Pesticide ban is failing to protect suburban bee populations

[This article shows how truly dangerous such pesticides are to sensitive species and even to the future of flowering plants. In the European Union, even after a ban on farming use of neonicotinoids, bees remain under threat from home use. How much greater the peril in the US, where the pesticide lobby and its political agents keep the pesticides flowing freely!]

by Brendan Montague, Ecologist, 25th July 2018

Bees living in suburban habitats are still being exposed to significant levels of pesticides despite the EU ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on flowering crops, new research from University of Sussex scientists shows.

While the introduction of new EU restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid chemicals five years ago has reduced exposure of bees living in farmland, the study found that overall more than half of all pollen and nectar samples collected from bee nests in Sussex, Hertfordshire and Scotland between 2013 and 2015 were contaminated.

The study is the first of its kind to highlight the risk to bees in urban areas posed by garden use of pesticides.

Bee-attractive

The scientists at the University of Sussex are urging gardeners to ditch their bug sprays immediately in favour of encouraging natural predators such as ladybirds or lacewings, and the use of physical methods such as hand-removal of pests, and netting or sticky traps.

Dr Beth Nicholls, postdoctoral research fellow in evolution, behaviour and environment at the University of Sussex and the study’s lead author, said: “Our findings suggest that the EU’s recent decision to extend the neonicotinoid moratorium to include all field crops is likely to have a positive effect on bees, relieving some of the stress on our already struggling pollinator populations.

“However, given that bees in suburban gardens appear to remain at risk post-moratorium, further work is needed to understand the sources of neonicotinoid exposure in these areas and to find ways to reduce it.

“Our study indicates that limiting the public sale and use of neonicotinoid-based bug sprays, which are currently unaffected by the moratorium, is needed if we are to protect bee populations living in and around our towns and cities.”…

read more at Ecologist

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No More Bee-Killing Pesticides

PennPIRG summer newsletter

Bees pollinate everything from strawberries to broccoli to the alfalfa used to feed dairy cows, and without them, our food supply and environment would be at risk.

Even so, Americans spray about 46 million pounds of neonicotinoid pesticides—one of the worst types of bee-killing pesticides in the world, yet also the most widely used—on our gardens and public spaces every year.

Given the consequences, PennPIRG is calling on Pennsylvania to ban the sale of bee-killing pesticides. There is already momentum building: Maryland and Connecticut have both taken important action to limit the use of neonics, and the European Union just voted to completely ban them.

We can, and must, do better. Join us in calling on Pennsylvania to take action to protect bees and our food.

Learn more about our Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides campaign and take action here, including link to a petition to PA Governor Wolf, with the description:

Tell Governor Wolf: Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides

Millions of bees are dying every year, and scientists point to a widely used class of pesticides as one of the main culprits behind these die-offs. We rely on bees to pollinate everything from strawberries to broccoli to the alfalfa used to feed dairy cows.

For the past several years, PIRG and other groups have asked the EPA to ban these pesticides nationwide, and they have failed to do so. Now, to protect bees and our food supply, we’re calling on states to act. Call on Governor Wolf to ban the sale of bee-killing pesticides.

European Union bans bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides

Friends of the Earth, April 27, 2018

Friends of the Earth urges EPA and food retailers to follow

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The European Union (EU) governments today voted to ban the use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides on outdoor crops.

The vote by the EU comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delayed regulatory action on most uses of neonicotinoids until 2018, despite receiving more than six million public comments urging the pesticide be banned in the U.S.

In response to the vote, Tiffany Finck-Haynes, senior food futures campaigner for Friends of the Earth issued the following statement:

“The EU’s groundbreaking ban on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides is a huge win for pollinators, people and the planet. Given the overwhelming body of scientific evidence and overwhelming public concern, EPA as well as leading U.S. food retailers like Kroger should take immediate action and eliminate the use of these toxic pesticides.”

See wehat food retailers are or are not doing in the download Swarming the Aisles II: Rating top retailers on pesticide reduction and organic food to protect pollinators at Friends of the Earth

EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides

by Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 4/27/18

The world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields within six months, to protect both wild and honeybees that are vital to crop pollination

The European Union will ban the world’s most widely used insecticides from all fields due to the serious danger they pose to bees.

The ban on neonicotinoids, approved by member nations on Friday, is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will mean they can only be used in closed greenhouses.

Bees and other insects are vital for global food production as they pollinate three-quarters of all crops. The plummeting numbers of pollinators in recent years has been blamed, in part, on the widespread use of pesticides. The EU banned the use of neonicotinoids on flowering crops that attract bees, such as oil seed rape, in 2013.

But in February, a major report from the European Union’s scientific risk assessors (Efsa) concluded that the high risk to both honeybees and wild bees resulted from any outdoor use, because the pesticides contaminate soil and water. This leads to the pesticides appearing in wildflowers or succeeding crops. A recent study of honey samples revealed global contamination by neonicotinoids….

read more at The Guardian

EPA to Consider Approving Spraying of Bee-killing Pesticide on 165 Million Acres of U.S. Farmland

by Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity, 12/19/17

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will consider allowing the bee-killing pesticide thiamethoxam to be sprayed on the most widely grown crops in the United States. The application, if approved, would allow the highly toxic pesticide to be sprayed directly on 165 million acres of wheat, barley, corn, sorghum, alfalfa, rice and potato.

The proposal by the agrochemical giant Syngenta to dramatically escalate use of the harmful neonicotinoid pesticide came last Friday, on the same day the EPA released new assessments of the extensive dangers posed by neonicotinoids, including thiamethoxam.

“If the EPA grants Syngenta’s wish, it will spur catastrophic declines of aquatic invertebrates and pollinator populations that are already in serious trouble,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health program. “You know the pesticide-approval process is broken when the EPA announces it will consider expanding the use of this dangerous pesticide on the same day its own scientists reveal that the chemical kills birds and aquatic invertebrates.”

Neonicotinoids have long been known to pose serious harm to bee populations. But the new EPA assessments found the commonly used pesticides can kill and harm birds of all sizes and pose significant dangers to aquatic invertebrates.

Thiamethoxam is currently widely used as a seed coating for these crops. This application would allow it to be sprayed directly on the crops, greatly increasing the amount of pesticide that could be used.

The just-released aquatic and non-pollinator risk assessment found that the majority of uses of the neonicotinoid on currently registered crops resulted in risks to freshwater invertebrates that exceeded levels of concern — the threshold at which harm is known to occur….

read more and see links at Center for Biological Diversity

Neonicotinoids: don’t use them!

Why should we not use neonicotinoid insecticides? Because they kill or weaken many beneficial species of insects, including bees. And without bees, we’ll have to do without a lot of fruits and vegetables. Bayer and other manufacturers may not care, but we do.

Friends of the Earth has provided a list of neonicotinoid insecticide brands so that you can to avoid them:

(From the download “A Guide to Saving Bees” at Friends of the Earth.)

It’s almost as if the manufacturers were trying to mask their lethal products under fancy names, isn’t it? Rather than reading microscopic labels or carrying the list around with you, just avoid using pesticides and herbicides. There are many natural ways to protect your flowers and vegetables.

But if you are willing to print and carry the list around, next time you’re in a hardware or garden store, check to see if these objectionable products are on the shelf, and if so, complain to the management!

Tell Bayer to save the honeybee

Petition for League of Conservation Voters members:

TELL BAYER TO SAVE OUR NUMBER ONE FOOD SECURITY GUARD — THE HONEYBEE!

Thank you for taking our quick survey. We at LCV agree that we need Bayer to stop manufacturing their bee-killing chemicals and find safer alternatives. But they will only change their ways if we speak out now.

Please join thousands of LCV members in sending a message to Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers and tell him to stop producing chemicals that are killing our bees!

Your Message

Protect our nation’s food security — stop producing chemicals that kill our bees

Dear Marijn Dekkers,

I am writing to urge you to stop producing the neonicotinoids that are killing our honeybees across the globe.

Honeybees may sound easy to dismiss, but they are directly responsible for pollinating nearly 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including produce like almonds, cranberries, avocados, and apples. In the U.S. alone honeybees pollinate more than one-third of the entire food supply and help to generate more than $15 billion in agricultural production each year!