11 June by Jayson Veley
In a major win for mother nature, the European Union backed a proposal last month to ban the use of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which studies have shown do a tremendous amount of harm to honey bees.
The ban, which has been strongly supported by environmentalists, applies to the use of three active substances: imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, which are developed by Bayer CropScience, Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience, and Syngenta, respectively.
“All outdoor uses will be banned and the neonicotinoids in question will only be allowed in permanent greenhouses where exposure of bees is not expected,” explained the European Commission in a statement. Additionally, the campaign group “Friends of the Earth” described the EU’s decision as a “tremendous victory” for bees and the environment. “The European Commission must now focus on developing a strong pollinator initiative that boosts bee-friendly habitat and helps farmers cut pesticide use,” the group stated.
Others aren’t nearly as enthusiastic about the ban. Bayer called it “a sad day for farmers and a bad deal for Europe,” adding that it would not help bees and that farmers have no other way of controlling pests.
Regardless of differing opinions regarding whether or not these insecticides should be banned, one thing that most people should be able to agree on is the fact that honeybees should be protected at all costs. If bees are allowed to go extinct, whether it’s because of harmful insecticides or other environmental catastrophes, then we will all be living in a very different world than the one we are currently living in.
According to the USDA, 33 percent of every single bite of food we put into our mouths is derived from plants that have been pollinated by bees, which makes sense considering the fact that roughly 75 percent of fruits, nuts, and vegetables that are grown in the United States are also pollinated by bees. Some of the foods that are almost entirely dependent on bee pollination include almonds, avocados, apples, cherries, and several others. (Related: Do your part to save the bees with these ten easy-to-grow flowers.)
It’s also worth noting that in addition to providing us with foods that most of us purchase every time we go to the grocery store, honey bees are also extremely important for business. The USDA states that in the year 2010, honey bees provided for more than $19 billion dollars in added value to the agriculture industry. Based on this statistic alone, it’s easy to see how the agriculture business would look and operate extremely different than it does now if it weren’t for bees. Additionally, around $150 million worth of honey is produced in the United States each year, and commercial beekeeping businesses are usually family owned and operated businesses that are passed down from generation to generation, according to the National Honey Board. (Related: Read about the story of honeybees and their importance in sustaining life.)
Thankfully, the world appears to be stepping up and doing its part to protect these important creatures. Indeed, over the past few years, there have been numerous projects and initiatives designed specifically to save the bees. The United States, for example, has taken steps to phase out GMOs and bee-killing pesticides in all wildlife refuges, according to TakePart. The organization “Beyond Pesticides” is working to transition the world into a greener planet that is free of toxic pesticides. A documentary called “Vanishing Bees” was created in order to show people the shocking truth behind the declining bee population and paint a picture of what the world would look like without them. Hopefully, this push to save the bees and to raise awareness about the important role they play in our world will continue for years to come.
Discover more news on pollinators at Bees.news.
Do your part and save the bees with these 10 easy-to-grow flowers
10 May, 2017 by Frances Bloomfield
(Natural News) Bee populations have dwindled in recent years. Pesticides, parasites, and the disappearance of wildflowers have all been cited as reasons for the declines of domesticated and wild bees. Without these important little pollinators, the amount of agricultural crops would shrink considerably. Less bees means less food for us. Fortunately, the simple act of planting annual flowers can help bring bee numbers back up. These are ten bee-friendly flowers that are easy-to-grow and highly recommended by TreeHugger.com.
- Garden Nasturtium – Beloved as both an ornamental and medicinal plant, Garden Nasturtiums are also noteworthy as popular climbers in American and European gardens. If you don’t have a large garden, don’t fret; there are shorter, more compact varieties available that are perfect for growing in pots.
- French Marigold – Commonly used as a companion plant, French Marigolds protect vegetable crops from harmful insects like white flies. Honeybees aren’t as repulsed as other pests; in fact, honeybees have been known to flock to Marigolds. The single flower varieties are the better choice for bees, so keep this in mind when picking flowers.
- Common Marigold – These are fast-growing plants blessed with aromatic leaves and vibrant flowers. They also serve as excellent substitutes for saffron in rice dishes.
- Californian Bluebell – These are hardy flowers that do well in dry soil, require little attention, and attract pollinators.
- Common Sunflower – Whether you plant giant Sunflowers or the shorter varieties, be sure to plant them where they can get the most amount of sun. There are pollen-free cultivars on the market which aren’t good at attracting bees, so avoid these at all costs.
- Baby’s Breath – These delicate white flowers are known for being easy to grow from seeds. More than just bouquet fillers, Baby’s Breath lure in honeybees with ease.
- Cosmea – Brightly colored and beautiful, the towering Cosmea also comes in smaller varieties for easier planting.
- Honeywort – Their rich, purple flowers and blue-purple bracts are highly enticing to bees and butterflies. To get the best Honeyworts, soak the seeds in water 12 hours before sowing.
- Borage – Also known as Starflower, Borage flowers aren’t just good at drawing in bees. Once a bee has a visited a flower, it refills with nectar within two minutes, making it a perfect honey plant as well as a bee-friendly annual.
- Cornflower – The “flower” of this plant is actually made up of several smaller flowers. This is an affordable plant famous for being irresistible to bees.
Bees already do so much for us, so this is the least we can do for them. You don’t need a big garden to grow these flowers; a few pots and a windowsill will do. However, there are a few more things to keep in mind while choosing the perfect flower for your bee-friendly garden. First, be sure to pick plants native to your region, since plants that aren’t from your area can do a lot of damage. Additionally, a lot of commercial establishments carry seedlings infected with insecticides. Avoiding these is easy: simply turn to a local provider for organic plants. When it comes to caring for your flowers, don’t under- or over-water the soil. The majority of these annuals will thrive in a temperature ranging from 57 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, seeds usually begin germinating within six to 10 days, and should be flowering within seven to 10 weeks.
Keep up to date on what pesticides are doing to the environment by visiting Pesticides.news