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Study Finds Majority of “Bee-Friendly” Plants Sold at Garden Stores Contaminated with Bee-Killing Pesticides

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2014) Over half of the “bee-friendly” home garden plants sold at garden supply centers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart have been pre-treated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees, according to a study released yesterday by Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides and allies. The study, Gardeners Beware 2014, shows 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 — a key contributor to recent bee declines. Some of the flowers contained neonic levels high enough to kill bees outright and concentrations in the flowers’ pollen and nectar are assumed to be comparable. Further, 40% of the positive samples contained two or more neonics. Gardeners Beware 2014 is a larger follow up to a first-of-its-kind pilot study co-released by Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides, and other groups last August. The new study expanded the number of samples and number of locations where plants were purchased, and also assessed the distribution of neonic pesticides between flowers and the rest of the plant. “Our data indicate that many plants sold in nurseries and garden […]

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First Colorado “Bee Safe” Neighborhood Established

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 18, 2014) Just in time for Pollinator Week, the Melody-Catalpa neighborhood of Boulder has become the first “bee-safe” locality in Colorado that has pledged to not use neonicotinoids and other systemic pesticides in the community, in an effort to protect bees and other pollinators, and provide safe forage and habitat. Melody-Catalpa joins other small communities across the country in taking a stand against bee decline by committing to not use pesticides toxic to bees and other pollinators. The small community north of Boulder signed a pledge not to use neonicotinoids and similar systemic pesticides, and is buzzing with excitement over earning the distinction. This past spring, the City of Eugene, Oregon became the first community in the nation to specifically ban from city property the use of  neonicotinoid pesticides, citing recent research demonstrating a link between pesticides that contain neonicotinoids and the loss of plant pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, butterflies, moths, and other beneficial  insects. Melody-Catalpa’s grassroots action began earlier this year when three neighborhood residents banded together to sign on about 20 volunteers to go door to door to get more than half of the area’s 389 households to sign a pledge not to […]

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Beyond Pesticides Releases Pollinator-Friendly Seed Directory for Pollinator Week

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2014) Given that plant starts in many garden centers across the country are grown from seeds coated with bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides, or drenched with them, Beyond Pesticides has launched the Pollinator-Friendly Seed Directory, a comprehensive list of companies that sell organic seeds to the general public. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs. As bees suffer serious declines in their populations, we urge people and communities to plant habitat that supports pollinator populations, and have provided information to facilitate this in our BEE Protective Habitat Guide, as well as our how-to guide on managing landscapes with pollinators in mind. Unfortunately, plants are too often grown with hazardous pesticides that either harm pollinators in their cultivation or threaten bees as they pollinate or forage on treated plants. Last summer, a groundbreaking report revealed that many bee-friendly garden plants sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s contain neonicotinoid pesticides with no warning to consumers. Neonicotinoid residues were detected in seven out of thirteen samples (54 percent) of commercial nursery plants. In response to this report, Beyond Pesticides, along with Friends of the Earth and other allies, launched a campaign to tell major retailers to stop […]

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Ontario County, Canada, Takes Stand Against Pesticides Linked to Bee Decline

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 4, 2014)  A county in southern Ontario has become the first Canadian municipality, according to reports,  to temporarily ban a controversial class of insecticides linked to be bee deaths in Canada and around the world. Last week, officials in Prince Edward County passed a motion prohibiting the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on municipal lands, effective immediately. The rural county, nestled in the heart of Ontario’s agricultural heartland, also wants the federal and provincial government to “declare a moratorium surrounding the use of neonicotinoid crop treatments, as soon as possible, pending further study.” The motion requires letters to be sent to several federal and provincial ministers —including the Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, and Health Minister Rona Ambrose— outlining the county’s position. Mounting science has documented the neonicotinoid class of pesticides  as a major factor in bee decline. Neonicotinoids have been shown, even a low levels, to impair foraging, navigational and learning behavior in bees, as well as suppress their immune system to point of making them susceptible to pathogens and disease. Read: No Longer a Big Mystery. These chemicals are also systemic, meaning they contaminate the entire plant, including pollen and nectar, leading to […]

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EPA Rule on Treated Seeds Challenged, Activists Tell Lowe’s to Stop Selling Neonics

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2014) In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) challenged EPA’s position that seeds coated with pesticides, commonly neonicotinoid pesticides, are exempt from regulation  under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA currently is arguing that pesticide-coated seeds are treated articles, exempting them from being regulated as a pesticide and should be regulated by USDA under the Federal Seed Act.   However, CFS argues in its letter that FIFRA precludes EPA from approving language at any stage of the pesticide’s supply chain that allows for exposures likely to adversely affect the environment, and which are not mitigated or investigated by EPA or state agencies. Neonicotinod seed treatments have become increasing common and are linked to the explosion of genetically engineered (GE) crops. At least 94% of the nation’s 92 million acres of corn –greater than the total size of the state of Minnesota, Nebraska, or both Dakotas–  will be treated with one of two neonicotinoids, both manufactured by Bayer. According the letter, CFS believes this inaction by EPA has led state regulators to avoid investigating bee deaths from exposure to dust […]

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Minnesota Passes Bill to Label Garden Plants for Pollinators

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2014) In response to recent public concern over the use of bee-killing systemic insecticides in treated nursery plants, Minnesota has just passed labeling legislation, HF 2798, which will inform consumers which plants are bee-friendly. The move follows a commitment by two Minnesota state agencies to study the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides, which ””given mounting research implicating neonicotinoids in bee declines”” beekeepers claim do not go far enough. Although the bill does not address agricultural neonicotinoid use, it is the first of its kind to ensure that nurseries keep tabs on the insecticides used on garden plants. Under the bill passed by Minnesota’s House and Senate last week, plants may not be labeled as beneficial to pollinators if they have been treated with detectible levels of systemic insecticides. Specifically, “A person may not label or advertise an annual plant, bedding plant, or other plant, plant material, or nursery stock as beneficial to pollinators if the annual plant, bedding plant, plant material, or nursery stock has been treated with and has a detectable level of systemic insecticide that: (1) has a pollinator protection box on the label; or (2) has a pollinator, bee, or honey bee precautionary statement […]

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Pesticides, Not Mites or Pathogens, Major Cause of Honey Bee Decline

Monday, May 12th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2014) A study published in the Bulletin of Insectology substantially undercuts chemical industry arguments that neonicotinoid pesticides are not the primary contributing factor  in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The results find that  hives exposed to low doses of two neonicotinoid pesticides””imidacloprid and clothianidin””do not recover from over winter losses from which  control hives quickly rebound. Researchers also discount other possible causes of CCD commonly touted by industry like diet, parasites, and pathogens. The study adds to the already expansive literature that  clearly links sublethal exposure neonicotinoid pesticides to rapid bee declines nationwide. The study, Sub-lethal exposure to neonicotinoids impaired honey bees winterization before proceeding to colony collapse disorder, was conducted in central Massachusetts during the 2012-2013 winter at three different locations with six bee colonies in each location. A third of the colonies were exposed to low doses of the pesticide imidacloprid, while another third were exposed to the pesticide clothianidin, both neonicotinoids, and the remainders were not treated. At each apiary the colonies were separated into two groups in which honey bees were fed with either sucrose water or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) over the study period. During the fall and winter seasons, researchers found […]

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Industry Campaign and Congressional Hearing Mislead on Bee Decline

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2014) A new report, released this week by author  Michele Simon  and Friends of the Earth  documents the tactics used by Bayer and other pesticide companies to delay regulatory action on neonicotinoid pesticides —a key contributor to bee declines. The report identifies public relations tactics reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry, is now being used by Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto. Meanwhile, a Congressional hearing on pollinator health, with a panel dominated by industry, ignored the risks pesticides pose to pollinators, and failed to address sustainable solutions to bee decline. The report,  Follow the Honey: 7 Ways Pesticide Companies Are Spinning the Bee Crisis to Protect Profits,  uncovers the deceptive public relations tactics used by industry giants Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto, to deflect blame from their products’ contributions to bee declines. The products in question are the chemicals now widely used for seed treatment  —neonicotinoids— as well as on residential sites. They are highly toxic to bees and have been linked to bee decline. Last year, the European Union banned the three most widely used neonicotinoids —imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam— based on strong science indicating these insecticides can kill bees outright and make them more […]

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Multiple Accounts of Honey Bee Death and Damage Continue

Friday, April 25th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2014) Reports of honey bee deaths have been emerging around the nation: from bee deaths in California’s almond groves and ”˜mysterious’ road-side bee deaths in Oregon, to astronomical overwintering losses in Ohio. The reports are intensifying the ecological crises of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) ””a phenomenon typified by the mass abandonment of hives and bee die-off. CCD poses significant issues for many agricultural crops, such as almonds, apples, cherries and blueberries, that are almost completely reliant on honey bees for their pollination services. In California, a total of 80,000 dead or damaged bee hives were reported after pollinating almond trees in the San Joaquin Valley, a region that is known for its agricultural productivity. Beekeepers have pointed to pesticides as the primary culprit. Almond pollination in California requires an army of 1,300 commercial beekeepers from around the nation. However, this year beekeepers have seen higher damages to hives than usual. Damage to the honey bee hives this spring has been so pronounced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) convened an impromptu meeting with beekeepers in Los Banos, California. The meeting brought together 75 beekeepers who testified that 75 percent of their hives showed severe damage […]

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California Bans Controversial d-CON Products as EPA Stalled by Manufacturer

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2014) Highly toxic rodenticides linked to the poisoning of pets, wildlife and young children will no longer be allowed on store shelves in California starting July 1 of this year. According to rules adopted last week by California’ Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR), “second generation anticoagulant rodenticides,” including the chemicals brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone found in d-CON brand products, will be classified as California-restricted materials, and only allowed to be used by certified pesticide applicators. Attempts by the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) to remove these products from store shelves nationwide stalled last year after the manufacturer of d-CON rodenticides, Reckitt Benckiser, sued the agency to delay implementation of the cancellation process. In July of 2011, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife requested CDPR restrict the use of anticoagulant rodenticides due to numerous incidents involving direct and indirect poisoning of wildlife. Anticoagulants impair blood clotting and eventually cause internal bleeding in target animals. However, rodents can feed on poisoned bait multiple times before death (some are even resistant to the chemicals now), and as a result their carcasses may contain residues that are many times the lethal dose. Poisoning can occur to nontarget species when […]

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Minnesota Beekeepers Call on Agency to Suspend Bee-Killing Pesticide

Friday, March 7th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2014) Forty Minnesota beekeepers have called on the state’s Department of Agriculture to suspend the use of corn seeds treated with bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides, now one of the most ubiquitously used insecticides nationwide. Their move follows a commitment by two Minnesota state agencies to study the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides, which””given mounting research implicating neonicotinoids in bee declines””beekeepers claim do not go far enough. Minnesota beekeeper Steve Ellis, owner of Old Mill Honey Co., expressed the petition’s rationale to MPRNews, “Beekeepers in Minnesota last year and in years previous have been reporting mortality events at corn seeding time,” said Mr. Ellis, who has about 2,500 hives in Barrett, Minn. “Apparently the dust is getting off of the corn seeding and going off site and causing poisoning of honey bees on flowers and around their hives.” The petitioners represented more than 10 percent of managed honey bees in the state with a total of 40,000 hives. But many, like Mr. Ellis, are contracted to provide pollinator services to crops around the nation, not just in Minnesota. These crops include cherries, blueberries, pumpkins, apples, and almonds. In California, the $3-billion almond industry spends $239 million annually to rent […]

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Bee Week of Action: Demand Stores Stop Selling Bee-Killing Pesticides

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Thousands participate in bee swarm actions across the country on Valentine’s week (Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2013) ”” This week, over 27,000 people coast-to-coast are swarming Lowe’s and Home Depot stores to support the bees that pollinate our flowers for Valentine’s Day. In a coalition campaign called the Bee Week of Action, Beyond Pesticides, Friends of the Earth and allies are delivering more than half a million petition signatures and Valentines asking these retailers to show bees some love by taking off their shelves pesticides shown to harm and kill bees —and garden plants treated with these pesticides. Beyond Pesticides is partnering with Friends of the Earth U.S., Beelieve, Beyond Toxics, Center for Food Safety, CREDO Mobilize, Friends of the Earth Canada, Northwest Center for Pesticide Alternatives, Organic Consumers Association, Pesticide Action Network, SumOfUs and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation to turn out activists across the country, including larger actions in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston area, and Eugene, Ore. For a listing of cities participating in action, click here. This national week of action is a part of a retail campaign that is calling on retailers to stop selling neonicotinoids —the most widely […]

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“Near-Infinitesimal” Exposure to Neonicotinoids Reduces Bees Ability to Gather Food

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2014) In the midst of another tough winter for bees across the globe, scientists reveal new research showing that exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides causes a 57% reduction in the amount of pollen bumblebees are able to collect for their colony. The new evidence on these systemic pesticides, “Field realistic doses of pesticide imidacloprid reduce bumblebee pollen foraging efficiency,” published in the journal Ecotoxicology, documents a decline in pollen gathering abilities at extremely low doses that bees are likely to encounter in the field. Researchers found that the effects of neonicotinoid intoxication persist for a least a month after exposure, underscoring the long-term damage these chemicals can cause to bee colonies. Hannah Feltham, PhD, research student and co-author of the study, remarked, “This work adds another piece to the jigsaw. Even near-infinitesimal doses of these neurotoxins seem to be enough to mess up the ability of bees to gather food. Given the vital importance of bumblebees as pollinators, this is surely a cause for concern.” After being exposed to “near-infinitesimal” amounts of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid through pollen and sugar water (6 parts per billion and .7 parts per billion, respectively), bumblebees were outfitted with Radio Frequency Identification […]

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Do Something Sweet for Honey Bees This Valentine’s Day!

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2014) No strawberries, no honey — without bees Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be the same. In fact, one out of three bites of food depend on honey bee pollination, but they are in danger from the use of neonicotinoid pesticides that Europe has already banned. We know bees can’t wait any longer for increased protections, so we need to take a stand wherever we can. That’s why we’re asking you to join thousands of people coast-to-coast to swarm Home Depot and Lowe’s stores the week of Valentine’s Day (February 10-16). We’ll be delivering valentines, asking these stores to “show bees some love” and stop selling bee-killing pesticides and garden plants poisoned with these harmful chemicals. Planting season is right around the corner. We can’t let another year pass with Home Depot and Lowe’s selling “poisoned plants” with no warning to consumers. Last year U.S. beekeepers reported a 30-100 percent loss of their hives, and right now they are likely facing another winter of historic bee die-offs. You can help BEE Protective of pollinators during another tough winter season by delivering a Valentine to retailers. We’ve made it easy: Sign up here and we’ll send you a […]

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Oregon Legislation To Restrict Home Use of Bee-Killing Pesticides

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2014) An Oregon state representative, Rep. Jeff Reardon (D-Portland), plans to introduce legislation in February that will effectively ban for home and garden use  certain neonicotinoid pesticides implicated in mass bee deaths this  summer. This legislation is part of the growing national effort to ban or restrict the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Last year, the Save America’s Pollinators Act was introduced by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) to ban the use of neonicotinoids nationally. Rep. Reardon’s legislation would add neonicotinoid pesticides dinotefuran, imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam to Oregon’s restricted pesticide use list. Under Oregon’s pesticide administrative rules,restricted use pesticides can only be applied by licensed pesticide applicators. Pesticide dealers are also required  to keep records of product sales of these pesticides and maintain sales records for at least three years. The legislation would also require the state to implement special training and testing to ensure licensed pesticide applicators know how to minimize risk to   pollinators. “These are dangerous chemicals. People who aren’t willing to take the time and effort to become fully educated should look for alternatives,” Rep. Reardon told The Oregonian. Though this legislation would limit the amount of neonicotinoid pesticides directly applied to lawns […]

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Campaign Urges Walmart to Discontinue Rodent Poison Products EPA Wants Banned

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2013) A national environmental group is supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to protect children by asking national retailers, including Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowe’s, to make the holidays safer for children and stop selling dangerous d-CON rodent bait products. Determined to present unreasonable risks to children and the environment by EPA, the 12 slated-for-cancellation products contribute to the thousands of rodenticide poisonings of children each year. The manufacturer of d-CON products is using a legal tactic to allow the continued sale of the 12 d-CON products, despite an EPA action to ban them. “Walmart and other major retailers should immediately discontinue the sale of these toxic mouse and rat poisons. There are effective alternatives available that do not put children, pets, and wildlife at danger of poisoning and even death,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Early in 2013, EPA issued its Notice of Intent to Cancel the registration of 12 rodenticide products manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser LLC after the company refused to adopt voluntary risk mitigation measures established in 2008. The mitigation measures require products to use bait stations and secured bait forms, instead of loose baits which children […]

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Start of EU Moratorium on Neonicotinoids Puts Focus on US EPA Inaction

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2013) On Sunday, December 1, 2013 the European Union (EU) took critical steps to protect pollinators from the hazards associated with the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Despite attempts by agrichemical corporations, including Bayer, and Syngenta,   to delay or reverse the decision, the two-year, continent-wide ban on bee-harming pesticides has gone into effect. However, what’s happening on the other side of the Atlantic is part of a larger story that raises serious concerns for the future of our food. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the direction of Administrator Gina McCarthy, has put forth inadequate label changes that do not protect pollinators. With the support of   over 60 organizations, Beyond Pesticides has helped launch a coalition-based  national advertising campaign to raise awareness of pollinator declines and urge EPA to stop stalling by enacting substantive restrictions on the use of bee-harming pesticides. Go to save-bees.org to lend your support to these efforts. Neonicotinoids, a relatively new class of pesticides, are often used as a seed coating on agricultural crops. Studies have found that honey bees are exposed to high concentrations of neonicotioid pesticides through the dust that is kicked up when coated […]

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New Study Links Neonicotinoids to Bee Virus

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2013) A team of scientists in Italy believe they have found the molecular mechanism through which neonicotinoid pesticides adversely impacts the immune system of honey bees. The team’s experiments suggest that exposure to neonicotinoids results in increased levels of a particular protein in bees that inhibits a key molecule involved in the immune response, making the insects more susceptible to attack by harmful viruses. Though previous studies have indicated that exposure to minute amount of neurotoxic pesticides like neonicotinoids severely impair the immune systems of bees, making them more susceptible to pathogens, the underlying mechanism has was not yet been fully  understood. The study, Neonicotinoid clothianidin adversely affects insect immunity and promotes replication of a viral pathogen in honey bees, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). This work is the latest of several studies to add weight to the urgency of repeated calls from U.S. beekeeper and environmental groups for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to  suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, as the European Commission recently decided this past April. Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides that includes clothianidin and imidicloprid, are taken up […]

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Study Identifies Garden Plants Most Attractive to Insect Pollinators

Monday, October 21st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2013) A study conducted by Sussex University researchers has identified the garden plants most attractive to  pollinating insects. The study’s findings are important as pollinating insects are declining globally and are facing growing habitat losses. The study also gives vital scientific information to individuals and communities on plants that are most beneficial to pollinators. Although creating pollinator friendly habits is an important step to slowing pollinator population decline, environmental groups and activists are focused on addressing the underlying problem that leads to pollinator population loss: the continuous use of toxic pesticides. The study, Quantifying variation among garden plants in attractiveness to bees and other flower-visiting insects, published in Functional Ecology,  collected data over two summers by counting flower-visiting pollinators on 32 popular garden plant varieties to determine which varieties are more attractive to pollinators. The study found that the most attractive flowers are 100 times more attractive than the least attractive flowers. According to the study, the most attractive flowers are borage, lavender, marjoram, and open-flower dahlias. Majoram was the best all-round flower, attracting honey bees, bumble bees, other bees, hover flies, and butterflies. While information on pollinator friendly flowers is widely available, this study was […]

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Report Finds Pesticides as the Cause of Bee-Kills in Minnesota

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 10, 2013) A recent investigation into the death of thousands of bees last month in Minnesota revealed that fipronil, a widely used insecticide, was to blame. In mid-September, three colonies of bees in Minneapolis were found twitching and dying on the ground. Local apiarist Mark Lucas paints a grim picture of the poisoning event, which he witnessed, recalling that bees inside the hive came “spilling out of the hive as if they were drunk.” University of Minnesota Bee Lab, the University’s Bee Squad, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) carried out the  investigation, taking samples from hives to confirm pesticide poisoning. Indeed, MDA tests found that all three of the affected hives tested positive for the presence of fipronil. Although neonicotinoid pesticides such as clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and imidacloprid have been widely implicated in the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder (CCD), other pesticides are known to adversely affect honey bee health. Fipronil has also been heavily implicated in elevated bee toxicity and decline. Indeed, the European Union (EU) recently put forth a proposal to restrict the use of the pesticide in recognition of the high acute risks it poses to bees. The chemical is widely used for […]

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Scientists Link Pesticide-Related Stress to Bee Colony Collapse

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 8, 2013) Stress brought about by chronic exposure to sublethal levels of neonicotinoid pesticides causes bee colony failure, according to a new study published in the journal Ecology Letters. Scientists at Royal Holloway University of London have determined that low-level exposure to the pesticide imidacloprid at levels bees encounter in the field causes subtle impacts on individual bees that eventually cause colonies to collapse. This breakthrough study underlines repeated U.S. beekeeper and environmental group calls  for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to  suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, as the European Commission recently decided this past April. 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). Studies continue to link a class of systemic pesticides called neonicotinoids to the CCD phenomenon and pollinator decline in general. While scientists have cited multiple chemical and other factors that contribute to degrading bee health, until now no study has shown the internal mechanism within bee colonies that causes collapse. By focusing on chronic sublethal stressors, Royal Holloway researchers have addressed the complexities that […]

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Swarm Home Depot and Lowe’s: Retailers Must Stop Selling Poisoned Plants

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2013) Last month a new report co-released by Beyond Pesticides, Friends of the Earth, and other allies revealed that the neonicotinoids (neonics), the pesticides implicated in global bee die-offs, may be lurking in our own gardens. The study showed that more than half of the “bee-friendly” plants sold at retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s contained these “bee-killing” pesticides.Our coalition and nearly 200,000 people across the country have stepped-up to tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop selling these poisoned plants and off-the-shelf bee-killing pesticides. So far neither company has responded. We need to send a clear message to Lowe’s and Home Depot that it is not okay to further endanger our imperiled pollinators. With beekeepers reporting losses up to 90% last winter, consumers should be able to provide a true sanctuary for honey bees and other pollinators. Join us this week in a social media “swarm” on Facebook and Twitter to send Home Depot and Lowe’s an urgent demand:   “Stop selling bee-killing pesticides and poisoned ”˜bee-friendly’ plants!” I.   Copy and post this message on Home Depot and Lowe’s Facebook pages: Home Depot/Lowe’s: Stop selling bee-killing pesticides and poisoned bee-friendly plants! www.beyondpesticides.org/pollinators/index.php  www.BeeAction.org II. […]

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Canada Declares Farm Use of Neonicotinoids “Unsustainable”

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2013) Last Friday, Health Canada released new measures the agency claims are intended to protect bees from exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides. As with recent regulations proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), beekeepers and environmental groups are criticizing the measures as inadequate, not going far enough to protect domesticated honey bees that both in Canada and the U.S.  have seen losses of over 30% each winter since 2006. Ontario beekeeper Dave Schuit told the CBC, “Basically I see it as a Band-Aid. [The Pest Management Regulatory Agency] should’ve done their study before they approved this pesticide.” Dave Schuit owns Saugeen Country Honey Inc., and reportedly lost 37 million bees last year — more than half of his over 2,000 hives — as a result of exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides. Health Canada’s proposal includes: Requiring the use of safer dust-reducing seed flow lubricants (most corn and soy seed is coated with neonicotinod pesticides before planting and then mixed with a lubricant like talc that creates a toxic  dust in seed planters); Requiring adherence to safer seed planting practices; Requiring new pesticide and seed package labels with enhanced warnings; and Requiring updated value information be provided to […]

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