Beekeepers are battling the EPA over pesticides they say are killing their hives— and they’re taking the fight to the courts.
On a warm April afternoon in Oakdale — a small farming town in the San Joaquin Valley of California — beekeepers Steve Ellis (pictured above, with his hives) and Jeff Anderson sit at a dining-room table built for 10 in Anderson’s rural home. Ellis and his bees are visiting from his home base in Minnesota so that the bees can pollinate California almond crops during the Spring, but business is not the only reason for his visit.
On the kitchen wall hangs a plaque in the shape of a bumblebee that reads “The Bee Attitudes.” The two men explain their take on beekeepers’ standard view of environmentalists.
“Most are kind of philosophically opposed to quote unquote ‘wacko environmental groups,’ says Ellis, a wiry man with gentle eyes who has been keeping bees commercially for 33 years, “because they’re going to be the downfall of the world.”