Study: Pesticides are killing bees at an alarming rate

A new study done by the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group shows bees are dying in alarming numbers. It’s affecting communities nationwide, including Lane County.

Posted: Jan 19, 2018 10:38 AM
Updated: Jan 19, 2018 10:48 AM

EUGENE, Ore.-- A new study done by the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group said bees are dying in alarming numbers. It’s affecting communities nationwide, including Lane County.

Now, a Pollinator Protection group has formed in Eugene, to save the bees.

According to the study, pesticides are even more deadly than originally thought. As a country, we're spraying 46 million pounds of the deadly chemicals every year.

KEZI 9 News met with the president of the Lane County Beekeeper’s Association. Pam Leavitt said pesticides that are sprayed in parks, gardens, and along the side of roads can hurt entire colonies. She said it's already happening, and if those colonies continue to die, hundreds of foods will be affected.

“Pears, berries, strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries, all of those, apples…there’s just so many foods that you would no longer have if there were no pollinators,” Leavitt said.

Other foods that would be affected include potatoes, onions, cabbage, and peppers.

It would also limit plant growth because, Leavitt said, very few plants can cross-pollinate without bees.

The newly formed Pollinator Protection Committee is working to make Eugene a certified "Bee City." That means the group would partner with the national Bee City USA nonprofit, to make the city more bee-friendly.

Eugene already has 10 pesticide-free parks. But, in areas where pesticides are allowed, Leavitt said, the insects are being poisoned, resulting in disorientation and in some cases death. She said that if bees are going to be saved, humans have to make some changes.

“Pesticides are delivered by human beings. We, as human beings, are just cohabitants on this planet. And we really need to take care of whatever else is out here. It’s not just us. Everything should not be done for the benefit of us. We need to realize that there’s a world beyond us and we need to protect it,” Leavitt said.

She said the first step in protecting bees is getting people, including youth, educated about how important the insects really are.

According to the Pollinator Protection group, City Councilor Mike Clark has agreed to sponsor that bee-friendly resolution after the draft is approved by city lawyers. The resolution would improve local food production and protect bees from pesticides, the committee said.

The group aims to get the City Council to vote on the resolution early this year.

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