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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Pollinators' Category


24
Jun

Ask Congress to Stop EPA Actions that Threaten Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2019) During “Pollinator Week,” last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency betrayed its responsibility to protect the environment and approved “emergency” uses of sulfoxaflor, a bee-toxic insecticide, in 11 states on millions of acres of crops that are attractive to bees. Sulfoxaflor is functionally identical to the neonicotinoid class of systemic pesticides, which are readily absorbed and translocated into the plant tissues, including its pollen and nectar. These insecticides are substantial contributors to the dramatic decline of pollinators and what is now recognized as a global insect apocalypse. Ask Your Elected Members of Congress to Tell EPA that Its Actions Are Unacceptable and Must Be Reversed In 2015, beekeepers sued to suspend the use of sulfoxaflor. A year later, in 2016, the chemical’s registration was amended with the specific exclusion of crops such as cotton and sorghum that attract bees, essentially acting as an aromatic draw to poison. However, EPA regularly utilizes the “emergency exemption” rule under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to circumvent these restrictions. The Center for Biological Diversity reports, “Ten of the 11 states have been granted the approvals for at least four consecutive years for the same ’emergency.’ Five have […]

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21
Jun

Get Active in Your Community to Protect Declining Pollinators

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2019) As Pollinator Week 2019 comes to a close, Beyond Pesticides is encouraging individuals to take steps in their backyard and community to Bee Protective of pollinator populations. The situation for pollinators and the insect word is dire, but there are a range of activities that can be taken in both the short and long term to shore up populations where you live. If you’re working towards positive change on pollinators, or simply want to know more about how to get involved, join the Pollinator Week #ProtectPollinators twitter chat today at 12 noon ET. ManageSafe Pest problems are a part of everyday life. But the first step in addressing them should never be reaching for a hazardous pesticide. To protect you and your family from pests while also protecting pollinators visit Beyond Pesticides Managesafe website.  Start by selecting the location of your pest problem – whether indoors or out, and click through to choose the pest in question. If the pest problem you’re dealing with isn’t listed there, reach out to Beyond Pesticides at [email protected] for one on one assistance. One of the biggest impacts we can make for the health of pollinators is to forgo […]

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20
Jun

Customers Demand Kroger Stop Selling Food Grown with Bee-killing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2019) To mark National Pollinator Week (June 17-23), more than 10,000 people across the country are joining to demand that Kroger (NYSE: KR) help stop the extreme decline of pollinators. Customers are delivering letters to stores asking the nation’s largest conventional grocery store to eliminate pollinator-toxic pesticides from its food supply chain and increase domestic organic food offerings to help stop the catastrophic decline of pollinators and other insects. Pollinators and other insects could go extinct within a century, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems,” the first comprehensive global meta-analysis of insect decline states. This is largely due to the widespread use of neonicotinoids and other toxic insecticides in industrial agriculture. “Systemic neonicotinoid insecticides and the broad range of pesticides that harm people and pollinators have no place in our food supply,” said Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides. “Kroger customers are asking the company to be part of the solution to the pollinator crisis by eliminating hazardous pesticides and expanding organic options.” “To avoid the ‘bee apocalypse’ it is critical that Kroger immediately commit to stop selling food with pollinator-toxic pesticides,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, pesticides and pollinators program manager at […]

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19
Jun

Loophole “Emergency” Use of Bee-Toxic Sulfoxaflor Approved During Pollinator Week

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2019) On June 17, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) once again approved “emergency” uses of sulfoxaflor, a bee-toxic insecticide, on millions of acres of crops that are attractive to bees. Sulfoxaflor is functionally identical to the neonicotinoid class of systemic pesticides, which are readily absorbed and translocated by the plant, including its pollen and nectar. These insecticides are substantial contributors to the dramatic decline of pollinators and what is now recognized as a global insect apocalypse. In 2015, beekeepers sued to suspend the use of sulfoxaflor. A year later, in 2016 the chemical’s registration was amended with the specific exclusion of crops such as cotton and sorghum that attract bees, essentially acting as an aromatic draw to poison. EPA regularly utilizes the “emergency exemption” rule under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to circumvent these restrictions. The Center for Biological Diversity reports, “Ten of the 11 states have been granted the approvals for at least four consecutive years for the same ‘emergency.’ Five have been given approvals for at least six consecutive years.” The EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has recognized the broad misuse of Section 18. A 2018 report from OIG notes […]

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18
Jun

Industrial Agriculture Practices Contribute to the Insect Apocalypse

(Beyond Pesticides, June 18, 2019) As the New York Times wrote in November 2018, “The Insect Apocalypse is Here.” But can we reverse it? Pollinator Week this year is overshadowed by a greater, all-encompassing crisis that spans the entire insect world. Scientists and researchers have identified three broad contributors to the crisis: pesticide use, habitat destruction, and climate change. It is evident that multi-national agrichemical industries, companies like Bayer Monsanto, DowDupont, Syngenta, and the umbrella organization Croplife, that pervade our food system share much of the blame. But through public pressure and consumer choice, we can shift towards alternative products and practices, improve biodiversity, and begin to repair the damage done by industrial agriculture. Pesticide Use Industrial agricultural often places pesticide use as the first tool in the toolbox of possible fixes to pest problems. This leads to a range of deleterious impacts both up and down the food chain, as both prey and predator succumb to the effects of broad spectrum pesticides. Although it makes common sense that pesticides kill off more than their target insect, the scale of the problem was not realized until a study was published in PLOS One by German researchers. It found, after 27 […]

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17
Jun

Be a Hero for Pollinators: Ask Your U.S. Rep to Co-Sponsor the Saving America’s Pollinators Act

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2019) During Pollinator Week, starting June 17, ask your elected representative in Congress to support pollinators by co-sponsoring Saving America’s Pollinators Act (SAPA). If they are already a cosponsor, use the occasion to thank them for their leadership on this critical issue. With the ongoing saga that is the pollinator crisis, we know who the villains of this story are: Bayer, Syngenta, Croplife America, and other multi-national companies that produce, promote, and protect pollinator-toxic pesticides. But where are the heroes?  Pollinator Week should be a week-long celebration of pollinators and the benefits they provide for people and the environment. Unfortunately, we must point out that the wrongdoers are running the show, and our fluttering friends are disappearing. Chemical corporations use this week to greenwash their products by sponsoring outreach events that completely ignore their role in unprecedented pollinator declines. Don’t be fooled by their disguise. We know that real solutions won’t come from a masked crusader. It won’t be a singular superhero that saves the day. In order to fight the fiendish forces behind the global insect apocalypse, we need a mass mobilization of everyday heroes. Heroes like you can inspire good in your elected officials. Ask your […]

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14
Jun

Gear Up for Actions to Protect Pollinators during Pollinator Week, June 17 – 22

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2019) Next week, June 17–22, marks Pollinator Week 2019, a celebration of the beauty and benefits these critical species provide, but also a call to action to protect pollinators and the natural world. Since United States Senate declared the first Pollinator Week in 2007, nearly every week since there has been new research published linking pesticides to pollinator declines. Yet the companies that produce pollinator-toxic pesticides, like Bayer and Syngenta, make use of this week to excuse their products from any culpability. Instead, they sponsor events and posters, discussing every threat to bees except those posed by the pesticides that make up their bottom line. They are the villains in this story, but there is no superhero in line to save bees, butterflies, birds, and bats.  That’s why it’s up to you, everyday heroes that support protecting pollinators, to alert the public, and inspire good in elected officials. We’ve outlined a week of actions aimed at educating and inspiring action to protect pollinators. Monday Support the New Saving America’s Pollinators Act (SAPA), HR1337. SAPA represents the best opportunity to enact meaningful changes at the federal level that will protect pollinators in the long term. This bill, […]

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10
Jun

Take Action: Support Legislation to Protect Pollinators and Ecosystems of National Wildlife Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2019) On May 20, U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez, with 18 co-sponsors, introduced H.R. 2854, “To amend the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 to prohibit the use of neonicotinoids in a National Wildlife Refuge, and for other purposes.” The bill follows an August 2018 Trump administration announcement that reversed a 2014 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision to ban neonicotinoid insecticides on National Wildlife Refuges. Tell members of Congress to protect biodiversity by co-sponsoring HR 2854, which reinstates the 2014 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ban on neonicotinoid pesticide use in wildlife refuges that was reversed by the Trump administration in 2018. The administration’s action threatens not only pollinators, but contributes to the attack on biodiversity worldwide. “These pollutants upset the delicate ecosystems of our Wildlife Refuges and they have no place in our public lands,” said Rep.Velázquez. “The ban’s revocation comes as mounting evidence suggests the chemical has damaging environmental effects on bees and other pollinators, undermining the national wildlife system,” she continued. In 2014, FWS announced that all National Wildlife Refuges would join in the phase-out of neonics (while also phasing out genetically engineered crops) by January 2016. FWS “determined that prophylactic use, such as […]

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30
May

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service To Consider Monarch Butterfly Endangered Status, Amid Staggering Declines and Threat of Legal Action

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2019) Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) agreed to a 2020 deadline for reaching a decision on protection status for monarch butterflies under the Endangered Species Act. This agreement comes nearly five years after the filing of a petition by conservationists with the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety led to the launch of an ongoing status review in 2014. While FWS deliberates, monarch butterflies continue their staggering, decades-long population decline, perhaps for the last of their decades. In the 1990s, the eastern monarch population numbered nearly one billion butterflies, and the western population numbered more than 1.2 million. Last year’s winter counts recorded around 93 million eastern monarchs and fewer than 200,000 western monarchs. That loss is “so staggering that in human-population terms it would be like losing every living person in the United States except those in Florida and Ohio,” Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement to Live Science. Recent studies project that if current trends continue, both eastern and western monarch populations face migratory collapse within the next 20 years. FWS is no stranger to the threats facing monarch […]

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23
May

Fulfilling Legal Settlement with Limited Scope, EPA Cancels Twelve Neonicotinoid Products

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2019) On Monday in the conclusion of a lawsuit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final notices of cancellation on the registration of twelve neonicotinoid pesticide products in the Federal Register, each of which contains chlothianidin or thiamathoxam as an active ingredient. The decision to pull these products from the market was required as part of a legal settlement under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in December 2018 of a successful case, Ellis v. EPA, brought by beekeeper Steve Ellis and a coalition of other beekeepers and environmental groups, including Beyond Pesticides. The case establishes a legal precedent in which the court required action to address the bee-toxic effects of pesticides; however, the effect of the settlement and its impact on overall neonicotinoid and other systemic insecticide use is limited. For all but two of the twelve canceled products, a nearly identical surrogate remains actively registered. Furthermore, the fact remains that there are hundreds more products containing the active ingredients targeted by the lawsuit that have not been removed in any capacity – 106 products containing clothianidin and 95 containing thiamethoxam remain untouched on the market. Breaking down the impacts of the EPA ruling even […]

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06
May

Flight Distance of Bumblebees Impaired by Pesticide, Leads to 87% Decline in Accessible Forage Area

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2019) Beleaguered pollinators deal with a multitude of human-engineered threats: habitat fragmentation and loss via development and agricultural intensification, ecosystems and food sources tainted with toxic synthetic pesticides, and shrinking food sources via habitat and biodiversity loss. Research out of the Imperial College of London shows that such challenges are exacerbated, for bumblebees, by another impact of pesticide exposure — impaired flight endurance and dynamics. Published in the journal Ecology and Evolution in late April, ”Pesticide exposure affects flight dynamics and reduced flight endurance in bumblebees” examines how acute exposure to the neonicotinoid imidacloprid affects the nature of bumblebee foraging flight. The study’s researchers find that worker bumblebees so exposed exhibit significant diminishment of flight endurance — measured as both distance and duration — to approximately one-third of what control workers demonstrate. This new information, aggregated with the many other factors that threaten pollinators, points to the importance of ending the use of chemical controls, such as the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, and transitioning to organic systems of agricultural pest management that do not rely on toxic compounds that harm wildlife, ecosystems, water resources, and humans. Previous research has shown numerous impacts of pesticide exposure on bumblebees, and of neonicotinoid exposure, in […]

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03
May

State Court Upholds the Right of Local Governments in Maryland to Restrict Pesticides on All Lawns in Their Jurisdiction

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2019) A Maryland Court of Special Appeals yesterday ruled that Montgomery County, Maryland has the right to restrict pesticides, under a 2015 landmark law, on all lawns and landscaped property in its jurisdiction more stringently than the state. This decision reverses a lower Circuit Court decision and upholds local democratic decision making in the face of a challenge by the industry groups representing lawn care companies and chemical manufacturers. Nine organizations, including Beyond Pesticides, filed an Amicus brief in support of the county law. The chemical industry has fought for nearly three decades to suppress the right of local governments in the U.S. to protect public health and safety with pesticide law, having successfully lobbied 43 states to preempt their local political subdivisions’ authority. Seven states uphold local authority, including the state of Maryland, which has affirmed in its legislature the rights of localities by rejecting preemption legislation on numerous occasions. According to Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, “This is an important win for the local organic land management movement sweeping the country, as local elected officials embrace practices that protect the health of people and the environment.” The attorneys for the county expect that industry groups […]

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30
Apr

Study Findings on Pollinator Declines: Neonics Increase Honey Bee Vulnerability to Mites

(Beyond Pesticides, April, 30, 2019) According to the latest blog post from pesticide industry propagandist Henry I Miller, the pollinator crisis either a) is not occurring; b) is not a problem; or, c) caused by varroa mites, pathogens, and habitat loss. Notwithstanding outlandish assertions that there is no pollinator crisis, new research is further undermining the long-held industry claim that it is mites and disease alone, and not pesticides that are harming pollinator populations. Published in the journal Scientific Reports by a team of Canadian scientists, this research finds that realistic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides impairs honey bees ability to groom mites off of their bodies and increases infection with a disease known as deformed wing virus (DWV). “When bee colonies began to collapse years ago, it became clear there wasn’t just one factor involved, so we were interested in whether there was an interaction between two of the main stressors that affect bees: varroa mites and a neurotoxic insecticide, clothianidin,” said Nuria Morfin Ramirez, PhD, at the University of Guelph, Canada. Dr. Ramirez and her team exposed honey bees to a range of different concentrations (low, medium, high) of the neonicotinoid clothianidin, with some bees receiving combined stressors of […]

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22
Apr

Planting Clover This Earth Day

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2019) This Earth Day, please join us in celebrating, propagating, and educating about a misunderstood and beneficial plant: clover.  Clover: Provides your lawn with enough nitrogen to eliminate any need for ecologically hazardous synthetic fertilizers Acts as an important food source for declining pollinator populations Attracts earthworms and other beneficial soil microorganisms Remains green year-round Resists drought Helps your lawn resist disease A little history: “White clover used to be a standard ingredient in every grass seed mix; 75 years ago no one planted a lawn without mixing a little white clover in with the grass seed,” recounts Roger Swain, host of PBS’ The Victory Garden. After World War II, as the middle class grew and moved to suburban communities, chemicals developed during wartime found new uses on U.S. lawns. Chief among them was 2,4-D – an herbicide originally developed with the intent to wipe out potatoes in Germany and rice crops in Japan in a plan to starve the Axis powers into surrender. While 2,4-D was never used for that purpose, its ability to kill broadleaf plants while sparing grass species made it desirable on the farm for removing weeds around crops like wheat, corn, and […]

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19
Apr

Neonicotinoid Insecticides Found to Disrupt Insects’ Vision and Flying Ability

(Beyond Pesticides, April 19, 2019) Flying insects exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides or its breakdown products experience visual impairment and difficulty flying, according to a study published in the journal NeuroToxicology by researchers at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. While at face value these impacts may sound non-lethal, any loss of fitness in the wild can make flying insects an easier meal for their predators. “Our findings suggest that very low doses of the pesticide or its metabolic products can profoundly and negatively affect motion detection systems that flying insects, such as locusts, grasshoppers and bees, need for survival,” said Jack Gray, PhD, an expert in neural control of animal behavior at the University of Saskatchewan. Researchers used locusts as proxies for other flying insects, as the visual processing in their brains is easy to track in laboratory settings. Moreover, as study co-author Rachel Parkinson notes, “Bees and other flying insects use similar neural mechanisms to process visual motion,” making the implications of this study applicable to a wide range of other airborne insects. And rather than simply focus on the effects of exposure to a single active ingredient, researchers also studied whether its breakdown products (metabolites) resulted in similar impairment. […]

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12
Apr

Fish and Wildlife Service Sued for Failure to Disclose Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticides and GMO Crops in Wildlife Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2019) The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) announced on April 3 that it is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for its failure to release public records, despite multiple FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, that would reveal on-the-ground impacts of FWS allowing use of neonicotinoids and genetically engineered (GE) crops in wildlife refuges. Last August, in yet another rollback of protections for wildlife, the environment, and public health, the Trump administration reversed a 2014 FWS decision to ban the use of neonicotinoids and GE crops in National Wildlife Refuges. If successful, the CBE lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, would compel the agency to provide the requested documents. This would allow the public, largely through the work of NGO (non-governmental organization) watchdogs, such as CBD and Beyond Pesticides, to understand what harms are being caused on the nation’s protected public lands by the administration’s reversal of the 2014 ban. Hannah Connor, a CBD senior attorney, said, “The goal of the lawsuit is to get them to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and produce the records that have been requested. . . . We aren’t asking them to […]

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19
Mar

Not Just Bumble and Honey: Ground Nesting Bees Impaired by Neonicotinoid Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, March 19, 2019) Research is beginning to explain how systemic neonicotinoid insecticides affect often overlooked species of ground nesting bees. While much of the current scientific literature has focused on the impacts of pesticides to bumblebees and honey bees, a study, Chronic contact with realistic soil concentrations of imidacloprid affects the mass, immature development speed, and adult longevity of solitary bees, recently published in Scientific Reports, confirms that wild, soil-dwelling bees are at similar risk. As policy makers consider ways to protect pollinators, this research finds that uncontaminated soil is an important aspect of ensuring the health of wild, native bees. “This is an important piece of work because it’s one of the first studies to look at realistic concentrations of pesticides that you would find in the soil as a route of exposure for bees,” said Nick Anderson, co-author of the study. “It’s a very under-explored route, especially for some of the more solitary species that nest in the ground.” In order to study the impact of neonicotinoids on ground nesting bees, researchers used orchard mason bees and leafcutter bees as proxies, as they are easier to gather and rear in the lab, and have a similar ecology […]

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13
Mar

Pesticide Exposure Alters Gene Expression in Bumblebees

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2019) A study on the impact of two neonicotinoid pesticides shows differential gene expression in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) after exposure. Considering the current worldwide plight of insects, the authors of point to the cutting edge research as both a reason and a methodology to more carefully examine the effects of pesticides. “Caste- and pesticide-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticide exposure on gene expression in bumblebees” was published in the journal Molecular Ecology in early March. Researchers fed variable colonies with clothianidin or imidacloprid-laced sucrose. They analyzed gene expression in the heads of worker bumblebees and colony queens using RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), inspired by biomedical techniques. This approach allowed for new insight on what genes and pathways are affected by neonicotinoid exposure. Study author Yannick Wurm, PhD, stated in a press release, “Our work demonstrates that the type of high-resolution molecular approach that has changed the way human diseases are researched and diagnosed, can also be applied to beneficial pollinators. This approach provides an unprecedented view of how bees are being affected by pesticides and works at large scale. It can fundamentally improve how we evaluate the toxicity of chemicals we put into nature.” Clothianidin had a stronger […]

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26
Feb

Take Action: Ask the Largest Food Retailer to Lead the Way and Stop Selling Food Grown with Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2019) Breakfast cereal, apples, applesauce and pinto beans made and sold by Kroger contain residues of toxic pesticides linked to a range of series health and environmental problems, according to a residue study by Friends of the Earth. This is alarming. Kid-friendly food like applesauce and Cheerios should not contain dangerous pesticides. Kids are the most vulnerable to these pesticides and shouldn’t be exposed to brain-damaging or cancer-causing pesticides when they eat their breakfast or snacks. The connection between pesticides and cancer, learning disabilities, and other diseases is supported by hundreds of studies in Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database. These new tests, which corroborate numerous residue studies, mean that Kroger customers may be purchasing food with the intent of providing safe and healthy food for their families, but end up unknowingly exposing them to toxic pesticides. Join the national week of action by either delivering a letter to Kroger in person, or sending an email to Kroger Chief Executive Rodney McMullen. The pesticides found in Kroger’s food are harmful to human health and pollinators. Friends of the Earth found residues of cancer-causing glyphosate, brain-damaging organophosphates, and bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides. Organophosphates can cause damage to children’s developing brains, including reduced IQ, loss […]

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21
Feb

EPA Loophole Allows Expanded Use of Bee-Toxic Chemical

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2019) In 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved 16.2 million acres of crops to be sprayed with the bee-toxic insecticide sulfoxaflor under an emergency exemption. Sulfoxaflor was used in 18 different states on cotton and sorghum — plants known to attract bees. In response to a lawsuit headed by beekeepers, the EPA reclassified sulfoxaflor in 2016 and, recognizing its toxicity to bees, prohibited use on crops that draw in these pollinators. However, Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) gives the EPA authority to permit temporary emergency use of unapproved pesticides. This loophole is used regularly in response to predictable stressors. “Emergency” use was approved 78 times for sulfoxaflor on sorghum and cotton between 2012-2017. Sulfoxaflor is a systemic insecticide that acts similarly to neonicotinoid pesticides. After application, the chemical is absorbed and distributed throughout the plant, including pollen and nectar. These kinds of chemicals are selective agonists of insects’ nicotinic acetylcholine receptors—they bind to the receptor and cause it to activate. The impact on foraging bees is sublethal, but devastating on a population level. Even at low levels, sulfoxaflor impairs reproduction and reduces bumblebee colony size. Sufloxaflor is functionally identical to […]

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14
Feb

Bavarians Gather Enough Petition Signatures to Advance Legislation to Save the Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2019) Over the course of the last two weeks in Bavaria – a southern state of Germany – locals rallied in an effort to save the bees. Braving the cold in eye-catching bee outfits, a broad coalition of activists collected over a million signatures (the necessary 10% of the state’s eligible voters) to move a petition into legislature. The petition pushes forward changes in farming practices to support pollinators; while bees are the charismatic champion of the campaign, changes will support biodiversity in general. Now that signatures are gathered, the state parliament has three months to handle citizens’ requests. Then, parliament can either accept the proposal as is or put it to a statewide referendum. In a statewide referendum, there will be a “yes” or “no” vote by a simple majority, with government bound by the result. A central motion within the petition is to increase percentage of organic farmland from 10% to 30% by 2030. This number is based on the global movement to conserve 30% of the world by 2030 in order to avoid environmental catastrophe. Proponents of the petition suggest that the demand for organic products is higher than current Bavarian capabilities, and that the […]

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12
Feb

Study Predicts Demise of Insects within Decades if Pesticide Dependence Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2019) A new systematic review of insect population studies worldwide reports on “the dreadful state of insect biodiversity in the world, as almost half of the species are rapidly declining and a third are being threatened with extinction.” The study concludes with the dire prediction that insects as a whole will go extinct in the next few decades if patterns of intensive agriculture, in particular pesticide use, continue. The review, published in Biological Conservation, analyzes 73 insect population studies conducted within the past 40 years, filtered to include only those that quantitatively assess all insect species within a taxa over a span of 10 or more years. Researchers Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, PhD and Kris A.G. Wyckhuys, PhD uncover the disturbing truth behind this mass of data: one in every three insect species monitored worldwide is threatened with extinction. Even more concerning is the finding that 41% of insect species worldwide are in decline, outpacing the more well-publicized vertebrate declines by 200%. Only a few species are expanding in range or occupying vacant niches – not nearly enough to compensate for the massive losses. In 8% of the studies in the review, citizen science data is analyzed in […]

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07
Feb

Study Finds State Pollinator Protections Fall Short

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2019) A new study, released in Environmental Science and Policy, systematically reviews all state-level pollinator protection acts passed since 2000 and makes a somewhat dim diagnosis: as a rule, state policies fall far below the mark for protecting invaluable ecosystem services and ensuring long-term, sustainable food production. Authors judge the legislation against a set of pollinator protection policy benchmarks established in 2016 by a group of scientists from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Citing the ten policy recommendations laid out by IPBES experts, researchers point to the failure of all enacted state policies to address three main target areas – (1) to improve genetically modified crop risk assessment, (2) to incentivize farmers to make the switch from agrochemical dependence to sustainable benefits from ecosystem services, and, critically, (3) to support diversified farming systems. Beyond Pesticides notes one additional missed target: (4) funding for research on organic, diversified, and ecologically intensified farming. The study includes a total of 109 state laws passed from 2000 to 2017, which authors tracked down by searching usa.gov and state legislative websites and by submitting requests to state librarians. To uncover common themes and patterns among these […]

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