Dying bee colonies could threaten your summer BBQ

Posted at 3:58 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 15:58:23-04

Your summer BBQ might be without watermelon this year - if bee colonies continue to die.

Environment Michigan says bees pollinate most of the world's seasonal favorites, including peaches, asparagus, cherries, watermelon and strawberries.

Beekeepers, farmers, chefs and environmental advocates are alarmed since the U.S lost about a third of its bee colonies last year.

Ban Boynton, citizen outreach director with Environment Michigan says it is time for a change.

"One of the best things about summer is the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. But what fun is summer without cherries and blueberries? That's why we need action to save the bees," Boynton said.

Environment Michigan says scientists point to an increased use neonic pesticides as the major cause of bee deaths. Major garden retailers like Lowes and Home Depot are phasing out sales with neonic chemicals.

Washtenaw County City Commissioner Yousef Rabhi says pollinators are important to our futures.

"With the current issues that our pollinators are facing, we could have serious issues with feeding the growing human population for years to come. We can not allow that to happen. It's time for us to invest in our future as a species and support the pollinators that support us!" Rabhi said. 

Environment Michigan joined groups in D.C to celebrate pollinator week. Representatives from Environment Michigan delivered over 6,000 petitions to the Environmental Protection Agency asking for a ban on neonics.

"Given the facts we have at hand about the links between neonics and bee die offs, EPA should move boldly and swiftly to stop any and all uses of these dangerous chemicals. For the sake of the bees and our favorite summer foods, there's no time to waste," Boynton said.

Environment Michigan staged two BBQ's on Thursday to illustrate the impact bee die-offs could have on the popular summer pastime. One BBQ full of coleslaw, fresh fruit and a range of salads, the other with only meat and bread.