AUSTIN (KXAN) — As activists delivered a petition to the Texas Capitol to save bees in Texas, one of the insects they advocated for flew in and landed on one of them, spending time on someone’s hand before flying off.
The petition called for a ban on bee-killing pesticides and was spearheaded by policy and research group Environment Texas. About 10,000 people signed it. The group says its efforts are part of a national movement to save bee colonies from dying.
The petition seeks to ban neonicotinoids, a type of pesticide that acts as a neurotoxin for bees. A press release from the group claims in 2018, Texas used approximately 350,000 pounds of neonicotinoids on agricultural land.
Professional bee-keeper with Texas Beeworks Erika Thompson said at a Thursday press conference that she keeps more than 5 million bees across five Central Texas counties.
“Neonicotinoids impair the bees’ ability to fly and navigate and forage for food,” Thompson said. “They suppress their immune system and ultimately shorten the bees’ lives.”
The group says bees pollinate 71 of the 100 most essential crops that provide 90% of the world’s food.
“A world without bees would mean a world without apples, almonds, cherries, chocolate and coffee,” said Laura Rybicki, Canvass Director with Environment Texas. “We’re so grateful that people from all over Texas have offered enthusiastic support for this campaign and joined our call for a statewide ban on bee-killing pesticides.”
The group is calling for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen to hold interim hearings to investigate the threat to bees and for County Commissioners and local City Councils to pass local bans on the pesticide.