by: Vicki Graf Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
North Carolina's agricultural industry brings in about $70 billion to the state every year, but the key component, which is pollinating the state's crops, is slowly dying off.
Meteorologist Vick Graf found out what may be threatening bees in Charlotte and what local activists are doing to protect them.
"This is a crisis situation,” Levy Schroder said. “We are losing bees at an alarming rate, and we are looking at a true food security issue here."
Eyewitness News talked to Schroder, who is executive director of Toxic Free North Carolina.
Toxic Free NC plans to rally outside the Lowe’s Home Improvement shareholders’ meeting Friday, where they will demand the home improvement store stop selling a harmful type of pesticide known as neonics.
The pesticide is believed to be part of the reason why the bee population is dying.
"One of three bites of food, of produce that you buy in the grocery store that you put on your plate is bee-dependent," she said.
Toxic Free NC believes if the bees die it could lead to a mass food shortage.
If bees eat from plants like corn, cucumber or peaches sprayed with a neonic pesticide, it causes a harmful reaction that slowly kills them.
Lowe’s said in a statement that "bee health is a concern" and "the loss of bees and other pollinators is very complex."
Lowe’s said it expects all vendors to abide by Environmental Protection Agency guidelines.
It also said it offers a wide selection of organic pest control products for customers who want to naturally control pests in their home and landscape.
The Lowe's shareholders’ meeting is at 10 a.m. Friday.
Protesters plan to gather before the meeting at the corner of Ballantyne Commons Parkway and John J. Delaney Drive.
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