On December 1, a two-year European Union moratorium on neonicotinoids went into effect, then last week a coalition of beekeeping groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its approval of the pesticide sulfoxaflor, which is highly toxic to honeybees.
Sulfoxaflor, marketed by Dow Chemical under the brand names Closer and Transform, is a neonicotinoid but it belongs to a different subclass than the widely used imadicloprid. The suit claims the pesticide poses a threat to not just honeybees but other pollinators, and that the EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act in registering the insecticide. The suit was filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Read the opening brief here. (In Europe, meanwhile, Syngenta and Bayer are suing to overturn the EU neonicotinoid ban.)
While the fate of these chemicals gets played out in court, the Pacific Northwest Extension just updated its excellent publication, "How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides." Download it it here.
The 36-page publication includes sections on the causes of bee poisoning, signs and symptoms of bee poisoning, ways growers and applicators can protect bees and ways beekeepers can protect bees, among several others.
The heart of the document is a full-color table that rates common active ingredients based on their toxicity to bees. (There is also a table of trade names listing the active ingredients in each.)
The publication was written by Louisa Hooven and Ramesh Sagili at Oregon State University, and Erik Johnsen at the Washington State Department of Agriculture. The Pacific Northwest Extension is a cooperative effort between Oregon State University, Washington State University and the University of Idaho.