What can we do to save the bees?
What can we do to save the bees? (Smithsonian.com)
What can we do to save the bees?
Lexile: 1350L

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The federal government hopes to reverse America's declining honeybee and monarch butterfly populations by making more federal land bee-friendly, spending more money on research and considering the use of less pesticides.

Scientists say bees crucial to pollinate many crops have been hurt by a combination of declining nutrition, mites, disease and pesticides. The federal plan is an "all hands on deck" strategy that calls on everyone from federal bureaucrats to citizens to do what they can to save bees, which provide more than $15 billion in value to the U.S. economy, according to White House science adviser John Holdren.

"Pollinators are struggling," Holdren said in a blog post. He cited a new federal survey that found beekeepers lost more than 40 percent of their colonies last year, although they later recovered by dividing surviving hives. He also said the number of monarch butterflies that spend the winter in Mexico's forests is down by 90 percent or more over the past two decades. The U.S. government is working with Mexico to expand monarch habitats in the southern part of that country.

The plan calls for restoring 7 million acres of bee habitat in the next five years. Numerous federal agencies will have to find ways to grow plants on federal lands that are more varied and better for bees to eat because scientists have worried that large land tracts that grow only one crop have hurt bee nutrition.

The plan is not just for the Department of Interior, which has vast areas of land under its control. Agencies that wouldn't normally be thought of, such as Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation, will have to include bee-friendly landscaping on their properties and in grant-making.

That part of the bee plan got praise from scientists who study bees.

"Here, we can do a lot for bees and other pollinators," University of Maryland entomology professor Dennis vanEnglesdorp, who led the federal bee study that found last year's large loss. "This I think is something to get excited and hopeful about. There is really only one hope for bees and it's to make sure they spend a good part of the year in safe healthy environments. The apparent scarcity of these areas is what's worrying. This could change that."

University of Montana bee expert Jerry Bromenshenk said the effort shows the federal government finally recognizes that land use is key with bees.

"From my perspective, it's a wake-up call," Bromenshenk wrote in an email. "Pollinators need safe havens, with adequate quantities of high-quality resources for food and habitat, relatively free from toxic chemicals. And that includes pollutants as well as pesticides and other agricultural chemicals."

The administration proposes spending $82.5 million on honeybee research in the upcoming budget year, up $34 million from now.

The Environmental Protection Agency will step up studies into the safety of widely used neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been temporarily banned in Europe. It will not approve new types of uses of the pesticides until more study is done, if then, the report said.

"They are not taking bold enough action; there's a recognition that there is a crisis," said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director for the advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity. She said the bees cannot wait, comparing more studies on neonicotinoids to going to a second and third mechanic when you've been told the brakes are shot.

The report talks of a fine line between the need for pesticides to help agriculture and the harm they can do to bees and other pollinators.

Lessening "the effects of pesticides on bees is a priority for the federal government, as both bee pollination and insect control are essential to the success of agriculture," the report said.

Critical thinking challenge: How could federal departments such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation have an impact on bees?

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/what-can-we-do-save-bees/

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Assigned 28 times

  • CCurvan-Cas
    5/28/2015 - 12:07 p.m.

    To help save bees the government can provide more funds for bee keeping companies, and make laws against the use of certain sprays on bees that hurt them or kill them. Without bees we wouldnt have honey or other goods which would be bad for us.

  • ratiaira
    5/28/2015 - 01:47 p.m.

    the federal government needs to give places money for the bees to be saved they are becoming non existing and it needs to stop so they need to give people the money for the bees

  • 5AdelleD
    5/28/2015 - 08:07 p.m.

    My opinion on how we can save the bees is that we should plant more flowers. I say that because bees live on pollen and that's what flowers produce. If bees get pollen then they can make honey. Also I think the government is doing a good thing by funding bee friendlier places. Bees are an important part of the world, they make honey for the people.

    5/29/2015 - 10:45 a.m.

    That the federal government and citizens to help save the bees. My sister is helping to save the bees if they are hurt. She will take care of it until it gets better.

  • 3PeterE
    6/01/2015 - 07:20 a.m.

    "Lessons we can learn"

    Something that we can learn from this is to monitor ourselves. To make sure that we aren't using pesticides excessively. Possibly providing homes for the bees or butterflies would help the population. Bees are an essential part of agriculture and plant pollination that they must be preserved. We should know the affects of the pesticide before using it so we don't harm any more bees then we have to. If bees and pollinators go, then our crops and plants will go too.

  • ShaniaWentz-Ste
    6/02/2015 - 08:41 p.m.

    I actually watched a documentary on this last week. It basically stated the same thing: The bee population is dropping drastically and needs people to protect it. If people do not, then there will be a lack of honey and other products, such as Burt's Bees company chapsticks and lotions.

  • nc2001purple22
    6/04/2015 - 01:26 p.m.

    This is kind of interesting because I never really knew how important bees are to the world and how they impacted it. So this is good to know and I have a question on why do bees need that much money

  • MaxS-pla
    9/22/2021 - 10:16 p.m.

    “What can we do to save the bees?” by Seth Bornstein is not only an interesting article diving into the dangerous effects of pesticides, but also stands as a relevant plea for a hopeful replenishment of the bee population. Bornstein informs that the federal government has begun an “all hands on deck” approach to saving bees; this includes an over 34 million dollar bonus in government spending, efforts from multiple house departments to protect the bee community, and a decrease in the use of pesticides. The ongoing debate over the new federal plan is how to limit pesticides (that can be very useful for promoting agricultural welfare) while increasing safe environments for the bee community. The debate is not only an important topic within the article, but also on a national level as well. Multiple environmental awareness campaigns centering around the protection of bees have been gaining momentum lately, leading to conversations discussing the most efficient way to secure a bright future for this important insect.

  • ToriR-pla
    9/23/2021 - 11:37 a.m.

    Bees and other pollinators are an incredibly important part of the nature world, aiding in the growth of plants and crops. Unfortunately, the population of these insects has decreased dramatically. It may seem like a small problem, but the safety of bees is a national worry. Government officials are working with scientists to reduce the loss of bees. As american citizens, it is important to be mindful of this issue, and to aid in the process. This can come from many placing, including the support in plans from the Department of Interiors, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. Each of these departments is working to create more pollinator-friendly spaces and bee habitats. Additionally, citizens are able to individually help the cause by eliminating pesticides and adding pollinator-friendly plants to their gardens. Being involved on both a personal and national level is a great way to save the bees.

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