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EPA continues to ignore the bee extinction epidemic ... could end in collapse of ecosystem

Bee populations

(NaturalNews) A coalition of farmers, food advocates and environmentalists from across the U.S. recently paid a visit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) headquarters, where they stacked a wall of plastic containers filled with more than 2.6 million dead bees – the victims of a pesticide-induced pollinator holocaust that federal regulators don't seem at all concerned with addressing.

The "Keep the Hives Alive" tour is trying to grab the attention of apathetic government power-holders whose blatant disregard for the epidemic of Colony Collapse Disorder, also known as CCD, threatens to eliminate bees from the planet by the year 2035. Bee colony numbers reportedly declined by roughly 40 percent between 1947 and 2005 – from 5.9 million to 2.4 million. And the situation has gotten progressively worse in recent years: In the span of just one year, from 2015 to 2016, honeybee colonies declined by a shocking 44 percent.

The Bee Informed Partnership has been tracking bee declines for a number of years now, and experts affiliated with the group are deeply concerned about what they're seeing. Bee losses are now reaching record numbers, with no end in sight, and next to nothing is being done to stop the biggest known culprit: neonicotinoid pesticides.

"We're now in the second year of high rates of summer loss, which is cause for serious concern," says Dennis van Engelsdorp, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, and project director for the Bee Informed Partnership. "Some winter losses are normal and expected. But the fact that beekeepers are losing bees in the summer, when bees should be at their healthiest, is quite alarming."

'Neonics' responsible for up to half of all wild bee deaths, new study confirms

In addition to the dead bees, activists presented some 4 million signatures urging the EPA, which has failed in its duty to protect our pollinators from noxious chemicals, to issue an immediate ban on "neonics," which a new study out of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in the UK confirms is killing bees in record numbers.

The 18-year study evaluated the long-term impacts of neonics on bees, particularly those that forage on oilseed rape (canola) plants. The agricultural use of neonics on commercial crops, scientists say, is responsible for up to half of wild bee deaths. And, as increasingly more arable land is converted to cash crops like canola that are sprayed with neonics, a greater percentage of bee losses will be attributed to the chemical.

"In the five years since I started keeping bees, I've seen many hives killed by pesticides," says James Cook, a beekeeper from Minnesota who's deeply concerned about the future of our most precious pollinators. "If some fundamental things don't change, it's going to be really hard for beekeepers to adapt to the environment around us."

Bees aren't just vital for growing food; they're also providers of some of the most nutritious food available – foods like untreated raw honey, Manuka honey and bee pollen products. All of these will become a thing of the past if bees go extinct, which is why action needs to be taken now to protect bees and promote their growth rather than their decline.

Back in May, the state of Maryland was the first in the U.S. to pass a Pollinator Protection Act, which restricts consumers from using neonics on crops. Now it's time for Congress to pass nationwide restrictions on neonicotinoid use on commercial crops, which are a toxic nightmare for bees, bats and our other cherished insect pollinators.

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