Letters to the Editor

Consider the impact of chemicals that kill bees

Yesterday I brought home an empty beehive. It consisted of two hive boxes for the bees and a “super” for them to fill with honey so I could have some. This hive was empty. About a month ago, it was full of bees and looked to be a promising honey producer. It was in full sun as well, and the weather has been good.

There was no indication of starvation; the bees were gone.

This is my second loss in the past two months. The first was a hive on Maury Island. This hive did not starve for there were frames of honey left in the hive, but all the bees were dead in the bottom board. I have had winter losses, but this unusual in the spring .

These losses are disheartening. There is now a family of chemicals produced by Monsanto, Dow and Bayer that kills bees in three ways. Spraying kills the bees directly. The second way is that the chemical is systemic and is absorbed by the plant and exists in all portions of the plant. So if a bee visits a flower for pollen or honey, this chemical is brought back to the hive and spreads death to the rest of the colony.  The third way is that the chemicals, and there are a number of them, cause the bee to become disoriented and unable fly back to the hive. Without a supply of honey and pollen, a hive dies.

Losses to beekeepers are rising; honey production is plummeting, and use of the chemicals in the “neonics” family is becoming more widespread. Europe has outlawed their use, but the EPA has issued “conditional approval” of their use.

We are all at the mercy of these chemical corporations. If it kills bees, what does it do to us?

— Bob Dixon

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