2.6 Million Dead Bees Dropped Off At EPA Headquarters

A truck filled with 2.6 million dead bees has been delivered to EPA headquarters to raise awareness about the massive declines recently faced by pollinators.

The truck made its final stop at a rally outside the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday, the 22nd of June. Advocates and beekeepers alike delivered more than 4 million signatures demanding the immediate ban on bee-killing pesticides.

James Cook, a Minnesota-based beekeeper, has been driving the truck across the country for about a week. He recalls that in the five years since he has started keeping bees, he has witnessed many hives be killed by pesticides.

Most of the world’s common crops, including peaches and watermelon, rely on bee pollination. Yet, over 40% of U.S. honeybee hives die annually, costing farmers and beekeepers over $2 billion each year.

One class of pesticides that have been widely-used throughout the U.S., kill honey bees at an alarming rate. These pesticides are called neonicotinoids or neonics. Last spring the EPA began assessing four types of neonics and their impact of pollinators, and in January, the agency did end up acknowledging that imidacloprid could harm bees. Yet they have failed to continue their assessments and their remaining conclusions are still outstanding.

Anna Aurilio, the director of the Washington DC office of Environmental America, believes that the links between neonics and bee die-offs are glaringly obvious. She believes that officials should be moving quickly to stop any and all uses of these dangerous pesticides.

To wrap up their Keep the Hives Alive Tour, farmers, food advocates, and beekeepers met with EPA officials, members of Congress, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They delivered letters from about 200 businesses and organizations urging action against bee-killing pesticides and asking for support for sustainable agriculture.

Keep the Hives Alive has made stops in California, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. The movement came to a close during National Pollinator Week, at a rally that drew in hundreds of people. During the rally, farmers, environmental advocates, restaurant owners, and beekeepers alike came together to call for action to help save these very important insects we call bees.

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