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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Pollinators' Category


22
Apr

Help Protect Pollinators Today, Earth Day

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2016) Today is Earth Day! As honey bees and other pollinators continue to suffer from staggering global declines, Beyond Pesticides works year-round through the BEE Protective campaign, launched Earth Day 2013, to support nationwide local action aimed at protecting pollinators from pesticides. Pollinators are a vital part of the environment, a barometer for healthy ecosystems, and critical to the nation’s food production system. With one in three bites of food reliant on bees and other species for pollination, the decline of honey bees and other pollinators demands swift action. The 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 critical  organisms. In addition to scientific and regulatory information, BEE Protective also assists people and communities with  a model community pollinator resolution and a pollinator protection pledge. Insecticides, specifically neonicotinoids, have increasingly been linked to bee declines. These chemicals are used extensively in U.S. agriculture, especially as seed treatment for corn and soybeans. Agriculture is not the only concern however, as pesticide applications in home gardens, city parks, […]

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11
Apr

Maryland Legislature Bans Retail Sales of Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoid Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2016) In a historic move, the Maryland legislature voted to become the first state in the nation to ban consumers from using products containing neonicotinoid pesticides, a class of bee-toxic chemicals that has been linked to the startling decline in bees and other pollinators around the world. The bill now heads to Governor Larry Hogan to sign or veto. The Pollinator Protection Act was approved by lawmakers on Thursday by  a 98-39 vote in the Maryland House of Delegates. While consumers will not be allowed to buy pesticide products containing neonicotinoids starting in 2018, the legislation’s  reach does not extend to farmers, veterinarians, and certified pesticide applicators, who will still be permitted to apply  the chemicals. Consumers can also buy treated plants and seedlings from stores without any labeling. Cumulatively, these present major sources of exposure for bees and other pollinators. The bill originally included a requirement that companies put labels on plants and seeds that are treated with neonicotinoids, but that provision was ultimately pulled from the bill. Hardware stores  like Home Depot and Lowe’s  had previously announced that they were voluntarily phasing out the supply of neonicotinoid-treated plants over the next two to three […]

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06
Apr

Villanova Pivots to Neonic-Free, Joins Bee Protective Campaign

(Beyond Pesticides April 6, 2016) Hot off the heels of the NCAA basketball tournament, a national title is not the only thing Villanova University has to celebrate this week. The campus, located near Philadelphia, PA, recently became the second school in the nation to receive recognition from the Beyond Pesticides’ and Center for Food Safety’s BEE Protective Campaign, which seeks to protect honey bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides. Signing the BEE Protective pledge, Villanova signaled its continued commitment to using neonicotinoid-free insecticides on campus, making them one of the leading higher education institutions committed to the protection of pollinator species. “For Villanova, sustainability is not just about energy and recycling,” said Liesel Schwarz, Villanova’s Sustainability Manager. “We look to make all aspects of campus life sustainable, including how we treat our campus grounds. This recognition only further solidifies the wonderful work our grounds department has done to not only make the campus beautiful and inviting for people, but also for pollinators.” Villanova maintains more than fifty pollinator-friendly plants on campus, including aster, black-eyed Susans, milkweed and mint. Along with planting pollinator-friendly habitat, the elimination of neonicotinoid pesticides on campus is an exemplary move by Villanova to protect pollinators. […]

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05
Apr

Small Size of Wild Bees Correlated with Their Proximity to Intensive Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2016) Populations of wild, ground-nesting bees grow smaller in areas where agricultural production is high, according to Cornell University researchers. Both wild and managed pollinators are experiencing global population declines that have been linked to a range of factors stemming from human activity, to habitat loss, the spread of parasitic mites and diseases, climate change, and significantly, the use of toxic, systemic pesticides. This study underscores the wide ranging threat that conventional agricultural practices pose to wild insect pollinators. Cornell researchers explore the relationship between intensive agricultural production and the size of ground-nesting Andrena nasonii bees. These charismatic pollinators dig tunnels in the ground up to three  feet deep in which they store honey and nectar, and ultimately lay a single egg. They forage on a variety of fruit crops, and are well known and important pollinators of strawberries. Thus, scientists brought their study to areas in New York with large strawberry plantations. Researchers discovered a significant, positive correlation between the decreased size of female A. nasonii bees and their proximity to intensively farmed strawberry plots. “Once we knew there was an effect of agriculture on the size of the bees, we took a random sample […]

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28
Mar

Minnesota Beekeepers Compensated for Bee Kills from Pesticide Drift

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2016) In the first test of a landmark beekeeper compensation law that works to protect beekeepers from the effects of toxic pesticides on their hives, Minnesota has recently compensated two beekeepers for pesticide drift that killed their bees. Investigators from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) have confirmed what beekeepers and environmentalists have been saying: Even when pesticides are used in accordance with the label and the law, they can be acutely toxic to bees in everyday circumstances. Pam Arnold, an organic farmer who manages hives on her property, and Kristy Allen, another beekeeper who shares the same bee yard, were the first two beekeepers to actually receive compensation through the beekeeper compensation law. Last spring, a farmer across their road planted neonicotinoid (neonic) coated corn seeds on a windy day, resulting in the death of their bees as toxic dust from planting drifted on to their property. Tests performed by MDA during the investigation found acute levels of clothianidin in the dead bees, even days after the incident. Nearby dandelion weeds also showed significantly higher concentrations of the toxin. According to the MDA website, the case closing letter was sent in November 2015, but they […]

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16
Mar

Study Finds Bees’ Pollination Skills Impaired by Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2016) Another study, this time from researchers at the University of Guelph, finds that at very low levels the neonicotinoid pesticide thiamethoxam affects  the foraging behavior of bumble bees, changing their floral preferences, hindering their ability to learn and extract nectar and pollen. This study is one of many that detail the negative effects of pesticides on bees’ learning behavior and ability to pollinate essential crops. Pesticides, like the neonicotinoid class of insecticides, have been implicated in the global decline of pollinator populations, while advocates call for  limiting pesticide exposures to reverse population declines. According to the authors of this Canadian study, “Chronic exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide alters the interaction between bumblebees and wild plants, “published in  the journal Functional Ecology, it is the first to explore how pesticides may impact the ability of bumble bees to  forage from common wildflowers that have complex shapes such as white clover and bird’s foot trefoil. The researchers found that bumble bees exposed to environmental levels of thiamethoxam (10ppb) took longer to collect pollen than unexposed bees, as well as foraged from different flowers. Importantly, this study reports that bumble bees that were not exposed to thiamethoxam are […]

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15
Mar

GAO Report Finds USDA, EPA Not Doing Enough to Protect Pollinators

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2016) Executive agencies are falling short in their efforts to protect honey bees and other wild pollinators from catastrophic declines, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). GAO, an investigative agency that works on behalf of the U.S. Congress, was tasked by the Senate to evaluate the progress the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have made in their actions to address the multiple threats contributing to declining managed and wild pollinators. Since 2006, U.S. beekeepers have experienced unsustainable colony die-offs, averaging over 30% each year. Concurrent declines in wild and native pollinators are also occurring, though data on the magnitude of these losses have not undergone comprehensive scientific evaluation. While a range of factors, from habitat loss, to climate change, diseases, viruses, and parasites are all contributing to these declines, independent science has identified that pesticides, specifically a new class of systemic insecticides called neonicotinoids, are the major drivers of the crisis for both managed and wild bees. In fact, some studies show that the widespread exposure to neonicotinoids increases bees’ vulnerability to diseases, viruses, and mites. The GAO report recommends a number of action items […]

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14
Mar

Report Calls for Improved Pesticide Regulation and Assessment on Kauai, Hawai’i

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2016)  According to a draft version of a report commissioned by Hawaii and Kauai County, Hawaii should dramatically improve its regulation of pesticide use and study its impacts, which the state legislature has repeatedly refused to consider. Unsurprisingly, agrichemical companies that produce genetically engineered (GE) seeds criticized the new government report, saying it “raises unfounded and unsubstantiated fears about chronic exposure and chemicals in general.” Association members include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and BASF, multi-billion-dollar multinational agrochemical companies that farm thousands of acres in Hawaii and produce the state’s largest export crop, seed corn. The Joint Fact Finding (JFF) report was conducted by Peter Adler of the consulting firm Accord3.0. and eight participants, including two representatives of DuPont Pioneer and Dow AgroSciences. According to the study website, it was commissioned by the  Hawaii State Department of Agriculture (HDOA)  and Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho in order to conduct a joint fact finding project on the island of Kauai. The preliminary results were released after a year-long investigation into the impacts and regulation of pesticide use by Hawaii’s GE seed industry and Kauai Coffee.  The draft report is available for public comment until April 8, 2016. […]

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10
Mar

“Muzzled” USDA Scientist to Speak at National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2016) Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D., a top U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist who received a prestigious national award for civic courage  for his work on neonicotinoids and pollinator decline in the face of agency attempts to suppress his work, will be speaking at Cultivating Community and Environmental Health, the 34th National Pesticide Forum, April 15-16, 2016 in Portland, ME. Dr. Lundgren will join other top scientists and leaders who have stood up to protect human and environmental health, despite facing industry backlash and scientific suppression. His story was recently featured in Sunday’s The Washington Post Magazine, Was a USDA Scientist Muzzled Because of His Bee Research, as censorship of federal scientists has grown. As a Senior Research Entomologist and Lab Supervisor for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in South Dakota, Dr. Lundgren had worked for USDA for eleven years with great success, with his research drawing national attention and international recognition. However, in October 2015, Dr. Lundgren, represented by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a whistleblower complaint charging the agency with suppression of research findings that challenged the safety and efficacy of a widely used class of pesticides, neonicotinoids. In April 2015, PEER filed […]

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07
Mar

UN Report Warns of Decline in Pollinators and Global Food Supplies

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2016) A United Nation’s report, released late last month, has warns the world that many species of wild bees, butterflies and other pollinators are on a dangerous path toward extinction, and that the  food supply will suffer if the causes of these declines, many of them human-made, are not stopped. The report is based on  many different scientific studies. The scientists who led the assessment pointed to pesticides as one of the leading causes of pollinator decline, specifically, a class of toxic chemicals called neonicotinoids, which adversely affect the nervous system of insects. According to their press release, the assessment,  Thematic Assessment of Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production, is the first ever issued by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem  Services (IPBES). IPBES was founded in 2012 with 124 member nations to “form a crucial intersection between international scientific understanding and public policy making.” Before its release, the assessment attracted some controversy for including two representatives from the agrochemical industry, including Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, as lead authors. Even though the IPBES requires all lead authors to complete conflict-of-interest statements, some scientists and environmentalists expressed concern. Given the roll of agrochemicals in pollinator decline, […]

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04
Mar

Chlorpyrifos Reduces Memory and Learning in Exposed Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2016) Honey bees experience a learning and memory deficit after ingesting small doses of the insecticide  chlorpyrifos, potentially threatening their success and survival, according to a study in  New Zealand. Chlorpyrifos is a highly neurotoxic organophosphate pesticide used worldwide on crops to protect against insects and mites. The study,  Measurements of Chlorpyrifos Levels in Forager Bees and Comparison with Levels that Disrupt Honey Bee Odor-Mediated Learning Under Laboratory Conditions,  published in  Ecology, examines chlorpyrifos levels in  bees collected from 17 locations in Otago, New Zealand and compared doses of the pesticide that cause sub-lethal effects on learning performance under laboratory conditions with amounts of chlorpyrifos detected in bees in the field. Researchers found chlorpyrifos in 17% of the sites sampled and 12% of the colonies examined. Honey bees are found to experience harmful effects to smell memory and learning, and reduction in specificity of memory recall. Chlorpyrifos is just one of many pesticides that have frequently been detected in honey bees. According to a study conducted last year by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 72% of bees tested positive for pesticide residues, raising concerns about  unintended pesticide exposures where land uses overlap or are in proximity […]

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29
Feb

Glyphosate Residues in Popular German Beers

(Beyond Pesticides, February 29, 2016) Last Thursday, the Munich Environmental Institute stated that it had found traces of glyphosate, the widely used and controversial weed-killer, in 14 of Germany’s most popular beers. These findings are a potential blow to Germany’s Beer Purity Law, which is highly regarded in German beer culture. Industry and German government immediately sought to downplay the results, saying that the levels found did not pose a risk to humans. However, according to the study’s results, all levels found were above the glyphosate residue level allowed in drinking water. Consumers have a right to be worried about the findings, as glyphosate was classified in March 2015  as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The results, published  in German, are broken down by beer and by micrograms per liter in picture format. The researchers cite the laboratory test results of the 14 beers, which found glyphosate levels  between 0.46 and 29.74 micrograms per liter. The highest reading is 300 times the legal limit for drinking water in Germany, which is 0.1 microgram per cubic meter. Hasseroeder, a beer brewed in Saxony-Anhalt in eastern Germany and owned by Anheuser Busch Inbev, contained the […]

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25
Feb

Irvine, CA Adopts Organic Management Policy for City Property

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2016)  On Tuesday, the City Council of Irvine, California, with a population of over 250,000 people, voted unanimously to stop the use of hazardous pesticides on city property. The Council adopted an  organic  management policy that limits  the use of synthetic pesticides on city property, which includes 570 acres of parks, more than 800 acres of right-of-way, 70,000 trees and nearly 1.5 million square feet of facilities. The policy permits pesticides   “only when deemed necessary to protect public health and economic impact.” The vote capped a campaign led by  the local advocacy group Non Toxic Irvine, which has been advocating that the city  nix synthetic pesticides in favor of better plant management and materials compatible with organic practices. The group is led by local mothers concerned about the synthetic pesticide health risks related to children.  Kathleen Hallal, a leader with Non Toxic Irvine, said, “It is not radical for a city to use organic methods. It’s radical to use toxic methods to control weeds and pests around our children.” According to the Orange County Register, in May 2015, the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) agreed to end the use of glyphosate (RoundUp) on all school […]

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18
Feb

Congressional Reps Want EPA Review of Glyphosate-2,4-D Mixture Enlist Duo

(Beyond Pesticides, February 18, 2016) Last week, 35 members of Congress, led by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) and Peter DeFazio (OR-4), signed a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, challenging  EPA’s review process for the  glyphosate  and  2,4-D  herbicide mixture, known as Enlist Duo. It is produced by Dow AgroSciences for use in genetically engineered  crops. The letter requests “more information about EPA’s plan to reevaluate Enlist Duo’s health and environmental risks.” The letter comes just weeks after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from EPA to vacate its own decision to  approve the  toxic herbicide cocktail. Because of the court’s decision, EPA is solely responsible for the decision about Enlist Duo’s registration. “This is part of a vicious cycle that is leading to more potent, dangerous chemicals being widely used on crops across the United States,” said  Rep. Blumenauer. He continued, “With the rise of herbicide-resistant genetically modified crops, herbicides are more widely sprayed causing weeds to grow more resistant — ultimately, requiring the application of even stronger herbicides. EPA must take action to make sure products entering the market to be used on our food are safe for human health and […]

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12
Feb

Study Blames Pollinator Decline on Disease, Despite Overwhelming Evidence Pointing to Bee-Killing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2015) A new study published last week asserts a viral epidemic driven by parasitic mites is contributing to the global decline in bees, problematically underplaying the significant impact that bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides have on pollinator populations, as supported by a growing body of scientific literature, especially findings that show bees’ increased vulnerability to parasites and viruses. Researchers of the study, titled “Deformed wing virus is a recent global epidemic in honeybees driven by Varroa mites” and published in the journal Science, conclude that the deformed wing virus (DWV), which is typically transmitted through its main vector, the Varroa mite, is globally distributed and recently spread from a common source, European honeybee Apis mellifera. Lead researcher Lena Bayer-Wilfert, PhD, of the University of Exeter, said European bees are at the heart of the global spread of what she calls a “double blow” for colonies. “This is clearly linked to the human movement of honey bee colonies around the globe,” she told BBC News. Co-researcher Professor Roger Butlin of the University of Sheffield said DWV was a major threat to honey bee populations across the world with the epidemic “driven by the trade and movement of honeybee colonies.” […]

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01
Feb

City of St. Paul, MN Acts to Protect Pollinators

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2016) Last Wednesday, the city council of St. Paul, MN adopted a resolution to make the city more pollinator friendly by banning bee-toxic neonicotinoids and other pesticides “proven  to be harmful to pollinators” and require an  updating of its Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, prioritizing non-chemical methods. The resolution recognizes that its authority to restrict pesticide use on private land  has been preempted by the State of Minnesota and then directs the city to encourage property owners within its jurisdiction to practice pollinator stewardship. Under the new resolution, St. Paul has committed to: Develop or update an IPM program that requires site inspections, monitoring and prevention strategies, an evaluation on the need for pest control, and when pest control is warranted the use of structural, mechanical, biological, organic, and other nonchemical methods will be utilized first. Eliminate the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, and other pesticides proven to be harmful to pollinators, on city grounds, with specific exceptions for golf course areas and certain athletic fields. Require all city departments with any inventory of materials containing neonicotinoids, and other pesticides proven to be harmful to pollinators, to discontinue their use and properly dispose of them unless a […]

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14
Jan

Bayer Concurs with EPA Findings on Certain Neonicotinoid Hazards to Honey Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2016) Bayer CropScience, revising its stance,  has decided to concur with the  Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) preliminary risk assessment of neonicotinoids and acknowledge the finding of harm to honey bees in certain crops. A spokesman for Bayer CropScience said the neonic-selling giant has reviewed the assessment and found it to be “quite good and scientifically sound,” according to a news report.  The Guardian  is reporting that Bayer will be proposing new protections for pollinators, however the company has not yet announced what the new protections will be. This is a stark turnaround from  Bayer’s statement last week, which said EPA’s assessment “appears to overestimate the potential for harmful exposures in certain crops, such as citrus and cotton, while ignoring the important benefits these products provide and management practices to protect bees.” Last week, EPA released its preliminary honey bee risk assessment for one of the most widely used neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, which is  linked to severely declining honey bee populations. The assessment found  harmful residues of the insecticide  in crops where the pollinators forage  and confirmed bees’ widespread and sustained exposure to the highly toxic and persistent chemical through poisoned pollen and nectar. Imidacloprid, like the other […]

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11
Jan

UK Researchers Find Bee-Killing Pesticide Cocktail in Hedgerows and Wildflowers

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2016) Scientists at Sussex University in the United Kingdom (UK) have found that bumble bees and honey bees are exposed to a harmful chemical cocktail when collecting pollen from wildflowers and hedgerows that border neonicotinoid-treated crops in UK farmland. After testing oilseed rape croplands during blooming season, these chemical cocktails were found to be mixed with fungicides and insecticides, and at concentrations much higher than expected.  According to the Soil Association, which supported the study, “These chemical cocktails could make the impact of neonicotinoids up to 1,000 times more potent than previously realized.” With at least 121 different agrochemicals detected in hive wax and pollen samples in the Unites States, most of which include systemic pesticides, it is becoming increasingly more important to study the synergistic effects of pesticides in and outside of farm land. The study focused on “determining which mixtures of commonly used fungicides occur alongside neonicotinoids” and found that all individual oilseed rape pollen samples contained at least six neonicotinoid and fungicide residues. To compare, three neonicotinoid and six fungicides were detected in wildflower pollen samples. While the wildflower contamination was expectedly lower than crop contamination, the rate of bee contamination paints a […]

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08
Jan

EPA Must Assess the Indiscriminate Pollinator Poisoning Caused by Neonicotinoids Imparted to Plants from Seeds, Lawsuit Charges

(Beyond Pesticides January 8, 2016) This week the Center for Food Safety, on behalf of several beekeepers, farmers and sustainable agriculture and conservation groups, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday  charging  the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a  failure to adequately regulate neonicotinoid insecticide seed coatings used on dozens of crops throughout the U.S. The suit alleges that EPA has illegally allowed millions of pounds of coated seeds to be planted annually on more than 150 million acres  nationwide, constituting a direct violation of the registration requirements established by  the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Absent adequate assessment of the serious ongoing environmental harms associated with coated seed use, as well as failure to require the registration of coated seeds and enforceable labels on seeds bags, this lawsuit demands immediate action to protect beekeepers, farmers and consumers from the harms associated with neonicotinoid coated seeds. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides that share a common mode of action that affects the central nervous system of insects, resulting in disorientation, paralysis and death. Neonicotinoid pesticides are tied to  recent pollinator declines by an ever-growing body of science. Just this week EPA released a preliminary honey bee risk […]

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07
Jan

EPA Data Confirms Honey Bee Exposure to Hazardous Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2016) A long-awaited U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) preliminary honey bee risk assessment, released yesterday, for one of the most widely used pesticides linked to severely declining honey bee populations confirms harmful residues of the chemical in crops where the pollinators forage, including citrus and other crops.  While EPA finds the insecticide imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid or neonic pesticide, at various levels in crops, the assessment confirms bees’ widespread and sustained exposure to the highly toxic and persistent chemical through poisoned pollen and nectar. EPA’s assessment failed to address risks posed to wild bees and widespread exposure through soil and water. [See  docket with EPA documents, for which EPA has set a 60-public comment period.] “We cannot incorporate highly toxic and persistent chemicals into virtually all agricultural crops and ornamental plants without detrimental impacts on large populations of bees, butterflies, and birds and other organisms important to a healthy ecosystem on which life depends,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, a science and advocacy group based in Washington, DC. “Even low level exposures to bees over vast acreage represent an unsustainable threat,” he continued. Other toxic pesticides in the neonicotinoid class of insecticides have been […]

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05
Jan

Federal Judge Permits USDA Whistleblower Case to Proceed

(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2016) An administrative court judge has agreed to hear a case filed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pollinator researcher who says his  firing by the agency  was retaliation for his  cutting edge research  linking neonicotinoid insecticides to declinining monarch butterfly populations, which  has drawn  national attention and international recognition. Late last year, Judge Patricia M. Miller of the Merit Systems Protection Board denied USDA’s request to dismiss a claim filed  by Johnathan Lundgren, PhD, a USDA employee for eleven years with high accolades. In April of last year, Dr. Lundgren published a study in The Science of Nature (pdf) that shows that clothianidin, a neonicotinoid insecticide  often used to coat seeds, kills monarch butterfly larvae in the laboratory. On August 3, 2015, USDA imposed a 14-day suspension against Dr. Lundgren for submitting the study and for a paperwork error in his travel authorization for his invited presentation about his research to a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as to a USDA stakeholder group, the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance. The suspension was cut to 14 days from 30 after Dr. Lundgren filed an appeal. In October 2015, Dr. Lundgren, respresented by Public […]

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23
Dec

Native Bee Populations on Decline on U.S. Farms

(Beyond Pesticides, December 23, 2015) Native  bees are on the decline in some of the major agricultural regions in the United States, according to a new study. The study scientists produced the first national map of bee populations and identified numerous trouble areas. Since 2006, honey bees and other pollinators in the U.S. and throughout the world have experienced ongoing and rapid population declines. The continuation of this crisis threatens the stability of ecosystems, the economy, and food supply, as one in three bites of food are dependent on pollinator services. The study, titled Modeling the status, trends, and impacts of wild bee abundance in the United States  and published in the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Science, for the first time aims to assess the status and trends of wild bees and their potential impacts on pollination services across the U.S. and found that between 2008 and 2013 bee abundance declined across 23% of the nation’s  land area. The decline is generally associated with conversion of natural habitats to row crops. The researchers also list pesticide use, climate change, and disease as other threats to wild bees. The researchers specifically cited 139 counties as especially worrisome, with […]

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15
Dec

Montreal, Canada Proposes “Complete Ban on Neonics”

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2015) Last week Montreal, the largest city in Canada’s Quebec province, announced plans for an all-out ban on the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides. The new regulations represent the strongest move against this neurotoxic class of insecticides by any government entity to date. Environmental and health advocates are praising the ban as a sign that more and more localities in North America are finding these chemicals unnecessary to manage pest problems, and not worth the risk to pollinators and other wildlife. Montreal’s regulations provide for a complete ban, “without exception,” on the use of neonicotinoids outside of buildings on City land. Prior to the new rules, private citizens and businesses could obtain a temporary permit for the use of neonicotinoids in the  case  of an infestation, however, the permit will no longer be available and citizens will be encouraged to employ alternative practices or products. The ban will also apply to golf courses and properties in the City used for agricultural and horticultural purposes. “By adopting a regulation that prohibits the use of such pesticides in Montreal, our Administration places the health of its citizens, the quality of life of its neighborhoods and the preservation of […]

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