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Bee populations continue to plummet

May 15, 2016 12:44 am
While the Albany Times-Union reported this week that honey production in New York increased nine percent in 2015 to more than 3.6 million pounds produced, nationally, bees are still on the decline according to this Public News Service report:

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Veronica Carter reports U.S. beekeepers have reported losing nearly 44 percent of their colonies over the last year, according to an annual report just out. Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner for Friends of the Earth, says that's too high to be sustainable for agriculture in this country. She blames the problem on climate change, loss of habitat and pesticides. Finck-Haynes says this year Maryland became the first state to pass a bill to eliminate the consumer use of popular pesticides containing neonicotinoids, and Connecticut quickly followed. Other cities and universities are also banning them, but she says it's going to take federal action. "We're seeing a lot of action at the local and state level to restrict the use of pesticides," she says. "Hopefully, that will put some much needed pressure on EPA, the USDA and our members of Congress to take significant action." The report is a collaboration between the Bee Informed Partnership, the Apiary Inspectors of America and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Finck-Haynes says people want to help but don't understand the labels on the plants they buy. "Gardeners are pretty up in arms, saying, 'Whoa, wait a second. I thought I was going to the store, and if I bought a pollinator-friendly plant, that means that it's good for bees,'" she says. "Not realizing they could be creating a poisonous environment for bees in their backyard, not the safe haven they were envisioning." Finck-Haynes says another thing consumers don't understand is that for more than 140 crops in the U.S., the seeds come pre-coated with pesticides. She says the EPA is relying on states to pass laws protecting bees, and regulatory agencies are letting the pesticide industry pull the wool over their eyes instead of seeking solutions. - See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2016-05-13/endangered-species-and-wildlife/report-bees-continue-to-decline-in-u-s/a51890-1#sthash.onEZ7m0G.dpuf
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