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Featured Photo: Honey bee hovering by Scott Butner

2012 June 12

Sometimes the smallest creatures can tell us larger stories of environmental challenges and changes. Congratulations to Flickr participant Scott Butner for his featured photo from State of the Environment!

Enjoy this honey bee closeup on June 10, 2012 from Tri-Cities, Washington.

Honey bee hovers in Tri-Cities, WA by Scott Butner for State of the Environment

Studies of bees and other pollinators have been increasing in recent years due to their dwindling populations and sudden disappearances in certain colonies.

We know that certain pesticides are harmful to bees, this is why EPA requires instructions for protecting bees to be included on pesticide labels that are known to be particularly harmful and why it’s so important to read and follow such labels.

When most or all of the bees in a particular hive are killed by overexposure to a pesticide, it is known as a beekill incident resulting from ‘acute pesticide poisoning’ and this is usually avoidable. This acute pesticide poisoning is very different from another set of circumstances that many beekeepers began reporting since the winter of 2006-2007: unusually high lossess of 30-90% of their hives with very few dead bees found near the colony itself, mostly the worker bees were missing. A combination of possible factors and events that lead to the loss of a bee colony has since been termed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

Whether it is an acute poisoning incident, or a combination of other issues resulting in CCD, bees and the plants they help to pollinate are part of our environment too and can be impacted by our choices.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is leading the federal government’s response to Colony Collapse Disorder, EPA has been helping to advance research that investigates pesticide effects on pollinators. Since 2007, we have been looking at ways to improve protections for them. EPA actively participates in a committee that includes experts from both government and academic institutions to further study and follow the issue.

Learn more about this and what is being done on EPA’s honey bee page.

Of things big or small, show us what’s happening now in our world, our environment where you live. All of the featured photos from State of the Environment, as well as highlighted images from EPA’s historic Documerica project, can be seen on EPA’s Facebook page.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

2 Responses
  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 13, 2012

    Once again, the use of pesticides is causing harm. Imidacloprid is a pesticide used widely in the US, on fruits, vegetables, and CORN. And bees get it in nectar from plants sprayed with it or through high-fructose corn syrup beekeepers use to feed their bees. (Is there any end to the evil of corn syrup?) And it’s not like the pesticide producers or large agriculture corporations are going to warn beekeepers to buy less.

  2. Paris permalink
    June 7, 2013

    yes, stop the use of pesticides, especially for plants that are frequently visited by bees , find a solution how to eradicate pests with natural ingredients

Comments are closed.