Many of our fruits, vegetables, and nuts are reliant upon pollinators for their production. In fact, without these species, 70% of plants would be unable to reproduce or provide food. And of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. The health of pollinators is directly linked to food security. Industrial agriculture is devastating our pollinator populations, specifically bees and butterflies. The loss of the bees is a clear sign that our industrial agriculture system is not working.
In the last few years, beekeepers have reported annual hive losses of 40-50%, with some as high as 100%. In the winter of 2013-14, 66% of all American beekeepers reported higher losses than they deem acceptable.
Bee declines and poor pollinator health have been linked to specific insecticides called neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides worldwide.
Neonicotinoids persist in the environment and can accumulate quickly, causing contamination of surface water, groundwater and soil. This contamination endangers all animals that inhabit these ecosystems including.
The population of the North American monarch butterfly has declined by 90 percent in the last 20 years in part due to a commonly used herbicide used on Genetically Engineered (GE) crops, Glyphosate. Glyphosate doesn’t kill Monarchs directly, but rather kills their primary food source, milkweed.
Grow pollinator-friendly flowering plants in your yard and garden. Bees don’t like grass! Try: lavender, rosemary, echium, orange blossoms. Always try to plant native varieties that are well suited to your area whenever possible. Reach out to your local Master Gardening program for tips and get plant ideas from this list from Center for Food Safety.
Can’t keep honeybees? No problem! Help out native bee species by creating nesting sites. Native bees like a variety of habitats, and you can create some of your own to help them out — from wooden blocks to bamboo bundles.
Buy certified organic produce, which prohibits the use of harmful pesticides (like neonicotinoids) that are wiping out monarch habitat and destroying pollinator populations.
Support local beekeepers in your area by purchasing honey from them.