Concerned pesticides harming bee senses

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 29, 2013 

I am a local beekeeper out in Whatcom County and wanted to bring awareness to local farmers and people in general about the new studies released in late March showing scientific evidence showing that common pesticides are directly harming bees. The insecticides in the latest study, neonicotinoids and coumaphos, scramble the circuits of bees' brains. This leaves them unable to learn, smell or remember - all critical abilities for foraging honey bees.

"EPA officials have hinted that they may speed their review of bee-harming pesticides, but for now the agency remains on course to conclude its review of neonicotinoids in 2018." As the New York Times noted in an editorial earlier this month, that is "not remotely good enough."

I have sustained 40 percent to 80 percent losses since we moved here four years ago and it is heartbreaking. Many of our hives are placed near or on blueberry and raspberry farms and I'd really like to make these local farmers aware of these chemicals so hopefully they will consciously choose to stay clear of them. Bees increase the productivity of berries for these farmers and it would be a shame if that interaction is actually harming the bees.

Kim Otto

Deming

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