Protecting Honey Bees and Wild Pollinators From Pesticides

Beyond Pesticides

Beyond Pesticides advocates for widespread adoption of organic management practices as key to protecting pollinators and the environment, and has long sought a broad-scale marketplace transition to organic practices that legally prohibits the use of toxic synthetic pesticides, and encourages a systems-based approach that is protective of health and the environment. Learn more (below) on the role that pesticides play in pollinator decline, and actions you can take to BEE Protective. For information on growing plants to protect pollinators, see our Pollinator-Friendly Seeds and Nursery Directory. Use the Bee Protective Habitat Guide to plant a pollinator garden suited for your region, and consider seeding white clover into your lawn; learn more from Taking a Stand on Clover.

Read more: https://www.beyondpesticides.org/programs/bee-protective-pollinators-and-pesticides/bee-protective

More Bad News for Honey as U.S. Seeks to Get Handle on Glyphosate Residues in Food

Huntington Post    By Carey Gillam   Novembere 2, 2016

Testing for residues of an herbicide developed by Monsanto Co. that has been linked to cancer has turned up high levels in honey from the key farm state of Iowa, adding to concerns about contamination that have triggered at least two lawsuits against honey industry players and prompted scrutiny by regulators.

The Food and Drug Administration began glyphosate residue testing in a small number of foods earlier this year after the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in March 2015. The “special assignment,” as the FDA refers to the testing project, is the first time the FDA has ever looked for glyphosate residues in food, though it annually tests foods for numerous other pesticides.

Research by FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem and John Vargo, a chemist at the University of Iowa, shows that residues of glyphosate - the chief ingredient in Monsanto’s branded Roundup herbicide - have been detected at 653 parts per billion, more than 10 times the limit of 50 ppb allowed in the European Union. Other samples tested detected glyphosate residues in honey samples at levels from the low 20s ppb to 123 parts per billion ppb. Some samples had none or only trace amounts below levels of quantification. Previous reports had disclosed glyphosate residues in honey detected as high as 107 ppb. The collaborative work was part of an effort within FDA to establish and validate testing methodology for glyphosate residues.

“According to recent reports, there has been a dramatic increase in the usage of these herbicides, which are of risk to both human health and the environment,” Chamkasem and Vargo stated in their laboratory bulletin.

Because there is no legal tolerance level for glyphosate in honey in the United States, any amount could technically be considered a violation, according to statements made in FDA internal emails, obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

The Environmental Protection Agency may soon move to set a tolerance, however. The agency has set tolerance levels for glyphosate residues in many foods the EPA expects might contain residues of the weed killer. When residue levels are detected above the tolerance levels, enforcement action can be taken against the food producer.

“EPA is evaluating the necessity of establishing tolerances for inadvertent residues of pesticides in honey,” the agency said in a statement. The EPA also said there was no reason for consumers to be concerned about the residue in honey. “EPA has examined the glyphosate residue levels found in honey and has determined that glyphosate residues at those levels do not raise a concern for consumers,” the agency said.

Despite the reassurances, at least two lawsuits have been filed over the issue. The Organic Consumers Association and the Beyond Pesticides nonprofit group filed suit Nov. 1 against the Sioux Honey Association Cooperative, a large Iowa-based group of bee keepers who produce the nationally known brand Sue Bee Honey. Sue Bee bills itself as “America’s Honey,” but the lawsuit alleges that the labeling and advertising of Sue Bee products as “Pure,” “100% Pure,” “Natural,” and “All-natural” is “false, misleading, and deceptive.” Some of the glyphosate residues detected in the FDA tests were found in the Sue Bee brand, according to the FDA documents obtained through FOIA requests.

The claims are similar to another lawsuit, which seeks class action status, that was filed against Sioux Honey Association in late September in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Quaker Oats was sued earlier this year on a similar claim regarding glyphosate residues. The FDA has also found glyphosate residues in oatmeal, including several types of infant oat cereal.

Considering corn is a key crop in Iowa, and most of the U.S. corn crop is genetically modified to tolerate being sprayed directly with glyphosate, it is not necessarily surprising that glyphosate residues are showing up in honey in Iowa and other farm states. Honey bees naturally migrate from field to field and plant to plant, so can become contaminated by the pesticide easily and then transfer pesticide residues to their honey, according to bee industry leaders.

“It’s a chemical intrusion, a chemical trespass into our product,” said Darren Cox, president of the American Honey Producers Association. “We have really no way of controlling it. I don’t see an area for us to put our bees. We can’t put them in the middle of the desert. They need to be able to forage in ag areas. There are no ag areas free of this product.”

Sioux Honey Association President David Allibone said no one from the FDA has communicated with his group about the chemical residues found in honey, and he said he could not discuss the issue further because of the litigation.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday acknowledges the difficulties beekeepers face. They “are often the victims of, and have little recourse against, contamination of their hives caused by pesticide applications in the fields where bees forage,” the lawsuit states.

The glyphosate residues showing up in food are surprising and worrisome, according to dietitian Mitzi Dulan, a nationally known nutrition and wellness expert.

“I think more testing should be done so that we are armed with the knowledge and then we can decide what we want to put into our bodies,” Dulan said. “I do believe in minimizing pesticide exposures whenever possible.”

Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, said regulators need to do more to address the issue.

“Until U.S. regulatory agencies prohibit Monsanto and other manufacturers of glyphosate from selling pesticides that end up in the food supply, we need to protect consumers by demanding truth and transparency in labeling,” Feldman said.

Participate in the USDA/EPA Listening Session Today and November 17th.

Beyond Pesticides      November 12, 2014

At the close of Pollinator Week 2014 President Obama called on government agencies to create a plan to "promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators." However, at the end of last month the Task Force announced it would miss its self-imposed December 20th deadline on its action plan, delaying needed steps towards improving pollinator health.

Now, USDA and EPA have announced two listening sessions, requesting feedback to inform a pollinator health strategy. Please join these sessions and provide input to government agencies.

• EPA's listening session will take place November 12 from 1 to 3PM EST (10am-12pm PST).
• USDA's listening session will take place Monday, November 17 from 1 to 3PM EST (10am-12pt PST).

Here's how to join: 
Online: Click the link below at least 15 min. prior to the meeting to ensure you're properly set-up.
https://epa.connectsolutions.com/pollinatorhealthtaskforcelisteningsession/

In person:
EPA session, (Today 1-3PM ET) - 1st Floor Conference Center, 2777 South Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA
USDA Session, (November 17 1-3PM ET)- 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD

In writing: In addition to the listening session, EPA will be accepting written comments at this link until November 24, 2014.

Talking Points for Comments:
EPA and USDA have a duty to protect our nation’s pollinators, and the Presidential memorandum has directed federal agencies to take action. Given average loss rates near 30% over the past 8 years, there is an urgent need to move quickly on finding long-term sustainable solutions for pollinator protection. A growing body of scientific evidence reveals connections between pollinator declines and pesticide exposure, making it evident to the public and government agencies that action must be taken to rein in these harmful chemicals.

EPA should:
- Suspend the most harmful uses of the neonicotinoids promptly after assessment, pending resolution of the severe risks. 
- Expedite the development and implementation of valid test guidelines for sub-lethal effects of pesticides on pollinators and require data from these studies for all currently-registered and any proposed new pesticides. 
- Ensure that EPA’s assessment and all future ecological assessments fully value the broad array of ecosystem services threatened not only by neonicotinoids, but all systemic pesticides. 
- Increase investment in research and funding for implementation of alternatives to neonicotinoids.
- Recommend incentives for farmers to create healthy pollinator habitats in the form of diversified, pesticide-free landscapes as an alternative to our current system of intensive monoculture.

USDA should:
- Ensure any new pollinator habitat is free of neonicotinoids and other systemic pesticides. 
- Avoid pro-neonicotinoid bias in USDA activities by working to increase farmer access to neonicointoid-free seeds.
- Provide recommendations that reverse the trend of converting conservation land to cropland. 
- Disseminate information to field offices across the country regarding EPA's recent findings that neonicotinoid seed treatments do not increase yield.

Read more at... 

As Bees Decline, EPA Registers Another Toxic Insecticide

Beyond Pesticides   2/7/14

Flying in the face of recent science demonstrating that pollinator populations are declining, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made the decision to unconditionally register another pesticide that is known to be highly toxic to bees, coming almost one year after EPA registered sulfoxaflor, disregarding concerns from beekeepers and environmental groups. The announcement, posted in the Federal Register on Wednesday, set tolerances for the pesticide cyantraniliprole in foods ranging from almonds and berries, to leafy vegetables, onions, and milk. EPA establishes the allowable limit of the chemical residue, called tolerances, based on what EPA considers ‘acceptable’ risk. EPA’s ruling details that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide residue,” despite all evidence that cyantraniliprole is toxic to bees and harmful to mammals.

Ignoring beekeeper warning and concerns on their impacts to bees, EPA has given the green light for cyantraniliprole after recently registering sulfoxaflor.  In July 2013, beekeepers filed suitagainst EPA for their decision to register sulfoxaflor when it failed to... 

Read more... http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=12741

Source: Federal Register

Bee Larvae Adversely Affected by Mix of Pesticides and Inert Ingredients

Beyond Pesticides     2/6/14

We know that pesticides and bees don’t mix and that particular pesticides, such as neonictinoids, pose significant threats to bee populations worldwide, but a recent study conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University have identified that it is “the mix” of the many chemicals in the environment that pose a significant threat to honey bee survival.numerousbees

Looking at the four most common pesticides detected in pollen and wax -fluvalinatecoumaphoschlorothalonil, and chloropyrifos, Wanyi Zhu and other researchers have assessed the toxic impacts of these pesticides on honey bee larvae at real world exposure levels; that is, levels that are found in existing hives outside of a laboratory. But these researchers go beyond the usual one-chemical analysis in their study, Four Common Pesticides, Their Mixtures and a Formulation Solvent in the Hive Environment Have High Oral Toxicity to Honey Bee Larvae. Rather than just looking at the pesticides in their individual, out-of-the-bottle form, they also mixed them up and broke them apart.

Why did they take this mixed-up approach? “Recently, one hundred and twenty-one different pesticides and metabolites were identified in the hive with...

Read more... http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=12729

Source: PLOS One

Bad News for Baby Bees

Beyond Pesticides      1/31/14

HoneycombNeonicotinoid pesticides (or neonics) continue to gain notoriety as a driving factor in declining bee populations. But a mounting body of evidence also shows that neonics aren’t the only class of pesticides harming these critical pollinators.

report released this week — by researchers from Penn State and the University of Florida — helps build a case that several pesticides commonly found in hives kill bee larvae.

Researchers tested four of the pesticides most commonly found in hives — chlorothalonil, chlorpyrifos, fluvalinate and coumaphos. These chemicals were fed to honeybee larvae on their own and in combination with each other, at concentrations that are currently found in hives.

The results? All four chemicals contributed to higher larvae mortality, and several combinations were more toxic than individual chemicals on their own.

Read more... http://www.panna.org/blog/bad-news-baby-bees

Take action » Call on EPA's leader, Gina McCarthy, to make protecting bees from pesticides a top priority. The science is clear, it's time for action.

No Strawberries, No Honey - Without Bees!

Beyond Pesticides    2/4/14

No strawberries, no honey — without bees Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be the same.

In fact, one out of three bites of food depend on honey bee pollination, but they are in danger from the use of neonicotinoid pesticides that Europe has already banned. We know bees can’t wait any longer for increased protections, so we need to take a stand wherever we can.

ShowBeesSomeLoveThat’s why we’re asking you to join thousands of people coast-to-coast toswarm Home Depot and Lowe’s stores the week of Valentine’s Day (February 10-16).

We’ll be delivering valentines, asking these stores to “show bees some love” and stop selling bee-killing pesticides and garden plants poisoned with these harmful chemicals. Planting season is right around the corner. We can’t let another year pass with Home Depot and Lowe’s selling “poisoned plants” with no warning to consumers.

Last year U.S. beekeepers reported a30-100 percent loss of their hives, and right now they are likely facing another winter of historic bee die-offs. You can help BEE Protective of pollinators during another tough winter season by delivering a Valentine to retailers. We’ve made it easy:

Sign up here and we’ll send you a printable valentine with a step-by-step guide closer to the date.

Background:

Scientific studies are consistently finding that a new, and increasingly popular class of pesticides, called neonicotinoids, are significant contributors to the devastating decline of pollinators across the globe. They include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam, and products containing these pesticides can be found on this list. Peer-reviewed science has repeatedly identified these insecticides as highly toxic to honey bees and other pollinators. Once applied, plants take up these pesticides and exude them in their pollen and nectar, subsequently endangering any pollinators that forage on these contaminated plants.

A report co-released late last year by Beyond Pesticides, Friends of the Earth, and other allies revealed that the neonicotinoids may be lurking in our own gardens. The study showed that more than half of the “bee-friendly” plants sold at retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s contained these bee-killing pesticides. In lieu of federal action to restrict the chemicals, we must take a stand against retailers who continue to sell poisoned plants.

More BEE Protective Actions:

Help Beyond Pesticides build the buzz on all fronts by asking retailers, administrators, and elected officials to take action by eliminating or curtailing the sale and use of neonicotinoid pesticides.

Join Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network, Ceres Trust over 60 other groups’ coalition-based national advertising campaign to raise awareness of pollinator declines and urge EPA to stop stalling by enacting substantive restrictions on the use of bee-harming pesticides.

Devote your garden or landscape to the protection of pollinators. Download the BEE Protective Habitat Guide and see our Managing Landscapes with Pollinators in Mind webpage for information on how to create pollinator-friendly habitat in your community.

Keep the pressure on your elected officials to support a bill that would suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides until a full review of scientific evidence and a field study demonstrates no harmful impacts to pollinators. The bill currently has 50 cosponsors in Congress. Is your Representative one of them?

Beyond Pesticides’ 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 beneficial organisms. In addition to scientific and regulatory information, 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. Let’s all do our part to BEE Protective of these critical species.

http://action.beyondpesticides.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=16423

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Broad Coalition Uses Full Pags Ads - Awareness on Pollination Declines

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.) 

Broad Coalition focuses Awareness on Pollinator Declines

December 2, 2013--Today, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety and Pesticide Action Network, supported by Ceres Trust and joined by more than 60 other organizations, launched a national media campaign to bring attention to the severity of pollinator declines due in part to the use of bee-harming pesticides. The campaign launch was timed to coincide with the beginning of the European Union’s two-year moratorium on three of the most potent neonicotinoids, which began yesterday. A copy of the ad is available at www.save-bees.org.

As part of the national media campaign, full page ads were released in seven newspapers today, including the New York Times, citing the urgency and impact of bee declines and encouraging the public to call on EPA to take action.

“We hope this national media campaign will spur public action to combat this major threat to the environment and to our food system. We must protect bees and other pollinators from these harmful pesticides that EPA has so far failed to safeguard them from,” said Larissa Walker, policy and campaign coordinator for Center for Food Safety.

Never before has such a broad coalition of organizations come together to support pollinator protection. The breadth of the coalition highlights the importance of pollinators to so many, including beekeepers, farmers, policy makers, faith groups, consumer groups and anyone who eats food.

"Protecting bees and pollinators is an urgent matter that must bring our nation together to balance our need for a bountiful food production system and a sustainable environment," said Jay Feldman, executive director for Beyond Pesticides.

One in every three bites of food depends on bees for pollination, and the annual value of pollination services worldwide are valued at over $125 billion. In the United States alone, pollination contributes $20-30 billion in agricultural production annually.

"Honey bees play a crucial role in pollinating the world's food crops," said Gary Hirshberg, co-founder and chairman of Stonyfield, and one of the ad signatories. "So protecting bees from pesticides is not only good for bees, but also for business; the loss of honey bees is a direct threat to the ability of farmers and food companies to deliver diverse, nutritional foods."

In recent years, a number of scientific studies have linked bee declines to pesticide use. In particular, a class of systemic pesticides known as neonicotinoids have been found to harm bees — both alone and in combination with other pesticides. Neonicotinoids, or “neonics,” are often used as seed treatments and sprays on a variety of crops and ornamental plants. Even though several countries, including the entire European Union, have taken action to restrict the use of neonicotinoids, the U.S. still allows their widespread use.

“Beekeepers are losing colonies at an unprecedented rate – the losses are too extreme to keep up with, and our entire industry is at risk of collapse unless federal action is taken. Convening conferences and changing pesticide labels is lip service and window dressing to the issue, but has no substance,” said New York beekeeper Jim Doan.

Today’s ad not only brings attention to this growing issue, but leads readers to the Save-The-Bees website where they can take further action, such as supporting current legislation in Congress, contacting EPA or planting pollinator habitat in their own communities.

“The EU reviewed hundreds of scientific studies and concluded that a two year moratorium was a necessary first step. The U.S. has failed to even come close to that standard, ” said Emily Marquez, PhD, staff scientist at Pesticide Action Network. “EPA should follow the science and take action to protect bees from harmful pesticides.”

Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, and Pesticide Action Network are coordinating efforts to reverse the troubling trend of pollinator decline through legal, policy and grassroots efforts.

The ad also appeared in the Boston Globe, the Washington PostPoliticoMinneapolis Star Tribune, the Des Moines Register and the Los Angeles Times.

###

Beyond Pesticides, founded in 1981, works with allies in protecting public health and the environment by identifying the hazards of chemical-intensive land, building and community management practices and promoting healthy, sustainable and organic systems. More information can be found at www.beyondpesticides.org.

Center for Food Safety is a national, non-profit, membership organization founded in 1997 to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. CFS maintains offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon. More information can be found atwww.centerforfoodsafety.org

The Ceres Trust, whose name honors the ancient goddess of agriculture, provides grants that support: research in organic agriculture at universities and to graduate students; education to create careers in the production and processing of certified organic food; programs to eliminate pesticide exposure and GMO contamination; and efforts to preserve crop biodiversity and public access to seeds. www.cerestrust.org.

Pesticide Action Network (PAN) North America works to replace hazardous pesticide use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. As one of five PAN Regional Centers worldwide, we link local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens' action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to insure the transition to a just and viable society. More information can be found at www.panna.org.

###

The following is from Paul Towers (Pesticide Action Network (PAN) North America): 

As you know, bees are in trouble. And so is the diversity of our food system if we don't do something to protect bees that pollinate our nation's crops. Yesterday marked the first day of a 2-year moratorium on bee-harming pesticides in Europe. But US EPA has been slow to do the same.

So we're ratcheting up the pressure on EPA. Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety and PAN, with support from the Ceres Trust and a broad coalition of supporters, are calling on the agency to follow Europe's lead with a full-page an advertisement today in seven major newspapers across the country, including the New York Times. And we need your help to spread the word to people all across the country.
 
Here's my blog that explains it a bit more: http://www.panna.org/blog/epa-protect-bees

And here are some simple steps you can take:

(1) Visit www.save-bees.org: Please sign the petition to urge EPA to take action. It's easy and important. 
  
(2) Add your group to the list of supporters. Please email me back if your organization or business would like to be added to the supporter list for save-bees.org. Let's grow an even bigger and broader coalition of folks demanding action from EPA.
                                                                                             Thanks for your support!

 

New EPA Label Not The Saving Grace We Thought

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.) 

This is long, but you should read all of it. And then be glad you are not a pollinating insect(CATCH THE BUZZ has commented extensively on this subject, here. Stopping the Poison must begin, and this doesn’t do it.) 

News From Beyond Pesticides and others. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new pesticide label for honey bee protection, announced last Thursday and published in CATCH THE BUZZ, has been widely criticized by beekeepers and environmentalists as offering inadequate protection in the face of devastating bee decline. Under the new guidelines, the labels will prohibit the use of some neonicotinoid pesticides when bees are present, and include a “bee advisory box” and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray drift precautions. Critics question the efficacy of the label change in curtailing a systemic pesticide that contaminates nectar and pollen, poisoning bees indisc riminately, and the enforceability of the label language, which is geared to managed not wild bees. EPA has not formally acknowledged the peer-reviewed science linking neonicotinoid pesticides to colony collapse disorder and bee decline, as is the case in the European Union’s European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). 

Specifically, the new label applies to pesticide products containing the neonicotionoids  imidaclopriddinotefuranclothianidin and thiamethoxam. Neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of insecticides that share a common mode of action that affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death. They include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Peer-reviewed science has repeatedly identified these insecticides as highly toxic to honey bees and other pollinators. The neonicotinoid class of insecticides has been identified as a leading factor in bee decline.

“Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure and these label changes will further our efforts,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Tonight, August 20 at 9 PM Eastern, listen in to EPA’s Reuben Baris, Fate Scientist, EPA Office of Pesticide Programs’ Enviro nmental Fate and Effects Division & Dr. Tom Steeger, Senior Science Advisor, EPA Office of Pesticide Programs’ Environmental Fate and Effects Division, through the ABF CONVERSATIONS WITH A BEEKEEPER, on assessing pesticide exposure to bees. If you are an ABF member, be sure to tune in, or catch the archived program later.

Unfortunately, this label change does not address the fact that neonicotinoids are systemic, meaning plants take up these pesticides and exude them in their pollen and nectar, with residues remaining in the plant for its lifetime (EVEN IF SPRAYED AFTER DARK, OR WHEN IT’S COLD), continually endangering any pollinators that forage or pollinate  these contaminated plants. Additionally, the bulk of neonicotinoid uses are in fact for treated seed, which accounts for the majority of corn planted in the U.S.  Contaminated dust that originates from the planting of these seeds drift off fields and have been known to kill large numbers of bees. Recently, 37 million honeybees were reported dead across a single farm in Ontario from the dust associated with planting neonicotinoid-treated corn seeds.  According to New York beekeeper Jim Doan, “In New York state, for example, foliar application of neonics are used only for apples and some vegetables, and no t used for the majority of the crops out there – corn and soybeans – which are seed coatings. When I heard about the new labeling requirements, my first question was, so are we going to put these labels on the bags of corn? No.” 

Neonicotinoids are primarily used as seed treatment for corn and soybeans, as well as in home and garden products. These chemicals contaminate nectar and pollen, as well as soil and surface water.  Foraging and navigational disruptions, immune suppression and learning/memory disorders have been documented in bees exposed to even low levels of these chemicals. An extensive ove rview of the major studies showing the effects of neonicotinoids on pollinator health can be found on Beyond Pesticides’What the Science Shows webpage. 

There is also concern that the new label language is unenforceable. EPA is aware that label directions such as these are not adhered to in the real-world. Many beekeepers can attest to this and have repeatedly communicated this to EPA enforcement and registration officials. Addressing lack of co mpliance has been an area the agency has not sufficiently addressed throughout the years. For instance, after specifying that, “the product may not be applied while bees are foraging. Do not apply this product until flowering is complete and all petals have fallen,” EPA adopts the loophole: 

“If an application must be made when managed bees are at the treatment site, the beekeeper providing the pollination services must be notified no less than 48-hours prior to the time of the planned application so that the bees can be removed, covered or otherwise protected prior to spraying.” 

This keeps the onus on the beekeepers to make sure their bees are safe. (LEAVING NO PROVISION TO MOVE THE INNOCENTS TO SAFETY) 

On March 21, 2013, Beyond Pesticides joined beekeepers, environmental and consumer groups in filing a lawsuit in Federal District Court against EPA for its failure to protect pollinators from dangerous pesticides. The coalition is seeking 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. 

In the meantime, EPA has stated it would support short-term mitigation measures, such as improved seed coatings to reduce contaminated dust, and improved farming equipment, measures which do not go far enough to protect both commercial and wild bee populations. These new label changes, while an improvement from current pollinator hazard statement on pesticide labels, also do not go far enough to protect bees, especially wild bees. (EMPHASIS CTB) 

“This is a step forward, certainly, but it does not address the issue that we need to address. EPA deserves a pat on the back for coming up with something, but we have a long ways to go,” said Mr. Doan. “We need to continue to put pressure on the agency and the industry and keep moving forward.” 

Earlier this year, the EU announced a two-year suspension on these bee-killing pesticides. In early July, Beyond Pesticides urged President Obama in a joint letter to direct EPA to follow Europe’s lead in suspending certain neonicotinoid pesticides uses and take on even more protective measures, including a minimum two-year suspension for all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid insecticides pending resolution of their hazards to bees and beneficial organisms. Highlighting the negative environmental and economic impacts of outdoor uses of the EPA-approved neonicotinoid insecticides as well as a recognition that the initial risk assessments for these chemicals fail to adequately consider key risks to bee health, the letter to President Obama notes that it, “would not be responsible to continue to allow these threatening compounds to be used so broadly.” 

YOU CAN Take Action: Beyond Pesticides’ BEE Protective campaign has all the educational tools you need to stand up for pollinators. Some specific ways you can help are: Join us  in asking Lowe’s and Home Depot and other leading garden centers to take action and stop the sale of neonicotinoids and plants treated with these chemicals. Tell your member of Congress to support the Save America’s Pollinators Act.  

For information on what you can do to keep the momentum going, see www.BEEprotective.org.

 Sources: EPA Press Release, http://www.beyondpesticides.org

 But Wait, There’s More…..

 Continue reading... http://home.ezezine.com/1636/1636-2013.08.20.15.17.archive.html

Bee-n-to Ban Systemic Pesticides

From Maryam Henein, director of Vanishing of the Bees  10/26/12

DATELINE: WASHINGTON  Thursday October 25th

Save Our Bees

About 100 activists, concerned citizens and beekeepers, including Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and CCD Posterboy David Hackenberg huddled outside of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters on an overcast but mild mid-morning to protest systemic pesticides that continue to slowly kill honeybees and humans. Many of us, including me and a few dogs, were adorned in black and yellow while others held signs that read “Save Our Hives.” 

On the street, a few yards away, David Hackenberg had parked his 40 ft. flatbed truck full of empty hives.  At about noon, we hooked up a microphone and a small hive of us took turns protesting our love of bees and the need to ban systemic pesticides. I wondered all the while where Lisa Jackson was hiding.

“The EPA …continues to look the other way while Clothianidin and other systemic pesticides continue to harm our bees,” said Jay Feldman Executive Director, Beyond Pesticides. “Bees have shown persistence in trying to hang in there and so will we. We need to impress upon the EPA that we are not going away.”

One in three bites of food is reliant on honey bee pollination. As many of you may know by now, the unchecked use of dangerous systemic pesticides has resulted in alarming honey bee losses...

Read more...