EPA Releases Four Neonicotinoid Risk Assessments for Public Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published preliminary pollinator-only risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran and also an update to its preliminary risk assessment for imidacloprid, which we published in January 2016. The updated imidacloprid assessment looks at potential risks to aquatic species, and identifies some risks for aquatic insects.

The assessments for clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, similar to the preliminary pollinator assessment for imidacloprid showed: most approved uses do not pose significant risks to bee colonies. However, spray applications to a few crops, such as cucumbers, berries, and cotton, may pose risks to bees that come in direct contact with residue. In its preliminary pollinator-only analysis for clothianidin and thiamethoxam, the EPA has proposed a new method for accounting for pesticide exposure that may occur through pollen and nectar. Continue reading

EPA Finalizes Steps to Better Protect Bees from Pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency is releasing a final policy which describes methods for addressing acute risks to bees from pesticides.  Applications of acutely toxic pesticides would be prohibited under certain conditions when bees are most likely to be present.  While the 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.  New label language will protect managed bees under contract to provide crop pollination services.

The final Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products is more flexible and practical than the proposed policy.  For example, a product that retains its toxicity to bees for a shorter time might be allowed to be applied under certain circumstances. Also, in some cases, pesticide application would be allowed when it is unlikely that pollinators will be foraging for crops that have extended bloom periods. The EPA will begin implementing this policy in 2017 by sending letters to registrants describing steps that must be taken to incorporate the new labeling.  Continue reading