BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– Some people living in north Boulder are concerned about the number of bees dying in their neighborhood.
“Ahhhhh, one just dropped from the sky. Did you see that?” asked north Boulder resident Kit VanWinkle.
VanWinkle said she is no longer surprised when she sees bees drop dead as they are flying, but she still can’t get used to it.
“I sweep them up in the morning. I sweep them up again if I’m here midday. And I sweep them again at night,” said VanWinkle.
The number of dead bees VanWinkle was finding seemed unusual so she went to her neighbor who informed her that he also had seen the same thing on his patio.
VanWinkle said the bees started dying off around the same time she noticed little yellow flags popping up in the neighborhood.
“There were yellow flags everywhere and he went over to look at it and read to me and said, ‘Oh, these are pesticides,'” said VanWinkle.
That’s when VanWinkle got in touch with David Wheeler who lives about a mile away in Colorado’s only “Bee Safe” neighborhood. That’s where a group of at least 75 homeowners who have pledged not to use systemic pesticides. They hope their effort will help protect local bee colonies that in recent years have been shrinking in numbers.
“Bees are pollinators. They pollinate at least 30 percent of the foods we eat. Without them you wouldn’t be eating almonds, oranges, apples, squash, tomatoes, anything that has a flower,” said Wheeler.
While pesticide manufacturers have long argued their products are safe and not the reason behind the collapse of bee colonies, Wheeler said the bees dying in large numbers make that hard to believe.
“This one can’t even fly anymore. The most it can do is crawl on my fingers… can’t even take wing,” said Wheeler.
They have asked Colorado’s pesticide enforcement to examine the situation of the bees dying in north Boulder.