In an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of certain insecticide classes where bees or other pollinators are present. Products containing neonicotinoids – imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam – will be affected.
The EPA is working with pesticide manufacturers to change labels so that they will meet the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act safety standard. It may impact seeds treated with the above noted insecticides as well. So make sure to read all new product labels very carefully.
"Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides, according to Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure," he adds, "and these label changes will further our efforts."
In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and EPA released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health, showing scientific consensus that a complex set of stressors are associated with honey bee declines, including loss of habitat, parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.
Seed treatments have been implicated in bee deaths. It's suspected that dust created by lubricant used on seed to prevent it from clumping is carrying the insecticide to the bees.
The agency 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, notes Robert Pollock, Penn State University Extension educator. The EPA recently released new enforcement guidance to federal, state and tribal enforcement officials to enhance investigations of beekill incidents.
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