Scientists point to several causes behind the problem, including global warming, habitat loss, parasites and a class of bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids (or neonics). When seeds are treated with neonics, the chemicals work their way into the pollen and nectar of the plants — which, of course, is bad news for bees and other pollinators. Worse, for the bees and for us, neonics are about 6,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT. Right now, we’re letting big agrichemical companies use more of the chemicals that are known to kill bees just as we’re in the midst of an unsustainable die-off in bee populations. That has to change. To save the bees we need to phase out and then ban the use of neonics and we need to ensure that they are not replaced with equally or more dangerous chemicals. We are working to pass a statewide ban on neonics here in California. In order to provide a model for a statewide ban, we are working to get our campuses and surrounding cities to ban neonics. We have already gotten campus communities in La Jolla and Santa Cruz to ban neonics. Now, our strategy is to show support from beekeepers, farmers, faculty experts, and students, and then meet with administrators, city council members, and state legislators to build support for banning neonics. Victory! This school year CALPIRG Students made progress across the state to certify our communities as “Bee Friendly Campuses.” UCLA and UC Irvine built campus committees tasked with eliminating harmful pesticides on campus and providing educational progress around pollinator health. UCLA recently was approved by Bee Campus USA to become a “Bee Friendly Campus” and UC Irvine will submit their application to the committee this summer.

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