White House Plays Down Pesticide Threat to Pollinators
by Cynthia Palmer
When the White House Pollinator Health Task Force released its long-awaited federal strategy in May, we applauded the Obama administration for this Herculean effort to protect the nation’s pollinators.
The first sentence of the Executive Summary raised our hopes:
“Wherever flowering plants flourish, pollinating bees, birds,
butterflies, bats, and other animals are hard at work, providing vital
but often unnoticed services.”
Unfortunately, the rest of the document takes a more myopic view.
There are positive aspects — who could be against planting more
wildflowers? — but the plan tiptoes around the role of neonicotinoid
insecticides commonly used in both agriculture and home gardens. This insidious class of chemicals has the potential to derail U.S. efforts on behalf of pollinators.
Hundreds of recent studies detail the worrisome effects of
neonicotinoid pesticides, not just on honeybees but on birds,
butterflies, earthworms, and a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic
invertebrates — effects that occur when the chemicals are applied as
directed. These chemicals are a primary driver in the bee declines of
the past decade…
(read more: American Bird Conservancy - Bird Calls)
Calliope Hummingbird, Kenneth Rush/Shutterstock
Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly, Rabbitii/Shutterstock
Bumble bee on tomato plant, David Schnerch/Shutterstock