What is killing bees?



by Catherine Haug, August 13, 2013

(photo, right from bugguide.net (3))

I’ve written about this topic before, but now there is a new bill in congress (HR-2692 or “Save America’s Pollinators Act”) to protect our bees and our food supply. This bill would require the EPA to pull neonicotinoid pesticides from the market until their safety is proven. Please consider writing to your representative(s) – Montana’s lone representative is Steve Daines. See Contact our Government.

There is also a Friends of the Earth Petition to large retailers like Lowes and Home Depot to pull neonicotenoids, a systemic fungicide that is especially harmful to bees – not just honey bees but also native bumble bees and others.

There is not just one thing responsible for the bee deaths, but rather several factors, many of which  have to do with reducing the bee’s immunity to infection by the Nosema parasite. Mercola lists all the prevalent theories in his article: Scientists Discover Fungicide and Pesticide are Killing Bees?and It’s Worse Than You Thought (1). Read on for his list, and for suggestions on how you can help bees.

Theories on what is harming bees

The following are from Mercola’s article (1), with Cat’s notes added:

  • Pesticides, insecticides and fungicides are known to get into the pollen and thus into the hives. In fact, Oregon and the European Union have banned many of these chemicals in the wake of massive bee death-counts. As the EPA has given the green light to another pesticide (Sulfoxaflor) related to neonics, several beekeeping organizations and beekeepers have filed a legal action against the EPA for approving this chemical. (2)
  • Malnutrition/Nutritional deficiencies from monoculture food supply;
  • Viruses and fungi;
  • Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) such as those generated by cellphones, radio towers, etc.;
  • Lack of natural foraging areas from destruction of native fields and pastures to grow monoculture crops of corn and soy;
  • GMOs. One of our local beekeepers has noticed problems with her bee hives from nearby fields of GMO canola.

How you can help bees

While this is a global problem, you can help right in your own backyard:

Other things you can do:

The following are from Bees Dying in the Millions (2), with Cat’s notes added:

  1. Support organic farmers and shop at local farmer’s markets as often as possible. You can “vote with your fork” three times a day. (When you buy organic, you are making a statement by saying “no” to GMOs and toxic pesticides.) Cat’s note: check out the Farm Hands Map (Flathead)
  2. Cut the use of toxic chemicals in your house and on your lawn, and use only organic, all-natural forms of pest control.
  3. Better yet, get rid of your lawn altogether and plant a garden or other natural habitat. Lawns offer very little benefit for the environment. Both flower and vegetable gardens provide excellent natural honeybee habitats.
  4. Become an amateur beekeeper. Having a hive in your garden requires only about an hour of your time per week, benefits your local ecosystem, and you can enjoy your own honey! Worldofbeekeeping.com and beekeeping.org are but two websites that can help you get started. And here’s a video about the Honeybee Conservancy and research facility at the Rodale Institute: YouTube Video: Dr. Mercola Visits the Rodale Institute (6.32 minutes) (2). See also Flathead Beekeepers Club (Facebook) and Flathead Beekeepers Club (Google-Group).
  5. Cat adds: Write to the President, the EPA and your legislators, both at national and state levels to encourage them to take action to save the bees. See Government (Contact).

For more information


  1. Mercola: articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/08/13/fungicide-bee-killings.aspx
  2. Mercola: Bees Dying in the Millions and YouTube Video: Dr. Mercola Visits the Rodale Institute
  3. Bug Guide: bugguide.net/node/view/3080

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