A Win for the Bees: EPA Bans Certain Pesticides Near Colonies

The EPA will require re-labeling of certain pesticides, prohibiting their use around areas where bees are active.

by Dani Yokhna

Click for larger view.The EPA banned use of certain pesticides around areas with bee activity. Image courtesy U.S. EPA (HobbyFarms.com)
Click for larger view.

In an ongoing effort to protect bees and other pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present. 

“Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides,” says Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure and these label changes will further our efforts.” 

The new labels will have a bee advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray drift precautions. The announcement affects products containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. The EPA will work with pesticide manufacturers to change labels so they meet the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) safety standard.

In May 2013, the USDA and EPA released a comprehensive scientific report on Honey-bee health, showing scientific consensus that there’s a complex set of stressors associated with Honey-bee declines, including loss of habitat, parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition, and pesticide exposure.

The EPA continues to work with beekeepers, growers, pesticide applicators, pesticide and seed companies, and federal and state agencies to reduce pesticide drift dust and to advance best-management practices. The agency recently released new enforcement guidance to federal, state and tribal enforcement officials to enhance investigations of beekill incidents.

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