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Honey Bee Queens’ Exposure to Pesticides Weaken Reproductive Success and Colony Development

Thursday, April 9th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2020) Honey bees (Apis mellifera) remain in severe decline, with U.S. beekeepers losing 30% of their managed colonies each year. A Texas A&M University (Dr. Juliana Rangel’s laboratory)  study provides evidence that chemical-intensive farming practices contaminate honey bee hives with pesticides that cause developmental delays. Researchers found that toxic pesticides adversely affect honey bee queen physiology and worker bee performance. Moreover, pesticides exacerbate the health risks associated with the declining honey bee population. When maturing honey bees’ exposure to pesticides is limited, there is an improvement in honey bee queen health and colony behavior. In agricultural settings, honey bees are exposed to an amalgamation of pesticides. AAFC and Texas A&M researchers determined which pesticides (miticides, insecticides, and fungicides) are commonly used in combination and then used those pesticide combinations to expose honey bees to field-realistic doses in the lab: tau-fluvalinate and coumaphos, amitraz, or chlorothalonil and chlorpyrifos. Researchers cultivated maturing honey bee queens in plastic cups coated with either pesticide-free or pesticide-contaminated beeswax. Honey bee queens were transferred into hives upon maturation and bred naturally. Researchers measured their egg-laying frequency along with worker bee entourage size. Post-reproduction, scientists performed a bioassay (a measurement of substance potency or concentration effects on living cells) on […]

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Monoculture in Crop Production Contributes to Biodiversity Loss and Pollinator Decline

Friday, July 26th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2019) The botanic denizens of wild and unmanaged lands typically comprise many different plant species. This is because nature abhors monocultures — the existence of a single kind of plant growing across some amount of territory. Yet, this is the dominant practice in modern agriculture, and brings with it a plethora of problems. One of them, emerging from an Argentinian study out of the Universidad Nacional del Comahue and published in Global Change Biology, is that agricultural production in some areas of the world is at risk because of this obeisance to monoculture in a time of biodiversity loss and pollinator decline. Monocultural agriculture, for all its perceived advantages — in yield, routinization of management practices, ease of harvesting, and others related to technological tools — also involves significant downsides, including: robbing local ecosystems of natural systems of checks and balances, thus making monocrops more vulnerable to pests and diseases — which in turn usually means greater applications of toxic pesticides nutritional impoverishment of soil by reducing available nutrients, thereby inviting addition of synthetic, usually fossil fuel–based fertilizers and other inputs degradation of soils so that they retain moisture far less well and cause increased runoff of […]

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USDA Shuts Down Data Collection on Honey Bees

Friday, July 12th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2019) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced, on Saturday, July 6 that it would suspend indefinitely the data collection for its Honey Bee Colonies survey and report. The move came, tellingly, less than three weeks after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) once again approved “emergency” uses of the pesticide sulfoxaflor, a bee-killing compound similar to the notorious neonicotinoids, insecticides that contribute significantly to the phenomena of pollinator collapse (“colony collapse disorder”) and massive insect loss (“insect apocalypse”) that are underway worldwide. Sulfoxaflor is one of the many toxic pesticides that threaten honey bees, which are critical pollinators responsible for one-third of the food we humans consume. Permitting its use and then ceasing to collect and report data on the status of honey bees that are likely to be impacted is not only a recipe for kneecapping the study of bee decline and imperiling the food supply, but also, another example of the corruption for which this administration is infamous. As The Huffington Post reported, “Critics say the USDA’s move is the latest evidence of the Trump administration’s war on science, and its goal of suppressing information about serious environmental harms increasing under Donald Trump’s presidency.” Union […]

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Study Finds Synergism between Neonicotinoids and Parasites Leads to 70% Declines in Honey Bee Survival

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2019) A study finds that the interaction of a common honey bee parasite with neonicotinoid insecticides causes 70% reductions in overwintering honey bee survival. These results help to explain the unsustainable honey bee colony losses observed in recent decades. Neonicotinoids (neonics) are a class of insecticides that share a common mode of action that affect the central nervous system of insects. Studies show that neonicotinic residues accumulate in pollen and nectar of treated plants, and, given their widespread use and known toxic effects, there is major concern that neonics play a major contributing role in pollinator declines. In the early 2000s, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) brought national attention to increased honey bee colony losses. During the same period that CCD and colony losses spiked, neonic prevalence skyrocketed, in large part due to the introduction of seed-delivered technologies. As of 2011, 34-44% of soybeans and 79-100% of maize hectares were preemptively treated with neonics. While CCD prevalence has decreased, colony loss rates (and systemic insecticide use) remain high. A 2018 national survey indicates that U.S. beekeepers currently experience an average annual colony mortality rate of 30.7%, double the pre-CCD baseline of 15% losses. In the present study, […]

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Study Findings on Pollinator Declines: Neonics Increase Honey Bee Vulnerability to Mites

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April, 30, 2019) According to the latest blog post from pesticide industry propagandist Henry I Miller, the pollinator crisis either a) is not occurring; b) is not a problem; or, c) caused by varroa mites, pathogens, and habitat loss. Notwithstanding outlandish assertions that there is no pollinator crisis, new research is further undermining the long-held industry claim that it is mites and disease alone, and not pesticides that are harming pollinator populations. Published in the journal Scientific Reports by a team of Canadian scientists, this research finds that realistic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides impairs honey bees ability to groom mites off of their bodies and increases infection with a disease known as deformed wing virus (DWV). “When bee colonies began to collapse years ago, it became clear there wasn’t just one factor involved, so we were interested in whether there was an interaction between two of the main stressors that affect bees: varroa mites and a neurotoxic insecticide, clothianidin,” said Nuria Morfin Ramirez, PhD, at the University of Guelph, Canada. Dr. Ramirez and her team exposed honey bees to a range of different concentrations (low, medium, high) of the neonicotinoid clothianidin, with some bees receiving combined stressors of […]

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Study Finds State Pollinator Protections Fall Short

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2019) A new study, released in Environmental Science and Policy, systematically reviews all state-level pollinator protection acts passed since 2000 and makes a somewhat dim diagnosis: as a rule, state policies fall far below the mark for protecting invaluable ecosystem services and ensuring long-term, sustainable food production. Authors judge the legislation against a set of pollinator protection policy benchmarks established in 2016 by a group of scientists from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Citing the ten policy recommendations laid out by IPBES experts, researchers point to the failure of all enacted state policies to address three main target areas – (1) to improve genetically modified crop risk assessment, (2) to incentivize farmers to make the switch from agrochemical dependence to sustainable benefits from ecosystem services, and, critically, (3) to support diversified farming systems. Beyond Pesticides notes one additional missed target: (4) funding for research on organic, diversified, and ecologically intensified farming. The study includes a total of 109 state laws passed from 2000 to 2017, which authors tracked down by searching usa.gov and state legislative websites and by submitting requests to state librarians. To uncover common themes and patterns among these […]

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Behavioral Effects in Bumblebees Linked to Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 28, 2018) Recent research out of Harvard University and published in the journal Science has demonstrated some of the mechanisms through which exposures to neonicotinoid pesticides harm bumblebee populations. The study found that exposure to imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid — the most widely used category of pesticides worldwide — directly impacts social behaviors in bumblebees. These behaviors have serious effects on the functioning and viability of bee colonies. In the research experiment, worker bees exposed to imidacloprid exhibited reduced general and nurturant activity, and a tendency to locate themselves at the periphery of the nest. The study noted decreased caretaking and nursing behaviors, which in turn harms productivity and thermal regulation in the colony. These tasks are important to colony development; impaired thermoregulation negatively affected the bees’ typical construction of an insulating wax canopy for the nest, and poor caretaking can affect brood growth. Investigators noted that, “Neonicotinoids induce widespread disruption of within-nest worker behavior that may conribute to impaired growth. . . . These changes in behavior acted together to decrease colony viability, even when exposure was nonlethal.” The authors also observed that many of these dysregulated behaviors were more pronounced at night than during sunlight hours, and […]

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Kroger Sets 2020 Phase-Out of Bee-Toxic Pesticides on Its Plants, Costco Encourages Suppliers to Change; Both Commit to Carry More Organic

Friday, June 29th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2018) It is widely known that pollinators are in trouble. In light of this, Kroger (which includes numerous other grocery chains, like Harris Teeter) announced in a press release last week — during National Pollinator Week —  a phase-out by 2020 of live garden plants treated with the insecticides most closely associated with the decline of bee populations, the neonicotinoids. In May, Costco updated its pollinator policy, which “encourages” its suppliers of garden plants, fruits, and vegetables to limit the use of bee-toxic pesticides and adopt ecological practices. The company in 2016 announced a policy to encourage suppliers to change their pesticides. In a statement that has broad implications for pollinator and environmental protection, Kroger included the following statement about organic food in its press release: “Kroger also offers one of the largest organic produce departments in America, which is desirable for customers looking to minimize potential exposure to synthetic pesticides. Representing nearly 20 percent of America’s annual organic produce business, Kroger sales reached $1 billion in 2017. A dedicated procurement team partners with more than 300 organic produce growers and suppliers every year to bring customers a growing selection of organic fruits and vegetables.” Costco is also […]

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Take Action: Tell Your Representative to Cosponsor the Saving America’s Pollinators Act

Monday, February 26th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2017) U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) reintroduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 5015), which suspends the registration of certain neonicotinoid insecticides until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a full scientific review that ensures these chemicals do not harm pollinators. Last week, Beyond Pesticides joined Rep. Blumenauer and other experts from environmental, conservation, whistleblower, and farmworker health groups on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to take action to protect pollinators in the face of ongoing obstruction by an increasingly industry-influenced EPA. Tell your Representative to cosponsor the Save America’s Pollinators Act!“ Pollinators are the backbone of America’s agriculture system. Acting now to protect them and stop their decline is essential to the sustainability of our nation’s food supply,” Rep. McGovern said. “Simply taking the word of the manufacturers that their products are safe is not an option. Consumers need strong oversight. That is why I am proud to join Congressman Blumenauer in demanding the EPA fully investigate the effect that certain harmful pesticides may have on the vitality of our pollinators.” Numerous scientific studies implicate neonicotinoid pesticides as key contributors to the global decline of pollinator populations. EPA’s own scientists have found that […]

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Reports of Increasing Honey Bee Colonies Mask Continuing Pollinator Crisis

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2017)  New data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) earlier this month, indicating a slight increase in the number of honey bee colonies, is masked by beekeepers’ efforts to split hives in the face of losses. The USDA reports that Colony Collapse Disorder losses (CCD) are down 27% compared to the past year. While these numbers may seem to be a positive sign after over a decade of consistent pollinator declines, they are more indicative of a beekeeping industry that is using every available tactic possible to stay viable. With the continued use of highly toxic neonicotinoid insecticides in farms, gardens, and public spaces throughout the country, the long-term health honey bees and other pollinators continue to be in jeopardy. According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the number of beekeeping operations with five or more colonies reported a total of 2.89 million colonies in April 2017, a 3% increase from April 2016, when numbers stood at 2.80 million. News media such as Bloomberg hailed this report in an article headlined “Bees Are Bouncing Back From Colony Collapse Disorder.” However, a closer look into the numbers and beekeeper accounts reveals what is actually occurring. A more accurate […]

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Common Fungicide Damages Muscles that Bees Use to Fly

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2017) Myclobutanil, a systemic fungicide commonly used in agriculture and home gardens, can cause significant damage to the muscles that honey bees use to fly and keep warm during the winter. The results of a study, published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by a group of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, underscore the importance of wide-scale education and movement away from the regular use of toxic pesticides. After nearly a decade of unsustainable losses, honey bees and other pollinators continue to suffer declines resulting from the use of toxic pesticides, particularly systemic insecticides called neonicotinoids. Although a substantial body of science implicates neonicotinoids as the most serious chemical threat to pollinators currently, the effects of fungicides and other pesticides on these important animals should not be dismissed as inconsequential. In fact, a 2016 study published by researchers at the University of Maryland found that bee colonies may die off as the number of different pesticide exposures increase. In this recent study, researchers discovered complex interactions between myclobutanil, natural compounds found in flowers, and honey bees’ detoxification system, known as cytochrome 450 enzymes. When foraging on flowers sprayed with […]

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Study Links Neonicotinoid Exposure to Learning Deficit in Bees

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

(Beyond Pestimcides,  December 14, 2016) Preliminary research presented this week at the British Ecological Society’s annual meeting identifies yet another troublesome connection between the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and the health of bees, a critical pollinator species. The research links neonicotinoid use with an impaired ability of bees to learn to vibrate flowers and shake out the pollen, which is necessary for fertilization in crops like tomatoes and potatoes. This research is consistent with other studies that link neonicotinoid use to reduced learning in bees, as well as other impacts such as those on their colony size and  reproduction, as well as contributions to overall declines. Neonicotinoids (neonics) pesticides are a relatively new class of chemicals that affect plants in a systemic way, moving through the plants vacular system and expressed through pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets.  These pesticides, :which include  imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, have been found by  a growing body of scientific literature  to be linked to Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon where bees experience rapid declines from hive abandonment and bee die-off,  and  pollinator decline in general.  Neonics are associated with  decreased foraging  and navigational ability, as well as increased vulnerability to pathogens and parasites as a […]

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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Affect Bee Reproduction

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2016)   Led by the Institute of Bee Health at the University of Bern, new research finds evidence that two commonly used neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides have a significant adverse effect on the reproductive ability of male honey bees (drones) and queen bees in managed and wild colonies. The study,  Neonicotinoid insecticides can serve as inadvertent insect contraceptives, published in  Royal Society Journal Proceedings B, focuses on the differences in lifespan and viability of sperm throughout exposed and unexposed drones. Since 2006, honey bees and other pollinators in the U.S. and throughout the world have incurred ongoing and rapid population declines from hive abandonment and bee die-off in a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD).  Neonicotinoids, such as imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, have been found by  a growing body of scientific literature  to be linked to the CCD phenomenon and  pollinator decline in general. While science has become increasingly clear that these  pesticides  play a critical role in contributing to  the ongoing decline of bee health, this is one of the first to look at how these chemicals specifically effect the fertility of male honeybees. In the study, scientists randomly assigned honeybee colonies consisting of drones […]

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A Decade into the Pollinator Crisis, Unsustainable Bee Losses Continue

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2016) It was 10 years ago that commercial beekeepers first reported widespread, unsustainable winter losses of their honey bee colonies. A decade after the alarm was first sounded on pollinator declines, results of 2015-16 Colony Loss Survey show no sign the crisis of abating. According to the Bee Informed Partnership survey, beekeepers lost 28.1% of their colonies over this past winter, and a total of 44% of their colonies over the last year. This marks the second year in a row that summer declines (28.1%) were on par with declines experienced during winter. Beekeepers factor in that a small percentage, <15% of their colonies, will be lost each winter, but do not expect to lose colonies during the summer, when there is amble forage and nectar for bees. The costs beekeepers must incur to keep their hives alive continue to increase. More time and money is spent to maintain their hives, yet losses continue to be staggering ”” and unsustainable. As colony collapse disorder (CCD), the cryptic loss of honey bee colonies with no sign of dead bees in or around the hive, has faded from public discussion, concerns over pollinator declines in general, from bees […]

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Bayer Concurs with EPA Findings on Certain Neonicotinoid Hazards to Honey Bees

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2016) Bayer CropScience, revising its stance,  has decided to concur with the  Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) preliminary risk assessment of neonicotinoids and acknowledge the finding of harm to honey bees in certain crops. A spokesman for Bayer CropScience said the neonic-selling giant has reviewed the assessment and found it to be “quite good and scientifically sound,” according to a news report.  The Guardian  is reporting that Bayer will be proposing new protections for pollinators, however the company has not yet announced what the new protections will be. This is a stark turnaround from  Bayer’s statement last week, which said EPA’s assessment “appears to overestimate the potential for harmful exposures in certain crops, such as citrus and cotton, while ignoring the important benefits these products provide and management practices to protect bees.” Last week, EPA released its preliminary honey bee risk assessment for one of the most widely used neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, which is  linked to severely declining honey bee populations. The assessment found  harmful residues of the insecticide  in crops where the pollinators forage  and confirmed bees’ widespread and sustained exposure to the highly toxic and persistent chemical through poisoned pollen and nectar. Imidacloprid, like the other […]

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French Researchers Solve Discrepancy in Bee-Killing Neonic Studies

Friday, November 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2015) French scientists say that they have found the “missing link” between laboratory studies and field studies that assess the adverse effects of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides on bees. The study, published in Royal Society Journal Proceedings B, evaluates the effects of neonics on honey bees in field trials. After 15 years of research into the effects of neonicotinoids on bees, researchers had identified a gap between the results of toxicity assessments on individual bees in the laboratory and  impacts seen at the colony level in the field. The new two-year study made two discoveries: First, they found that field exposure to thiamethoxam combined with imidacloprid contamination is associated with a significant excess mortality in individual free-ranging bees.  Second, while colonies appeared to be able to compensate for the excess mortality and preserve population size and honey production, this was done at the expense of a change in brood laying patterns. Thus, this study provides an explanation for the “missing link” in the discrepancies between labs studies and field studies, where the former establishes harmful and fatal effects that had yet to be replicated in real-life conditions. Because the bees responded to the increased mortality with selective […]

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Federal Court Overturns EPA Approval of New Bee-Killing Insecticide Sulfoxaflor

Friday, September 11th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2015) On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unequivocally rejected the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) unconditional registration of the systemic and bee-toxic pesticide sulfoxaflor. The Court concluded that EPA violated federal law and its own regulations when it approved sulfoxaflor without reliable studies regarding the impact that the insecticide would have on honey bee colonies. The Court vacated EPA’s unconditional registration of the chemical, meaning that sulfoxaflor may no longer be used in the U.S. However, while the decision is good news for now, it still leaves the door open for sulfoxaflor’s future use once EPA obtains the necessary information regarding impacts to honey bees and re-approves the insecticide in accordance with law. The case is Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Beekeeping Federation, Thomas Smith, Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson v. U.S. EPA (9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals,  No. 13-7234). Dow AgroSciences (a Dow Chemical company)  joined  the case as an intervenor to support EPA. EPA initially proposed to conditionally register sulfoxaflor and requested additional studies to address gaps in the data regarding the pesticide’s effects on bees. A few months later, however, EPA unconditionally registered […]

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Bee-Killing Pesticides Ubiquitous in Pollen Samples During Honey Bee Forage Season

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2015) Data published from the Harvard School of Public Health reveals  neonicotinoids (neonics), a class of chemicals implicated in the global decline of honey bees and other pollinators, in over 70% of both pollen and honey samples collected throughout the state of Massachusetts during months when bees are most actively foraging. The results of this study have grave  implications for pollinator health, as even minute, near-infinitesimal doses of neonics can cause sublethal impacts that compromise the health of entire bee colonies. The Harvard study, led by Chensheng (Alex) Lu, PhD, and published in the Journal of Environmental Chemistry, took monthly honey and pollen samples from 62 volunteered bee hives between April and August 2013. The 219 pollen and 53 honey samples were then analyzed for the presence of eight neonic insecticides. Every month, in every location, researchers found neonics in the pollen and honey collected by bees. In total, 73% of pollen samples and 72% of honey samples contained at least one neonicotinoid at levels which could result in sublethal harm. While previous studies have tested the presence of neonics at a single point in time, this is the first study to show the long-term persistence […]

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Save the Date, April 17-18: Agricultural Justice, Age of Organics, and Alligators: Protecting health, biodiversity, and ecosystems

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2015) The 33rd National Pesticide Forum,  Agricultural Justice, Age of Organics, and Alligators: Protecting health, biodiversity, and ecosystems,  will be held April 17-18, 2015 (Friday afternoon and all day Saturday) at the Florida A&M University College of Law (FAMU) in Orlando, FL. The 2015 conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides, Farmworker Association of Florida, and FAMU. Co-sponsors include Agricultural Justice Project, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Florida A&M University Small Farms Program, Florida Organic Growers, Food and Water Watch Florida, Just Harvest USA, Orange Audubon Society, Youth & Young Adult Network (YAYA) of the National Farmworker Ministry. If your group is interested in joining as a co-sponsor, please feel free to email us. This year’s conference will focus on agricultural justice, including the impact of pesticide use on human health and the environment, particularly as it relates to farmworker protections and organic agriculture. Biodiversity, pollinator protection, and other relevant issues for central Florida, including West Nile virus, pesticides in schools and hospitals, and genetic engineering will also be covered. The 33rd National Forum provides an opportunity to share the current science and policy information and discuss local, state, and national issues. The conference, including a tour in […]

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Thurston County, Washington Bans Neonics from County-Managed Lands

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2015) At the close of 2014, Thurston County in Washington State became the first county government to ban the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on county-owned and managed lands. The ban comes in the form of an amended pest and vegetation policy and was passed by County Commissioners by a 3-0 vote in favor of the amendment. According to The Olympian, the ban will impact 77 acres of county facilities, 2,646 acres of parks, 47.1 miles of trails, and one mile of right-of-way landscape. Commissioners instituted the ban because of concerns over the pesticides effects on pollinators. Neonicotinoids (“neonics”) are a relatively new class of insecticides that share a common mode of action that affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death. They include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Recent scientific research has uncovered many uncertainties and new information on neonic-induced adverse impacts with regard to the environmental fate and sublethal exposure on foraging behavior of pollinators. Thurston County’s ban is not the first time the county has taken up the issue of neonics in defense of pollinators. In 2013, the Commissioners petitioned the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) […]

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USDA to Offer Emergency Disaster Assistance for Bees

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2014) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week that nearly 2,500 applicants will receive disaster assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for losses suffered from Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2013. The program, re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides disaster relief for farmers and producers not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. Beekeepers who reported losses due to colony collapse disorder will be eligible, a move that many in the beekeeping industry welcome. ELAP provides disaster relief to livestock, honey bee, and farm-raised fish producers not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. Eligible losses may include excessive heat or winds, flooding, blizzards, hail, wildfires, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions, and diseases, or in the case of honey bees, losses due to colony collapse disorder. According to USDA, beekeepers, most of whom suffered honey bee colony losses, represent more than half of ELAP recipients. Enrollment for the program began last spring and ended in August 2014, and eligible farmers, beekeepers and producers must have submitted documentation of losses for enrollment in the program. Beekeepers have been experiencing historical losses in their bee hives and […]

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Ontario Proposes Restrictions on Neonicotinoid-Treated Seeds

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, December 2, 2014) Last week, the government of Ontario, Canada proposed a plan to reduce the use of neonicotinoid (neonic)-treated corn and soybean seeds by 80% as part of a broad initiative to improve pollinator health. It sets a goal of reducing over-winter honey bee deaths to 15% by 2020, and calls for the development of a comprehensive Pollinator Health Action Plan. To address the regulation of treated seeds, Ontario’s pollinator health proposal recommends the creation a new class of pesticides to include seeds treated with pesticides. The government would then restrict the sale and use of neonic-treated corn and soybean seed. In the U.S., EPA establishes the “treated article exemption” (40 CFR 152.25(a))  as  limiting its ability to regulate  seeds, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA),  that act  as  toxic pesticides when applied to agricultural fields and landscapes. According to  EPA, the treated article exemption,  “allows an exemption for: An article or a substance treated with or containing a pesticide to protect the article or substance itself (for example, paint treated with a pesticide to protect the paint coating, or wood products treated to protect the wood against insects or fungus infestation), if the […]

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Canadian Doctors and Nurses Urge Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2014) A group of doctors and nurses is urging the Ontario government to ban neonicotinoid pesticides, blamed for the decline of bees and other insect pollinators. As Canada’s first neonicotinoid campaign organized by doctors and nurses, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario say that these pesticides are a “major threat to both nature and people.” The doctors and nurses in Ontario, Canada, now urging the province to ban the pesticides adds to growing pressure on the Ontario government to take action on neonicotinoids (neonics), the insecticide class of chemicals linked to the deaths of bees across Canada and the U.S. Central to the initiative is an advertising buy which starts this week on the Toronto subway system. The ads show an anxious child beneath the caption, ”˜Doctors and Nurses say neonic pesticides hurt our bees and us.’ The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) also plan to meet with the Ontario Environment Minister, Glen Murray, later this year  to urge the government to ban the chemicals. CAPE is the campaign’s main funder, with contributions from David Suzuki […]

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