In response to growing concern about the health of bee populations, the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday released new regulations aimed at limiting the use of some neonicotinoid pesticides where bees are present.
The agency said the change will be reflected by a new bee advisory box and icon on pesticide labels. The labels will also include information regarding routes of exposure and spray drift precautions. Affected products include those containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.
EPA noted that part of the implementation process will include working with pesticide manufacturers to change labels so that they will meet the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act safety standard.
The announcement comes just after the USDA and EPA earlier this spring released a joint report finding many potential causes for continuing bee decline in the U.S. Those causes include poor diets, genetics, growing parasite populations and loss of habitat.
The report also highlighted the need for additional research to determine if there are any risks presented by pesticides, along with the need for improved collaboration and information sharing.
The European Commission, too, has also taken action to limit bee exposure to certain neonicotinoids, announcing in April that it would move forward with a temporary ban on three types of neonicotinoid pesticides. The ban will also prohibit the sale and use of seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides, effective Dec. 1.
While the EPA's latest action is not a complete ban on product use, the agency said it "continues to work with beekeepers, growers, pesticide applicators, pesticide and seed companies, and federal and state agencies to reduce pesticide drift dust and advance best management practices."
The EPA recently released new enforcement guidance to federal, state and tribal enforcement officials to enhance investigations of beekill incidents. Several groups and companies have also taken steps to avoid future incidents, as pollinators remain essential to many agricultural crops.
For a look at the EPA's new label, click here.