Man Packs Truck Full of 2.5 Million Dead Honey Bees for Cross Country Tour: Chemical Companies Are Killing Everything
Categories: On The Farm
The Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America and the United States Department of Agriculture, released its annual report on honey bee losses in the United States. Beekeepers reported losing 44 percentof their total number of colonies managed over the last year -- close to the highest annual loss in the past six years. These losses are considered too high to be sustainable for U.S. agriculture and the beekeeping industry.
“These honey bee losses reinforce what sciences continues to tell us; we must take immediate action to restrict pesticides contributing to bee declines,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “The longer we wait, the worse the situation becomes. If we do not suspend neonicotinoid pesticides immediately, we risk losing our beekeepers and harming important ecosystem functions upon which our food supply depends.”
While politicians and lawmakers continue to put forth the image that they’re working to save the bees, the facts on the ground remain the same: America’s pollinators are dying at an alarming rate.
According to a recent report from the USDA, American beekeepers lost a shocking 44% of their colonies from April 2015-2016, a stark decline that the Friends of the Earth organization called “too high to be sustainable for the U.S. agriculture and beekeeping industry.”
Now, a young beekeeper from one of America’s top farming states is traveling the country with millions of dead bees in hopes of waking up more people to the plight of the honey bee.
“It’s Definitely Not Just One Thing”
At age 30, Minnesota beekeeper James Cook is a bit young for his profession. But in this case it’s also an advantage as he’s able to keep his finger to the pulse of the industry nationwide while seeing its struggles first-hand, including witnessing a massive bee die-off in 2013.
“I’m only 30, and I’m looking at trying to do this as my livelihood for the rest of my life,” Cook said to the Associated Press. “I want to be part of the next generation of beekeepers, but if I don’t start talking about it and fostering discussions about it, I feel like nothing is really going to change.”
Cook is touring the country from his home base in Barrett, MN for his ‘Keep Hives Alive’ tour, which kicked off this month. It all began when loaded up his silver Dodge Ram pickup truck with the remains of 2.5 million bees, traveling the country in hopes of spreading awareness about what’s really happening at apiaries, orchards and farms everywhere.
Stops were planned for South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina according to the tour’s Facebook page throughout the month of June, with more locations expected (see the end of this article for more info on how you can support the tour).
While multiple causes have been suspected as the cause of colony collapse disorder in the United States, many activists, farmers and beekeepers on the ground believe that toxic pesticides such as neonics (bee-killing seed coatings), glyphosate sprayed en masse on GE and other crops, and other agricultural chemicals are the biggest cause that is being ignored.
“Chemical companies killing everything. This is about having a voice & demanding change.” said Lewisburg, PA beekeeper Dave Hackenberg ofHackenberg Apiaries.
On the Pennsylvania stop, farmers and beekeepers discussed the importance of switching to organic and sustainable farming.
“My chemical guy isn’t happy with me because my bill isn’t as high.” said Pennsylvania farmer Luke Criswell about his own farm’s changes, according to the Keep Hives Alive Twitter account.
New Report Blames Monsanto, Others for Bee Die-Off
The tour has kicked off right in the middle of a new report release by Friends of the Earth that implicates Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and others in deliberate attempts to mislead the EPA and other government bodies about the true cause of the shocking bee declines.
The bombshell report alleges that they have distorted and twisted science in their favor by lobbying and creating a “revolving door” in key federal regulatory industries. It can be viewed by clicking here.
Critics of the report have pointed out that honeybee colonies in total are up about 10 percent over the past decade in total. But May survey results showed a 28 rate of bee colony losses, 11 percent higher than the industry says is acceptable according to the AP.