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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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Native Bees Found to Have Residues of Pesticides Linked to Their Steep Decline

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 12, 2015) The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently performed the first-ever study of pesticide residues on native bee populations and found that they are exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides, as well as other pesticides, at significant rates. This study digs deeper into a question  that was previously considered by a researcher who  studied chemical-intensive  apple orchards and linked a steep decline in wild or native bees to the application of pesticides. The USGS study  broadens understanding about the effects of toxic pesticides to native bee species, expanding field research that has principally focused on managed honey bee populations. The study tested for 122 different pesticides including bifenthrin, atrazine and chlorpyrifos, a chemical for which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed to revoke all food tolerances in response to  a court-ordered deadline. According to study findings, 72% of bees tested positive for pesticide residues, raising concerns for the potential for unintended pesticides exposures where land uses overlap or are in proximity to one another.   Residues of pesticides found in bees in the study include  thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and imidacloprid, all of which are highly toxic neonicotinoids, a class of chemicals that have been linked to the global […]

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Lawsuit Seeks to Stop Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticide Sulfoxaflor in EU

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2015) On the heels of a recent federal court decision that rejected the U.S. registration of sulfoxaflor, which cited inadequate and flawed review of the science on the chemical’s toxicity to bees, European beekeepers filed complaint that that asks the European Court of Justice to take the same action. The complaint  asks the court to cancel sulfoxaflor’s authorization. Sulfoxaflor is a neonicotinoid-like chemical that, like neonicotinoids, is highly toxic to bees. Three of the most widely used neonicotinoids are currently under a two-year European-wide moratorium which began December 2013, due to concerns about risks to bee populations. European beekeepers, Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination, the Italian National Beekeeping Union (UNAAPI), and PAN Europe, filed the complaint which cites a published  negative opinion on Dow AgroScience’s sulfoxaflor by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). According to EFSA, the pesticide is categorized as ”˜highly toxic to bees’ and it identified crucial toxicity data gaps, which according to the beekeepers, makes a proper risk assessment for bees impossible. Despite these facts, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG Sante) and the EU member states authorized sulfoxaflor in July 2015, completely bypassing the pesticide regulation, the complaint […]

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Study Finds Neonics “Severely Affect” Health of Honey Bee Queens

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2015) Exposure to neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides results in profound negative impacts to the health of honey bee queens, according to an international team of researchers led by Geoff Williams, MD, PhD, at the University of Bern in Switzerland. While most studies to date have investigated how neonics effect the health of individual workers or overall colony fitness, Dr. William’s study, Neonicotinoid pesticides severely affect honey bee queens, is one of the first to focus on the health of honey bee queens. Neither the European Union nor U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study the impacts of pesticides on queen health before allowing a pesticide to market. The results of this research are particularly concerning, given widespread anecdotal evidence from beekeepers across the globe that ”˜poor quality queens’ are playing a role in bee declines. To test the impacts of these chemicals on queen honey bees, scientists exposed a sample of 29 queens to field-realistic levels of the neonics  clothianidian and thiamethoxam (1 parts per billion and 4 ppb respectively), and compared them to a population of 28 control queens, which were not treated with neonics. Both groups experienced similar environmental circumstances in terms of food availability, rearing […]

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EPA Seeks Public Opinion on Continued Use of Neurotoxic Organophosphate Pesticides

Friday, October 9th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2015) Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released preliminary human health and ecological risk assessments for seven organophosphate pesticides (OPs) and announced the public open comment period for those chemicals. These risk assessments come as a result of the required periodic registration review, as required by  the Federal Insecticide, Fungicides, and Rodenticide Act. In general, OPs are highly toxic and many have been voluntarily removed from the market, considerably restricted, or denied reregistration. Unfortunately, EPA continues to rely on risk mitigation for individual OPs instead of phasing them out altogether. Seven OPs ­ ­—dimethoate, dictrotophos, chloyrophos-methyl, tribufos, terbufos, profenofors, and ethoprop—are among the first wave of chemicals whose preliminary risk assessments have been completed under the registration review program. Each of these was found by EPA to inhibit the enzyme acetylcholine esterase (AchE), which ultimately leads to neurotoxic  central nervous system effects. This information is not new, however. In 2012, University College London found long-term low-level exposure to OPs produces lasting damage to neurological and cognitive functions. In 2013, at least 25 children died after eating school lunches contaminated by OPs. One OP in particular, chlorpyrifos, chlorpyrifos (Dursban), is currently under petition for the same […]

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Announcing: The Pesticide-Free Zone Sign Photo Contest!

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2015) Now is your chance to show off both your green thumbs and your photography skills: if you use a sign to designate your yard, park, garden or other space as pesticide-free, we want to see it! We would love to see how you are using your signs, whether it is our honey bee, ladybug, or your own creative one. If you don’t already have a sign, we encourage you to put one up and use its presence to spark a conversation in your community about the use of pesticides. One yard at a time, we can transition towards a safer future without the hazards associated with unnecessary pesticide use. Your Work in the Spotlight! Send your best photo of your Pesticide-Free Zone to info@beyondpesticides.org! We will choose four grand prize photographs (Best overall, best sign featuring a child, best sign featuring wildlife, and best sign on an environmentally sensitive area), and 8 runners up to be featured in our 2016 Calendar! Staff picks and other select photos will also be highlighted on Beyond Pesticides’ Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the month of October. Each photo must include a Pesticide-Free Zone sign (it can be either […]

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Sublethal Glyphosate (Roundup) Exposure Harms Bees

Friday, September 18th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2015) Glyphosate’s harmful effects continue to accumulate, this time with evidence pointing to toxic and sublethal effects on bees. According to a new study conducted by German and Argentinian researchers, honey bees exposed to low levels of glyphosate have a hard time returning home. Glyphosate, the  controversial and toxic active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is an herbicide widely used on genetically-engineered (GE) crops as well as on parks and golf courses, for control of weeds and grasses. Along with neonicotinoids, which have been linked to worldwide bee decline by a growing body of science, glyphosate is just another chemical in the toxic mixture that bees and other non-target organisms are constantly exposed to in the environment. In the study, titled “Effects of sublethal doses of glyphosate on honeybee navigation” and published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers evaluate the effects of recommended concentrations of glyphosate used in agricultural settings on honey bee navigation and found that a single exposure to a concentration of glyphosate within this range delays the return of the foraging honey bee to the hive. Flight trajectories were also affected after successive exposure to the herbicide, suggesting that the spatial learning process […]

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Despite Evidence of Harm and Lack of Need, USDA Supports Unrestricted Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticides

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2015) In a letter posted to the federal docket, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that it is opposed to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent proposal to restrict pesticides highly toxic to bees on sites where managed bees are present, saying the measure “has not established the need for such a prohibition.” In its position, USDA  cites economic impacts to farmers and lack of a cost/benefit analysis. USDA’s critique of EPA’s proposal contrasts with a decision handed down last week by a federal court that ruled EPA should not ignore risk concerns for bees and rejected the registration of a pesticide known to be highly toxic to bees, highlighting a lack of collaboration and understanding between federal agencies in advancing  pollinator protection. USDA communicated its challenge to EPA despite the growing body of science on the hazards of neonicotinoid insecticides and findings in Europe that their restriction does not undermine crop productivity. Last May,  EPA announced a new proposal  to temporarily prohibit foliar applications of pesticides that are acutely toxic to bees during plant bloom and when managed bees are on site and under contract. The proposal received a mixed response, with many from […]

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Country-wide Field Study Links Pollinator Decline to Pesticide Use

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2015) A  study performed by the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) in the United Kingdom (UK) provides evidence of confirming the link between neonicotinoid pesticides and continually increasing honey bee colony losses on a landscape level. The study, Evidence for pollinator cost and farming benefits of neonicotinoid seed coatings on oilseed rape, was published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports. This is a significant study, as the UK government has always maintained that neonicotinoid pesticides do not threaten bees, and that honey bee losses are instead caused by the parasitic varroa mite, siding with industry arguments that pesticides are safe when used properly. However, this new study indicates otherwise, confirming a direct link between neonicotinoids and honey bee colony losses at a nationwide level. This study distinguishes itself from  a previous study in the U.S. that extrapolated real world neonicotinoid exposure levels  to  test hives by analyzing actual fields in a  long-term assessment. To a large degree, the new study addresses industry critics of the earlier study design who have tried to discount previous findings of bee decline associated with neonicotinoid use (see Beyond Pesticides’ Sowing the Seeds of Doubt, which addresses these industry myths). […]

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Minneapolis, MN Passes Organic, Pollinator-Friendly Resolution

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2015) Last Friday, the City Council of Minneapolis, MN unanimously passed a resolution declaring Minneapolis a pollinator-friendly community and urging city residents to take steps to protect dwindling pollinator populations. A groundswell of public support from a wide range of local and national groups, including Beyond Pesticides, resulted in swift passage of the resolution, the latest in a long string of local government action to safeguard pollinators from harmful pesticides, as federal proposals fail to address the magnitude of the crisis. “With the passage of today’s resolution, Minneapolis is now doing its part in the global effort to protect and grow the pollinator populations,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said to CBS Minnesota. The resolution, introduced and written by Councilmember Cam Gordon, assigns a number of bee safe actions to various city departments. While the Health Department’s Environmental Services Unit will maintain a list of pollinator-friendly plants, the Community Planning and Economic Development Department and Property Services Division of the City Coordinator’s office will create habitat for local pollinators. The Minneapolis Public Works Department will pursue both increased bee habitat and adopt clear guidelines against the use of pesticides, including but not limited to systemic neonicotinoid  (“neonic”) insecticides, […]

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Meeting Records Expose Industry’s Influence in UK’s Neonic Emergency Use Decision

Friday, July 31st, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2015) New information has surfaced regarding the role of agrochemical giants Bayer and Syngenta in the United Kingdom (UK)’s recent decision to temporarily allow the use of neonicotinoid seed treatment on oilseed rape crop. A record of the meeting, involving the UK government’s expert committee on pesticides (ECP) and industry representatives, had previously been suppressed. The newly released record of the meeting shows that Bayer and Syngenta were the only external representatives asked to answer the ECP’s questions. The emergency use, which has been granted for 120 days, allows growers to use Bayer’s Modesto (clothianidin) and Syngenta’s Cruiser OSR (thiamethoxam). The active ingredients of these products belong to a class of toxic chemicals known as neonicotinoids  (neonics), which have been  linked  to pollinator decline. These pesticides are associated with  decreased learning,  foraging  and navigational ability in bees, as well as increased vulnerability to pathogens and parasites as a result of suppressed bee immune systems. Used widely in agriculture as seed treatment for various crops, foraging bees, in the absence of their native habitat, are exposed to fields of poison where even pollen and nectar are contaminated. In addition to toxicity to bees, neonicotinoids have been shown […]

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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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Study Links Climate Change to Shrinking Bumblebee Habitats

Monday, July 13th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2015) Many factors have been identified in bee and other pollinator decline across the globe, including loss of habitat, disease, and pesticides. A  new study from researchers in North American and Europe finds that the  changing climate also plays a vital role in decreasing bee habitat and thus reducing populations. The study reports that North American and European bumble bees are unable to colonize new warmer habitats north of their historic range, while simultaneously disappearing from the southern portions of their range. Published in Science, the study,  Climate change impacts on bumblebees converge across continents,  which is a comprehensive look at 67 bumblebee species and their territories over the last century, finds that many North American and European bumblebees have retreated from the southern edge of their historic ranges (away from the equator). While other species of animals have been able to adapt to climate change by expanding their habitats, bumblebees have not shifted to warming northern climes and are experiencing shrinking distributions in the southern ends of their range. The rusty patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis), for instance, has disappeared from parts of the southeastern U.S. Bumblebees are also retreating to higher elevations, shifting upward by […]

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EPA Solicits Public Input on Protecting Monarchs from Herbicide Impacts

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2015) As the Monarch butterfly suffers serious decline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering  the role of  herbicides in killing the iconic species’ food source, milkweed, and developing an action plan that may fall short. The agency identified possible action that it may take to slow the Monarchs’ decline in a document released last week entitled Risk Management Approach to Identifying Options for Protecting the Monarch Butterfly (Monarch Approach document). EPA’s approach to Monarch conservation comes shortly after the White House released its National Pollinator Health Strategy, intended to “reverse pollinator losses and help restore populations to healthy levels.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also in the midst of conducting a review of the Monarch butterfly to determine whether the species is eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The number of Monarchs reaching their winter breeding grounds in Mexico has fallen by 90% in less than 20 years. This year’s population was the second lowest since surveys began two decades ago. The critical driver of this decline has been linked to the loss of milkweed, the only plant on which Monarchs will lay their eggs, along their migration route, which […]

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Neonicotinoids Hinder Bee’s Ability to Smell Flowers

Monday, June 29th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2015) A recent study has provided supporting evidence to previous work showing that sublethal doses of imidicloprid, a toxic neonicotinoid insecticide, impairs olfactory learning in exposed honey bee workers. Since 2006, honey bees and other pollinators in the U.S. and throughout the world have experienced ongoing and rapid population declines. The science has become increasingly clear that pesticides (especially the neonicotinoid class of insecticides), either acting individually or synergistically, play a critical role in the ongoing decline of honey bees and wild pollinators. Neonicotinoids can be persistent in the environment, and have the ability to translocate into the pollen and nectar of treated plants. “Honeybees need to learn to associate nectar reward with floral odor. One of the main reasons why flowers produce odor is so that this odor can be learned by pollinators and used to repeatedly visit the same flower species. Without this repeat visitation, pollination does not occur. We showed that a neonicotinoid pesticide, at sublethal doses, harms this odor memory formation,”  Chinese Academy of Science’s Ken Tan, who led the study, told CBS News in an email interview. Published in Nature on June 18, 2015, the study finds that “adults that ingested […]

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Popular Weed Killer 2,4-D and Lice Treatment Lindane Classified as Carcinogens

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2015) The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has found that there is some evidence in experimental animals that the popular herbicide, 2,4-D, is linked to cancer and now classifies it as a Group 2B, “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” IARC also classified lindane, used commonly in the U.S. as a topical lice treatment, in Group 1,“carcinogenic to humans” based on sufficient evidence in humans with the onset of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). These latest cancer findings come just months after the agency classified the world’s most widely used herbicide, glyphosate (Roundup), as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” raising public concerns on the lack of action from U.S. regulators. This month, 26 experts from 13 countries met at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) IARC in Lyon, France to assess the carcinogenicity of the insecticide lindane, the herbicide 2,4-D, and insecticide DDT. The findings are published in the Lancet. The new IARC findings come months after the agency classified glyphosate, the ingredient in the popular Roundup weed killer, as a Group 2A “probable” carcinogen, citing sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies. This decision sparked renewed calls for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action on […]

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New Studies Identify Fungicides as a Factor in Declining Bee Health

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2015) Two new studies raise concerns over the connection between the use of fungicides and the declining overall health of bee colonies. While  the use of neonicotinoid insecticides has been established as a  primary contributor  to declining pollinator populations, these new studies shine a light on the use of fungicides and the negative impacts their use has on overall bee health. The first study was performed after a group of local farmers asked researchers at the University of Wisconsin to assess whether it was safe to spray fungicides on crops while they are in bloom and bees are foraging. Because insecticides, like neonicotinoids, are meant to kill insects, researchers have performed numerous studies on how the use of these insecticides may harm beneficial insects as well as those they are intended to target. Fungicides, however, are not meant to kill insects, so the relationship between their use and effects on bee populations is relatively unstudied. Researcher Hannah Gaines Day, Ph.D., an entomologist at the University of Wisconsin, cautions that her team’s study, which involved five bumblebee colonies kept in field enclosures where flowers were sprayed with field-realistic doses of chlorothalonil, a  common fungicide, was small and […]

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France Calls for Ban on Sale of Monsanto Herbicide Roundup in Nurseries

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2015) France’s Ecology Minister Segolene Royal announced Sunday a  call to  stop  the sale of the popular Monsanto herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) from garden centers. The announcement comes just a couple of  months after the active ingredient, glyphosate, was classified in March as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the United Nation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). “France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides,” Royal said on French television. “I have asked garden centers to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale” in self-service aisles, she added. The announcement comes after a request by French consumer association CLCV (Consumption, Housing and Environment – Consommation, Logement et Cadre de vie)  to French and European officials to stop selling glyphosate-based products to amateur gardeners. Royal also announced last week that from January 2018 onwards, phytosanitary products —used to control plant diseases— would only be available to amateur gardeners “through an intermediary or a certified vendor.” Glyphosate is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by EPA and industry and is widely used in food production and on lawns, gardens, parks, and children’s playing fields. However, IARC’s new classification of […]

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EPA’s “New” Restrictions Fail to Protect Honey Bees as Promised

Monday, June 1st, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2015) Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposal intended to create “physical and temporal space” between bees and toxic pesticides. While touted as monumental progress on bee health by the agency, the reality is that the proposal will only result in modest changes to pesticide labels. EPA’s new rules contain only a temporary ban on foliar applications of acutely bee-toxic pesticide products, including neonicotinoid class insecticides, during bloom and when a beekeeper is on site and under contract. The proposal doesn’t address the widespread contamination and detrimental effects of these toxic, systemic (whole plant poisons) chemicals that will continue to occur even during the temporary prohibition. Media reports have generally overstated the implications of the proposal, applauding the “new” restrictions, and labeling the small portion of agricultural land that is affected  as “pesticide-free zones,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. The restrictions are not anything new — EPA pesticide labels already prohibit applications while in bloom where bees are foraging. Neal Bergman, a commercial beekeeper in Missouri, said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the proposal is “basically enforcing label guidelines,” further highlighting the fact that EPA has failed […]

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Local Hardware Stores Continue to Out-Pace National Retailers in Providing Neonicotinoid Alternatives

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2015) As summer approaches, local stores continue to set the pace for protecting pollinator populations from the harms of neonicotinoid pesticide use. In southern Maine, Kittery Ace Hardware joins Eldredge Lumber and Hardware in its efforts to actively seek alternatives to  pesticides that contain  neonicotinoids and other toxic pesticides by consciously stocking their shelves with organic compatible products as opposed to lawn and garden products that contain toxic chemicals. This shift by local stores like Eldredge and Kittery highlights the role retailers can play in responding to community concerns over dangerous pesticide use, and indicates their desire to be part of the solution when it comes to protecting pollinators. Local stores’ increasing  attention to local concerns over a common problem is  juxtaposed with  big box hardware stores’ response to neonicotinoid concerns that respond to public pressure with vague language, drawn out or nonexistent timelines, and failure to take a stance on overwhelming scientific evidence that neonicotinoids cause harm to pollinator populations. As more national retailers respond to public pressure to ban neonicotinoid-containing products, it becomes clear that local, small-scale efforts to stock shelves with alternative products offer a better and more concrete approach to stopping neonicotinoid […]

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Study Shows Neonicotinoid Pesticide Has Devastating Effect on Termites Due to Eusocial Behavior, Similar to Bees

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2015) A study led by Purdue University Entomology Professor Michael Scharf, Ph.D. finds that small doses of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide, can halt the normal functioning of termite behavior, leaving colonies vulnerable to disease and eventual death. While this effect may be celebrated by the pesticide industry as a victory for termite control, it has serious implications for the use of imidacloprid and other neonicotinoid pesticides on all eusocial insects, such as ants and bees. Eusocial insects thrive as a colony, working, living and sometimes even fighting diseases as one organism, rather than as many individuals existing together. Termites, specifically, exhibit a remarkable resistance to many diseases because they engage in social grooming, clearing pathogens off of one another. Other examples of eusociality can be found in ant and bee colonies. Ant colonies create foraging trails and engage in cooperative transport, where they create long chains of ant individuals to form a whole assembly line to transport food back to the colony and work as one to carry large prey that would not be otherwise attainable. Honeybee colonies send out foragers to report back with the location of plentiful food sources so that other bees know […]

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With Second Highest Honey Bee Losses, Congressional Hearing Ignores Pesticide Effects

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2015) For the first time on record, summer losses of managed honey bee colonies have exceeded winter losses, according to preliminary results of the annual survey released yesterday by the Bee Informed Partnership, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Apiary Inspectors of America. This is the second highest annual loss recorded to date: beekeepers lost a total of 42.1 percent of the number of colonies managed over the last year (total annual loss, between April 2014 and April 2015), which is up from 34.2 percent for the previous year. On the same day that this survey was released, the  U.S.  House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture, Biotechnology and Research held a hearing on pollinator health, but failed to advance policy solutions that would protect pollinators from the unnecessary use of pesticides. “What we’re seeing with this bee problem is just a loud signal that there’s some bad things happening with our agro-ecosystems,” Keith Delaplane, PhD at the University of Georgia and one of the co-authors of the study told Phys.Org. “We just happen to notice it with the honeybee because they are so easy to count.” About two-thirds of the beekeepers responding to the survey […]

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California Mom Successfully Gets Cancer-Causing Herbicide Eliminated from Community- You Can, Too!

Friday, May 1st, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2015)  A recent success in grassroots activism  comes through Tracy Madlener, a mother of two, who got  her neighborhood in Laguna Hills, California to eliminate the use of Roundup, a widely-used weedkiller. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, as carcinogenic in people based on animal studies. The classification is technically “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A),”  sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies. Gravely concerned, Ms. Madlener began her mission to eliminate the use of toxic  Roundup in her neighborhood, with some help from Beyond Pesticides, sharing her progress on a new Facebook page ”˜How to Create a Toxic-Free Community’  along the way. Just five days in she posted a video blog about getting started: organizing, sending emails, making a to-do list, and making phone calls for research purposes. She also built up a network and informed  others in the area, contacted other moms doing similar work to ban harmful chemicals in their areas for advice, spoke with landscapers to  suggest healthier options, researched environmentally- and health-conscious alternatives to Roundup for local use, and made folders […]

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