Activists hand petition against bee-lethal chemicals to local Home Depot

      EUGENE, Ore. - A local bee activist group organized a demonstration outside of Home Depot Saturday, hoping to meet with the managers of two local hardware retailers on products that contain bee-lethal chemicals.

      The group came together at around 11 a.m. toting signs and chanting "Give Bees A Chance" along Seneca Road.

      Organizers met with the manager of the Home Depot store at around noon to hand over a national petition with over 200,000 signatures that calls for stores to stop selling products containing neonicotinoids.

      Lisa Arkin of the group Beyond Toxic said those chemicals - which were banned in Europe and have been linked to colony collapse disorder - have a lingering effect on the bee.

      "Pesticides are found to be highly persistent in water and soil and can kill bees up to 4 to 6 months after they've been applied that's why they're so dangerous," said Arkin.

      Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson said without the bee our food system would change dramatically.

      "A third of all the food we eat comes from plants that are pollinated and that pollination that happens happens from pollinators," said Sorenson.

      The group Healthy Bees = Healthy Gardens said the protest was to inform people that some pesticides and tree chemicals are lethal to bees.

      Response from Home Depot:

      This is an issue that is important to us. Our environmental team is deeply engaged in understanding the relationship of the use of certain insecticides on our plants and the decline in the honey-bee population. They've been in communication with the EPA, insecticide industry and our suppliers for many months to understand the science and monitor the research.

      That being said, we're more than happy to provide customers with alternative products for their insecticide needs and are actively working with our nursery suppliers to find alternative insecticides for protecting live goods and the bees.