Bees are dying at alarming rates, jeopardizing not only our food supply but our own survival.

Our planet’s ecosystems rely heavily on insects, but if the global insect die-off continues at this rate, there might not be any insects left 100 years from now.
One of the main drivers of this destruction? Pesticides.

 

And this year marks the 10th year in a row where multiple states have used an EPA loophole to spray bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides, known as neonics. Neonics not only kill bees, but also contaminate groundwater and poison the broader food chain — and harm human health. Babies and children are especially vulnerable.

Despite these threats, neonics are showing up in our food… even food targeted to kids. That’s why we’re pushing some of the largest grocery store chains to supply food grown without toxic pesticides that is better for bees, better for the planet, and better for us. To keep up the fight, we need your continued support. Right now, the EPA is considering approving states’ “emergency” use of the bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticide dinotefuran on nearly 60,000 acres of fruit trees that attract bees.

This would mark the tenth year in a row that Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have taken advantage of “emergency” exemptions to spray this dangerous pesticide to get rid of stinkbugs. That means that for nine straight years so far, the EPA has recklessly allowed “emergency” pesticide uses in those states — and many others for years at a time.

This directly defies the EPA’s definition of an emergency as an “urgent, non-routine situation.” Clearly, this dangerous pattern of abusing the rules is now routine. And it’s part of the rapid growth of pesticide use, which is poisoning our water, killing bees, and harming other species.

In the past two decades, U.S. agriculture has become 48 times more toxic to insect life.

Neonics account for 92 percent of this increase because they are considerably more toxic to insects and far more persistent in the environment than other commonly used insecticides. Meanwhile, pesticide corporations are consolidating their power. Just four corporations dominate two-thirds of the pesticide market: BASF, Bayer-Monsanto, Syngenta, and Corteva. And they’re working hand in hand with Trump’s administration to roll back and prevent pesticide protections.

It’s a daunting challenge, but Friends of the Earth Action has already seen successes in our multi-pronged approach to banning and reducing pesticides.

Thanks to Friends of the Earth Action members like you, the vast majority of the garden industry has moved away from neonics, and many major retailers have also committed to stop selling plants and products treated with neonics. And we’re not done yet. If supermarkets stop selling products grown with neonics and other bee-toxic pesticides, food growers will start supplying food that is better for bees, better for the planet, and better for us.

For our grocery store campaign, we started with Kroger, the largest traditional grocery chain in the country. After three years of pressure from Friends of the Earth Action members like you — including new testing that exposed unsafe pesticides in Kroger brand foods targeted to children — the company recently announced an updated pesticide policy encouraging its suppliers to move away from toxic pesticides and adopt alternative pest management practices. But we’re continuing to push them for more concrete commitments and a clear timeline. And now, just-released research renewed the urgency of our work toward fully non-toxic food. A new study found that even pesticides claimed to be more bee-friendly actually shorten honeybees’ lives dramatically.

The test studied the effects on honeybees after contact with Transform and Sivanto, two widely used pesticides. The researchers followed the pesticide labels’ suggested application rates, but just six hours after being exposed to Transform, for example, a majority of the honeybees died. This type of toxicity could harm entire colonies. It’s yet another reminder of how much work we need to do together to speed the transition to a pesticide-free future, with a regenerative, healthy, and just food system for all.

Right now, the EPA is considering approving states’ “emergency” use of the bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticide dinotefuran on nearly 60,000 acres of fruit trees that attract bees. This would mark the tenth year in a row that Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have taken advantage of “emergency” exemptions to spray this dangerous pesticide to get rid of stink bugs. That means that for nine straight years so far, the EPA has recklessly allowed “emergency” pesticide uses in those states — and many others for years at a time.


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