Swing & A Miss on Bee Harming Pesticides

Pesticide Action Network   May 28, 2015

Once again, it looks like federal decisionmakers are sidestepping the issue of bee-harming pesticides. The Pollinator Health Task Force, launched almost a year ago by President Obama, released its strategy for addressing pollinator declines last week — without tackling the pesticide problem.

While the plan sets an ambitious goal for reining in honey bee losses, and calls for state plans to increase habitat for pollinators, it fails to directly address the impact of neonicotinoids and other insecticides, despite crystal clear science that these chemicals are impacting pollinators. 


Call on your Rep. to support the Saving America's Pollinators Act! Help get neonicotinoids and other bee-toxic pesticides off the shelf.Act Now

The creation of this inter-agency task force — led jointly by USDA and EPA — signaled a renewed commitment at the federal level to address the crisis facing bees and other pollinators. And while regulators were formulating their new strategy, more than four million beekeepers, farmers, scientists and concerned advocates across the country urged them to directly and meaningfully address the issue of bee-toxic pesticides.

Unfortunately, the plan falls short.

Goals without a plan

The task force strategy focuses on three goals:

  1. Reduce honey bee colony losses to economically sustainable levels;
  2. Increase monarch butterfly numbers to protect the annual migration; and
  3. Restore or enhance millions of acres of land for pollinators through combined public and private action.

All important, certainly. But it's unclear how regulators intend to meet their goal of reducing annual honey bee losses to an "economically sustainable" average of 15% — commonplace for healthy hives — when losses in recent years have hovered around 30-40% or more.

Recent reports show that last year's bee losses were the second worst on record for U.S. beekeepers.

An ever growing body of independent science shows that neonics and other pesticides play a critical role in declining bee populations. Without action on pesticides, the problem will persist.

In a media statement last week, PAN organizer Lex Horan put it this way:

“A lopsided federal policy that takes decisive action on habitat, mites and other issues, while remaining stuck on pesticides, will not turn the tide on bee declines.”

Read at: http://www.panna.org/blog/swing-miss-bee-harming-pesticides

Bees Need Help, Not More Pesticides

Pesticide Action Network (Panna)   Septmeber 29, 2104

Even with all the clear science showing harm to bees and other pollinators, Syngenta is pushing EPA to allow even more use of one of its neonicotinoid pesticides.

This would be very bad news for bees. Join us in urging EPA to say no to Syngenta’s request! The comment period closes next Monday, October 6.

Stop this bee-toxic proposal » Even at low doses that aren’t immediately lethal, neonics wreak havoc on bees — suppressing their immune systems and disrupting their ability to navigate, forage for food and return to the hive. It’s time for EPA to step up and address this known threat, not put more of it in the field!

Syngenta wants thiamethoxam, a neonic now used primarily as a seed treatment, to be used as a “foliar spray” too. The problem is that pesticide spray has a tendency to drift from where you put it — to neighboring crops and flowering plants where bees may be foraging, or even to surface water.

And to pave the way for more spray, Syngenta is asking EPA to up the level of residue allowed — by as much as 400 times.

If EPA grants Syngenta’s request, more of this bee-toxic pesticide will be applied to common crops — corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa among them — that cover over 250 million acres of U.S. farmland. Pollinators in the Midwest will be hit the hardest.

No more neonics » Bees and other pollinators are already in serious trouble, facing widespread exposure to harmful pesticides, among other challenges. And EPA is moving much too slowly to address the neonics already in common use. Simply put, increasing quantities of bee-toxic pesticides in the fields is a very bad idea — for bees and for our food system.

Even at low doses that aren’t immediately lethal, neonics wreak havoc on bees — suppressing their immune systems and disrupting their ability to navigate, forage for food and return to the hive.

It’s time for EPA to step up and address this known threat, not put more neonics in the field!

Before the comment period closes on October 6, you can help by urging EPA to say no to Syngenta’s request! http://www.panna.org/issues/related-actions/bees-syngenta-epa

President Obama, Bees Need Decisive Action

Pesticide Action Network   July 3, 2014

Make Sure the New Federal Strategy for Bees Addresses Pesticides

Did you hear? President Obama recently announced a new federal task force to "promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators." Let’s make sure it makes a difference.

It’s encouraging that the White House recognizes the importance of bees for food, farming and our economy. But we need to ensure this task force results in real, long-lasting protections for pollinators — and we need your help to deliver this message loud and clear.

Bees need protections that count» In the President’s memo he emphasizes public education, additional research and habitat expansion. All important, to be sure. But there isn’t much clarity about how the task force will address one of the primary threats to bees and other pollinators: pesticide exposure.

Numerous independent studies clearly show a link between pesticides and bee declines, with neonicotinoids (or “neonics”) leading the pack of bee-toxic chemicals. Not only can neonics kill bees outright, but they can impair bee brain function and suppress immunity to common pathogens in smaller doses. And they’re the most widely used insecticides in the world.

Studies show neonics are also harmful to other pollinators like birds and butterflies, with enough pesticide on one single neonic-coated seed to kill a songbird.

Based on the growing body of evidence, including a newly released “worldwide assessment” of the impact of neonics, scientists around the globe are calling for immediate action to restrict the use of neonics. Are U.S. decisionmakers listening?

The science is clear. Time for action» While the European Union and other governments have taken decisive action to protect pollinators based on the emerging scientific evidence, U.S. policymakers have been doggedly slow to act. Time for that to change!

Urge President Obama to ensure that the new pollinator task force steps up and enacts meaningful and rapid protections for bees. Pesticides are a very real threat to bee health that urgently needs to be addressed.

Thanks for keeping this important issue front and center.

Let's Pass a Bill in CA!

Pesticide Action Network    4/3/14

Urge State Legislatures to Take Action for Bees

Spring is in the air, blossoms are blooming and bees are buzzing — but not enough of them. These vital pollinators are still in serious trouble, and federal policymakers are still dragging their feet.

It’s time for California to take the lead! Call on your state legislators to step up and support the new bee bill, AB 1789.

Follow the science & protect bees » Over the 2012/2013 winter, beekeepers reported record-breaking losses of 40% or more. While we don’t yet know the total losses for this winter, the science is increasingly clear: neonicotinoid pesticides (or “neonics”) are a key factor in declining bee populations. Urge your state legislator to support AB 1789, a bill to help protect bees.

California began its review of neonicotinoid pesticides back in 2009, but the state Department of Pesticide Regulation has yet to finish its evaluation and develop an action plan. AB 1789 sets a firm deadline to ensure this process stays on track.

Already, neonics have been linked to massive bee kills. And studies show that even at non-lethal doses, these pesticides can suppress bees’ immune systems and interfere with critical brain functions they need to navigate, forage and reproduce.

The problem of bee declines is a global one, and other countries have been stepping up. After being alerted by concerned scientists, the European Union instituted a two-year moratorium on the use of neonics in December of last year.

We need decisive action here, too.

Protect bees now » Bees are vital to our food and farming system, and they provide a critical service for California's agricultural economy. The state's almond industry — valued at about $3 billion — relies on honey bees to pollinate its orchards. When their work here is done, the bees move on to pollinate other crops around the country.

While other factors are also contributing to bee declines — like habitat loss, pathogens and nutrition — pesticides are playing a key role. And by passing this bill, state legislators will ensure California is on the right track to address the pesticide problem head on. With your help, we can convince policymakers to step up!

Thank you for bee-ing in action.