Pollinators and Pesticides
Protecting honey bees and wild pollinators from pesticides
News and Alerts
EPA Green-Lights New Bee-toxic Pesticide, Sulfoxaflor.
In apparent contradiction to its stated intention to protect pollinators and find solutions to the current pollinator crisis, EPA approved the unconditional registration of the new insecticide sulfoxaflor, which the agency classifies as highly toxic to honey bees. Despite warnings and concerns raised by beekeepers and environmental groups, sulfoxaflor will further endanger bees and beekeeping. EPA continues to put industry interests first to exacerbate an already dire pollinator crisis.
Beyond Pesticides Applauds EU for Protecting Bees, Asks EPA to Take Urgent Action - Read our statement here.
Earth Day Launch of BEE Protective. Beyond Pesticides and Center for Food Safety launch the BEE Protective campaign, a national public education effort supporting local action aimed at protecting honey bees and other pollinators from pesticides and contaminated landscapes. BEE Protective includes a variety of educational materials, including the BEE Protective Habitat Guide, which provides information on creating native pollinator habitat in communities, eliminating bee-toxic chemicals, as well as advocacy tools. BEE Protective encourages municipalities, campuses, and homeowners to adopt policies that protect bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticide applications and create pesticide-free refuges for these beneficial organisms. In addition to scientific and regulatory information, the BEE Protective also includes a model community pollinator resolution and a pollinator protection pledge. Pollinators are a vital part of our environment and a barometer for healthy ecosystems, making today’s launch a perfect complement to Earth Day festivities happening across the country.
-Read the Press Rease
-BEE Protective Habitat Guide
-Sign the Pesticide-Free Zone Declaration
-Model Community Pollinator Resolution
-Check our out new webpage: Managing Landscapes with Pollinators in Mind
-See Center for Food Safety's Pollinators and Pesticides page, and list of neonicotinoid pesticides to avoid.
Beyond Pesticides, The Center for Food Safety, and Others Sue EPA for Lack of Action on Bees. On March 21, 2013, Beyond Pesticides joined beekeepers, environmental and consumer groups in filing a lawsuit in Federal District Court against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its failure to protect pollinators from dangerous pesticides. The coalition seeks suspension of the registrations of insecticides- clothianidin and thiamethoxam- which have repeatedly been identified as highly toxic to honey bees, clear causes of major bee kills and significant contributors to the devastating ongoing mortality of bees known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). The suit challenges EPA’s oversight of these bee-killing pesticides, as well as the agency’s practice of “conditional registration” and labeling deficiencies. Beyond Pesticides joins The Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network North America, the Sierra Club, the Center for Environmental Health, and four beekeepers: Steve Ellis of Old Mill Honey Co. (MN, CA), Jim Doan of Doan Family Farms (NY), Tom Theobald of Niwot Honey Farm (CO) and Bill Rhodes of Bill Rhodes Honey (FL).
Rally to Save the Bees. On October 25, 2012, Beyond Pesticides, along
with our partners, the Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network
and Sierra Club rallied outside EPA headquarters to demand that the
agency take actions to save the bees.See photos of the event on Facebook!
Heated debate in the U.S. has surrounded the causes of so-called “Colony Collapse Disorder,” or CCD. Troublingly, each year since 2006, commercial beekeepers have reported annual losses twice what is considered normal, and this year may be the worst yet, with some beekeepers experiencing losses as high as 90%.
Since the early twentieth century, ‘migratory’ beekeepers have provided a critical service to U.S. agriculture by moving their hives seasonally to pollinate a wide variety of crops. A recent study released by the UNEP indicates that of the 100 crops that provide 90 percent of the world's food, over 70 are pollinated by bees. In North America, honey bees supplied by migratory beekeepers pollinate nearly 95 kinds of fruits such as almonds, avocados, cranberries and apples, leading to an economic contribution of $15 billion. Globally, 9.5% of the total economic value of agricultural production for human consumption comes from insect pollination – in 2005, this amounted to just under $200 billion. Both wild pollinators and commercial, migratory honey bees are vital contributors to our agricultural economy.
Recent focus has shifted to the toxic impact that pesticides have on bees. Both seeds and agricultural commodities undergo intensive foliar and systemic applications of pesticides which translocate through plants, even to the pollen and nectar. Pesticides have sublethal effects on bees that can diminish their sense of smell and foraging patterns, and alter their reproductive cycles. Recent studies have indicated that exposure to minute amount of neurotoxic pesticides like neonicotinoids (e.g. imidacloprid and clothianidin) severely impair the immune systems of bees making them more susceptible to pathogens, and disrupts foraging, navigating and learning behavior.
We urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make strong regulatory changes that protect bees, pollinators, from toxic industrial pesticides. The time to act is now! Learn what you can do.
The crisis of colony
collapse disorder (CCD) in the honeybee population is an increasingly
widespread phenomenon of bees disappearing or abandoning their hives.
There are, of course, numerous theories that involve pesticides, viruses,
and pathogens. Bayer CropScience, the manufacturer of one of the implicated
pesticides, imidacloprid and clothianidin, dismisses the pesticide connection.
But in light of the precautionary principal, the European Commission recently voted to ban the use of these pesticides for 2 years on flowering crops.
Union of French Beekeepers first brought the problem to international attention
and forced their government to restrict these pesticides. Unfortunately, the U.S. lags
behind. The pesticide link to bee poisonings is not new, and
the lack of an adequate regulatory response is unacceptable.
Escalate Under Risk Assessment Standards
of the bees alerts us to a fundamental and systemic flaw in our approach
to the use of toxic chemicals –and highlights the question as to
whether our risk assessment approach to regulation will continue to put our environment at risk without a meaningful change of course. While admittedly uncertain and filled with
deficiencies, risk assessments establish thresholds of 'acceptable'
chemical contamination of the ecosystem, despite the availability of
alternative practices and products.
Video: Link TV/ Earth Focus interviews Beyond Pesticides' Executive Director Jay Feldman on pesticides and the decline of bee populations.
Listen: Beekeeper Tom Theobald and others talk to The Organic View about systemic pesticides and GMOs on public lands