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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'neonicotinoids' Category


31
Oct

Report Reveals Food Retailers Failing Pollinators

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2016) Only three of the top 20 food retailers receive a passing grade when it comes to their pollinator protection policies, according to a report released by Friends of the Earth. Swarming the Aisles; Rating Top Retailers on Bee-Friendly and Organic Food takes a closer look at the policies and practices of food retailers across the country and creates an industry scorecard highlighting how each individual retailer fairs in categories like organics, pollinator protection, and pesticide reduction. While some individual chains performed well, overall the results indicate that food retailers have a long way to go to meet consumer demand when it comes to protecting pollinators and establishing organic policies. Major retailers often lag behind public opinion when it comes to changing their official policies to promote practices that protect environmental interests. In 2014, Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides and allies released a report showing that 36 out of 71 (51 percent) of garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contain ¬†neonicotinoid ¬†(neonic) pesticides ‚ÄĚ‚ÄĚ a key contributor to recent bee declines, despite the fact more than half a million Americans had signed petitions demanding […]

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26
Oct

Massachusetts Attorney General Stops Deceptive Safety Claims about Bee-Toxic Pesticides, Beyond Pesticides Urges Other States to Follow

(Washington, D.C. October 26, 2016) ¬†With the Massachusetts Attorney General forcing Bayer CropScience to end its statewide advertising containing deceptive safety claims about bee-toxic pesticides, Beyond Pesticides yesterday asked the other 49 states to do the same. In a letter to State Attorneys General, Beyond Pesticides said, ‚ÄúWith neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides linked to the increase in pollinator decline, we are writing to urge you, on behalf of our members in your state, to stop misleading and fraudulent advertising of these pesticide products.‚ÄĚ Beyond Pesticides continues, ‚ÄúWe make this request following the settlement reached by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy with Bayer CropScience, announced today, that ends the company‚Äôs deceptive advertising practices on their neonicotinoid-containing lawn and garden products.‚ÄĚ Bayer agreed to change its advertising practices, so that the neonic-containing lawn and garden products are no longer misrepresented by false safety claims. This landmark settlement, filed under the state‚Äôs Consumer Protection Act, is believed to be the first time any major pesticide company has agreed to a court order to address alleged false advertising regarding risks posed by neonic products to honey and native bees, and other pollinator species. ¬†The lawn and garden products subject to the settlement, which include Bayer […]

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24
Oct

Neonicotinoid Insecticide Exposure Reduces Bumblebee Colony Size

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2016) Systemic neonicotinoid (neonic) exposure is associated with reductions in colony size and changes in foraging behavior, according to a recent field study done by a team of scientists at Imperial College London. The senior author of the study, Richard Gill, Ph.D., stated that when neonicotinoid ‚Äúexposure is relatively persistent and combined with other stressors associated with land use change, they could have detrimental effects at the colony level.‚ÄĚ The study, Impact of controlled neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebees in a realistic field setting, assesses the effect of exposure to the neonic, clothianidin, on bumblebee foraging patterns and colony size. Clothianidin was given to 20 buff-tailed bumblebee colonies for five-weeks in a sugar solution at a concentration of 5 parts per billion, an environmentally relevant level of the pesticide. A bumblebee colony census was done before and after the field experiment, where the number of eggs, larvae, pupae, and workers bees were recorded along with the wax and pollen stores in the colony. The researchers found that the clothianidin treated colonies had fewer workers, drones and reproductive female bees compared to the colonies with no exposure. These data add to the growing body of research on sub-lethal […]

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20
Sep

Study Finds Bee Colonies Die-off as the Number of Different Pesticide Exposures Increase

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2016) Honey bee colonies are declining as the total number of pesticide products they are exposed to increases, regardless of the amount of exposure, according to research published last week from scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD). The study aimed to look at honey bee colonies‚Äô exposome, a term traditionally used in cancer research, defined as the measure of all exposures over an individual‚Äôs lifetime and how those exposures relate to health. In their investigation, researchers did not look at individual honey bees but instead treated the colony as a single super-organism, and based results on lifetime exposure to agricultural chemicals. The 91 honey bee colonies studied by researchers were exposed to a total of 93 different pesticide compounds throughout the course of their pollination season. Of these residues, 13 different compounds were found in bees, 61 in beebread (packed pollen within the hive), and 70 were found in wax. Researchers gauged the effect of pesticide exposure not only by looking at the number of pesticides in colonies, but also their toxicological relevance over a specific threshold, as well as through the calculation of a hazard quotient (HQ), which evaluates ¬†the cumulative toxicity of various […]

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30
Aug

Minnesota Governor Issues Executive Order Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2016) Last week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton issued an executive order aimed at reversing pollinator decline in the state by limiting the use of toxic, systemic neonicotinoid (neonics) pesticides. The order tasks state agencies with a range of pollinator protective activities, and follows the completion of a Special Registration Review of Neonicotinoid Pesticides conducted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Given that a change in administration could lead to a rescinding of an executive order, it is critical that advocates continue to pressure for concrete legislative changes that institutionalize bee protective practices. ‚ÄúBees and other pollinators play a critical role in supporting both our environment, and our economy,‚ÄĚ said Governor Dayton. ‚ÄúThis order directs state government to take immediate action to alleviate the known ¬†risks that pollinators face. It also will create a new task force to study the issues impacting pollinators and recommend long-term solutions.‚ÄĚ The executive order directs the Department of Agriculture to immediately initiate steps requiring neonics only be applied when there is ‚Äúan imminent threat of significant crop loss.‚ÄĚ This move applies ¬†to sprays, drenches, or granular applications of neonics, however, and not seed coatings, which will require separate legislative action to […]

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19
Aug

More Evidence Shows Neonics Harm Butterflies

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2016) A study published earlier this week has found that the increasing use of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides is correlated with a steep decline in butterfly health and reproductive success ‚ÄĒ as more neonics are used, butterflies are struggling to survive. This study adds to previous evidence that demonstrates, in addition to bees, neonics can cause serious harm to other important pollinators. The study, Increasing neonicotinoid use and the declining butterfly fauna of lowland California, looks at 67 species of butterfly fauna in the lowlands of Northern California at four sites that were ¬†monitored for approximately 30-40 years. The sites include Suisun Marsh, West Sacramento, North Sacramento, and Rancho Cordova. While controlling for land use and other factors, the researchers found a correlation between butterfly population decline and increasing neonic applications, which also appeared to be more severe for smaller-bodied species. According to the researchers, the results suggest that neonics could influence non-target insect populations when applied nearby. This study contributes to the mounting evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides are linked to pollinator decline. Neonics have increasingly been the subject of studies that highlight a relationship between neonicotinoid exposure ¬†and harmful effects to pollinators. These effects are being […]

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18
Aug

Half of the Total Decline in Wild Bees throughout the UK Linked to Use of Neonics

(Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2016) ¬† Decline of wild bee populations is linked to the use of toxic, systemic neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides used on oilseed rape (canola), according to new research done by a team of scientists at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the United Kingdom. In addition to corn and soybeans, canola is one of the main crops treated with neonicotinoids worldwide. Neonic pesticides have long been identified as a major culprit in bee decline by independent scientists and beekeepers, yet chemical manufacturers like Bayer and Syngenta have focused on ¬†other issues such as the varroa mite. As Beyond Pesticides put it in the spring 2014 issue of Pesticides and You, the issue of pollinator decline is No Longer a Big Mystery, and urgent action is needed now to protect pollinators from these toxic pesticides. Neonics are associated with decreased learning, foraging and navigational ability, as well as increased vulnerability to pathogens and parasites as a result of suppressed bee immune systems. In addition to toxicity to bees, pesticides like neonicotinoids have been shown to also adversely affect birds, aquatic organisms and contaminate soil and waterways, and overall biodiversity. The study, Impacts of neonicotinoid use on long-term […]

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12
Aug

Pesticides Registered by EPA Alter Honey Bee Microbiome

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2016) A new study by a team of scientists at Virginia Tech finds that commonly used in-hive pesticides result in changes to the honey bee gut microbiome. The study, Honey bee gut microbiome is altered by in-hive pesticide exposures, was led by Virginia Tech associate professor of horticulture, Mark Williams, Ph.D., and colleagues from Oregon State University and North Carolina State University. This research, published several weeks ago in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, aimed to determine the microbiome of honey bees (Apis mellifera) after being exposed to three common pesticides. Coumaphos and tau-fluvalinate, both common miticides used in conventional beekeeping, and chlorothalonil, a fungicide commonly detected in hives, were used as pesticide treatments in the study. While this ¬†research contributes to the already established body of science on the complexity of pesticide exposure effects, beekeepers reported the steepest, and then sustained, declines in honey bee populations after the large ¬†increase in ¬†neonicotinoid pesticide ¬†use in the early 2000’s. Beekeepers nationwide suffered ¬†their highest hive losses of 44.1% in the last national survey from April 2015-2016. While it is likely that neonicotinoids are not the sole factor in pollinator decline, they have been found to exacerbate […]

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29
Jul

Study Adds to Findings that Link Prenatal Pesticide Exposure to Lower IQs

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2016) ¬†A study released earlier this week finds lower IQ (intelligence quotient) in children born to mothers who during their pregnancy were living in close proximity to chemical-intensive agricultural lands where organophosphate pesticides were used. This study adds to the body of scientific literature that links prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides with lower IQ‚Äôs in children. Organophosphate pesticides, a relatively older generation of highly neurotoxic pesticides still widely used on farms in California, have been associated with a ¬†broad range of diseases ¬†in both children and adults. ¬†This ¬†latest study ¬†supports health and environmental advocates‚Äô call to eliminate these toxic pesticides in agriculture and move toward safer, sustainable, and organic management practices. The study, titled ¬†Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticide Use and IQ in 7-Year-Old Children, looks at 283 women and children from the agricultural Salinas Valley who are enrolled in the long-term Center for the Health of Mothers and Children in Salinas (CHAMACOS) study. Specifically, researchers looked at pregnant women living within one kilometer of agricultural fields where organophosphate pesticides were used. They found that at age 7, the children of those women had declines of approximately two IQ points and three verbal reasoning […]

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28
Jul

Neonicotinoid Insecticides Affect Bee Reproduction

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2016) ¬† Led by the Institute of Bee Health at the University of Bern, new research finds evidence that two commonly used neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides have a significant adverse effect on the reproductive ability of male honey bees (drones) and queen bees in managed and wild colonies. The study, ¬†Neonicotinoid insecticides can serve as inadvertent insect contraceptives, published in ¬†Royal Society Journal Proceedings B, focuses on the differences in lifespan and viability of sperm throughout exposed and unexposed drones. Since 2006, honey bees and other pollinators in the U.S. and throughout the world have incurred ongoing and rapid population declines from hive abandonment and bee die-off in a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder (CCD). ¬†Neonicotinoids, such as imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, have been found by ¬†a growing body of scientific literature ¬†to be linked to the CCD phenomenon and ¬†pollinator decline in general. While science has become increasingly clear that these ¬†pesticides ¬†play a critical role in contributing to ¬†the ongoing decline of bee health, this is one of the first to look at how these chemicals specifically effect the fertility of male honeybees. In the study, scientists randomly assigned honeybee colonies consisting of drones […]

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30
Jun

Howard County, MD, Plans to Ban Neonics on Parklands

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2016) In a move that goes one step further than the recently passed state-wide bill restricting consumer sales of neonicotinoid (neonics) products, Howard County, Maryland has taken the initiative to restrict the use of neonicotinoids on parklands. The new policy, announced June 16, cites the growing number of studies linking neonicotinoid use to adverse effects on pollinator species. The Department of Recreation and ¬†Parks (DRP) manages approximately 10,000 acres of parkland within Howard County. According to the new policy and procedure, DRP is restricting the use of neonicotinoids, ‚Äúdue to recent research suggesting that there is a link between pesticides that contain neonicotinoids negatively effecting populations of pollinator species, such as; honeybees, native bees, butterflies, moths and other insects.‚ÄĚ Neonics were often used on parklands for grubs on turf, Japanese beetles on trees, ¬†and aphids on flowers and are now prohibited on all County parkland, including sports fields, garden plots, golf course and open space. Exemptions exist for agricultural uses and invasive pest infestations. Read the new neonicotinoid policy. Just this past May, Maryland officially became the first state in the nation to pass legislation ¬†against neonicotinoids. The state legislature passed the ¬†Maryland Pollinator Protection Act […]

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01
Jun

Study Finds Honey Bees Frequently Collect Contaminated Pollen from Non-Crop Plants

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2016) A study ¬†by researchers at Purdue University has concluded ¬†that honey bees collect most of their pollen from non-crop plants that are frequently contaminated with agricultural and urban pesticides. The researchers found this to be true even in places where croplands dominate the area. ¬†The study, which detected neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, fungicides, and others, highlights the large number of toxic pesticides to which bees are exposed to in the environment. Researchers collected pollen from Indiana honey bee hives at three sites over 16 weeks. The hives were placed in a variety of settings, such as an open meadow with wildflowers, woody shrubs and trees present (non-agricultural), the border of a corn field that was treated with the neonicotinoid clothianidin and three fungicides, and the border of a non-treated corn field. The pollen samples that were collected by the bees represented up to 30 plant families and contained residues from pesticides spanning nine chemical classes. The researchers found 29 pesticides in pollen from the meadow site, 29 pesticides in pollen from the treated cornfield, and 31 pesticides in pollen from the untreated cornfield. The most common chemical products found in pollen from each site were fungicides and […]

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12
May

Macalester College Signs Resolution to ‚ÄėBee Protective‚ÄĚ

(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2016) Another campus, Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota has pledged to become a designated BEE Protective campus. This recognition comes from Beyond Pesticides‚Äô and Center for Food Safety‚Äôs BEE Protective Campaign, which aims to protect bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides like neonicotinoids. As part of its ¬†commitment, Macalester College will ¬†no longer use neonicotinoids on its ¬†campus grounds. Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticides known to have severe impacts on bee populations. Macalester is now one of several campuses around the country that have pledged to protect pollinators and move away from using harmful pesticides that are toxic to these beneficial creatures. Just last month, ¬†Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio pledged to become a BEE Protective campus. In addition to these campuses, several local communities and states are also taking a stand for pollinators by passing policies that restrict the use of bee-toxic pesticides. For more on how your campus or student group can support pollinators and become BEE Protective, visit the BEE Protective Ambassadors webpage. ‚ÄúMacalester‚Äôs new resolution to help protect pollinators fits well with our Sustainability Plan and Sustainable Landscaping Master Plan. I‚Äôm glad that our college has this opportunity […]

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03
May

Connecticut Legislature Votes Unanimously to Adopt Pollinator Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2016) In a bipartisan victory for bees, last week the Connecticut House of Representatives unanimously (147-0) passed a wide-ranging bill aimed at protecting declining pollinator populations within the state from toxic neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides. Bill No. 231, An Act Concerning Pollinator Health, was also passed unanimously (36-0) through the Connecticut State Senate on April 21, and now goes to Governor Dannel P Malloy for his signature. Earlier in April, both houses of the Maryland legislature passed the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act, which is currently awaiting action by Governor Larry Hogan (R). Connecticut‚Äôs bill addresses a broad range of concerns relating to pollinator health, from pesticides to parasites and habitat remediation, within both residential and agricultural settings. In summary, the bill does the following: Prohibits applying neonicotinoid insecticide (a) to linden or basswood trees or (b) labeled for treating plants, to any plants when such plant bears ¬† blossoms; Bee health experts identified the application of systemic neonicotinoids to Tilia trees as a significant concern for pollinator health after a spate of massive bee-kill incidents on the west coast. In June 2013, over 50,000 bumblebees were killed after a neonic was applied to a linden trees in […]

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02
May

Study Finds Neonicotinoids Cause Compound-Specific Harm to Bumblebees

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2016) A study published online last week has examined the effects of three neonicotinoids (neonics) on bumblebee colonies, from live bee kills to changed sex ratios. Neonics have been widely cited as contributing to ¬†the demise of both managed and wild bee and pollinator populations. They can cause ¬†changes in bee reproduction, navigation, foraging, and even the suppression of bee immune systems. The study, published in Scientific Reports, looked at field-relevant levels (2.5 parts per billion) of imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin, and found compound-specific effects at all levels, including within individual bee cells, individual bees, and whole colonies in semi-field conditions. Given the limitations of laboratory studies and field studies, researchers conducted a semi-field study to try to recreate and represent real world exposure patterns. The neonics were provided to the bees as an optional supply of sugar syrup, but were free to forage and did need to gather pollen in order to grow and raise offspring. Researchers found that imidacloprid and clothianidin displayed abilities to affect neuronal Kenyon cells, which help with learning, memory and multisensory integration. At the whole colony level, thiamethoxam altered the sex ratio, leaving more males than females. Both imidacloprid and […]

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28
Apr

Antioch College and UMD Pledge to Protect Pollinators

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2016) This week, Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, ¬†became the third university to become a neonicotinoid-free campus. ¬†Antioch College gains recognition from the Beyond Pesticides‚Äô and Center for Food Safety‚Äôs ¬†BEE Protective ¬†Campaign, which seeks to protect honey bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides. Signing the ¬†BEE Protective ¬†resolution, Antioch 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. In addition to joining the Bee Protective Campaign, the Village of Yellow Springs, where Antioch is located, ¬†is ¬†considering an organic land care policy, and Beyond Pesticides is working with the Village to assist with a transition to organic turf care. ‚ÄúAt Antioch College, we have an opportunity, and an urgency, to be change leaders in turning around pollinator decline, exposing misleading research and recognizing the importance of inter-species cooperation. To paraphrase our president Thomas Manley, ‚ÄĚňúIf we are not leaders in discovering and implementing ¬†new and better ways of living ¬†, then what is the point?‚Äô‚ÄĚ said Beth Bridgeman, the faculty member who drove the effort to ban neonicotinoids from campus. Antioch students and staff maintain about […]

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18
Apr

Scotts Miracle-Gro To Eliminate Neonics in Ortho Brand

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2016) Major pesticide manufacturer Scotts Miracle Gro announced on Tuesday that it will immediately being phasing out neonicotinoid insecticides, including imidacloprid, clothianidin, and dinotefuran from its outdoor-use Ortho brand by 2017. Neonicotinoids (neonics) have ¬†consistently been implicated ¬†as a major contributing factor in pollinator declines. They can cause ¬†changes in bee reproduction, navigation, and foraging, and even the suppression of bee immune systems. In its press release, the Ortho brand announced that it was partnering with Pollinator Stewardship Council to help educate homeowners on the “safe and appropriate use of pesticides.” “While agencies in the United States are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it’s time for Ortho to move on.‚ÄĚ Tim Martin, general manager of the Ortho brand said. ‚ÄúAs the category leader, it is our responsibility to provide consumers with effective solutions that they know are safe for their family and the environment when used as directed. We encourage other companies and brands in the consumer pest control category to follow our lead.” Neonics have emerged as the leading class of pesticides responsible for bee decline. While neonicotinoid insecticides have been responsible for high profile bee kills from high doses […]

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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‚Äôs ¬†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‚Äô and Center for Food Safety‚Äôs 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. ‚ÄúFor Villanova, sustainability is not just about energy and recycling,‚ÄĚ said Liesel Schwarz, Villanova‚Äôs Sustainability Manager. ‚ÄúWe 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.‚ÄĚ 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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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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23
Mar

Vermont House Votes to Authorize State Regulation of “Treated Articles,” such as Neonic-Coated Seeds

(Beyond Pesticides March 23, 2016) Last week, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill that authorizes state ¬†regulation of pesticide-treated products, ¬†including ¬†telephone poles and coated seeds, that are exempt from federal pesticide regulations. H.861 is the latest in a string of laws introduced this legislative session in Vermont to address the impact of harmful neonicotinoid insecticides ¬†on Vermont‚Äôs ecology and agriculture, and symbolizes a concentrated effort by the legislature to reverse pollinator declines within the state. If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, the bill will ¬†allow the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate above and beyond current federal laws, which exempt treated articles from regulation completely, and write appropriate rules in response to recommendations from a state Pollinator Protection Committee. The bill, which passed with wide support in the House, gives the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets the authority to regulate ‚Äútreated articles,‚ÄĚ a term coined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to denote products treated with pesticides, such as utility poles, commercial crop seeds, and lumber. Traditionally, EPA gives rulemaking authority over pesticides to states, but that authority does not extend to products pre-treated with pesticides, which, until this point, has posed […]

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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‚Äô 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, ‚ÄúChronic exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide alters the interaction between bumblebees and wild plants, ‚Äúpublished 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‚Äôs 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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