The decline of the bee population has created a buzz in the pesticide industry. As beekeepers struggle to keep hives alive amidst global colony collapse, many people believe that neonicotinoids — an insecticide resembling nicotine — are killing bees.

From the Texas A&M AgriLife website:

Neonicotinoids are a new class of insecticides chemically related to nicotine. The name literally means “new nicotine-like insecticides.” Like nicotine, the neonicotinoids act on certain kinds of receptors in the nerve synapse. They are much more toxic to invertebrates, like insects, than they are to mammals, birds and other higher organisms.

The decreasing bee population is an issue of increasing concern because nearly 70 percent of crops are pollinated by bees. Beekeepers and green organizations are fighting against neonicotinoid pesticides, which are 6,000 times more deadly to bees than the already banned DDT.

READ: Bee-Killing Pesticides in 51 Percent of ‘Bee-Friendly’ Plants Sold in U.S. and Canada

The evidence against neonicotinoids continues to mount. Studies published as early as 2013 have found that the use of neonicotinoids are correlated with damaged hive and queen bee health. In a statement from an ongoing investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that at least some neonicotinoids are harmful to bees. The United Kingdom has already banned the use of these pesticides.

Bee advocates are up against powerful forces.

“It is a battle against Bayer, Syngenta, Monsanto,” Erich Pica, president of the nonprofit Friends of the Earth, explained, “the same companies that spent $30 million last year lobbying the EPA and Congress to say ‘There’s no problem, we’re not losing pollinators.’ “

Beekeepers, grass-roots environmental organizations and the general public gathered in front of EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., last month to raise awareness about the bee issue and demand a ban on neonicotinoids.

Their message: “Keep the hives alive.”

Truthdig was on hand to document the event with Evrybit:


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