotinoid insecticides.

To prevent more large-scale bee poisonings, pollinators need your help.

Today, ask your mayor, city council, or county commissioners to:

* Stop using neonicotinoid pesticides on property they manage.
* Require warnings be posted alongside displays of these chemicals at hardware stores and nurseries.
* Ban the use of neonicotinoids for cosmetic purposes on ornamental and landscape plants within their jurisdiction (similar to the ban now in force in Ontario, Canada<>).
You can protect bumble bees and other pollinators from these highly toxic insecticides. <>

For the bees,"

Scott Black, Executive Director

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