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Minnesota Takes Steps to Protect Bees, Beekeepers Demand Stronger Action

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 21, 2013) Two Minnesota state agencies are creating plans they say will  address declining pollinator populations in the state. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is developing best management practices for managing and increasing pollinator habitat and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is developing a plan to study the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides on pollinators. Critics of the state’s plan say that there is no more need to study the effects of neonicotinoids because the negative impacts they have on pollinators has been already studied extensively.   The DNR is developing guidelines to improve habitat for pollinator insects. Recent reports show that  the planting of herbicide-resistant genetically engineered (GE) crops is responsible for habitat loss and the decline of native pollinators like the Monarch butterfly. The expansion of glyphosate tolerant GE corn and soybean cropland has allowed farmers to kill milkweed, the primary source of food for Monarchs, which historically grew between crop rows in the Midwest. A rapid expansion of farmland ””more than 25 million new acres in the U.S. since 2007”” has also eaten away grasslands and conservation reserves that supplied the Monarchs with milkweed. DNR officials have indicated this guide could change […]

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A Time to BEE Thankful

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2013) You can almost taste it: the moist, tender turkey, the fluffy mashed potatoes, the creamy green bean casserole, the perfectly seasoned stuffing, the roasted brussel sprouts sprinkled with salty bacon, the sweet tang of the cranberry sauce, and the velvety bite of the pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving and all its bounty is almost here. Of course, the impending feast doesn’t magically appear. Whether you have merely observed the bustle of preparation, assisted with the pealing and chopping, or orchestrated the entire affair, it is well known that the hard work of many lies behind the tantalizing spread. And if your Thanksgiving tradition is like most gatherings across the nation, before you carve the turkey, scoop the mashed potatoes and stuffing, serve up the salad, and ladle the gravy all over your plate, there is a moment of pause. Be it in the form of prayer, song, or simple sharing, it is a moment honoring the purpose for this great celebration. It is a moment to stop and be grateful for the bounty before you and the friends surrounding you. It is a moment to give thanks for the hard work of those who prepared the great […]

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Multiple Studies Stress the Importance of Wild Pollinators

Monday, March 4th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2013) Two studies released on February 28th in the journal Science detail the dramatic decline of wild pollinators and their effectiveness in producing seeds and fruit on crops in comparison to domesticated honey bees. The study conducted on the effectiveness of wild pollinators, which was led by Lucas A. Garibaldi Sc.D. of Universidad Nacional de Río Negro in Argentina, collected data at 600 test fields on all continents except Antarctica for 41 crop systems. These studies come on the heels of a possible suspension of neonicotinoid insecticides, which have been linked to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), by states in the European Union. In the United States action currently looks less likely, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has moved to register sulfoxaflor, which the agency has classified as “very highly toxic to bees.” These studies note that even though large active colonies of honey bees are useful for pollination, they cannot fully replace the contributions of diverse, wild insects in plant pollinations. Dr. Garbaldi’s study calls for, among other policy recommendations, “consideration of pollinator safety as it relates to pesticide application.” The first of these two studies, led by Laura A. Burkle Ph.D., was titled […]

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International Scrutiny of Pesticide Link to Honey Bee Deaths Intensifies

Monday, June 25th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2012) The Canadian governmental authority responsible for pesticide registration has expanded its re-evaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides to include two additional compounds linked to honey bee deaths and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced on June 12 that it has added clothianidin and thiamethoxam and their associated products to its ongoing re-evaluation of imidacloprid. The re-evaluation of these pesticides will focus on resolving issues related to environmental risk and specifically the potential effects of neonicotinoids on pollinators. The re-evaluation will consider all agricultural uses of neonicotinoid insecticides, including soil applications, seed treatment, as well as foliar and greenhouse uses. The Canadian announcement follows France’s decision earlier this month to initiate its own review for thiamethoxam that could result in the cancelation of allowances for using the pesticide. Neonicitinoids are highly toxic to a range of insects, including honey bees and other pollinators. They are taken up by a plant’s vascular system and expressed through pollen, nectar, and gutation droplets from which bees forage and drink. Neonicotinoids are particularly dangerous because, in addition to being acutely toxic in high doses, they also result in serious sublethal effects when insects are exposed to […]

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Two Studies Link Pesticides to Bee Health, Strengthen Case for Ban

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, April 3, 2012) Last week, the journal Science published two new studies linking neonicotinoid pesticide exposure to bee health. These two studies, one French, one British, add to a growing body of scientific literature and strengthen the case for removing pesticides toxic to bees from the market. The French study shows that pesticides interfere with honey bee brains, affecting their ability to navigate. The British research finds that pesticides prevent bumble bees from collecting enough food to produce new queens. These studies were released on the heels of an emergency legal petition by beekeepers and environmental groups, including Beyond Pesticides, that calls for the ban of the bee-killing pesticide clothianidin. Neonicitinoids are highly toxic to a range of insects, including honey bees and other pollinators. They are taken up by a plant’s vascular system and expressed through pollen, nectar and gutation droplets from which bees forage and drink. They are particularly dangerous because, in addition to being acutely toxic in high doses, they also result in serious sublethal effects when insects are exposed to chronic low doses, as they are through pollen and water droplets laced with the chemical as well as dust that is released into the […]

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