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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'neonicotinoids' Category


09
Aug

Massachusetts Pollinator Advocates Vow to Advance Protections after Legislature Fails to Restrict Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2018) Last week, the Massachusetts legislature failed to pass legislation that would have restricted the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the state in order to protect sensitive pollinators, but advocates vow to campaign for a victory in the next legislative session. H. 4041, would have restricted neonicotinoid uses to certified applicators only. Massachusetts beekeepers lost 65 percent of honey bee hives this year, a rate 25 percent higher than the national average. H. 4041, An Act to Protect Massachusetts Pollinators, introduced in 2017, failed to make it to the floor before the end of the legislative session, which ended July 31. The bill gained the support of more than 100 Massachusetts scientists and academics who sent a letter to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture in support. Over 180 scientists, businesses, beekeepers, farmers, and conservationists formally endorsed this bill to restrict neonicotinoid use to licensed applicators. The Massachusetts County Beekeepers Association worked to organize an extensive grassroots advocacy movement in support of the bill. H.4041 would have placed “common-sense” restrictions on unlicensed use of neonicotinoids. It would require neonicotinoids to be used by licensed or certified applicators, and would also limit the use […]

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07
Aug

Trump Administration Reverses Ban of Bee-Toxic Pesticides on National Wildlife Refuges, as California Confirms Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2018) At the same time that a new analysis by California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), current neonicotinoid uses in the state expose bees to residue levels known to cause harm, the Trump administration has reversed a 2014 U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) decision to ban neonicotinoids on National Wildlife Refuges. In 2014, newly passed state legislation required DPR to study the impacts of neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and dinotefuran) and adopt control measures to protect sensitive pollinator health within two years. In its report, released last month, DPR finds the highest risk to bees is posed by use of two neonicotinoids, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, on cereal grains like corn, wheat, rice, and barley. The seeds of these crops are typically coated with neonicotinoids before planting, where residues persist in the pollen and nectar. Although these findings are not surprising and have been documented in the scientific literature, California’s analysis indicates neonicotinoids can cause much broader harm, including to pollinators commonly found on many types of vegetables, cereal grains, tree nuts, fruits and tobacco. Shortly after a decision in the Pacific Region, FWS announced that all National Wildlife Refuges would join in the phase-out of neonics (while also phasing out genetically engineered […]

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01
Aug

Suburban Bees Still Vulnerable to Neonicotinoids Despite EU Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2018) According to new research from the University of Sussex, bees living in suburban habitats are still being exposed to high levels of neonicotinoid pesticides. Even though there is a European Union (EU) ban on these chemicals, the ban focuses on agricultural and not residential applications. The study’s authors are urging gardeners to forgo the use of these pesticides in favor of more holistic, pesticide-free approaches. The authors of the study say it is the first of its kind to highlight the risk to bees in urban areas posed by garden use of pesticides. Entitled Monitoring neonicotinoid exposure for bees in rural and peri-urban areas of the UK during the transition from pre- to post-moratorium, the study sampled pollen and nectar from bumblebee colonies in rural and peri-urban habitats in three UK regions–Stirlingshire, Hertfordshire, and Sussex over three years. Sampling began prior to the ban (2013), during the initial implementation when some seed-treated winter-sown oilseed rape was still grown (2014), and following the ban (2015). Honey bee colonies in rural habitats were also sampled to compare species-level differences between bumblebees and honey bees. Not surprisingly, the researchers find pesticide contamination in more than 50 percent of the samples, […]

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29
Jun

Kroger Sets 2020 Phase-Out of Bee-Toxic Pesticides on Its Plants, Costco Encourages Suppliers to Change; Both Commit to Carry More Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2018) It is widely known that pollinators are in trouble. In light of this, Kroger (which includes numerous other grocery chains, like Harris Teeter) announced in a press release last week — during National Pollinator Week —  a phase-out by 2020 of live garden plants treated with the insecticides most closely associated with the decline of bee populations, the neonicotinoids. In May, Costco updated its pollinator policy, which “encourages” its suppliers of garden plants, fruits, and vegetables to limit the use of bee-toxic pesticides and adopt ecological practices. The company in 2016 announced a policy to encourage suppliers to change their pesticides. In a statement that has broad implications for pollinator and environmental protection, Kroger included the following statement about organic food in its press release: “Kroger also offers one of the largest organic produce departments in America, which is desirable for customers looking to minimize potential exposure to synthetic pesticides. Representing nearly 20 percent of America’s annual organic produce business, Kroger sales reached $1 billion in 2017. A dedicated procurement team partners with more than 300 organic produce growers and suppliers every year to bring customers a growing selection of organic fruits and vegetables.” Costco is also […]

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20
Jun

New Research Finds Neonics Kill-Off Bumblebee Queens During Nest-Building Period

(Beyond Pesticides, June 20, 2018) Bumblebee queens that wake up from hibernation to a neonicotinoid-contaminated, monofloral landscape take longer to set up their nest and die-off at higher rates, according to new research from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  While this is the first study to evaluate multiple stressors – pesticide exposure and a monotypic diet – on bumblebee pollinators as they initiate a new colony, it is far from the first to conclude that the neonicotinoid class of insecticides result in unacceptable adverse impacts to insect pollinators. With Pollinator Week 2018 underway, advocates say it is time that the U.S. catches up to the European Union and Canada and starts to ban the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides. Bumblebee queens only live long enough to produce one colony. After establishing a colony over the spring and summer months, by fall a new queen hatches and the old queen dies. The new queen leaves the nest and mates, then goes underground to seek shelter and hibernate over the winter. If she makes it through the winter, the single queen will then emerge in spring to begin her own colony […]

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15
Jun

Plan Actions to Protect Pollinators During National Pollinator Week, June 18-24

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2018) In recognition of the importance of pollinators and biodiversity to a healthy environment and healthy people during National Pollinator Week, June 18-24, Beyond Pesticides announces a week of activities and actions. Monday (June 18) Watch and share the new short-film “Seeds that Poison.” To kick off Pollinator Week 2018, Beyond Pesticides is releasing a new video highlighting the hazards associated with a major use of bee-toxic pesticides – seed coatings. Please watch and share with friends and family! Click here to watch Seeds that Poison. After distributing the film, please contact your state elected officials to ask that they act to protect pollinators. (Connecticut and Maryland have taken action.) Folks in the DC area can also attend a “Pollinator Forum” to learn about pollinators and celebrate them. The event is taking place at the Tabard Inn (Monday, June 18) and will feature Beyond Pesticides’ Science and Regulatory Director Nichelle Harriott. Click here to purchase tickets. Tuesday Plant pollinator habitat. Explore Beyond Pesticides’ resources to find ideas for native plantings or sources of untreated flowers and dig your pollinator-friendly garden today. Use the Bee Protective Habitat Guide and or Pollinator-Friendly Seed Directory to help! Wednesday Take local action. […]

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06
Jun

EU’s Highest Court Upholds Ban of the Three Top Bee-Killing Neonicotinoid Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2018) By the close of 2018, three top neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides, linked to the worldwide decline in bee populations, will be banned for outdoor use in the European Union (EU), based on the General Court of the European Union’s (GCEU) ruling last month. The GCEU, the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled in favor of taking precautionary action to protect pollinators from clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. This ruling allows for the limited use of neonic-treated seeds grown in permanent greenhouses where contact with bees is not expected. In its lawsuit, multinational seed and chemical companies, Syngenta and Bayer –manufacturers of the neonics in question– argued unsuccessfully that the pesticides do not necessarily harm bees if farmers use them according to label instructions. Syngenta also sought compensation of approximately $435 million to offset market losses resulting from the ban, but that, too, was denied. In rejecting the arguments of Syngenta and Bayer, the high court aligned itself with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and its assessment of the harm caused by the widely used pesticides. EFSA’s updated assessment, released in February of this year, provided convincing evidence that neonics represent a risk to wild bees and […]

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21
May

Tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Eliminate Pesticide Use on Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2018)  490,000 Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Sprayed on National Wildlife Refuges in 2016 The nation’s 562 national wildlife refuges play a critical role in protecting fish, plants, and other wildlife. They include forests, wetlands, and waterways vital to thousands of species of plants and animals, including 280 that are protected under the Endangered Species Act. However, private chemical-intensive commercial farming of crops like corn, soybeans, and sorghum has become common on refuge lands, with the increasing use of highly toxic pesticides that threaten the long-term health of sensitive habitats and the creatures who depend on them. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) estimates that 490,000 pounds of pesticides were applied to commodity crops like corn, soybeans, and sorghum grown in national wildlife refuges in 2016, the most recent year for which data are available. Tell FWS to take toxic pesticides out of wildlife refuges. The nearly half million pounds of pesticides used on wildlife refuges in 2016 include 2,4-D, dicamba, and paraquat, all of which are toxic to fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and other animals. Also included are 116,200 pounds of glyphosate, the herbicide that has caused widespread decreases in milkweed plants, helping to trigger the 80 percent […]

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01
May

European Nations Back Near Complete Ban on Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2018) On April 27, 2018, European Union (EU) member states backed a proposal to further restrict uses of bee-toxic neonicotinoids finding the pesticides’ outdoor uses harm bees. These restrictions go beyond those already put in place in 2013, and now all outdoor uses of clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam will be banned. Uses will only be allowed in permanent greenhouses where contact with bees is not expected. This historic move in Europe comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still drags its feet on finding neonicotinoids are too toxic for bees and other organisms and bans their use. According to the European Commission, the protection of bees is an important issue since it concerns biodiversity, food production, and the environment. An EU committee approved the plan to tightly restrict the use of the insecticides, acting upon scientific advice this past February from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to tighten existing restrictions and protect bees, crucial pollinators. EFSA analyzed over 1,500 studies from academia, beekeeper associations, chemical companies, farmer groups, non-governmental organizations, and national regulators, and concluded that neonicotinoids do pose risks to honey bees and wild pollinators. In 2013, the EU placed a ban on […]

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25
Apr

Canadian Beekeeper’s Class Action Neonicotinoid Lawsuit Moves Ahead

(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2018)  A class-action lawsuit against two manufacturers of neonicotinoid insecticides is moving ahead in Quebec, Canada after an appeal to block the case by the Canadian government and the chemical companies, Bayer and Syngenta, was dismissed. In February 2018, the case, brought by a beekeeper, was allowed to proceed to trial by the Quebec Superior Court. Quebec queen bee breeder, Steve Martineau, conducted tests on water and his dead and dying bees and found traces of neonicotinoids. His suit alleges that Bayer and Syngenta were negligent in the manufacture and sale of neonicotinoids in Quebec, and are responsible for damages that he and other class members suffered under Article 1457 of the Quebec Civil Code. Bayer and Syngenta challenged the application on a number of grounds including the assumption that they had manufactured the neonicotinoids which killed Martineau’s bees. The class in this case was authorized for all persons in Quebec who own or owned bees in the affected area since 2006. Mr. Martineau estimates he has lost about $20,000 a year to present due to the effects of neonicotinoids on his bee population (Martineau v. Bayer CropScience Inc. CALN/2018-007) “We’re suing on behalf of Quebec beekeepers whose bees were […]

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26
Mar

Action: Your State’s AG Needs to Join the Investigation of the Bayer-Monsanto Merger

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2018) Tell your state AG to join the investigation of the merger of Bayer-Monsanto, the manufacturer of genetically engineered seeds tolerant of its herbicide glyphosate (aka Roundup®), and Bayer, the manufacturer of neonicotinoid insecticides responsible for pollinator declines, including imidacloprid and clothianidin. The giant seed and pesticide company that would be created by this merger would be a disaster for pollinators, people, and the environment. Farmers overwhelmingly think this mega-merger is a bad idea –a new survey and white paper were released that demonstrate widespread opposition of farmers to this merger. According to the poll, which was conducted by a coalition of farm organizations, 93 percent of farmers surveyed oppose it. More than one million Americans have called on the Department of Justice to stop it. Investigations are ongoing in both the EU and the U.S. Your state attorney general could play a key role in this fight by joining the investigation. Tell your state AG to join the investigation of the Bayer-Monsanto Merger! If this merger goes through, the new company would be the world’s largest vegetable seed company. It would control seeds for many of the crops we eat regularly — including broccoli, carrots, and onions. It would also be the largest manufacturer […]

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20
Mar

Report Finds Regulators Failing to Protect Pollinators and Public Health by Ignoring “Inert” Ingredients in Pesticide Products

(Beyond Pesticides, March 20, 2018) Regulations that separate ingredients in pesticide products as either “other/inert” or “active” have no scientific basis, according to a new review of the toxicity of formulated pesticide products published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health. Despite widespread awareness that “other” or “inert” pesticidal ingredients present toxicity concerns, only “active” ingredients undergo a full risk assessment, and pesticide products containing both active and inert ingredients are not tested in formulation before being sold to the public. Using glyphosate and neonicotinoid based products as examples, the study recommends sweeping changes to the way pesticide formulations are regulated in the Western world. Inert, or other ingredients –not disclosed on pesticide product labels, are often adjuvants that are added to a pesticide formulation to modify the effect of the active ingredient. However, they can also be sold separately and used in agriculture where pesticides are often “tank mixed” on site before application. Adjuvants take many forms, including surfactants, dyes, stabilizers, propellants, emulsifiers, solvents, antifoaming agents, and still other uses. Surfactants, likely the most common adjuvant, are added to a pesticide formulation in order slow the degradation time or improve the penetration of the active ingredient on a target […]

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15
Mar

Scientists Urge Action to Protect California Waterways from Neonicotinoid Insecticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2018) On Tuesday, a group of 56 scientists studying the effects of neonicotinoids sent a letter to California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) highlighting the threat neonicotinoids pose to the health of California’s waterways. The scientists urge CDPR to take steps to reduce neonicotinoid contamination of the state’s streams and rivers. This comes as neonicotinoids were recently reported to be pervasive throughout the Great Lakes, and federal assessments confirm high risks to aquatic species. According to the letter, neonicotinoids are already found in California waterways at levels that exceed the freshwater invertebrate aquatic life benchmarks and could harm or kill many sensitive aquatic invertebrate species. Citing a 2016 study by the Xerces Society that found imidacloprid frequently in California’s rivers and streams at levels harmful to species such as mayflies and caddisflies. Imidacloprid samples in California from 2010-2015 showed that 42% (197 of 468) of detections exceeded the acute invertebrate benchmark and all of the detections exceeded the chronic invertebrate benchmark. In certain regions of the state, particularly agricultural areas, the imidacloprid benchmark for acute effects was more frequently exceeded. The scientists note these chemicals can “have consequences for broader ecosystems. Declines in aquatic invertebrates put other species […]

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12
Mar

Based on New Data,Tell Your Governor to Ban Neonicotinoid Insecticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2018) European Regulators Confirm Neonicotinoids Harm Bees, Increasing Likelihood of Continent-Wide Ban A comprehensive assessment released last week by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed that neonicotinoids, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, pose risks to honey bees and wild pollinators. EFSA analyzed over 1,500 studies from academia, beekeeper associations, chemical companies, farmer groups, non-governmental organizations, and national regulators. EFSA’s risk assessment provides a definitive, independent conclusion that overall, continued use of these chemicals risks the long-term health of pollinator populations. Tell Your Governor to Ban Neonicotinoid Insecticides “The availability of such a substantial amount of data as well as the guidance has enabled us to produce very detailed conclusions,” said Jose Tarazona, PhD, head of EFSA’s Pesticides Unit in a press release. This is EFSA’s second comprehensive evaluation of the three most commonly used neonicotinoids: imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam. Earlier research finalized in 2013 led the European Union (EU) to ban use of the three neonicotinoids on agricultural flowering crops. The new assessment applies EFSA guidance to assessing risks to bees and on the initial review. It includes literature not only on honey bees, but also on wild pollinators, including bumblebees […]

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07
Mar

European Regulators Confirm Neonicotinoids Harm Bees, Increasing Likelihood of Continent-Wide Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2018) Neonicotinoids, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, do pose risks to honey bees and wild pollinators, according to a comprehensive assessment released last week by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Encompassing an analysis of over 1,500 studies from academia, beekeeper associations, chemical companies, farmer groups, non-governmental organizations, and national regulators, EFSA’s risk assessment provides a definitive, independent conclusion that overall, continued use of these chemicals risks the long-term health of pollinator populations. After delaying a vote that would ban all outdoor uses of neonicotinoids in December in anticipation of EFSA’s assessment, the European Commission will revisit the issue as soon as March 22. “The availability of such a substantial amount of data as well as the guidance has enabled us to produce very detailed conclusions,” said Jose Tarazona, PhD, head of EFSA’s Pesticides Unit in a press release. This is EFSA’s second comprehensive evaluation of the three most commonly used neonicotinoids: imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam. Earlier research finalized in 2013 led the European Union (EU) to ban use of the three neonicotinoids on agricultural flowering crops. The new assessment builds upon the initial review, and includes literature not only on […]

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01
Mar

Assessment Finds Alternatives Negate Any Need to Use Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2018)  A comprehensive review of notorious, bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides finds that crop yields and on-farm profit can be maintained and improved by replacing these toxic chemicals with alternative pest management strategies. The new study is part of an ongoing update to the 2014 Worldwide Integrated Assessment undertaken by an international team of scientists called the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides. The results of this review point to the need for strong action against these chemicals by all levels of government. “Regulators need to realize that if we want sustainable agricultural practices, we need a more restrictive regulatory framework and programs to support farmers making the switch,” said Task Force co-chair and scientist at France’s National Scientific Research Centre Jean-Marc Bonmatin, PhD, in a press release. “Our findings on the availability of alternatives will be particularly relevant where new restrictions on neonics are being considered.” The Task Force reviewed 200 studies on systemic insecticides, looking at their use and pest resistance in annual and perennial crops, the viability of alternative pest management techniques, and the potential to implement alternative forms of crop insurance to cover risks, rather than spray expensive insecticides. For perennial crops, researchers focus on the […]

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26
Feb

Take Action: Tell Your Representative to Cosponsor the Saving America’s Pollinators Act

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2017) U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) reintroduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 5015), which suspends the registration of certain neonicotinoid insecticides until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a full scientific review that ensures these chemicals do not harm pollinators. Last week, Beyond Pesticides joined Rep. Blumenauer and other experts from environmental, conservation, whistleblower, and farmworker health groups on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to take action to protect pollinators in the face of ongoing obstruction by an increasingly industry-influenced EPA. Tell your Representative to cosponsor the Save America’s Pollinators Act!“ Pollinators are the backbone of America’s agriculture system. Acting now to protect them and stop their decline is essential to the sustainability of our nation’s food supply,” Rep. McGovern said. “Simply taking the word of the manufacturers that their products are safe is not an option. Consumers need strong oversight. That is why I am proud to join Congressman Blumenauer in demanding the EPA fully investigate the effect that certain harmful pesticides may have on the vitality of our pollinators.” Numerous scientific studies implicate neonicotinoid pesticides as key contributors to the global decline of pollinator populations. EPA’s own scientists have found that […]

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16
Feb

Saving America’s Pollinators Act To Be Reintroduced in Congress

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2018) U.S. Representatives Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) this week announced plans to reintroduce the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, (previously H.R. 3040) which suspends the registration of certain neonicotinoid insecticides until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a full scientific review that ensures these chemicals do not harm pollinators. Beyond Pesticides joined Rep. Blumenauer and other experts from environmental, conservation, whistleblower and farmworker health groups on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to take action to protect pollinators in the face of ongoing obstruction by an increasingly industry-influenced EPA. “Pollinators are the backbone of America’s agriculture system. Acting now to protect them and stop their decline is essential to the sustainability of our nation’s food supply,” Rep. McGovern said. “Simply taking the word of the manufacturers that their products are safe is not an option. Consumers need strong oversight. That is why I am proud to join Congressman Blumenauer in demanding the EPA fully investigate the effect that certain harmful pesticides may have on the vitality of our pollinators.” Numerous scientific studies implicate neonicotinoid pesticides as key contributors to the global decline of pollinator populations. EPA’s own scientists have found that neonicotinoids pose far-reaching risks to […]

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31
Jan

Australian Grocery Giant To Stop Selling Neonicotinoid Products

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2018) Woolworths, one of Australia’s largest retailers, has decided to stop selling neonicotinoid products (neonics) linked to global declines in bee populations. This is the latest retailer in Australia to announce commitments to stop supplying the bee-toxic products. After thousands of Australians signed a petition calling on retailers to stop selling insecticides containing neonicotinoids, Woolworth announced it has, in fact, succumbed to public pressure and would join Bunnings Warehouse, Mitre 10 and Coles stores in pulling neonic products from their shelves. The week prior, retail chain Bunnings announced it would pull all items containing neonicotinoids from their shelves. Woolworth said it would stop selling the products by June 2018. The retail commitments come as a result of efforts launched by global consumer group SumOfUs that called on Australian retailers to stop selling insecticide products containing neonicotinoids, including the popular home and garden product, Confidor, which has been stocked by Woolworths and contains imidacloprid as the active ingredient. According to Australia’s The New Daily, about one-third of Australian fruit and vegetable crops are reliant on pollination. Speaking on the ban of neonic products, Katja Hogendoorn, PhD, of University of Adelaide, who researches the behavioral ecology and evolution of native bees, […]

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30
Jan

Neonicotinoid Insecticides Threaten Aquatic Life in the Great Lakes

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2018) New data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reveals the year-round presence of neonicotinoids (neonics) in the Great Lakes – the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem. Neonics, which are highly toxic to aquatic organisms and pollinators, are prevalent in the tributaries of the Great Lakes with concentrations and detections increasing during planting season. This new data adds to burgeoning demand for a federal ban of these insecticides in order to safeguard vulnerable aquatic ecosystems and pollinators. The study, “Year-round presence of neonicotinoid insecticides in tributaries to the Great Lakes, USA,” sampled ten major tributaries to the Great Lakes from October 2015 to September 2016. Neonicotinoids were detected in every month sampled. At least one neonicotinoid was detected in 74 percent of the samples, with 10 percent of samples containing three neonicotinoids. The most frequently detected neonicotinoid was imidacloprid (53%), followed by clothianidin (44%), thiamethoxam (22%), acetamiprid (2%), and dinotefuran (1%). The detections of clothianidin and thiamethoxam are significantly correlated with the percentage of agricultural land use. Similarly, concentrations increased in the spring and summer months when the planting of neonic-coated seeds and broadcast applications are the highest. For instance, in the agriculturally dominated basin (corn and soybean) […]

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24
Jan

Pesticide Exposure and Poor Nutrition: A One-Two Knockout Punch for Pollinators

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2018) Poor nutrition coupled with exposure to a notorious class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids act synergistically to significantly reduce the survival of honey bees and their colonies, according to research published by scientists from University of California, San Diego (UCSD). This is the first study to delve into the real-world effects pesticide exposure can have on honey bees also subject to nutritional stress, a common occurrence in the wild. The outcome of this research highlights the weaknesses of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) testing regime for registering pesticides, which does not account for the complex ecology surrounding catastrophic declines in honey bee and other wild pollinator populations. UCSD scientists looked at two of the most popular neonicotinoids, chlothianidin and thiamethoxam, to investigate how realistic levels of exposure to the chemicals interacted with varying levels of available food. High and low levels of both chemicals, 1/5 and 1/25 of the LD50 (amount at which 50% of honey bees exposed would die) were added to sugar syrup solution containing a range of different nutrition levels. Sugar syrup, which mimics nectar and honey, is a critical source of carbohydrates for honey bees. The bees studied were either […]

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18
Jan

Neonicotinoids Found in UK Honey Despite Partial Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2018) Research published in early January 2018 has shown that — despite a partial ban on neonicotinoid insecticides instituted in 2014 — 25% of British honey is still contaminated with residue of these “potent, bee-killing” pesticides. The partial ban, which extended to flowering crops, such as oilseed rape (from which canola oil is made), was instituted by the European Union (EU) in response to evidence of serious threats to bee populations. Samples for this study came from beekeepers and were each from a single location. After the partial ban went into effect, scientists had seen some reduction in the contamination rate of neonicotinoids in honey, from greater than 50% prior to the ban. This study demonstrates that these powerful pesticides nevertheless remain common in agricultural areas, posing serious threats to bees (and other pollinators). This discovery is likely to accelerate pressure on the EU to ban all outdoor use of neonicotinoids, with a vote coming perhaps as soon as in the next few months. “While the frequency of neonicotinoid contaminated samples fell once the EU ban was in place, our data suggest that these pesticides remain prevalent in the farming environment,” said Ben Woodcock, of the UK’s […]

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16
Jan

Take Action: Tell EPA that Neonics Pose Unacceptable Ecological Threats!

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2018) In spite of findings that neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides pose both acute and chronic risks to pollinators, aquatic life, and birds, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking comment that could support their continued use. Comments are due by February 20, 2018.  Tell EPA that neonics pose unacceptable risks to pollinators, aquatic life, and birds! And, ask your Congressional delegation push EPA to do the right thing. Last month, EPA released preliminary ecological (non-pollinator) assessments for the neonicotinoids clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, and the terrestrial ecological assessment for imidacloprid, finding that these pesticides pose both acute and chronic risks to aquatic life and birds. Treated seeds are identified as posing the highest dietary risks to birds, confirming previous research that neonics are highly hazardous not only to bees, but also, to birds, aquatic life, and other non-target organisms. However, EPA’s assessments also cover spray treatments. EPA opened the public comment period for these assessments on December 15, 2017. Along with outlining the risks identified in the assessments, the agency is especially requesting feedback on the benefits of continued use of the neonics on cotton and citrus crops, identified in last year’s pollinator assessments as posing risks to honey bees. […]

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