Bees, Organic And Pesticides: The Connection

by Marco
(Netherlands)

For some time, I felt the urge to write something which has been on my mind for so long and I simply have to tell you this. It is not such a pretty, happy story but we must realize what is going on.

Our bees are dying at an alarming rate and from all over the world, beekeepers and ecologists report severe declines of our pollinator population.

Many blame the varroa mite but scientists report that the areas where the problems are severe are those where a new kind of pesticides, the neonicotinoids are being used.

Neonicotinoids are different from other pesticides as they are put inside seeds and since they are water soluble, they influence the whole plant. This is why they are called systemic pesticides. The issue with these pesticides is that they attack the central nervous system of bees irreversibly. The other problem is that these pesticides have the ability to leach from soils and they are quite persistent in both soil and water. Imidacloprid is one of the neonicotinoids and is used when growing for example the following crops: kale, cauliflower, leek, courgette, cucumber, tomato, chilli peppers, sweet pepper, apples, pears, potatoes, sugar beets etc.

In the Netherlands, many bird species that depend on invertebrates have declined sharply: the black-tailed Godwit is such a bird. About 80% of the Western European population breeds in the Netherlands and studies revealled a 5% decline per annum from 2004 to 2006 and 22% in 2007. Studies showed that larger insects were in short supply so the birds could simply not raise their young. This change is likely due to intensification of the use of pesticides. In the UK, many woodland species such as Wood Warbler, Willow Tit and Pied Flycatcher are also affected.

Please remember: these birds depend on invertebrates to raise their young and the same decline in invertebrates we also experience in honey bees and other pollinators throughout the world. In other words: all kinds of insects are affected. In my humble opinion, this is not a coincidence, nor can we blame the varroa mite for this.

I hate to say this but we should not forget the huge amount of money companies make by selling pesticides: it is a multi-million business.

Therefore, I can only stress the following: raise awareness, buy as much organic produce as you can and do not use pesticides: It has no use whatsoever creating a lovely bee garden if the flower feeding your bees is the one eventually killing the same bees because its pollen or nectar is contaminated with pesticides.


If you want to read more, please check the pages on buzzaboutbees.net or buy the book “A Disaster in the Making”.


It is really about time we stop this madness.

(Webmaster comment: Thank you again Marco, I share your views and thought I would add in a few statistics within the page. If we can all support organic as much as we can, together we can make a difference. Retailers will get the message, and will increase their range of organic produce. Personally I have also become concerned about the impact of pesticides on human health!)

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