Bee colonies in the United States have been dying off at a rapid pace, with numerous studies attributing the deaths to neonicotinoid class insecticides. The White House pollinator task force suggested numerous recommendations that failed to adequately address the protection of bees. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new proposal last week intending to create “physical and temporal space” between bees and toxic pesticides.
EPA’s new rules contain only a temporary ban on applications of acutely bee-toxic pesticide products, including neonicotinoid class insecticides, during bloom and when a beekeeper is on site and under contract and does not address a long term solution. The EPA made one label change that removed the 48-hour rule exception, allowing foliar application of pesticides while honey bees were on the property, as long as bee keepers were given notice no less than 48 hours in advance.
The EPA has been criticized by environmental organizations for failing to take adequate measures to protect pollinators from neonicotinoid seed treatments, defined as seeds that have been coated in these harmful pesticides before planting. Planting of neonicotinoid treated seeds creates a toxic dust that can drift and harm non-target species in surrounding areas and has been blamed for milk weed plant eradication in the mid west areas. The organization has focused on short term temporary solutions rather than looking at the long term impact of pesticide contamination.
The proposed restrictions would apply to all products that have:
Liquid or dust formulations as applied;
Foliar use (applying pesticides directly to crop leaves) directions for use on crops; and
Active ingredients that have been determined via testing to have high toxicity for bees (less than 11 micrograms per bee).
The Public may comment on the EPA’s recommendations until the 29th of June 2015: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0818-0003