WASHINGTON, May 23, 2018 – The Bee Informed Partnership today released results of its annual survey of honeybee colony losses. Beekeepers reported 40.1 percent bee colony losses between April 2017 and April 2018. However, these numbers only represent 6.6 percent of the nation’s honeybee colonies and do not account for losses of native or solitary bees.
Thousands of scientific studies conclude that pesticides are a key factor in widespread declines in wild and domesticated bee populations. The European Union recently voted to ban the use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides on outdoor crops. Yet in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency has delayed regulatory action on most uses of neonicotinoids until mid-2018, despite its own assessment that these pesticides pose far-reaching risks to birds, aquatic invertebrates and bees that threaten vital crops.
“These dire honeybee numbers add to the consistent pattern of unsustainable bee losses in recent years that threatens our food system, but they are the tip of the iceberg,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, senior food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “Beekeepers and our native and solitary bees are suffering above-average losses that are not accurately captured in this survey. The Trump administration and Scott Pruitt’s EPA are doing the bidding of the pesticide industry, ignoring overwhelming science on the need to restrict bee-toxic pesticides, while bees face an uphill battle for survival.”
Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.