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France on Track to Ban All Neonicotinoid Pesticides by 2018

Friday, July 1st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides July 1, 2016) Lawmakers in France approved plans to totally ban neonicotinoid pesticides by 2018, based on their link  to declining populations of pollinators, specifically bees. This new restriction would go above and beyond current European Union (EU) restrictions on neonicotinoids, which limit the use of neonicotinoids, but do not ban them. The outright ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in France was adopted by a narrow majority of the  country’s  National Assembly, as part of a bill on biodiversity. While the bill must still gain the approval of the French Senate, which rejected it in a previous reading, passage by the Assembly is significant, as France becomes the first country to join state and local movements to eliminate the use of these toxic chemicals. Neonicotinoids have been found by  a growing body of scientific literature  to be linked to honey bee and other pollinator declines. In light of these findings, in 2013 the European Commission  voted to suspend  the use of neonicotinoid pesticides for two years. The ban came several months after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)  released a report  identifying “high acute risk” to honey bees from uses of certain neonicotinoid chemicals.   Along with recent reports […]

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Howard County, MD, Plans to Ban Neonics on Parklands

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2016) In a move that goes one step further than the recently passed state-wide bill restricting consumer sales of neonicotinoid (neonics) products, Howard County, Maryland has taken the initiative to restrict the use of neonicotinoids on parklands. The new policy, announced June 16, cites the growing number of studies linking neonicotinoid use to adverse effects on pollinator species. The Department of Recreation and  Parks (DRP) manages approximately 10,000 acres of parkland within Howard County. According to the new policy and procedure, DRP is restricting the use of neonicotinoids, “due to recent research suggesting that there is a link between pesticides that contain neonicotinoids negatively effecting populations of pollinator species, such as; honeybees, native bees, butterflies, moths and other insects.” Neonics were often used on parklands for grubs on turf, Japanese beetles on trees,  and aphids on flowers and are now prohibited on all County parkland, including sports fields, garden plots, golf course and open space. Exemptions exist for agricultural uses and invasive pest infestations. Read the new neonicotinoid policy. Just this past May, Maryland officially became the first state in the nation to pass legislation  against neonicotinoids. The state legislature passed the  Maryland Pollinator Protection Act […]

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Millions of Dead Bees and Over 4 Million Signatures Presented to EPA to Protect Pollinators from Pesticides

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2016) A truck full of dead bees made its final stop yesterday at a rally outside the headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), culminating a coast-to-coast tour to raise awareness about recent massive declines in pollinators. While the millions of dead bees stayed on the truck, advocates and beekeepers, including Beyond Pesticides, delivered over 4 million signatures urging an immediate ban on bee-killing pesticides. “In the five years since I started keeping bees, I’ve seen many hives killed by pesticides,” said James Cook, a Minnesota-based beekeeper who has been driving the truck across the country since last Monday. “If some fundamental things don’t change, it’s going to be really hard for beekeepers to adapt to the environment around us.” Bees pollinate most of the world’s most common crops, including summer favorites like peaches and watermelon. But over 40 percent of U.S. honeybee hives die each year, costing the farming and beekeeping industry more than $2 billion annually. The most significant culprit in the bee die-off is the widely-used class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics. Last spring EPA began a process to assess four types of neonics and their impacts on pollinators. In January […]

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Students Celebrate Pollinators by Spreading Bee and Butterfly Habitat

Monday, June 20th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides June 20, 2016) As the end of the school year approaches, two first grade classrooms at local District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) got to learn about the importance of pollinators firsthand when DC-based nonprofit Beyond Pesticides visited their school. In a lead up to National Pollinator Week, Beyond Pesticides teamed up with owner and founder of The Bees Waggle, Jessica Goldstrohm, to provide a fun, hands-on lesson about pollination, and why it is important to our food system. Students were given a lesson on biodiversity, soil health, and the negative effects of pesticides on pollinators before building some pollinator-friendly habitat for their schools and homes. The day of learning kicked off at Brightwood Education Campus, located in Northwest DC, where students listened to a lesson developed by Ms. Goldstrohm, who donned a set of bee wings for the event. After receiving some background on the role of pollinators in our food system, the children participated in several hands on activities that reiterated the key points within the curriculum. Six volunteers stepped to the front of the class to demonstrate the interconnectedness of all living organisms by participating in a biodiversity web simulation. Here, the scholars learned that […]

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Report Details Industry Efforts to Derail Pollinator Protections

Friday, June 17th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2016) The pesticide industry has weakened and delayed pesticide reforms and is shaping new state pollinator “protection” plans nationwide that do little to protect bees, according to a new Friends of the Earth report.  The report is being released in advance of  Pollinator Week (June 20-26, 2016), as people assemble to ask for improved protection for pollinators. The investigation, Buzz Kill: How the Pesticide Industry is Clipping the Wings of Bee Protection Efforts Across the U.S., reveals an array of pesticide industry tactics to slow urgently needed pollinator protection measures at federal and state levels. The report details how new state pollinator protection plans, many still unfinished, have been heavily influenced by pesticide industry interests. According to the report, industry is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying to delay state and federal action on the chemicals they manufacture. As a result, state pollinator protection plans across the U.S. are falling short in several ways, including: State pollinator protection plans currently provide more protections for pesticides and pesticide users than for bee keepers and bee colonies. Pesticide industry influence is pervasive throughout states’ legislative and regulatory planning efforts. Plans lack metrics to measure effectiveness, improvement […]

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Local Restaurants Launch Campaign to Protect Pollinators during National Pollinator Week

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2016) To celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, 2016, several Washington, DC restaurants have teamed up with Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety to launch a campaign, “Made by Pollinators,” to protect pollinators suffering steep declines. With one out of every three bites of food reliant on bees, the participating restaurants’ patrons will be treated to a special menu featuring pollinator-friendly food and provided with information on what they can do to help pollinators. The restaurants hope to increase public awareness on the importance of pollinators and steps that can be taken to reverse the decline. Participating  restaurants include Busboys and Poets, Founding Farmers, Lavagna, the Tabard Inn and Restaurant Nora. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. The value of pollination services to U.S. agriculture alone amounts to nearly $30 billion and about 80% of flowering plants require animal pollination. A recent government survey reports that U.S. beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies between spring 2015 and 2016 —the second highest loss to date. […]

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Public Comment Needed on EPA’s Plans To Allow Bee-Toxic Sulfoxaflor despite Elevated Bee Losses

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2016) Despite recent reports of continuing bee losses across the U.S., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to reevaluate the use of the bee-toxic insecticide sulfoxaflor, and is proposing an amended registration. Sulfoxaflor’s initial 2013 registration was challenged by beekeepers and subsequently vacated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals due to overwhelming risks to bees and EPA’s inadequate review of the data. Last September, the  Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unequivocally rejected  EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor. The Court concluded that EPA violated federal law when it approved sulfoxaflor without reliable studies regarding the impact that the insecticide may  have on honey bee colonies. The Court vacated EPA’s unconditional registration of the chemical, meaning that sulfoxaflor could no longer be used in the U.S. This decision was in response to a suit filed by beekeepers challenging EPA’s initial registration of sulfoxaflor, which cited the insecticide’s threat to bees and beekeeping. The case:  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) According to the court decision, EPA skirted its own regulations […]

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Study Finds Honey Bees Frequently Collect Contaminated Pollen from Non-Crop Plants

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2016) A study  by researchers at Purdue University has concluded  that honey bees collect most of their pollen from non-crop plants that are frequently contaminated with agricultural and urban pesticides. The researchers found this to be true even in places where croplands dominate the area.  The study, which detected neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, fungicides, and others, highlights the large number of toxic pesticides to which bees are exposed to in the environment. Researchers collected pollen from Indiana honey bee hives at three sites over 16 weeks. The hives were placed in a variety of settings, such as an open meadow with wildflowers, woody shrubs and trees present (non-agricultural), the border of a corn field that was treated with the neonicotinoid clothianidin and three fungicides, and the border of a non-treated corn field. The pollen samples that were collected by the bees represented up to 30 plant families and contained residues from pesticides spanning nine chemical classes. The researchers found 29 pesticides in pollen from the meadow site, 29 pesticides in pollen from the treated cornfield, and 31 pesticides in pollen from the untreated cornfield. The most common chemical products found in pollen from each site were fungicides and […]

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Maryland Pollinator Protection Act Becomes Law

Friday, May 27th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2016) — Thanks to the hard work and efforts of beekeepers, environmental groups, scientists, legislators and activists, Maryland is the first state to pass legislation through its General Assembly that restricts consumers from using neonicotinoids, a pollinator-toxic pesticide. Earlier this month, the state of Connecticut also passed far-reaching legislation aimed at protecting pollinator populations from these toxic chemicals. The Maryland Pollinator Protection Act (Senate Bill 198/House Bill 211) will become law without the Governor’s signature. Supporters had feared a veto from the executive office, but as a result of overwhelming pressure from beekeepers and activists, Governor Larry Hogan (R) allowed the bill to come into law. Under the Act, consumers will not be permitted to buy pesticides that contain neonicotinoids starting in 2018. Certified pesticide applicators, farmers and veterinarians will be still be allowed to use neonicotinoids. Connecticut’s bill also restricts consumer use of neonicotinoids. In addition, it requires the creation of pollinator habitat on state lands, and begins to address the use of these chemicals in agriculture by developing best practices on neonicotinoid coated seeds, and model pollinator habitat in farm preservation programs. As Maryland’s bill made its way through the legislature, an amendment was […]

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Maryland Residents Asked to Urge Governor to Sign Pollinator Protection Act, Under Threat of Veto this Week

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2015) Maryland’s historic Pollinator Protection Act, (SB 198 and HB 211) may be in danger. Last month, lawmakers approved the bill by a 98-39 vote in the Maryland House of Delegates, however it faces the possibility of a veto by Governor Larry Hogan (R). While the governor’s office says that the bill is currently under review, according to local news source WBAL, the governor is prepared to veto the bill, which he has until tomorrow, Friday, May 27, to do. If the governor does veto the bill, Maryland’s Pollinator Protection Act will go back to the legislature for an override vote, which will take place in early 2017. Meanwhile, beekeepers continue to lose their bees at unprecedented rates. Last week, we reported results of 2015-16 Colony Loss Survey, which show no sign that the crisis of abating. According to the 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. WBAL reports that the governor is likely to veto the bill because of […]

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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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Macalester College Signs Resolution to ‘Bee Protective”

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2016) Another campus, Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota has pledged to become a designated BEE Protective campus. This recognition comes from Beyond Pesticides’ and Center for Food Safety’s BEE Protective Campaign, which aims to protect bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides like neonicotinoids. As part of its  commitment, Macalester College will  no longer use neonicotinoids on its  campus grounds. Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticides known to have severe impacts on bee populations. Macalester is now one of several campuses around the country that have pledged to protect pollinators and move away from using harmful pesticides that are toxic to these beneficial creatures. Just last month,  Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio pledged to become a BEE Protective campus. In addition to these campuses, several local communities and states are also taking a stand for pollinators by passing policies that restrict the use of bee-toxic pesticides. For more on how your campus or student group can support pollinators and become BEE Protective, visit the BEE Protective Ambassadors webpage. “Macalester’s new resolution to help protect pollinators fits well with our Sustainability Plan and Sustainable Landscaping Master Plan. I’m glad that our college has this opportunity […]

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Now Available: Videos to Promote Healthy Communities

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2016) Beyond Pesticides is pleased to announce that videos are now available from Cultivating Community and Environmental Health: Models for sustainable and organic strategies to protect ecosystems, pollinators and waterways, the 34th National Pesticide Forum! The videos cover the range of topics that were discussed at the Forum and include keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops. This year’s forum focused on the adoption of policies to protect human health and the environment, and organic land and building management strategies. Beyond Pesticides encourages activists, community leaders, scientists, and policy makers to attend its annual National Pesticide Forum in person to get together, share information, and strategize create communities that are healthy and free of toxic pesticides. For those who are unable to attend in person, these videos expand the incredible knowledge of the experts to the broader public to help inspire and inform community action. Watch the videos here. You can access the playlist, which includes all of the available videos of the 2016 forum, as well as previous years, on Beyond Pesticides’ YouTube page. Notable presentations include: Pollinators, Biodiversity and Scientific Integrity, by Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D. Dr. Lundgren is an agroecologist, director of ECDYSIS Foundation, and […]

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Connecticut Legislature Votes Unanimously to Adopt Pollinator Protections

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2016) In a bipartisan victory for bees, last week the Connecticut House of Representatives unanimously (147-0) passed a wide-ranging bill aimed at protecting declining pollinator populations within the state from toxic neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides. Bill No. 231, An Act Concerning Pollinator Health, was also passed unanimously (36-0) through the Connecticut State Senate on April 21, and now goes to Governor Dannel P Malloy for his signature. Earlier in April, both houses of the Maryland legislature passed the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act, which is currently awaiting action by Governor Larry Hogan (R). Connecticut’s bill addresses a broad range of concerns relating to pollinator health, from pesticides to parasites and habitat remediation, within both residential and agricultural settings. In summary, the bill does the following: Prohibits applying neonicotinoid insecticide (a) to linden or basswood trees or (b) labeled for treating plants, to any plants when such plant bears   blossoms; Bee health experts identified the application of systemic neonicotinoids to Tilia trees as a significant concern for pollinator health after a spate of massive bee-kill incidents on the west coast. In June 2013, over 50,000 bumblebees were killed after a neonic was applied to a linden trees in […]

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Study Finds Neonicotinoids Cause Compound-Specific Harm to Bumblebees

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2016) A study published online last week has examined the effects of three neonicotinoids (neonics) on bumblebee colonies, from live bee kills to changed sex ratios. Neonics have been widely cited as contributing to  the demise of both managed and wild bee and pollinator populations. They can cause  changes in bee reproduction, navigation, foraging, and even the suppression of bee immune systems. The study, published in Scientific Reports, looked at field-relevant levels (2.5 parts per billion) of imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin, and found compound-specific effects at all levels, including within individual bee cells, individual bees, and whole colonies in semi-field conditions. Given the limitations of laboratory studies and field studies, researchers conducted a semi-field study to try to recreate and represent real world exposure patterns. The neonics were provided to the bees as an optional supply of sugar syrup, but were free to forage and did need to gather pollen in order to grow and raise offspring. Researchers found that imidacloprid and clothianidin displayed abilities to affect neuronal Kenyon cells, which help with learning, memory and multisensory integration. At the whole colony level, thiamethoxam altered the sex ratio, leaving more males than females. Both imidacloprid and […]

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Antioch College and UMD Pledge to Protect Pollinators

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2016) This week, Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio,  became the third university to become a neonicotinoid-free campus.  Antioch College gains recognition from the Beyond Pesticides’ and Center for Food Safety’s  BEE Protective  Campaign, which seeks to protect honey bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides. Signing the  BEE Protective  resolution, Antioch signaled its continued commitment to using neonicotinoid-free insecticides on campus, making them one of the leading higher education institutions committed to the protection of pollinator species. In addition to joining the Bee Protective Campaign, the Village of Yellow Springs, where Antioch is located,  is  considering an organic land care policy, and Beyond Pesticides is working with the Village to assist with a transition to organic turf care. “At Antioch College, we have an opportunity, and an urgency, to be change leaders in turning around pollinator decline, exposing misleading research and recognizing the importance of inter-species cooperation. To paraphrase our president Thomas Manley, ”˜If we are not leaders in discovering and implementing  new and better ways of living  , then what is the point?’” said Beth Bridgeman, the faculty member who drove the effort to ban neonicotinoids from campus. Antioch students and staff maintain about […]

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City of Milwaukie, OR Passes Resolution to Protect Pollinators

Monday, April 25th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2016) Last week, the City Council of Milwaukie, Oregon passed a resolution that halts the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides on city government and public property,  joining the growing number of local governments protecting pollinators.  Neonicotinoids  (neonics) have been widely cited in the demise of both managed and wild bee and pollinator populations.  The resolution specifically  restricts city government agencies from purchasing plants and seeds that have been treated with neonicotinoids and other systemic insecticides and urges public and private landscapers and homeowners to plant bee-friendly habitats.  Clackamas County will join with the Mayor’s office and City Council of Milwaukie to adopt an Integrated Pest Management Plan that mirrors the resolution. In addition to these stipulations, the City of Milwaukie is using this resolution to: urge all businesses, homeowners, and homeowner’s associations operating within the City ensure no plants, seeds, or products containing neonicotinoids are purchased, sold, or used within the City; and to clearly and accurately label any plants or materials that have been treated with a neonicotinoid or neonicotinoid-like insecticide; require that commercial pest service providers performing services on behalf of the City provide landscape services that encourage pollinator populations and support pollinator services; […]

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Help Protect Pollinators Today, Earth Day

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2016) Today is Earth Day! As honey bees and other pollinators continue to suffer from staggering global declines, Beyond Pesticides works year-round through the BEE Protective campaign, launched Earth Day 2013, to support nationwide local action aimed at protecting pollinators from pesticides. Pollinators are a vital part of the environment, a barometer for healthy ecosystems, and critical to the nation’s food production system. With one in three bites of food reliant on bees and other species for pollination, the decline of honey bees and other pollinators demands swift action. The BEE Protective campaign includes a variety of educational materials to help encourage municipalities, campuses, and individual homeowners to adopt policies and practices that protect bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticide applications and create pesticide-free refuges for these critical  organisms. In addition to scientific and regulatory information, BEE Protective also assists people and communities with  a model community pollinator resolution and a pollinator protection pledge. Insecticides, specifically neonicotinoids, have increasingly been linked to bee declines. These chemicals are used extensively in U.S. agriculture, especially as seed treatment for corn and soybeans. Agriculture is not the only concern however, as pesticide applications in home gardens, city parks, […]

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Scotts Miracle-Gro To Eliminate Neonics in Ortho Brand

Monday, April 18th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2016) Major pesticide manufacturer Scotts Miracle Gro announced on Tuesday that it will immediately being phasing out neonicotinoid insecticides, including imidacloprid, clothianidin, and dinotefuran from its outdoor-use Ortho brand by 2017. Neonicotinoids (neonics) have  consistently been implicated  as a major contributing factor in pollinator declines. They can cause  changes in bee reproduction, navigation, and foraging, and even the suppression of bee immune systems. In its press release, the Ortho brand announced that it was partnering with Pollinator Stewardship Council to help educate homeowners on the “safe and appropriate use of pesticides.” “While agencies in the United States are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it’s time for Ortho to move on.” Tim Martin, general manager of the Ortho brand said. “As the category leader, it is our responsibility to provide consumers with effective solutions that they know are safe for their family and the environment when used as directed. We encourage other companies and brands in the consumer pest control category to follow our lead.” Neonics have emerged as the leading class of pesticides responsible for bee decline. While neonicotinoid insecticides have been responsible for high profile bee kills from high doses […]

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Maryland Legislature Bans Retail Sales of Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Monday, April 11th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2016) In a historic move, the Maryland legislature voted to become the first state in the nation to ban consumers from using products containing neonicotinoid pesticides, a class of bee-toxic chemicals that has been linked to the startling decline in bees and other pollinators around the world. The bill now heads to Governor Larry Hogan to sign or veto. The Pollinator Protection Act was approved by lawmakers on Thursday by  a 98-39 vote in the Maryland House of Delegates. While consumers will not be allowed to buy pesticide products containing neonicotinoids starting in 2018, the legislation’s  reach does not extend to farmers, veterinarians, and certified pesticide applicators, who will still be permitted to apply  the chemicals. Consumers can also buy treated plants and seedlings from stores without any labeling. Cumulatively, these present major sources of exposure for bees and other pollinators. The bill originally included a requirement that companies put labels on plants and seeds that are treated with neonicotinoids, but that provision was ultimately pulled from the bill. Hardware stores  like Home Depot and Lowe’s  had previously announced that they were voluntarily phasing out the supply of neonicotinoid-treated plants over the next two to three […]

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Villanova Pivots to Neonic-Free, Joins Bee Protective Campaign

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides April 6, 2016) Hot off the heels of the NCAA basketball tournament, a national title is not the only thing Villanova University has to celebrate this week. The campus, located near Philadelphia, PA, recently became the second school in the nation to receive recognition from the Beyond Pesticides’ and Center for Food Safety’s BEE Protective Campaign, which seeks to protect honey bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides. Signing the BEE Protective pledge, Villanova signaled its continued commitment to using neonicotinoid-free insecticides on campus, making them one of the leading higher education institutions committed to the protection of pollinator species. “For Villanova, sustainability is not just about energy and recycling,” said Liesel Schwarz, Villanova’s Sustainability Manager. “We look to make all aspects of campus life sustainable, including how we treat our campus grounds. This recognition only further solidifies the wonderful work our grounds department has done to not only make the campus beautiful and inviting for people, but also for pollinators.” Villanova maintains more than fifty pollinator-friendly plants on campus, including aster, black-eyed Susans, milkweed and mint. Along with planting pollinator-friendly habitat, the elimination of neonicotinoid pesticides on campus is an exemplary move by Villanova to protect pollinators. […]

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Small Size of Wild Bees Correlated with Their Proximity to Intensive Agriculture

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2016) Populations of wild, ground-nesting bees grow smaller in areas where agricultural production is high, according to Cornell University researchers. Both wild and managed pollinators are experiencing global population declines that have been linked to a range of factors stemming from human activity, to habitat loss, the spread of parasitic mites and diseases, climate change, and significantly, the use of toxic, systemic pesticides. This study underscores the wide ranging threat that conventional agricultural practices pose to wild insect pollinators. Cornell researchers explore the relationship between intensive agricultural production and the size of ground-nesting Andrena nasonii bees. These charismatic pollinators dig tunnels in the ground up to three  feet deep in which they store honey and nectar, and ultimately lay a single egg. They forage on a variety of fruit crops, and are well known and important pollinators of strawberries. Thus, scientists brought their study to areas in New York with large strawberry plantations. Researchers discovered a significant, positive correlation between the decreased size of female A. nasonii bees and their proximity to intensively farmed strawberry plots. “Once we knew there was an effect of agriculture on the size of the bees, we took a random sample […]

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Pesticides Kill Dragonflies and Reduce Biodiversity in Rice Paddies

Monday, April 4th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2016) Pesticides widely used in rice paddies in Japan are harming  dragonflies. The study, conducted by researchers at Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies, finds that the insecticide fipronil significantly reduces the population of adult dragonflies, more so than any other pesticide treatment. The study, titled Fipronil application on rice paddy fields reduces densities of common skimmer and scarlet skimmer  and published in the journal Scientific Reports, investigated the impact of neonicotinoids, which have been linked to bee die-offs around the world, and chlorantraniliprole, which, like neonicotinoids and fipronil, is a systemic pesticide that is taken up by the plant and subsequently expressed in pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets. Plankton species were adversely  affected by clothianidin, a neonicotinoid, and chlorantraniliprole, but they recovered after concentrations of the chemicals decreased. Koichi Goka, Ph.D., a senior researcher at the institute, said nymphs living near the soil are particularly vulnerable to toxic chemicals, according to The Asahi Shimbun. “The density of insecticidal components in the water drops quickly after they are dissolved,” Goka said. “But such components long remain in the soil. Nymphs at the bottom of water could have been affected.” Dr. Goka is calling for more testing […]

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