It has been reported that this year (2013) has seen the worst bee die-off in 40 years, the beekeepers have seen that they have lost more than 50% of their bees in 2012--2013 winter. Honey bees contribute to more than $15 billion dollar in the US economy, and are responsible for producing one out of every three bites of food that we eat. Without them -- nuts, squashes, berries, most fruits, cucumbers -- almost most of the fruits and vegetables that we enjoy will become obsolete.
Scientists are predicting that such huge number of bees are dying due to the use of a very common neurotoxic pesticide known as neonicotinoids, or neonics. American Bird Conservancy reports that they are also harming birds. European Food Safety Authority has labelled neonics as harming bees. Neonics is produced by Bayers and is the fastest growing and widely-used insecticide in the world. They are used to pre-treat almost all the seeds and trees that are sold in the US (unless they are organic); they are used in flea-medicines of dogs and cats, lawns, fertilizers and agriculture. The neurotoxic gets into the system of the seed and plants and spread through the system to every root, stem, leaves, tubers, every nook and crany of the plants. They do not go away by washing the plant or the fruits and vegetables produced by such plants because the toxic is in the system. Many European countries are imposing a ban on this insecticide, and they are soon seeing a bee recovery.
The above picture is taken by me, the bees visiting my sunflowers in 2012. I hope those bees are alive. With all the development in science and technology, life is seriously becoming a hassle in this century. We are already becoming solitary creatures busy with our facebook, laptop, cell-phone and all the gadgets. We are working longer, suffering from stress and trauma much more, eating and drinking bad, inhaling polluted air. On top of all these, no longer I can walk into a nursery and buy my plants and seeds unless they are organic (and it is not easy to get organically grown seeds and plants at least in the nurseries around here). I always need to have my antennae up, thinking constantly will the seeds have some kind of toxic treatment, will the plants be healthy?
More information and details can be found here: http://www.foe.org/news/blog/2013-03-worst-bee-die-off-in-40-years