Featured Photo: Honey bee hovering by Scott Butner
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.
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.