Farmers, gardeners and environmentalists are worried about the declining populations of bees in recent years. Honey bees play an important role in pollinating crops -- particularly cherries, blueberries, and almonds -- and increasing the quantity and quality of the nation's food supply. For this reason, many growers have learned to raise their own bees to ensure the health of their crops in the face of the bee shortage.
Recently, the Illinois Department of Agriculture seized privately owned bees from naturalist Terrance Ingram, without a search warrant or a court hearing. Ingram had raised the bees for 58 years and had been using them to research the effects of Monsanto's herbicide Roundup for 15 years. A letter from Ag. Dept. Apiary Inspection Supervisor Steven D. Chard claimed that the bacterial disease "American Foulbrood" had been detected in his bee colonies. Ingram had proof that the bees did not have foulbrood, but he was unable to present his side without a hearing.
No one knows whether the Department of Agriculture destroyed the bee colonies or gave them to Monsanto to inspect. Sadly, the remaining queens died.
Illinois' actions were wasteful, unconstitutional and frightening! Private citizens have the right to keep and study their own bees and should be encouraged to do so, especially now that bee populations are dangerously in decline. Please sign the petition to urge the Illinois Department of Agriculture to stop seizing people's bees from now on.