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Follow the Money or Honey?

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Follow the Money or should it be follow the Honey. Why are we killing the bees?

A Bee
Image taken from www.public-domain-image.com

You would think what with Monsanto’s Honeybee Advisory Council, and Bayer’s Bee Care Centers, the world’s largest pesticide-makers would be too busy caring about bees to manufacture or use the pesticides that kill them.

Not true, of course. Here’s what is true. Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto have launched a massive public relations campaign to convince consumers that, despite the science, their pesticides aren’t to blame for Colony Collapse Disorder. And it looks like the U.S. Department of Agriculture is following their lead, by trying to shift the blame for bee deaths to mites, not poisons.

According to Friends of the Friends of Earth report, the pesticide industry’s “distraction” campaign looks a lot like what the tobacco industry did to convince consumers that cigarettes weren’t giving them lung cancer. (Coincidentally, neonicotinoids are synthetic derivatives of nicotine, a toxin produced by the tobacco plant).

How can industry afford such a big PR campaign? By selling billions of dollars’ worth of pesticides every year. Bayer alone sold $10 billion of “Crop Protection” products (including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and seed growth) in 2012.

It’s bad enough these companies sell bee-killing pesticides, and seeds coated in bee-killing pesticides, to farmers. But they also sell them to consumers. And even if you’re a savvy consumer who wouldn’t buy Syngenta’s Maxide (fungicides and herbicides) or Bayer’s “Bayer Advanced” or “Bayer Garden” products, you may be unknowingly buying garden plants that have been treated with these companies’ neonicotinoid poisons.

Get educated about the loss of bees and why they are so important.

TAKE ACTION: Home Depot and Lowe’s: Stop Selling Bee-Killing Garden Plants!

TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Representative: Please Support the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 2692)

HERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP IN YOUR OWN YARD:

SAVE THE BEES WITH WONDERFUL WILDFLOWERS!
Plant wildflowers in your garden, or even create a small meadow. There are several ways you could do this:

– allow a patch of lawn to grow, only mowing twice during the year (early and at the end of the season). Wait and see what comes up.

– sow seeds, or buy potted wildflowers (some may be difficult to establish otherwise).

– many grassy areas will not convert easily to meadow, because of resilient grasses that prevent wildflowers establishing themselves. If this is the case for you, sow a wildflower that is parasitic on tough grasses such as Yellow Rattle, which is loved by bees, and will out-compete the grass.

THINK TWICE ABOUT USING PESTICIDES
If you want to help save the bees, try natural methods of pest control – such as putting up bird boxes and blasting aphids with water.

Many well-known garden pesticides contain neonicotinoids. The same applies to lawn care products.

The fact is, most insect species are beneficial or harmless.

Neonicotinoid pesticides can remain in the soil for years, and continue to be taken up by the plant (and the bees). Neonicoitinoids include imidacloprid, Acetimacloprid,Clothianidin, Thiacloprid, Thiamethoxam, Dinotefuran and Nitenpyram. To read more, go to the Organic for Consumers website.

SPREAD THE WORD
Spread the word about the need to help save the bees! This could range from sharing these tips to chatting with your neighbour or giving a talk about bees to your gardening groups.

More information about bees

Mari-Lyn Harris

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