Saving The Bees: One Step Forward & Two Steps Back

“The case for greater bee protections has been building in Europe. Several recent reports, including one from the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), indicate that three neonicotinoid insecticides — imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam, produced by Switzerland’s Syngenta and Germany’s Bayer—pose an unacceptable hazard to honey bees…”

Excerpt from Civil Eats-   “Last week, the European Commission announced its position against the use of bee-harming neonicotinoid insecticides, urging nations within the European Union (EU) to impose a two-year suspension on their use. Great news for bees across the pond.

But here in the U.S., policymakers aren’t stepping up. EPA officials are continuing to ignore the emerging body of science that point to pesticides, and especially neonicotinoid insecticides, as a critical factor in bee declines. What’s worse, the agency is poised to approve yet another bee-harming pesticide.

Beekeepers are especially frustrated. As commercial beekeeper Steve Ellis told me last week:

Europe’s decision should be a wake up call for EPA. The agency has a responsibility to protect bees and the livelihood of beekeepers. Unless the agency takes steps to protect pollinators, they are putting agricultural economies and the food system at risk…

…As if bees and beekeepers didn’t face enough challenges, EPA is now poised to add another systemic pesticide into the mix. Dow’s sulfoxaflor is a cousin of neonicotinoids, and impacts the same bee brain synapses (nicotinic acetylcholine receptors). It’s yet another systemic pesticide that would be used on a wide variety of crops like canola, cotton, citrus and vegetables.

Beekeepers are warning that this may be the worst year yet for bee losses. This is saying something, since they’ve reported losses of about 30% since 2006. Bad news for beekeepers, and bad news for crops like almonds that are reliant on bees for pollination…”

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