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Pollinator Week Focused On Bee Health

Week keeps importance of bees, butterflies, bats and other pollinators top-of-mind

Published on: Jun 18, 2013

According to the USDA, one out of every three bites of food depends on bees, butterflies, bats and other organisms that offer an estimated $20 billion worth of pollination for American crops each year.

That crucial role pollinators play is the driving force behind the Pollinator Partnership's National Pollinator Week, which kicked off Monday and runs through June 23. The Department of the Interior and the USDA also adopted the designation.

The week is intended as a period of reflection on pollinators' role in crop production, providing healthy watersheds, supporting terrestrial wildlife and contributing to the ecosystem.

National Pollinator Week keeps importance of pollinators top-of-mind
National Pollinator Week keeps importance of pollinators top-of-mind

"Six years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as National Pollinator Week marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations," Pollinator Partnerships' dedicated website explains.

Dwindling populations have cast a light on the otherwise quiet issue, and recent movements in Europe and from several top agricultural companies have kept the message of pollinators' importance going strong.

Concern hit a fever pitch this spring with the European Commission's April decision to move forward with a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, which some believe have an effect on bee health.

The decision came the same week Bayer Cropsciences and Syngenta unveiled a plan to improve research on bee health and address causes of declining bee populations.

Though a similar bee health program had been previously established, the companies' new program focused on the EU, establishing more monitoring programs, improving investment in research and technology and building better bee habitats.

Bayer said Monday it would continue its efforts to foster bee health through several Pollinator Week activities, including an employee-focused event to promote pollinator education. The mobile Bee Care Tour exhibit will also be on display.

“Bayer strongly believes that pollinator education and awareness are at the core of increasing support for pollinator health,” said Jim Blome, company CEO. “National Pollinator Week affords us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on pollinator health and collaborate with stakeholders and the broader community.”

Bayer also renewed its Pollinator Pledge as part of the week's activities, which reinforces a commitment to promotion efforts and a partnership with the North American Pollinator Campaign.

Through the Pollinator Pledge, Bayer will contribute $1 for each person who requests a free packet of wildflower seeds to start their own pollinator garden.

Though an exact cause for declining pollinator populations – specifically bees – is unknown, the USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency in a report issued in May described the issue of bee decline as a "complex problem" requiring continued research to fully understand.

Officials cited parasites, lack of genetic diversity and poor nutrition as possible causes. Additionally, the report called for greater research and collaboration to procure timely information regarding colony collapses and die-offs.

As the Pollinator Week caps off a year of bee-focused reports and action plans, a special festival July 21 in Washington, D.C., will end the week. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside of the USDA headquarters.

You May Also Be Interested In:
The Buzz About The Bees
Pollinator Week Focused On Bee Health
Bees Exposed To Fungicide More Vulnerable To Gut Parasite, USDA Says
Bees In The News Again
Bees: Agriculture's 'Canary In The Coal Mine?'
Does Seed Treatment Affect Honey Bees?
Oregon Issues Temporary Pesticide Ban Following Bee Deaths
Pesticide Labels Changing To Protect Bees And Other Pollinators

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let’s all celebrate National Pollinator Week where honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats, wasps, ants, moths, and some small mammals are celebrated for providing us with fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Yet, the celebration that often awaits bees, and other pollinators in this blooming season is a deadly concoction of pesticides, miss-applied in violation of the EPA regulated label. Since March 2013 pesticide misuse has killed and severely damaged 3,272 colonies. The livestock loss to these beekeepers in four states is $654,400 to $1,636,000. Beekeepers who experience a loss of their livestock, a bee kill, due to misuse of pesticides are helpless: no government or insurance program reimburses their lost livestock. If a rancher went to his field one morning and discovered 1300 dead cattle or sheep at a value of $179,400 to $195,000 he has legal recourse to even call the Sheriff to help determine who killed his livestock. Beekeepers can only call the State Agricultural Dept. That State Ag Dept. may do an investigation, and then again they may not have the funds to do an investigation. When your business loses $260,000 in livestock, you are now unable to meet your crop pollination contracts, and those 1300 hives will not produce honey this year. Due to these losses, caused by others through their misuse of pesticides, the beekeeper goes out of business. The diversity of our food supply relies on pollination by managed, and native bees, and other pollinators. Yet, bees, and other pollinators continue to suffer the effects of the misuse of pesticides. So far in 2013 bee kills due to pesticide misuse have been experienced in: • Florida 1000-1500 hives killed; 10,000 to 13,000 severely damaged • Minnesota 1312 hives experienced death, and severe damage • New York 300 hives killed • Utah 200 hives experienced death, and moderate damage in three separate bee yards. So, if the pesticide label states “do not apply the pesticide when crops are in bloom and bees are actively foraging;” then, applying a pesticide when the plants are blooming, and it is daylight would be a violation of the label. The National Pollinator Defense Fund encourages everyone to celebrate National Pollinator Week through the responsible and legal use of pesticides according to the label. Let’s celebrate National Pollinator Week by protecting and respecting all agricultural livestock including managed honeybees. Let’s celebrate National Pollinator Week by supporting native habitat for all pollinators. M. Colopy, Program Director, National Pollinator Defense Fund