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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Pollinators' Category


24
May

Study Finds Chemical Industry’s “Bee-Safe” Claim for Its Pesticides To Be False

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2024) Even allegedly “low-toxicity” pesticides such as flupyradifurone (insecticide), azoxystrobin, and difenoconazole (fungicides) pose adverse health effects to solitary ground-nesting squash bees (Xenoglossa pruinose), according to a study published in Biological Sciences. Fungicide exposure led to less pollen collected per flower, while exposure to flupyradifurone (FPF) produced larger offspring (which make it more challenging for them to fly). Simultaneous exposure to the three pesticides “induced hyperactivity in female squash bees relative to both the control and single pesticide exposure, and reduced the number of emerging offspring per nest compared to individual pesticide treatments.” With United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations-sponsored World Bee Day earlier this week, now more than ever advocates are calling for the elimination of toxic insecticide classes, such as neonicotinoids and butanolides, and their wholesale replacement with organic land management principles. This study was written by Sabrina Rondeau, PhD, postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa, and Nigel E. Raine, PhD, professor at University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Science. Published on March 20, 2024, the researchers delve into the individual and co-exposure impacts of two fungicides and one insecticide, which is important, given the documented synergistic effects […]

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24
Apr

EPA Draft Herbicide Strategy Update Further Weakens Plan to Protect Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2024) On April 16, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted an “update” to the Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework (Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework to Reduce Exposure of Federally Listed Endangered and Threatened Species and Designated Critical Habitats from the Use of Conventional Agricultural Herbicides) that was released last summer, weakening aspects of the agency’s efforts to “protect” endangered species from herbicide use. The update outlines three types of modifications to the Draft Strategy, including “simplifying” its approach, increasing growers’ “flexibility” when applying mitigation measures, and reducing the mitigation measures required in certain situations. By reducing the stringency of the Strategy, advocates are again questioning EPA’s commitment to fulfilling legal requirements under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or protecting endangered species and their habitats in the midst of an unprecedented rate of global extinction. ESA is celebrated as one of the most far-reaching conservation laws globally, credited with preventing the extinction of 99 percent of those species the government targets for protection, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). ESA establishes a framework to categorize species as “endangered” or “threatened,” granting them specific protections. Under ESA, EPA is required to consult with relevant agencies […]

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12
Apr

Natural Grocers Supports Organic Communities and Beyond Pesticides’ Parks for a Sustainable Future—Ladybug Love Pledge

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2024) In honor of Earth Month, Natural GrocersÂŽ is partnering with Beyond Pesticides for its seventh annual Ladybug LoveSM campaign. Natural Grocers, a longtime leader of the organic movement through national advocacy efforts and rigorous product standards, encourages its communities to pledge to protect beneficial insects and further Beyond Pesticides’ critical mission of converting local parks and playing fields to organic landscape management practices.   Natural Grocers’ annual Earth Month fundraising efforts benefit the nonprofit organization, Beyond Pesticides and its Parks for a Sustainable Future program. Cleaner air, water, and land make for a healthier food supply – a principle Natural Grocers has championed since 1955. Click here to see the campaign from last year. April shoppers at Natural Grocers’ 168 stores are also invited to donate to Beyond Pesticides at checkout. Ladybug Love also features in-store promotions! LADYBUG LOVE & BEYOND PESTICIDES Natural Grocers’ Ladybug Love campaign aims to bring awareness to the precious insects that play a crucial role in the stability of our food supply and regenerative farming. The annual Earth Month fundraising efforts benefit Beyond Pesticides and its Parks for a Sustainable Future program, designed to assist communities in transitioning away from pesticide use at local parks […]

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20
Mar

Mexico Ban on Genetically Engineered Corn Imports Spurs Challenge from U.S. and Canada under Trade Agreement

(Beyond Pesticides, March 20, 2024) A report by CBAN unpacks the ecosystem and wildlife health impacts of genetically engineered (GE) corn in the context of Mexico’s 2023 decision to stop its importation into the country. The phase out of genetically modified (GM) corn imports into Mexico was immediately challenged by the U.S. and Canadian governments as a trade violation under the 2020 U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the primary vehicle for North American trade policy. In August 2023, the U.S. Trade Representative set up a dispute settlement panel under USMCA to stop Mexico from going forward with its ban. There has been no public update from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as of this writing. The CBAN report highlights the scientific rationale underpinning Mexico’s decision to “safeguard the integrity of native corn from GM contamination and to protect human health” with this ban. In 2020, Mexico announced a four-year phase-out of the weed killer glyphosate, which along with other petrochemical herbicides is integral to GM corn production. When Mexico’s Minister of the Environment announced the phase-out, he said it is part of an effort to transform the country’s food system […]

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28
Feb

Attack on Vulnerable Species Pilot Project: Opportunities to Engage with EPA on Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2024) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is putting on hold its Vulnerable Species Project (VSP) after vociferous comments from the petrochemical pesticide industry to instead, “create a narrow, tailored policy rather than a sweeping, burdensome one,” according to a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Upon heavy pushback from the petrochemical pesticide industry and agribusiness, EPA is hosting a variety of workshops and openings for the public to provide feedback not just on VSP, but the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Workplan the Biden Administration originally introduced in 2021 in its entirety. Advocates are calling for the strengthening of pesticide regulation given the impending decisions that may shape the fate of ESA-FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) compliance for years to come. As EPA continues through its pesticide registration program to advance continued dependency on pesticides through its interpretation of FIFRA, despite the availability of nontoxic alternatives, endangered species extinction and biodiversity collapse has never been a high priority. While EPA has initiated efforts to address a significant backlog of pesticide evaluations, Civil Eats has reported that the agency faces a task so extensive that it may require several additional decades to fully catch up. EPA officials stated, “Even if EPA completed […]

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25
Jan

Bill to Protect Birds and Bees in New York Raises Political Challenges to Addressing Ecosystem Collapse

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2024) Legislative efforts to curtail some life-threatening pesticides associated with birds and bees (and other pollinators) decline were weakened in New York State at the end of December 2023 as the governor negotiated and stripped elements of a bill relating to agriculture that had passed the legislature—again illustrating the grip of the agrichemical industry on public policy intended to begin to address the crisis in ecosystem collapse. (See “Study Cites Insect Extinction and Ecological Collapse.”) In passing the Birds and Bees Protection Act, New York joined New Jersey, Nevada, and Maine in banning most nonagricultural uses of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides, but, in last-minute changes to avoid the governor’s veto, failed to phase out corn, soybean, and wheat seeds coated with these chemicals. [Pointing to an exemption in federal law that has been challenged by advocates, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate treated or coated seeds as pesticides despite their toxic pesticidal properties.] In New York State, the governor can, in consultation with the leadership of the legislative branch, negotiate language changes (called Chapter Amendments) in legislature-passed legislation (originally enacted) before deciding to sign it into law or can simply choose to veto the legislation. […]

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09
Jan

Field Study of Bumble Bees Finds Exposure to Chemical Mixtures, High Hazard, Flawed Regulation

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2024) A “landscape-level” study finds that typical risk assessment studies used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European regulators fail to “safeguard bees and other pollinators that support agricultural production and wild plant pollination.” The study, published in Nature (November 2023), evaluates the health of bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) as a sentinel species placed in 106 agricultural landscapes across Europe. The authors’ conclusions challenge “the current assumption of pesticide regulation—that chemicals that individually pass laboratory tests and semifield trials are considered environmentally benign”—calling into question EPA’s persistent failure to adequately regulate mixtures of chemicals to which organisms are exposed in the real world. This study adds to the body of science on pesticide mixtures adversely affecting bee and pollinator health. See here, here, and here. The failure to capture real-world exposure to pesticide mixtures in its regulatory assessments extends to EPA’s systemic failure to evaluate a range of serious adverse impacts, as noted by the agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) report. And, aquatic environments also have documented mixtures of pesticides, with the U.S. Geological Survey finding 90 percent of water samples containing at least five or more different pesticides. “We can take no comfort […]

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12
Dec

Scientific Literature Review Again Identifies Pesticide Disruption of Bee Gut Microbiota

(Beyond Pesticides, December 12, 2023) A review published in Nature Reviews Microbiology finds pesticides can disrupt honeybee (Apis mellifera) microbiota (bacteria) in their gut, altering the immune system, metabolism, behavior, and development. Many studies emphasize chemical-driven agricultural systems dependent upon pollinators and products that harm or kill off these sensitive species. Previous studies have linked adverse impacts to bee microbiome to pesticide exposure. Toxic (manufactured poison) pesticides readily contaminate the ecosystem with residues pervasive in food and water commodities. In addition to this study, the scientific literature commonly associates pesticides with human, biotic, and ecosystem harm, as a doubling of toxic effects on invertebrates, like pollinators, has been recorded since 2004.  Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Many agricultural and nonagricultural plant species will decline or cease to exist without pollinators. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As the science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors for pollinators. Additionally, pesticides have a devastating impact on bees and other pollinators and the larger context of what has been called by scientists as the “insect apocalypse.” In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign […]

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01
Nov

NFL Players Association Calls for Stadiums to End Synthetic Turf Use

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2023) As communities consider maintenance and renovation of their playing fields, it is not uncommon for synthetic (or artificial) turf to come up as an alternative to natural grass. Promoters of synthetic turf argue that it provides a solution to climate change, reduces water use and maintenance costs, and allows for year-round play. But is this true? Is synthetic turf an environmentally responsible alternative to its organic grass counterpart? An established and growing body of scientific evidence is demonstrating environmental and health risks with synthetic turf. In addition, there is growing concern for the safety of those playing on artificial grass, which has led to a call from the National Football League’s (NFL) Players Association to utilize natural grass on all 30 NFL stadiums after New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in September and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s mid-game ankle injury. Synthetic turf playing fields are reliant on polluting plastic (can contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances-PFAS) and toxic pesticides for managing bacteria, mold and fungus, create contaminated water runoff, and cover over the natural environment, which is critical to preserving health and biodiversity, and averting climate disasters. Artificial […]

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16
Oct

EPA Rejects Petition Seeking Review of Complete Ingredients in Pesticide Products

(Beyond Pesticides, October 16, 2023) After six years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally responded to a citizen petition requesting that the agency evaluate complete formulations of pesticide products, not just the ingredients the manufacturer claims attack the target pest (so-called “active” ingredients). EPA’s response: No. Nowhere in EPA’s denial of the need for a more robust toxicological analysis is the problem more evident than in its refusal to require analyses of the so-called “inert ingredients” or “adjuvants” included in various formulations of pesticide products. The citizen petition [see more background] was followed by a lawsuit for the same purpose in 2022. Inerts and formulants are substances that enhance the distribution or adhesion of the active ingredient; adjuvants enhance the effectiveness of the active ingredient. These terms suggest that those chemicals have no effect on anything in the area where the pesticide is applied—a wildly inaccurate implication. At least as early as 1987, EPA had recognized that some inerts and adjuvants were “of toxicological concern,” yet it still requires very few toxicological tests of whole-formula pesticides or their purportedly inactive components. EPA responded to the petition as follows: “[T]he Agency appropriately assesses, as part of its review, the impacts to […]

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11
Oct

Rachel Carson Conservation Park Faces Controversy Over Toxic Herbicide Spraying

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2023) Rachel Carson Conservation Park, a 650-acre conservation area in Montgomery County, Maryland, named in honor of the renowned scientist and author Rachel Carson, is now at the center of a controversy surrounding the use of toxic herbicides. Ms. Carson played a pivotal role in raising awareness about the harmful ecosystem and human health effects of pesticides that led to the banning of DDT. Environmentalists and concerned citizens have raised alarm over the recent spraying of “invasive weeds” with Garlon 3A, a powerful herbicide, within the park’s boundaries. Concern about pesticide use in Montgomery County is complicated by competing jurisdictions and restrictions within the county, and highlights the stark difference between nontoxic organic practices and pesticide-dependent Integrated Pest Management. (See more below on Montgomery County land management policy for local parks.) According to the Montgomery County website: “Montgomery County Parks [Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission or M-NCPPC] are a State agency. M-NCPPC operates under an integrated pest management plan (IPM). Montgomery Parks manages all playgrounds, community gardens and common lawn areas within local parks without the use of pesticides. In 2016, Montgomery Parks designated ten pesticide-free parks. In September 2019, the program expanded to 45 […]

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02
Oct

Confronting Dramatic Biodiversity Loss on 50th Anniversary of Endangered Species Act

(Beyond Pesticides, October 2, 2023) On the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), statements out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raise concerns about the agency’s ability to meet the challenge of evaluating pesticides for their adverse impact on threatened and endangered species. While EPA has initiated efforts to address a significant backlog of pesticide evaluations, the agency faces a task so extensive that it may require several additional decades to fully catch up. EPA officials stated, “Even if EPA completed this work for all of the pesticides that are currently subject to court decisions and/or ongoing litigation, that work would take until the 2040s, and even then, would represent only 5 percent of EPA’s ESA obligations.”   As part of a “whole of government” approach, EPA must redirect its pesticide program to protecting all species and their habitats.   The speed and depth of biodiversity loss has reached crisis proportions. A 1,500-page report in 2019 by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES )—Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers, the most comprehensive look to date at the biodiversity crisis and its implications for human civilization, makes the following finding: “Since 1970, trends in agricultural production, fish harvest, […]

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28
Sep

Beyond Pesticides Celebrates the 50th Birthday of the Endangered Species Act

(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2023) As the United States commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), there is a growing recognition that the planet faces an existential biodiversity crisis, with a rising number of species on the brink of extinction. In a collective effort to address threats to global biodiversity (i.e. diversity of all life), a coalition of environmental organizations including Beyond Pesticides, are sending an urgent letter to President Joe Biden. This letter, titled “Meeting the Challenges of the Biodiversity and Extinction Crisis Over the Next 50 Years,” calls for bold and comprehensive action to preserve our planet’s natural heritage for future generations. The ESA is celebrated as one of the most effective conservation laws globally, credited with preventing the extinction of 99 percent of listed species. Over the past five decades, the ESA has played a pivotal role in preventing these extinctions by safeguarding the most critically endangered species within biological communities. However, this concentration on highly threatened species often results in temporary solutions that may not comprehensively address the broader issue of biodiversity loss. The ESA establishes a framework to categorize species as “endangered” or “threatened,” granting them specific protections. While it is crucial […]

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14
Sep

(Reflection) This Organic Month, Transition Your Park to Organic Land Management

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2023) As we celebrate National Organic Month this September, it is the perfect time to reflect on why you should consider going organic. Do you try to buy organic food when you can? Are you looking for a way to reduce your and your family’s exposure to toxic pesticides? The benefits of choosing an organic lifestyle extend far beyond your diet or your own health. Beyond Pesticides is helping communities transition parks and public lands to organic land management. Here are some reasons why Beyond Pesticides believes in building organic communities: Why Go Organic? Health and Safety: Organic foods and parks are free from harmful pesticides, fossil-fuel-based substances, and toxic chemicals, making them safer and healthier for all ages. Visit Beyond Pesticide’s 40 Common Lawn and Landscape Chemicals page to learn more about the health impacts of pesticides in communities. Environmental Stewardship: Opting for organic parks and products supports practices that protect pollinators, improve soil health, increase biodiversity, and reduce toxic runoff into water bodies. Learn more about how to protect pollinators in your community by reading BEE Protective. Trust and Transparency: The USDA Certified Organic label ensures strict standards and regulations for organic products, providing […]

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13
Sep

Pollinator Health: The Climate Crisis Weakens Bees’ Ability to Withstand Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2023) A study published in Global Change Biology finds climate change increases bees’ sensitivity to pesticide exposure, impairing the pollinators’ ability to respond to light (Ultra-Violet [UV] stimuli), reducing floral syrup consumption, and lessening longevity (length of life) up to 70 percent. Notably, the reduction in floral syrup consumption indicates nutritional stress that further impacts bee species’ fecundity (productiveness), driving bee declines. Unless more is done to combat the climate crisis, the current global warming scenario increasing bees’ sensitivity to pesticide exposure will continue to threaten all pollinator health. The pervasiveness of pesticide exposure, combined with climate change, threatens global species biodiversity. As has been widely reported, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Pesticides intensify pollinators’ vulnerability to health risks (such as pathogens and parasites), with pesticide-contaminated conditions limiting colony productivity, growth, and survival. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk, including pollinators. Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many agricultural and nonagricultural plant species will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly […]

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08
Sep

[Reflection] Climate March on September 17 and Action: Interconnection between Climate Change and Petrochemical Pesticides and Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2023) In a united effort, climate and environmental justice movements from around the world have come together to announce a global “end to fossil fuels,” including the end of pesticides. The “March to End Fossil Fuels” is scheduled for September 17 and the Secretary General’s Summit in New York City on September 20. See the full map for other marches around the world. At the Beyond Pesticides, 2022 National Forum session on climate (November, 2022), we discussed the science and the urgent need for a strategic response to the climate crisis as part of a constellation of crises that intersect. Whether we are talking about a health crisis borne out of chemical-induced diseases, the collapse of life-sustaining biodiversity, or the dramatic catastrophes caused by greenhouse gases and rising temperatures—the interconnectedness of the crises requires strategic solutions that are holistic and nurturing of our relationship with nature —a relationship we have minimized as a matter of policy and practice. The data on climate calls on us to be audacious in our demand for urgent change in our households and communities, and from decision makers at all levels of government. At Beyond Pesticides, our audacious goal is to […]

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30
Aug

Management of New Insect Pests Presents Safety Challenge for People and Environment: Yellow-Legged Hornets

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2023) Invasive yellow-legged hornets have been spotted near Savannah, Georgia, causing concern among agriculture officials. These hornets are known for their ability to prey on honeybees and other pollinators, and their presence in the United States is a cause for alarm. This is the first time a live specimen of this species has been detected in the open United States, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The hornets, which are native to Southeast Asia, have been spotted in other parts of the world, including Europe, where they have caused significant damage to bee populations. They are considered “invasive,” which means the hornet is not native and officials expect their introduction to result in economic, environmental, or health-related damage to humans, animals, plants, or the environment. In response to the sighting in Georgia, officials are taking action to eradicate the hornets before they can cause any harm to US agriculture. One of the methods being used to eradicate the hornets is the localized use of the highly toxic insecticide cypermethrin on nests. The pesticide has been registered for use in agriculture and residential pest control since the 1970s. It kills insects such as mosquitoes, flies, ticks, […]

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29
Aug

Pollinator Health: Common Fungicide Linked to Changes in Honey Bees’ Brain through Oxidative Stress

(Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2023) A study published in Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology finds the widely used azole fungicide, tebuconazole, has damaging impacts on the redox homeostasis (the process of maintaining balance between oxidizing and reducing reactions) and fatty acid composition in honey bees’ brain via oxidative stress. Acute, field-realistic sublethal exposure to tebuconazole decreased the brain’s antioxidant capacity, key antioxidant defense systems, and oxidative degradation and alteration of lipids (fats) in the brain. Thus, this study adds to the scientific literature on the adverse effects of chemical exposure on pollinator health, especially in sublethal concentrations. Degenerating cognitive skills can threaten honey bee survivability, decreasing colony fitness and individual foraging success. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators (e.g., commercial and wild bees and monarch butterflies) over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist, as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, depress crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the […]

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01
Aug

EPA Releases Ten Years of Data on How Pesticides Impact Humans, Pets, Wildlife, and More

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is publishing a decade’s worth of pesticide incident data in a searchable database that will be updated on a monthly basis. The Incident Data System (IDS), with poisoning reports generated mostly from chemical manufacturers, states, a national hotline, and poison control centers, offers information on reported pesticide exposures from accidental poisoning of pets, wildlife, and humans, to pesticide drift, noncompliance, and other pesticide incidents that may be associated with product uses in compliance with label instructions. Tracking this incident data is essential to understanding the risks and damages associated with pesticide use.   The bulk of the data on incidents is from consumer reports to chemical manufacturers. Chemical companies are required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Section 6(a)(2) to report incidents: “If at any time after the registration of a pesticide the registrant has additional factual information regarding unreasonable adverse effects on the environment of the pesticide, the registrant shall submit such information to the Administrator.” The determine of threshold number of incidents required to be reported as a pattern of “unreasonable adverse effects” is left to the manufacturers to determine. Through […]

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28
Jul

Degradation of Color Discrimination Associated with Glyphosate Exposure Impairs Bees’ Foraging Ability

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2023) A study published in Science of the Total Environment finds glyphosate can adversely impact sensory and cognitive processes in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Glyphosate exposure impairs bees’ learning of aversive stimuli like electric shocks paired with specific color discrimination. Additionally, the pesticide reduces attraction to UV (ultraviolet) light, specifically the color blue, and temporarily impacts locomotion and phototaxis (movement in response to light). These impairments to sensory and cognitive processes render foraging difficult for these glyphosate-exposed pollinators and vulnerable to unavoidable predators. The study highlights that symptoms of widespread chemical exposure may reduce foraging efficiency and adversely affect ecosystems, especially those dependent on insect pollinators.  Pollinator decline directly affects the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, limit crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As the science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors for pollinators. In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign of abating, scientists have concluded that the globe cannot afford to continue […]

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27
Jul

Insufficient Scientific Evidence on Mitigation Measures to Protect Pollinators from Pesticides, Study Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2023) A study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology calls into question the scientific literature on protecting bees from pesticides. The study analyzes actions taken by pesticide users to reduce the risk of pesticides on nontarget organisms, known as “mitigation measures.” Ultimately, the study finds that there is insufficient evidence to support the effectiveness of bee-protecting mitigation measures.    “Almost all research was centered around protecting honey bees. However, honey bees are a managed species that is not endangered,” Edward Straw, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Agriculture and Food Science at University College Dublin in Ireland and lead author on the study, says, “When we try to protect bees, we really want to be protecting wild, unmanaged bee species, as these are the species which are in decline.”  The study includes a chart of mitigation methods that have been tested in the scientific literature. The mitigation measures under evaluation include: restricting pesticide application to certain times of day, restricting the application of pesticides during weather events, removing flowering weeds that attract pollinators, applying repellents to deter pollinators, and more. The researchers find that there are few empirical tests on the most widely used […]

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23
Jun

Ecosystem Critical to All Pollinators: Popular and Unpopular Pollinator Guide

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2023) Pollinators are especially important to the ecosystem. They pollinate plants by going from flower to flower and transferring pollen. Without pollinators, availability would be severely limited or cut off to many delicious foods, such as apples, almonds, cherries, blueberries, pumpkins, and many others. Many types of pollinators, like honey bees, bumble bees, and butterflies, are declining due to loss of habitat, widespread use of toxic pesticides, parasites, and disease. Help these important beneficial creatures by Not using toxic pesticides Planting pollinator habitats, like colorful flowers, gardens, and trees Telling your friends and family all about the importance of pollinators. Wild and Managed Bees Wild and managed bees play a crucial role in the global food system. About two-thirds of the world’s most important crops benefit from bee pollination, including coffee, cacao, and many fruits and vegetables. Wild pollination is becoming increasingly important with the growing instability of managed honey bee colonies. According to one study, wild bees’ agricultural value is now similar to that of honey bees, which are no longer considered wild in many regions due to their intense management. While many may prefer butterflies and birds to pay a visit to their gardens […]

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22
Jun

Pesticide Threat to Pollinators Decreases Agricultural and Economic Productivity, and Food Security

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2023) Since the early twentieth century, ‘migratory’ beekeepers have provided a critical service to U.S. agriculture by moving their hives seasonally to pollinate a variety of crops. Annually, commercial beekeeping adds between $15 and $20 billion in economic value to agriculture, which is a major industry in the United States, with 21.1 million full- and part-time jobs related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.5 percent of total U.S. employment. Before insects and pollinators like bees evolved to pollinate, pollination occurred through the wind, scattering the pollen from the plants and landing on other flowers that could reproduce. However, commercial pollination services contribute to increased yields. Without commercial pollination, food prices would rise, the farm sector would suffer globally, and the security and variety of the food supply would diminish. With the wild insect pollinator populations already in serious decline, commercial, migratory beekeeping is more than ever a vital piece of the agricultural economy. With pollinator decline, as an integral part of worldwide biodiversity collapse and the “insect apocalypse,” commercial beekeepers face collapse as well. The United Nations states that 80 percent of the 115 top global food crops depend on insect pollination, with one-third of all U.S. crops depending on pollinators, according to the U.S. […]

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