Pesticides Are Killing Our Bees

  • Posted on 27 April 2021
  • By Simone Kuhfal

A group of pesticides called neonicotinoids have been causing destruction and killing bees for years, and we need to act now before it’s too late.

Sierra Club staff and volunteers work together to analyze and determine Club positions on hundreds of bills at the legislature every year. From among those on which we take a position, a number rise to the top as priority bills that deserve attention and that we encourage our members to bring to the attention of their legislators. 
AB 567 (Baurer-Kahn) will prohibit the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which are dangerous to public health and the environment and have been linked to the decline of honeybee populations and other pollinators.
Most people wouldn't think they’d ever have to worry about the extinction of bees, but hundreds of studies show us that this species is in rapid decline due to the use of neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a variety of pesticides used to treat the seeds of crops like corn and soy, and once sprayed these chemicals get soaked up by the plants, specifically within the pollen and nectar, which we all know bees depend on. According to the European Food Safety Authority, “The typical neonic coating on just one corn seed can contain enough active ingredients to kill a quarter-million bees or more.”

Photo by Guerin-Nicolas

Bees help to pollinate these plants, thus soaking in these harmful chemicals. Over time, it affects a bee’s ability to reproduce and impairs its central nervous system. Neonics have been found to directly affect queen bees as well, resulting in fewer colonies. Studies show that Neonics last in the environment for years, spreading easily through the air and seeping into our waterways.
Neonicotinoids also directly affect us and have been found in our water supplies and our food.  A study conducted in 2015 by the CDC showed that about half of the U.S. general population 3 years of age and older were exposed to neonicotinoids. This shows that the decline of bees can also have potential implications on food security, which would directly affect low-income communities the most. The United States Department of Agriculture states “Of the 1,400 crop plants grown around the world, i.e., those that produce all of our food and plant-based industrial products, almost 80% require pollination…”
So, how can you help? Speak up in support of AB 567 and tell your friends and assembly members to support this bill as well. Some other ways you can help:
As AB 567 states, “bees and other pollinators are essential to a healthy ecosystem and have fragile populations,” please say no to pesticides!

Simone Kuhfal (she/her) is a member of the Sierra Club Palos Verdes South Bay group, volunteering on zero waste and water issues.

Header photo by Peter Bennett

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