No beer or cheese without bees -- Emma Fisher

May 5, 2019

I was glad to see the article “N.H. study shows big decline of a dozen wild bee species” in last Sunday’s State Journal. While this article focused on New England, bees dying off is a huge issue in Wisconsin as well.

Bees are some of our most important pollinators. And in such an important agricultural state, the threat of declining bee populations hits close to home: Wisconsin is the country’s top exporter of cranberries, which are pollinated by bees, and is a top 10 producer of honey.

If we lose bees, we’d lose both of these products -- not to mention other staples, such as beer and cheese, which make Wisconsin Wisconsin. (Both hops and alfalfa, which feed dairy cows, are pollinated by bees.)

Bees are dying for a range of reasons: climate change, habitat loss, disease and a widely used class of pesticides called neonics. Among these, we have the most immediate control over our use of pesticides. Canada is phasing out bee-killing pesticides, and Connecticut and Maryland have banned consumer sales.

Wisconsin needs to do the same, so we can continue to enjoy our great outdoors, farmer’s markets, and bee-pollinated bounty for years to come.

Emma Fisher, Madison