Issue brief: Bee health and your business

Sabeena Hickman
Sabeena Hickman

You’ve no doubt heard about beekeepers in the U.S. and Europe experiencing bee colony die-offs. It’s somewhat of a mystery why this is happening; although, scientific consensus is emerging that the Varroa mite, in association with a range of viruses, is a significant factor in these losses.

However, much of the blame for the loss of managed bee colonies has been attributed to the use of neonicotinoids. Antipesticide activists have pressured big box stores to stop selling plants that have been treated with neonics.

The activists aren’t the only ones focusing on neonicotinoids. Recently, House Democrats sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking for tighter restrictions on these products. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., recently introduced pollinator legislation (H.R. 5447) to require the EPA to expedite the approval of pesticide products to control the Varroa mite and other pests that impact bee health and to report to Congress on its efforts. It also would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to report on the factors that threaten the health of managed bees, including pests, beekeeper practices, nutritional needs and more.

You can help by letting your congressperson know you support this legislation. Also, write  to Lowes (customercare@lowes.com) to ask them to continue to sell plants that have been treated using EPA-approved products. Access a prewritten letter supporting H.R. 5447 in PLANET’s legislative action center at landcarenetwork.org.

Hickman is CEO of the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET).

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