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Neonicotinoid Insecticide Exposure Reduces Bumblebee Colony Size

Monday, October 24th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2016) Systemic neonicotinoid (neonic) exposure is associated with reductions in colony size and changes in foraging behavior, according to a recent field study done by a team of scientists at Imperial College London. The senior author of the study, Richard Gill, Ph.D., stated that when neonicotinoid “exposure is relatively persistent and combined with other stressors associated with land use change, they could have detrimental effects at the colony level.” The study, Impact of controlled neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebees in a realistic field setting, assesses the effect of exposure to the neonic, clothianidin, on bumblebee foraging patterns and colony size. Clothianidin was given to 20 buff-tailed bumblebee colonies for five-weeks in a sugar solution at a concentration of 5 parts per billion, an environmentally relevant level of the pesticide. A bumblebee colony census was done before and after the field experiment, where the number of eggs, larvae, pupae, and workers bees were recorded along with the wax and pollen stores in the colony. The researchers found that the clothianidin treated colonies had fewer workers, drones and reproductive female bees compared to the colonies with no exposure. These data add to the growing body of research on sub-lethal […]

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EPA Review Keeps Bee-Toxic Pesticide Sulfoxaflor on the Market with Limited Restrictions

Monday, October 17th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed its plan last Friday to register the toxic chemical sulfoxaflor, in the face of  overwhelming evidence that it negatively affects bee populations. This decision is the final result of a long-fought legal battle over the chemical’s registration, spearheaded by beekeepers and public health organizations concerned with what has been identified as EPA’s inadequate and flawed pesticide review processes. The agency claims that amendments made to the original registration, such as reducing the number  of crops for which use is permitted or only allowing post-bloom applications, will protect pollinators. However, scientific studies have shown that there is no way to fully limit exposure to bees, especially native species that exist naturally in the environment, given that the chemical, being systemic, is found in pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets. Given the evidence of harm related to sulfoxaflor’s use, as well as its demonstrated lack of need, advocates maintain that the agency’s decision to issue an amended registration violates its  duty to protect human health and the environment. Sulfoxaflor’s initial 2013 registration was challenged by beekeepers and subsequently vacated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals due to overwhelming risks to […]

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In Bayer-Monsanto Merger, Bayer Pledges Not to Push GE Crops on Europe

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2016) German chemical company Bayer said it would not introduce genetically engineered (GE) crops in Europe after its historic takeover of U.S. seed and pesticide producer Monsanto. The European Union (EU) has been skeptical of GE crops, with many countries refusing to approve certain varieties of them. However, in the U.S., where GE crops make up about half of the crops grown, the merger will probably have little to no effect on GE use. Last month, St. Louis-based agrichemical giant  Monsanto Co. agreed to sell the company  to German pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate, Bayer, in  an unprecedented $66 billion dollar deal. This takeover of the U.S. firm is the biggest ever by a German company. The combination would create a global agricultural and chemical giant ””and bring Bayer together with a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds that are engineered to resist pesticides, particularly Monsanto’s flagship product, Roundup. Roundup, whose active ingredient is glyphosate, is used alongside various GE crops including corn and soybeans. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a landmark  report naming glyphosate as  “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Glyphosate’s EU license was set to expire this […]

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Seven Bee Species Make Endangered Species List

Friday, October 7th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2016) For the first time in U.S. history, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has added a group of bees to the list of Endangered Species. FWS published a final rule last Friday that  declares seven species of yellow-faced bees (genus Hylaeus) that are native to Hawaii as endangered. This announcement immediately follows last week’s news that FWS has proposed listing the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). While the decision is great news for these bees and the environmental groups who have fought to protect them, there is still much work that needs to be done, and FWS says that it needs additional time to identify specific areas to be designated as critical habitat for the endangered bees. Further, though FWS has identified many threats to bees, including habitat loss and degradation due to urbanization, and other human activities, the final rule does not specifically point to pesticides. However, there is an overwhelming amount of research demonstrating that neonicotinoid insecticides, working either individually or synergistically, play a critical role in the ongoing decline of bees and other pollinators. Neonicotinoids have been linked to a range of […]

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Endangered Species Status Proposed for Rusty Patched Bumble Bee

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23, 2016) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed listing the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This is a victory for environmental groups who have fought to protect the rusty patched bumble bee from widespread threats such as habitat loss and pesticide use. The FWS proposal opens a 60-day public comment to allow agencies, groups and interested people to comment and provide new information. The public comment period is open through November 21, 2016. You can submit comments soon by visiting the docket, here. According to FWS, the rusty patched bumble bee was once widespread across the United States and parts of Canada, but declined dramatically in the 1990s. Their populations dwindled and have declined by 91 percent. FWS acknowledged  that the bumble bee populations considered for this proposal have not been reconfirmed since the early 2000s, meaning that currently there may be even less of the species left. Threats to the rusty patched bumble bee include diseases introduced by commercial bumble bees that are not free of pathogens and are released near wild populations. Climate change plays a part, along with habitat loss from industrial […]

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Study Finds Bee Colonies Die-off as the Number of Different Pesticide Exposures Increase

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2016) Honey bee colonies are declining as the total number of pesticide products they are exposed to increases, regardless of the amount of exposure, according to research published last week from scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD). The study aimed to look at honey bee colonies’ exposome, a term traditionally used in cancer research, defined as the measure of all exposures over an individual’s lifetime and how those exposures relate to health. In their investigation, researchers did not look at individual honey bees but instead treated the colony as a single super-organism, and based results on lifetime exposure to agricultural chemicals. The 91 honey bee colonies studied by researchers were exposed to a total of 93 different pesticide compounds throughout the course of their pollination season. Of these residues, 13 different compounds were found in bees, 61 in beebread (packed pollen within the hive), and 70 were found in wax. Researchers gauged the effect of pesticide exposure not only by looking at the number of pesticides in colonies, but also their toxicological relevance over a specific threshold, as well as through the calculation of a hazard quotient (HQ), which evaluates  the cumulative toxicity of various […]

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Two Chemical Companies Tied to Human and Environmental Atrocities, Bayer and Monsanto, Set to Merge

Monday, September 19th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides,  September 19, 2016) Last week, a  proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger was announced, as St. Louis-based agrichemical giant  Monsanto Co. agreed to sell the company  to German pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate, Bayer, in  an unprecedented $66 billion dollar deal. It is the merger of two companies that have been tied to past atrocities against humanity, one whose chemical product was  used  to kill  concentration camp victims under Adolf Hitler and the other a producer of the  deadly defoliant, Agent Orange, which was sprayed by the U.S. government over Vietnam and left a legacy of health damage to the Vietnamese people and U.S. veterans of the armed forces. At the same time, these companies are currently embroiled in controversy on  some of the most hazardous pesticides, including glyphosate (RoundupTM) and neonicotinoids, used in food production and in communities and home gardens    —continuing a history of profiting from a technology that has adverse effects on human life and the environment, but has been shown to be unnecessary and unsustainable in food production and the management of lawns, landscapes, playing fields, and parks. In 1995, the Associated Press reported that the then-CEO of Bayer,  Helge Wehmeier, apologized to Elie Wiesel, Ph.D., holocaust […]

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U.S. Land Use Changes Add Further Strain to Commercial Beekeeping

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2016) Land suitable for commercial beekeepers in the U.S. Northern Great Plains (NGP) is declining rapidly, according to a new study released earlier this month by the U.S. Geological Service (USGS). The region, which supports over 40% of managed honey bee colonies, is quickly replacing suitable pollinator habitat with more and more pesticide-intensive biofuel crops, particularly corn and soybean, as a result of increased crop prices and federal subsidies for biofuels. The concerning trend adds another layer of stress not only to honey bee colonies, but beekeepers whose livelihood depends on the health of their commercial livestock. From early summer to mid-fall, roughly one million honey bee colonies make their way through the Northern Great Plains of North and South Dakota. The area is not usually a stop for pollination services, but a place where beekeepers go to generate a honey crop and improve the health of their colonies. Most of the colonies that summer in the NGP are trucked across the country to pollinate fruiting crops like apples, cherries, melons, and almonds during the winter, or are otherwise moved south to produce packaged bee colonies or queens. According to the USGS study, published in the […]

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Minnesota Governor Issues Executive Order Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2016) Last week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton issued an executive order aimed at reversing pollinator decline in the state by limiting the use of toxic, systemic neonicotinoid (neonics) pesticides. The order tasks state agencies with a range of pollinator protective activities, and follows the completion of a Special Registration Review of Neonicotinoid Pesticides conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Given that a change in administration could lead to a rescinding of an executive order, it is critical that advocates continue to pressure for concrete legislative changes that institutionalize bee protective practices. “Bees and other pollinators play a critical role in supporting both our environment, and our economy,” said Governor Dayton. “This order directs state government to take immediate action to alleviate the known  risks that pollinators face. It also will create a new task force to study the issues impacting pollinators and recommend long-term solutions.” The executive order directs the Department of Agriculture to immediately initiate steps requiring neonics only be applied when there is “an imminent threat of significant crop loss.” This move applies  to sprays, drenches, or granular applications of neonics, however, and not seed coatings, which will require separate legislative action to […]

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More Evidence Shows Neonics Harm Butterflies

Friday, August 19th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2016) A study published earlier this week has found that the increasing use of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides is correlated with a steep decline in butterfly health and reproductive success — as more neonics are used, butterflies are struggling to survive. This study adds to previous evidence that demonstrates, in addition to bees, neonics can cause serious harm to other important pollinators. The study, Increasing neonicotinoid use and the declining butterfly fauna of lowland California, looks at 67 species of butterfly fauna in the lowlands of Northern California at four sites that were  monitored for approximately 30-40 years. The sites include Suisun Marsh, West Sacramento, North Sacramento, and Rancho Cordova. While controlling for land use and other factors, the researchers found a correlation between butterfly population decline and increasing neonic applications, which also appeared to be more severe for smaller-bodied species. According to the researchers, the results suggest that neonics could influence non-target insect populations when applied nearby. This study contributes to the mounting evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides are linked to pollinator decline. Neonics have increasingly been the subject of studies that highlight a relationship between neonicotinoid exposure  and harmful effects to pollinators. These effects are being […]

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Half of the Total Decline in Wild Bees throughout the UK Linked to Use of Neonics

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2016)   Decline of wild bee populations is linked to the use of toxic, systemic neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides used on oilseed rape (canola), according to new research done by a team of scientists at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the United Kingdom. In addition to corn and soybeans, canola is one of the main crops treated with neonicotinoids worldwide. Neonic pesticides have long been identified as a major culprit in bee decline by independent scientists and beekeepers, yet chemical manufacturers like Bayer and Syngenta have focused on  other issues such as the varroa mite. As Beyond Pesticides put it in the spring 2014 issue of Pesticides and You, the issue of pollinator decline is No Longer a Big Mystery, and urgent action is needed now to protect pollinators from these toxic pesticides. Neonics are associated with decreased learning, foraging and navigational ability, as well as increased vulnerability to pathogens and parasites as a result of suppressed bee immune systems. In addition to toxicity to bees, pesticides like neonicotinoids have been shown to also adversely affect birds, aquatic organisms and contaminate soil and waterways, and overall biodiversity. The study, Impacts of neonicotinoid use on long-term […]

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Decrease Found in Retail Sales of Plants Treated with Bee-Toxic Pesticides

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2016) In response to dramatic scientific findings, a severe decline in bee populations, and growing public demand for bee-safe plants, a new report confirms  the decision  of  major retailers to phase-out  the sale of flowers and trees treated with the pesticides most closely associated with the decline —neonicotinoids. A new report released by Friends of the Earth, analyzes plants purchased at  Home Depot,  Lowe’s, Ace Hardware,  True Value  and  Walmart. Many of these major retailers have made public commitments to stop selling bee-toxic neonicotinoids and treated plants. Additionally, the states of Maryland and Connecticut have passed legislation that stops the retail sales of neonics. The report,  Gardeners Beware 2016, released yesterday is a follow-up to previous testing that demonstrated the presence of bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides in more than half of bee-attractive flowers tested. The 2016 analysis found that 23 percent of flowers and trees tested contain neonicotinoid insecticides at levels that can harm or kill bees, compared to 51 percent in 2014, indicating that stores are selling far fewer plants treated with bee-killing neonics. This reduction is likely due to changes in store policies that commit retailers to eliminate neonicotinoid use on garden plants. Retailer commitments […]

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Pesticides Registered by EPA Alter Honey Bee Microbiome

Friday, August 12th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2016) A new study by a team of scientists at Virginia Tech finds that commonly used in-hive pesticides result in changes to the honey bee gut microbiome. The study, Honey bee gut microbiome is altered by in-hive pesticide exposures, was led by Virginia Tech associate professor of horticulture, Mark Williams, Ph.D., and colleagues from Oregon State University and North Carolina State University. This research, published several weeks ago in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, aimed to determine the microbiome of honey bees (Apis mellifera) after being exposed to three common pesticides. Coumaphos and tau-fluvalinate, both common miticides used in conventional beekeeping, and chlorothalonil, a fungicide commonly detected in hives, were used as pesticide treatments in the study. While this  research contributes to the already established body of science on the complexity of pesticide exposure effects, beekeepers reported the steepest, and then sustained, declines in honey bee populations after the large  increase in  neonicotinoid pesticide  use in the early 2000’s. Beekeepers nationwide suffered  their highest hive losses of 44.1% in the last national survey from April 2015-2016. While it is likely that neonicotinoids are not the sole factor in pollinator decline, they have been found to exacerbate […]

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Study Adds to Findings that Link Prenatal Pesticide Exposure to Lower IQs

Friday, July 29th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2016)  A study released earlier this week finds lower IQ (intelligence quotient) in children born to mothers who during their pregnancy were living in close proximity to chemical-intensive agricultural lands where organophosphate pesticides were used. This study adds to the body of scientific literature that links prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides with lower IQ’s in children. Organophosphate pesticides, a relatively older generation of highly neurotoxic pesticides still widely used on farms in California, have been associated with a  broad range of diseases  in both children and adults.  This  latest study  supports health and environmental advocates’ call to eliminate these toxic pesticides in agriculture and move toward safer, sustainable, and organic management practices. The study, titled  Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticide Use and IQ in 7-Year-Old Children, looks at 283 women and children from the agricultural Salinas Valley who are enrolled in the long-term Center for the Health of Mothers and Children in Salinas (CHAMACOS) study. Specifically, researchers looked at pregnant women living within one kilometer of agricultural fields where organophosphate pesticides were used. They found that at age 7, the children of those women had declines of approximately two IQ points and three verbal reasoning […]

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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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Mixtures of Multiple Pesticide Ingredients in Products Not Evaluated by EPA for Elevated Toxicity

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2016) An investigative report released yesterday by Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) concludes  that, over the past six years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved nearly 100 pesticide products with chemical mixtures that elevate the formulations’  toxicity, but are not specifically evaluated  by the agency. CBD finds that these formulations add  more stress to already-jeopardized pollinators and rare plants. The report Toxic Concoctions: How the EPA Ignores the Dangers of Pesticide Cocktails, highlights a long-running blind spot within EPA’s pesticide evaluation program, which Beyond Pesticides has long sounded the alarm on: the risk associated with combining mixtures of different pesticide active ingredients, which independent science shows may be more toxic than a single active ingredient by itself, also known as pesticide synergism. The mixtures occur as a result of multiple ingredients in individual products or  because of exposure to multiple pesticide product residues in food, air, water, and land areas, such as lawns, playing fields, and parks. “It’s alarming to see just how common it’s been for the EPA to ignore how these chemical mixtures might endanger the health of our environment,” said Nathan Donley, Ph.D., a scientist with the CBD, and author of […]

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Designated Pollinator Habitat Areas Still Put Pollinators At Risk

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2016) Farmers and land managers across the U.S. are being encouraged to plant pollinator habitat adjacent to farmlands to provide shelter and food for pollinator species. But according to a new study published last week, these conservation areas still put bees at risk for pesticide contamination, as they fail to provide spatial or temporal relief. This study emphasizes that meaningful solutions to reversing pollinator decline does not lie with focusing on planting pollinator habitat, but ensuring that these refuge areas are free from pesticide contamination, highly toxic to bees and other pollinators, and reducing the reliance on toxic chemical inputs in agriculture and other landscapes. The study, “Neonicotinoid-contaminated pollinator strips adjacent to cropland reduce honey bee nutritional status,” finds that pollinator habitat adjacent to agricultural areas not only becomes a source for pesticide, especially neonicotinoid, exposures, but also poses significant risk to honey bees. The authors, Christina Mogren, PhD, and former USDA entomologist, Jonathan Lundgren, PhD, initially sought to study whether increasing forage by planting pollinator habitat in an agricultural-dominated region would serve to buffer against the harmful effects of plant-incorporated pesticides. However, the authors note that it soon became apparent that the unintended consequence was […]

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Canadian Environmental Groups Sue to Stop Bee-Toxic Pesticide Use

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2016) Canadian environmental organizations sued the  Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PRMA) last week in a bid to overturn the approval of two neonicotinoid pesticides linked to the decline of honey bees and wild pollinators. The move comes amid growing awareness, action, and scientific evidence linking this widely used class of insecticides to the global decline of pollinator populations. The lawsuit, filed  by Ecojustice on behalf of  The David Suzuki Foundation, Friends of the Earth Canada, Ontario Nature, and the Wilderness Committee, argues that pesticide products containing two neonicotinoids, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, are unlawfully registered in Canada. The groups allege that PMRA failed to ensure that it had the data necessary to determine the environmental risks, particularly those concerning pollinators, posed by the chemicals. “The PMRA has taken a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil approach by repeatedly registering these neonicotinoid pesticides without important scientific information on their risks to pollinators,” said Charles Hatt, staff lawyer at Ecojustice. Under Canada’s Pest Control Products Act, PMRA must have “reasonable certainty” that a pesticide will not cause harm to the environment before it is registered. The groups also note that several thiamethoxam-based products have been registered by the agency for years […]

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Malibu, CA City Council Unanimously Votes to Ban Pesticides on Public Property

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 5, 2016) Last week, Malibu City Councilmembers, in a unanimous decision (5-0), voted to make Malibu, California’s (CA) public spaces poison free, which means an immediate ban on all pesticides, rodenticides and herbicides. During a marathon meeting that ran into the early hours past midnight, more than 24 Malibu residents and stakeholders came to give public comments on pesticide use on public parks and city property. You can view the city council meeting here. The entire discussion and vote is included, starting at 3:29:37 (or section 6.A.). Many of the residents were with an community  group called Poison Free Malibu, which is a group that advocates for the elimination of toxic pesticide use in the area. According to the Malibu Times, Kian Schulman, RN, founder of Poison Free Malibu, gave a presentation on the effects of pesticide chemicals and their connection to diseases such as cancer and neurological issues like ADHD and Alzheimer’s. Ms. Schulman’s presentation included a picture of a city worker spraying pesticides on Legacy Park, while wearing a full hazmat suit as a child rode their bicycle close by. Several Poison Free Malibu supporters attended the meeting and gave a presentation on the adverse […]

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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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