What is a Bee Safe Neighborhood?

2012 Bee Hive BuildA bee safe neighborhood is a contiguous group of 75 houses that has made a pledge to commit to one or two of the following three steps:

  1. Use no neonicotinoid or systemic poisons, active ingredient (AI): Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, Thiacloprid, Thiamethoxam and Sulfoxaflor. Products do not indicate they have neonicotinoid content. The active ingredient is usually shown on the front of the product. Avoid products with “systemic” on the package.
  2. Use no chemical poisons at all.
  3. If NO poisons are being used, the neighbor can be asked if he or she will plant seeds, plants, shrubs and trees in the yard and/or garden that will attract pollinators in the spring, summer and fall. Please see the document - "Plants for the Pollinators".

 Why do we need Bee Safe Neighborhoods?

Many people are unaware of the danger systemic poisons pose to the health of their soil, water and the lives of the invertebrates. They go to a store and buy products with systemic poisons and don’t realize that they are harming other life forms and themselves in the process. You may not be using neonicotinoids or systemics but your neighbors all around you may be!


Why do we need 75 houses?

contiguous neigborhoodBees need a certain amount of habitat in order to collect the pollen and nectar they need to make it through the winter. You may be keeping them safe but your neighbors may be unwittingly poisoning them! If your neighbors are destroying them with the use of systemics, you may not have pollination for your own plants. (We’re all connected.)

Bees will forage up to 5 miles from their hive but not fly any further than necessary.  Identifying areas without poisons is the first step.  If a neighbor insists on using systemics you can still accomplish your goal by changing the boundaries as shown in the picture to the left.


Why do we need Bee Safe Neighborhoods so urgently?


Neonicotinoids are being used aggressively in the treatment of seeds planted in agricultural fields. In 2012, 200 million acres of crop land were planted with pre-treated seeds, 94 million of those acres were for the corn crop. A single corn kernel coated with Clothianidan carries enough poison to kill 80,000 bees. (Iowa State University Extension and Outreach)

Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world. It is now being used to control soil, seed, timber and animal pests.  Treated crops include: cereals, cotton, grain, legumes, potatoes, pome fruits, rice, turf and vegetables. It is systemic with particular efficacy against sucking insects and its half-life can last for years!

Farmers who rely on honeybees for commercial crop pollination are closer than ever to a true pollination crisis which could mean a food crisis. With commercial honeybees losses at 30 percent or more for five of the last six years, we need to create additional safe havens for bees to forage and to live. We are the back-up plan for honey bees.


Advantages of being in a Bee Safe Neighborhood:


  • You will be creating a safety zone from the effects of chemical pollutants for your family, your pets and the honey bees. You will be decreasing the toxicity in surface water that ultimately becomes drinking water.
  • Bees will be able to survive and thrive in these neighborhoods as they will encounter less poisons in the zone.
  • The soil you need to grow food, herbs, flowers and fruits will be life-enhancing rather than sterile and poisonous to invertebrates and you will be more likely to have adequate pollination of the foods you grow.
  • You will form connections with your neighbors who share your concerns about protecting the environment.


What can YOU do to help?



Become the Bee Safe Neighborhood Team Leader in Your Neighborhood

  • Become a Bee Safe Neighborhood Team Leader by sending an e-mail to d-braden [AT] comcast [DOT] net.  Two or more people can take this on as a team if you like but one person will be the primary contact and Bee Safe Neighborhood Team Leader.  As the Team Leader, you will be directly responsible for having 75 households sign the pledge and creating a Bee Safe Neighborhood.
  • Become a Bee Safe Neighborhood Volunteer in Your Neighborhood
  • Help your Bee Safe Neighborhood Team Leader by volunteering to talk to your neighbors door by door and ask them to become part of the Bee Safe Neighborhood. Can you volunteer just a few hours on 1 or 2 days to talk to your neighbors?
  • Find out if you have a Bee Safe Neighborhood Team Leader in your neighborhood.  (need link)

Sign the Pledge and Become Part of a Bee Safe Neighborhood Today!

Back to Bee Safe Neighborhoods

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  • David Braden IV, Executive Director, Living Systems Institute
  • (303) 549-9787

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