Thursday, January 7, 2016

EPA Identifies Cause of Bee Deaths

Bees threatened by a common pesticide, EPA finds
An insecticide widely used on grains, vegetables, fruit and other crops nationwide threatens honeybees, federal environmental regulators said in a decision that could lend impetus to efforts to ban the chemical.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that imidacloprid, a nicotine-imitating chemical found in at least 188 farm and household products in California, “potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators.”

The EPA's decision was prompted by increasing concern that the chemicals might be contributing to the sudden collapse of commercial honey bee colonies over the last decade.

Those bees pollinate crucial food crops and contribute about $14 billion in value to the agricultural economy nationwide.

This is the first of four risk assessments conducted by the EPA on the class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. The rest are slated for completion by the end of the year, after which the agency could tighten controls over the insecticides.
However, as we've seen before, the problems with colony collapse disorder may be substantially exaggerated:

I rarely see Honey Bees around our garden any more. However, I do see plenty of native bees, and other pollinators, including butterflies, wasps and beetles. and things seem to get pollinated (especially the weeds). Remember, the Honey Bee is a non-native species in the western hemisphere, and they displaced many native species.

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