We follow bees closely here at Networx, both because we love these little pollinators, and because they're a critical part of the environment. Bees play an important role in the survival of crops and ornamentals worldwide, and have the potential to bring down entire economies if their natural balance is disturbed. So when something is going wrong for bees, we tend to pay attention.
Lately, it's become evident that one major culprit in dwindling bee numbers has been the overuse of pesticides on crops. While these chemicals may be useful for controlling agricultural pests that damage harvests, they're indiscriminate, and that means bees are getting caught in the crossfire. Even more horribly, pesticides are used in commercial nurseries and greenhouses, which means some of those "bee friendly" plants at the garden store are actually laden in the very chemicals that can hurt bees.
So we were pretty shocked last week when news emerged that a Florida citrus farm applied a huge amount of pesticides to its crop, killing millions of honeybees at one fell swoop. The farm didn't follow directions on the chemical label, costing local beekeepers hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage as a result of their misapplication of the chemicals; and it's only being fined $1,500.
Not much of a penalty considering the company's annual profits. And a grim commentary on the state of the enforcement of environmental laws. Luckily, not all Miami landscapers and other Florida farming and gardening firms are so chemical happy; there's plenty of room for organic gardening in this sunny state!