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EPA proposes to protect bees from acutely toxic pesticides

Proposed restrictions will prohibit use where bees are present for commercial pollination

To further support President Obama’s Federal Pollinator Strategy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing additional restrictions on the use of acutely toxic pesticides during times when bees are most likely to be present.

Applications of acutely toxic pesticides would be prohibited when flowers are in bloom when bees are brought to farms for pollination services. While the proposed restrictions focus on managed bees, EPA believes that these measures will also protect native bees and other pollinators that are in and around treatment areas.

EPA will accept public comments on the proposal starting May 29, 2015.

EPA is also encouraging states and tribes to reduce pesticide exposure by developing pollinator protection plans. The purpose of these plans is to support pollinator health by facilitating local communication among beekeepers, growers and others and to put into place tailored measures to protect pollinators.

Growers routinely contract with honey bee keepers to bring in bees to pollinate their crops that require insect pollination.  Bees are typically present during the period the crops are in bloom. Application of pesticides during this period can significantly affect the health of bees.

These restrictions are expected to reduce the likelihood of high levels of pesticide exposure and mortality for bees providing pollination services. Moreover, EPA believes these additional measures to protect bees providing pollination services will protect other pollinators as well.

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 proposed restrictions would not replace more restrictive, chemical-specific, bee-protective provisions that may already be on a product label. Additionally, the proposed label restrictions would not apply to applications made in support of a government-declared public health response, such as use for wide area mosquito control. There would be no other exceptions to these proposed restrictions.

The list of registered active ingredients that meet the acute toxicity criteria is included as Appendix A of EPA’s proposal.

At this time, EPA is not proposing changes to product labels for managed bees not being used for pollination services.

EPA invites comments on the proposal for thirty-day comment period at www.regulations.gov in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0818.

Read the fact sheet

Read about other actions EPA is taking to protect pollinators: http://www2.epa.gov/pollinator-protection/epa-actions-protect-pollinators

One Response

  1. […] Source: EPA proposes to protect bees from acutely toxic pesticides | IPM in the South […]

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