Scientists have estimated that globally, 1 in 6 bee species is regionally extinct and more than 40 percent are vulnerable to extinction. In the United States there are about 4,000 native bee species, most of which are solitary bees that nest in the ground or cavities, with many that require just one or a few plant species for sustenance.
Unfortunately at least 23 percent of U.S. native bees have declined, with bees in areas with heavy commodity-crop production particularly hard hit due to habitat loss and pesticide use.
Neonicotinoids are a group of neurotoxic pesticides that are systemic, meaning they’re found throughout an entire plant — even its pollen and nectar eaten by bees. These insecticides that not only kill bees outright but also reduce a bee’s ability to fight infections, find and collect food, and produce eggs and sperm. Bees exposed to neonicotinoids become weak and disoriented. They can’t find flowers or their nests and can’t fight off pathogens to stay alive — all while they’re feeding contaminated pollen and nectar to their offspring. Countless studies have shown neonicotinoids harm bees in a variety of ways that reduce their survival.
Did you know? Saving America’s Pollinators Act would follow the lead of the European Union and Canada and ban most uses of neonicotinoids in the United States.