Plaza buzzing with protest of bee-lethal pesticides

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Free Speech Plaza was abuzz on Saturday as protesters hoped to raise awareness about pesticides and chemicals that affect bee populations.

The group of around 20 local beekeepers and concerned citizens marched through downtown Eugene holding signsthat illustrate some of the hazards insecticides have on bee populations.

Philip Smith, a beekeeper in west Eugene, says neonicotinoid chemicals are common in pesticides used against insects like aphids. He referenced studies that link neonicotinoids to colony collapse disorder.

"It's considered sub-lethal, but what happens is that they bring that back to their colonies, contaminating the colonies, toxifying the colony it's like a slow-death," said Smith.

Smith said the pesticide is available at local stores like Jerry's, making its use prevalent in our communities.

The protest is aimed at raising awareness about certain insecticides at a time when the bee population is declining.

The European Union is in the process of banning the pesticide, and protesters like Smith believe the United States should follow suit.