Bee-Killing Pesticides Must Be Labeled; Will EPA's New Guideline Make A Difference?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released new pesticide labels in an effort to ban harmful neonicotinoid pesticides in bee-inhabited areas.
"Multiple factors play a role in bee colony declines, including pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency is taking action to protect bees from pesticide exposure and these label changes will further our efforts," Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said, according to an EPA press release.
The new labels will have a "bee advisory box" that will explain methods to minimize harm to bees, such as spray direction and "routes of exposure."
The EPA hopes to put the labels on all products containing "neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam."
The label change will be included in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) safety standard, and the EPA will help pesticide manufacturers meet the requirements.
ENews Park Forest reported the labels fail to address the fact that plants "suck up" these harmful chemicals and release them during pollination. Concerns have also been raised that the new guidelines are impossible to enforce.
Honey bees are important pollinators, and are under attack. An EPA report, released in May, said the insects are threatened by factors such as: "loss of habitat, parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure."
The effort to protect the rapidly disappearing bee population has started to spread.
"Bee colonies [have] decreased from 5 million in the 1940s to only 2.5 million today. At the same time, the call for hives to provide pollination services has continued to increase. This means honey bee colonies are being transported over longer distances than ever before," The Agricultural Research Service Reported.
Recently, National Honey Bee Day focused on training new beekeepers, in hopes of increasing the population of honey-bees.
This year Honey Bee Day had programs in 23 states, according to their website.