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Homeowner raises concerns after noticing sharp decline in bee sightings in their garden: 'It's so sad'

"We need the bees and other pollinators."

"We need the bees and other pollinators."

Photo Credit: iStock

A common product is killing pesky weeds — at the expense of bees and other pollinators.

A concerned Redditor asked r/bees where all their neighborhood bees had gone and received some unfortunate news.

"Last spring I regularly saw honey bees feeding on my clover," they wrote. "Also many carpenter bees in the yard. This year I only saw just a couple of honey bees about a month ago, but none since then. There is less clover … [and an] HOA here that won't stop spraying Roundup out front."

One commenter agreed on the culprit — Roundup. "If there's Roundup, they're going to come across it," the user said. "The main ingredient, glyphosate, along with inactive ingredients, kills them within days. I have the same problem here with neighbors who use these products in addition to pesticides."

Roundup is a common weed killer made of harsh chemicals like glyphosate, which is labeled by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as carcinogenic. Unfortunately, Roundup's chemical makeup means it's not just a weed killer but a bee killer as well. 

A 2018 study found that while honey bees are not themselves affected by glyphosate, their gut microbiota is affected by the chemicals in Roundup as a whole. When bees are exposed to Roundup and other glyphosate-based weedkillers, the "glyphosate alters the bee gut community and increases susceptibility to infection by opportunistic pathogens."

While glyphosate isn't a direct killer of bees, the other chemicals in Roundup are. A journal from 2021 found that "Bees exhibited 94% mortality with Roundup Ready-To-Use … [and a] 96% mortality caused by Roundup No Glyphosate." Even without the glyphosate, the other inert chemicals in Roundup are still killing bees.

To stop the use of Roundup in their community, the user could bring it up at the next HOA meeting. There are weed killer alternatives, or the user can propose opting out of their Roundup lawn treatment. They can also plant additional pollinator-friendly flowers to help bring the bees back. 

If you're trying to make eco-friendly changes to your home under a restrictive HOA, check out our guide on how to change your HOA's bylaws.

While studies have indicated honeybees are not necessarily good to introduce to an area that has not had them or had them in large numbers since their effect could hurt native pollinators, it's never a good thing when chemicals kill or impair wildlife around them. 

Commenters expressed hope the user can bring back their bees.

"It's so sad," the original poster said. "I just hate what people are doing to the environment."

Another user replied: "Same! We need the bees and other pollinators."

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