As part of APGD’s EcoDistrict program, we’re building a Bee Safe Community in the heart of Central Florida. What is a Bee Safe Community? A Bee Safe Community is one where a minimum of 75 contiguous properties have taken the Bee Safe pledge – they are businesses and residents that agree to not use neonicotinoid (systemic) pesticides anywhere on their property.

Neonicotinoids are chemicals that cannot be washed off the plant. Once applied to the seed, soil or leaves neonicotinoids become part of the plant. It is considered a prime suspect in Colony Collapse Disorder and according to a study by Purdue University’s Christian Krupke, associate professor of entomologystudy, “these insecticides are highly toxic to bees; we found them in each sample of dead and dying bees.”

The United States is losing about one-third of its honeybee hives each year, according to Greg Hunt, a Purdue professor of behavioral genetics, honeybee specialist and co-author of the findings. Hunt said no one factor is to blame, though scientists believe that others such as mites and insecticides are all working against the bees, which are important for pollinating food crops and wild plants.

“It’s like death by a thousand cuts for these bees,” Hunt said.

So what can you do to help? You can take the Bee Safe Pledge. You can choose to stop using, or never begin using, systemic neonicotinoid pesticides. It’s literally the easiest way to help because it asks you to do nothing.

systemic pesticides list

Just look for the above names on ingredient labels and avoid using anything listed here. Or download our flier here. How can you add your name to the Bee Safe Pledge? Just send an email with your name and address to director@audubonparkgardens.com so we can add your location to our map. As soon as we have a minimum of 75 contiguous properties, we will be a Bee Safe Community. And then we’ll keep going from there, to ensure we do our part to protect the environment.