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EPA Registers New Insecticide Alternative to Neonicotinoids, Safer for Bees

The EPA is registering a new insecticide, flupyradifurone, that is safer for bees. It is expected to be an alternative to more toxic products including certain pyrethroid, neonicotinoid, organophosphate and avermectin insecticides.

As an insecticide, flupyradifurone is unusual in that laboratory-based studies indicate that the compound is practically non-toxic to adult honeybees. Studies show no adverse effect on overall bee colony performance or overwintering ability when compared to untreated colonies.

EPA’s decision meets the rigorous Food Quality Protection Act standard of “reasonable certainty of no harm” to human health. On the basis of protective and conservative human health and ecological risk assessments for the uses of the pesticide, EPA confirmed the safety of the use for the public, agricultural workers and wildlife.  EPA coordinated its evaluation with our counterparts in Canada and Australia.

This decision was one of the first to incorporate newly-required bee studies and involved evaluating the largest number of bee-related studies ever for the registration of a new chemical.  EPA reviewed 437 studies including 38 different tests on bees to analyze the potential exposure and effects of flupyradifurone.  These included evaluation of the sublethal effects of pesticides on all life stages of bees, as well as effects on colony health in field studies. The field studies examined pollinator-attractive crops while bees were actively foraging after the crops had been treated through various application methods (seed, soil and foliar) to demonstrate very high exposure.

Flupyradifurone is registered for a large number of crops such as citrus, cotton, potatoes and many others to protect against piercing and sucking insects such as aphids, whiteflies, thrips, and psyllids, all of which have become increasingly resistant to other pesticides and are difficult to control.  The registration of flupyradifurone will provide growers across the U.S. with a new pest resistance management tool that presents an effective countermeasure to resistance development.  No residential uses have been proposed.

More information on this regulatory action can be found at www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0226-0044.

To learn more about EPA’s actions to protect pollinators, visit our Pollinator Protection website.

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