Save Bees with Science

Target: Dr. Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, EPA Office of Research and Development

Goal: Increase funding for the development of bee-friendly pesticides.

Across the globe, bee populations are declining. In North America alone, more than 700 species of bees have experienced severe population declines. Although habitat loss and disease are partially responsible for this decline, pesticides are playing a major role in the decline of bees. It is unlikely that farms will ever stop using pesticides entirely, but new research has shown that it is possible to develop pesticides that are safer for bees.

A new multidisciplinary study has brought together biochemists, geneticists, entomologists, and neuroscientists from across the globe. This study identified the mechanism by which bees are resistant to certain pesticides, which is an incredibly important step in developing new pesticides that are safe for bees. Some pesticides target sodium channels, which are proteins that allow nerve cells to function. This study showed that bee sodium channels are different than those of other insects. So by identifying or engineering pesticides that don’t interfere with bees’ unique sodium channels, we will be able to use pesticides that are safe for bees while still being effective against insects that destroy crops.

Although this study was an important first step, much more research needs to be done to develop these bee-safe pesticides. Sign this petition to urge the EPA’s Office of Research and Development to fund science that will save bee populations worldwide.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Dr. Orme-Zavaleta,

Recently, pesticides have been the source of great controversy. Many pesticides have been linked to the global decline of bee populations. Yet it is not feasible to stop using pesticides altogether; scientists estimate that without pesticides, global food production could fall by as much as 35-40 percent, which would lead to massive famines.

Now, scientists have taken the first step to find a solution: the development of a pesticide that is not harmful to bees. Bees are incredibly important ecologically and economically. About 250,000 species of plants depend on bees for reproduction. Many crops also depend on bees for pollination, and thus bees are essential for food security. In the United States alone, honeybees pollinate about $12.4 billion worth of crops every year.

In order to save bees and preserve food security globally, we need pesticides that are safe for bees. Although important first steps have been taken, there is much work still to be done. I am writing to ask that you increase funding for the development of bee-friendly pesticides.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kate Russell

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9 Comments

  1. Bruce Mitchell Bruce Mitchell says:

    I can’t sign this. I just don’t think pesticides are the answer. Pesticide use is ecocide. See https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/20/insectageddon-farming-catastrophe-climate-breakdown-insect-populations

    • And, so, we do nothing? explain how inaction solves anything.

      • I agree, Margaret. We actually need bees to survive for humans and animals to survive.

      • Piotr Grabowski says:

        Do you see only 2 alternatives? 😉 The above petition goal is wrongly stated. It should be “Increase funding for and focus on the all-natural and eco-friendly solutions for replacing pesticides, including the natural ways of making plants stronger through properly fertile soil”. You see the difference now? This petition is a trap because its goal can be misused: interpreted as even more money for Monsanto-like companies to produce another aggressive chemical compound that would be safe for bees (for long enough time to not make any connection between it and bees’ delayed decrease of health) and not safe for anything else. 😉 I hope this clarifies why this petition is too tricky to sign. 🙂 Greets!

  2. We need chemicals that are more friendly to humans and the environment!

  3. Alarmingly few people realize the importance of bees for life on this planet.

  4. In one sentence: No bees, no food, food wars, elimination of humans.

  5. Lisa Zarafonetis Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & shared

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