Wham, Banned, Thank You Ma’am!
Yesterday, it was announced that neonicotinoids are going to be banned in The Netherlands. The exciting news has gone viral as beekeepers and environmentalists rejoice!
“Dutch parliament wants a total ban on pesticides containing neonicotinoids. This poison is dangerous to bees and other pollinators such as bees and contributes to the massive bee deaths. A majority of the Court today rallied behind motions of the Party for the Animals for a national ban on the use of this venom in agriculture and retail sales.” – Party for the Animals
Smaller Garden Centers In Twin Cities Ban Sale Of Neonicotinoids
Although there has been global pressure on retail giants such as Lowe’s and Home Depot to ban the sale of products containing neonicotinoids, small garden centers have stepped up to the plate. Many local garden centers in the area have made the decision to ban products containing neonicotinoids as well as plants treated with them opting to purchase from growers who do not use these chemicals.
Want To Avoid Neonics? Move Your Bees!
Last fall the EPA published a new pesticide label originally for the foliar application of four neonicotinoid pesticides. By December, the EPA stated this new pesticide label language would be “harmonized” across all chemistries. The label was meant to protect pollinators. However, beekeeping advocates have argued that the new label language was designed to protect industry.
Recently, The Pollinator Stewardship Council with the Bee Industry, sought a response from EPA’s Assistant Administrator clarifying concerns with the new label.
“The Pollinator Stewardship Council received an answer from EPA, and Mr. Dave Hackenberg, representing the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, received a different letter from EPA (even though both groups along with AHPA and ABF signed the original letter). Both reply letters are attached. (Here is the full letter: Beekeepers Must Move Bees- March 17, 2014-2)
The Office of Investigations for EPA stated in a letter to the Pollinator Stewardship Council, they will review our concerns and “a determination will be made as to the most appropriate course of action.” In the response to Mr. Hackenberg, Assistant Administrator Jones clarifies that contrary to the December EPA webinar this new label language is for the “four products formulated with the four nitroguanidine neonicotinoid chemicals (clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam) as well as two recently registered as active ingredients: tolfenpyrad and cyantraniliprole.” These last two pesticides are an addition to the original label adjustments presented August 15, 2013 by EPA for foliar applied neonics only. As to the concerns beekeepers expressed about the five conditions listed on the label past the “do not apply statement:” EPA stated to Mr. Hackenberg, “Both of the foregoing prohibitions, however, are subject to the exception listed in the “unless . . .” clause.” “. . . application would be legal if one of the five conditions is met . . .”
The bee industry has its answer: any harm that comes to a beekeeper’s managed colonies due to a foliar application of clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, tolfenpyrad, and cyantraniliprole is the responsibility of the beekeeper. If bees are damaged or die due to a foliar application of a those products during bloom, and the application was made based on one of the five conditions, the fault of bee deaths lies with the beekeeper. Beekeepers must move their bees. No clarification was provided by EPA on what constitutes notifying a beekeeper to move their bees, if a State has a voluntary apiary registry program, or for the loss of a honey crop or crop pollination if bees are to be moved. The cost of time, labor, and loss of honey crop will be shouldered by the beekeeper.
The Pollinator Stewardship Council has attached an analysis of the new pesticide label. While EPA has clarified the “conditions” will supercede the “do not apply” statement, the label still has undefined terms, features an icon that defies culturally accepted warnings, and native pollinators will continue to be harmed and killed. Again, the EPA now states the new label will only be required for foliar applications of clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and the two new products tolfenpyrad and cyantraniliprole.
The Pollinator Stewardship Council encourages beekeepers to document their costs due to moving bees in relation to this new label language for foliar applications of clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, tolfenpyrad, and cyantraniliprole. Also, document if and when you are notified to move your bees.”
Will the commercial beekeepers take more assertive measures to force the hand of the EPA to be more aggressive? Time will tell. The question is, do they have enough time left before they are all out of business?
Listen To The Interview
In this segment of The Organic View Radio Show, host, June Stoyer talks to world-renowned neonicotinoids expert, Dutch Toxicologist, Dr. Henk Tennekes and bee advocate, Tom Theobald about some exciting news in The Netherlands as well as in the United States.