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Save Our Wild Bumble Bees


Green Lifestyle  (tags: bees, conservation, eco-friendly, ecosystems, environment, food, garden, healthy, protection, Sustainabililty )

Kathy
- 420 days ago - switchboard.nrdc.org
Today, we're asking the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to protect our native bumble bee pollinators.



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Comments

Kathy B. (103)
Wednesday October 30, 2013, 4:28 pm
Over the last twenty years, there has been a dramatic rise in the demand for commercially reared bumble bees to pollinate greenhouse crops, particularly tomatoes. At first, this might not seem like such a bad idea. Bees and certain plants—including tomatoes, pumpkins, potatoes, eggplants, blueberries, and cranberries—have a unique, hard to replicate, relationship. It takes a bee’s special buzz to coax the pollen out of these furtive flowers.

The problem is that evidence suggests commercial bees tend to harbor significantly more pathogens than wild bumble bees. When these infected commercial bees escape from the greenhouse, which studies confirm they regularly do, they spread their diseases to the local, native bumble bees. Bumble bee diseases can be spread from bee to bee at shared flowers.

As the use of commercial bees has gone up, the population numbers of several wild bumble bee species have plummeted. One likely cause and a leading hypothesis for the decline is the introduction of pathogens spread by commercial bees.

Almost four years ago, NRDC joined the Xerces Society, Defenders of Wildlife, and native pollinator specialist and Professor Emeritus of Entomology at UC Davis, Dr. Robbin Thorp, in filing a petition that requested that APHIS regulate the movement of commercial bumble bees in order to help control the spread of parasites to wild bees. APHIS never responded. The situation for native bees has only gotten worse.

The last reported sighting of a Franklin’s bee (Bombus franklini) was on Mt. Ashland in August of 2006. Without regulation, the western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis), the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis), the yellowbanded bumble bee (Bombus terricola), and the American bumble bee (Bombus pensylvanicus) are each in danger of disappearing throughout significant portions of their ranges.

As we explained to APHIS in our petition and again in our letter today, pollinators are essential to our environment. They are a keystone species that provide ecological services necessary for the reproduction of 60-90% percent of the world’s flowering plants. One third of the food on our plates started with a pollinator.

The continued unregulated shipment of bumble bees throughout the U.S. to areas outside of their native ranges poses a grave threat to wild populations of bees. Without agency intervention, we are likely to continue to see catastrophic declines, and possibly extinctions, of bumble bee pollinators. APHIS’ failure to respond to our petition and delay in protecting our wild pollinators is undue, unacceptable, and, we told APHIS, illegal.

A recent New Yorker magazine had a cartoon picture of a bee flying away from a flower. The flower is gazing, helpless, after the bee and saying “call me!” If APHIS—the agency charged with protecting animal health, animal welfare, and plant health—doesn’t act fast, that bee might never call. A lonely flower that can’t produce seeds or fruit is not just sad; it’s a serious problem for all of us.
 

Sue Matheson (76)
Wednesday October 30, 2013, 6:27 pm
thanks
 

Robert O. (12)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 12:29 am
Thank you Kathy.
 

Anne W. (11)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 1:04 am
Thank you for sharing. I love bees, and I hope they can be saved. So sad to see the decline worldwide.
 

Frans Badenhorst (560)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 1:15 am
The problem is that evidence suggests commercial bees tend to harbor significantly more pathogens than wild bumble bees. When these infected commercial bees escape from the greenhouse, which studies confirm they regularly do, they spread their diseases to the local, native bumble bees. Bumble bee diseases can be spread from bee to bee at shared flowers.

As the use of commercial bees has gone up, the population numbers of several wild bumble bee species have plummeted. One likely cause and a leading hypothesis for the decline is the introduction of pathogens spread by commercial bees.

Almost four years ago, NRDC joined the Xerces Society, Defenders of Wildlife, and native pollinator specialist and Professor Emeritus of Entomology at UC Davis, Dr. Robbin Thorp, in filing a petition that requested that APHIS regulate the movement of commercial bumble bees in order to help control the spread of parasites to wild bees. APHIS never responded. The situation for native bees has only gotten worse.
 

Dogan Ozkan (5)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 2:20 am
save the wild ones
 

Victoria Oakey (126)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 2:22 am
Noted.
 

. (0)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 7:16 am
Thanks for sharing, Kathy. I'm not very fond of bees.
 

Marija Mohoric (47)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 9:33 am
noted, tks
 

Birgit W. (152)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 1:34 pm
Thank you for the article/
 

Dianne D. (462)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 1:47 pm
Without bee's humans would be without food. Our crops depend on bee's.
 

GGmaSheila D. (169)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 2:03 pm
May be allergic to bee venom, but even I know much of the food on my table would be missing if not for the bees. Thanks for info.
 

Kate Kenner (212)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 4:01 pm
Things happened when one messes with Mother Nature and moves wild beings around.
 

Gabriela Baldaia (103)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 4:16 pm
Thank you , Kathy !!
Signed with comment.

No bees ... no food ... no life ...
 

Winn Adams (205)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 7:06 pm
Thanks
 

Bette-Ann Libin (11)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 7:39 pm
No bees, no pollination, no pollination, no food, no food, no LIFE!

Thanks!
 

Colleen L. (2)
Thursday October 31, 2013, 11:13 pm
I too miss them from my garden. I use to see lots of them,...now only a couple. Thanks Kathy
 

Dimitris Dallis (9)
Friday November 1, 2013, 1:42 am
Thank you very much Kathy :)
 

Karen Chestney (110)
Friday November 1, 2013, 3:53 am
Thanks. We seriously need bees ! If a;; the bees "go" our crops "go". NOT good. I make sure to not use any king of pesticides & any new pots I acquire, I clean thoroughly.If you buy pots form Home Depot or Loews b,check to see they have not been "treated". My garden always has lots of bees and I will be sure to plant things bees, butterflys and humming birds love.!!!
 

Ruth S. (298)
Friday November 1, 2013, 6:15 am
Without these little creatures we are all as good as dead!
 

Lindsay Kemp (1)
Friday November 1, 2013, 6:54 am
Oh dear; nothing is as simple as it seems!
 

Jean A. (14)
Friday November 1, 2013, 6:56 am
How come we never had these problems years ago. Monsanto is changing the seeds with roundup and when a plant you buy is infected with Monsanto's poisonous seeds, They are tampering with our food, and flowers. I believe they will pollinate with chemicals in the future and the farmers will pay dearly. They don't want to label what they put in our food and are spending millions, why? People get wise to the way of the world and Monsanto. Fight to save the bees, any bees. I planted trees that are buzzing with bees.
 

Franshisca Dearmas (91)
Friday November 1, 2013, 2:01 pm
Noted. TY for the information Kathy
 

Kathleen R. (138)
Friday November 1, 2013, 5:07 pm
noted & commented
 

Melania Padilla (185)
Monday November 18, 2013, 8:15 am
No bees no food!
 
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