Protect Pollinators: Take the Honey Bee Pledge!
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Honey bees are responsible for 90% of flowering plants and more than a third of all crop production. They must be protected!
In the United States, pollinating insects are responsible for more than a third of all crop production. Without them, we could be facing severe food shortages and skyrocketing costs on produce we might otherwise take for granted1.
In short, we are highly dependent on bees, and it's time we take better care of them.
A century of heavy pesticide usage has not been kind to the honey bees of North America. In the last few decades a new class of insecticides called neonicotinoids have contributed in no small measure to hive collapse, but it is climate change that is now wiping bees out in record numbers2.
Bees have been losing hives in key habitats ever since the 1970s. It's estimated that their geographic coverage worldwide is contracting by 5 miles each year3. And at least 4.6 million hives have collapsed since 1947, according to U.S. National Agricultural Statistics, a 60 percent drop that continues to this day4.
The USDA's Agricultural Research Service is looking at ways to improve bee colony health and stem the threat of the Varroa mite5. Treatments for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) are being studied, and a bee gene bank has been set up to help researchers understand more about the particular traits that could protect future insects from CCD. University of Nevada researchers are experimenting with a virus that attacks a bacterial disease that affects honey bees, and Michigan State University scientists are developing sustainable pollination strategies such as enhancing the effect of bee-friendly wildflowers.
Teams of scientists around the country, and the world, are taking the disappearance of the honey bee seriously, and you can, too. We can all take the Honey Bee Pledge and promise to make decisions that help this important pollinator thrive.
Native pollinators like bees play an essential role in maintaining a healthy environment. They are also an indispensable part of our agricultural system, and human life. Take the pledge and sign below. Future generations depend on it!
- Dr. Ann Bartuska, United States Department of Agriculture (28 June 2019), "Being Serious about Saving Bees."
- Tim McDonnell, Mother Jones (9 July 2015), "Here's Why All the Bees Are Dying."
- Jeremy T. Kerr, Alana Pindar, Paul Galpern, Laurence Packer, Simon G. Potts, Stuart M. Roberts, Pierre Rasmont, Oliver Schweiger, Sheila R. Colla, Leif L. Richardson, David L. Wagner, Lawrence F. Gall, Derek S. Sikes, Alberto Pantoja, Science (10 July 2015), "Climate change impacts on bumblebees converge across continents."
- Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Jerry Hayes Jr., Robyn M. Underwood, Jeffery Pettis, PLOS One (30 December 2008), "A Survey of Honey Bee Colony Losses in the U.S., Fall 2007 to Spring 2008."
- Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, (13 November 2017) "Bee Disease Diagnosis Service."
The Honey Bee Pledge
As a steward of the environment and a protector of pollinators, I pledge to:
- Stay away from the most dangerous pesticides
- Protect pollinator health by preserving wild habitats
- Plant more pollinator-friendly plants
Honeybees are vital to human life, and they must be saved!