Thursday, May 02, 2013

Groups push for ban on 'neo-nic' pesticides blamed for shrinking bee populations

Photo by StudioSmart
A substantial decline in bee populations, blamed largely on a pesticide called neonicotonoids, led European nations to place a two-year ban on their use, and has groups in the U.S. pushing for a similar ban, reports Richard Schiffman for Salon. Neonicotonoids, or "neo-nics" are used on 75 percent of American farmlands.

Neo-nics contain a chemical that attacks the nervous system, are deadly to bees, and can also harm their navigation system, foraging and communication abilities, reproductive patterns, and immune systems, making them susceptible to sudden colony collapse, which is where workers leave the hive for no apparent reason and never return, Schiffman writes. (Read more)

U.S. beekeepers lost 40 to 50 percent of their bees this winter, which is up from an average annual loss of 30 percent over the past 10 years, reports Elizabeth Grossman for Yale Environment 360. In March, a group of beekeepers and environmentalist filed a suit against the Environmental Protection Agency, "for its conditional registration of certain neonicotinoids, contending that the agency did not properly ensure environmental health protections, particularly with respect to pollinators." The EPA said it is working to improve the use of neonicotonoids to ensure the safety of bees, writes Grossman. (Read more)

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