The pesticide industry’s playbook for poisoning the Earth

Illustration of a swarm of pollinators.

(The Intercept) Lobbying documents and emails obtained by The Intercept show a vast strategy by the pesticide industry to influence academics, beekeepers, and regulators, and to divert attention away from the potential harm caused by neonicotinoids. As a result, the global neonics industry generated $4.42 billion in 2018. In the meantime, the effects are being seen in massive insect die-offs. Certain insects are nearing extinction.

Insecticides becoming more toxic to honey bees

Image of bee on leaf tip.

(PennState) During the past 20 years, insecticides applied to U.S. agricultural landscapes have become significantly more toxic — over 120-fold in some midwestern states — to honey bees when ingested, according to a team of researchers, who identified rising neonicotinoid seed treatments in corn and soy as the primary driver of this change.

Want to know what climate change will do in your back yard? There’s a data set for that

Image of person working in field.

(EurekAlert/CIAT) What the global climate emergency has in store may vary from one back yard to the next, particularly in the tropics where microclimates, geography and land-use practices shift dramatically over small areas. A data set created by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture is filling this niche. While it has primarily served agricultural research, the data has also been used to map the potential global spread of Zika (a mosquito-borne disease), to plan investment strategies for international development, and to predict the ongoing decline of outdoor skating days in Canada due to warmer winters.

Colorado lawmakers propose bee bill to protect our ‘most important pollinators’

Image of honey bees on frame.

(CBS4) Colorado state legislators, environmental advocates and beekeepers announced the introduction of a bill to protect bees. The “Protect Pollinators Regulate Neonicotinoids” bill is designed to reduce the use of neonics. Environment Colorado said it would present thousands of petitions gathered across Colorado in support of this initiative.

Plots available at community beekeeping space in Wisconsin

Image of honey bees.

(WEAU 12 News) The Chippewa Valley Beekeepers Association teamed up with Xcel Energy to provide a community apiary. The beekeeping space will be set up on 32 acres that is being developing into wildflower habitat next to an Xcel Energy substation. Members of the club say this new land will provide people access to the proper resources needed to run a bee hive.

How you and me and flowers and bees get charged up with static electricity

Image of girl with static electricity in hair.

(North Country Public Radio) The field of electric ecology: The surface of the earth, and the flowers growing from it, tend to have a more negative charge. Bees are moving and flying around, and tend to be more positive. So just like your hair with a balloon, the hairs on a bumble bee or honey bee tend to bend towards a flower in the presence of its static field. This helps guide the bee into the flower. Honey bees even seem to carry an indication of the flower’s charge back to their hive, helping to communicate the location of target flowers to hive mates.