In 2006 the idea of Colony Collapse Disorder was a mysterious, inexplicable syndrome.All we knew is that something was killing a precious resource: nearly 50% of the honeybees necessary to pollinate our fruits and vegetables were dropping dead.Was it a virus?A mite?Were cell phone signals the problem or were they just stressed?
Nearly seven years later, food safety consumer watch dog groups, scientists and some beekeepers believe the culprit is most likely a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids.Last year the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a scientific review of three studies to back the hypothesis.The problem is particularly treacherous because these pestitcides, also known as neonics, can be systemic which means they're applied at the seed stage.When plants mature, bees are exposed to them when they do what they do naturally - pollinate.
What's even more insidious is that that many of the plants purchased at garden centers like Home Depot, Lowes and Target are pretreated with neonics.So those sunflowers you purchased in hopes of attracting bees into your garden just might be killing them, too. The Center for Food Safety has filed a lawsuit against the EPA to restrict their use and recently launched a petition campaign to discourage the use of neonics in "bee-friendly" plants. In fact, home garden stores in Europe have already banned them.
Not everyone believes neonics are responsible for the diminishing bee populations though it’s important to note that much of the naysaying comes from the establishment agriculture industry. I say let the big guns battle it out on the industrial fields of big agriculture but in my home garden, let me choose neonic-free, bee-friendly plants for own private ecosystem.And then,let the pollination begin.