Protect Bees from this Toxic Pesticide
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently approved a pesticide which it calls “very highly toxic” to bees.1
This pesticide is deadly to bee colonies.
This toxic pesticide called sulfoxaflor is one cause of plunging bee populations. One study found that sulfoxaflor impairs bees’ ability to reproduce — colonies exposed to sulfoxaflor produced 54 percent fewer male bees and no queens.2
That’s why we’re calling on every state to take action to ban the use of sulfoxaflor unless and until proven safe for bees by independent research.
We must protect bees to protect ecosystems.
In 2015, a federal court blocked the EPA’s decision to allow sulfoxaflor, citing “flawed and limited data” regarding the pesticide’s effect on bees.3 Now, based on new studies sponsored by the pesticide industry, the EPA has approved sulfoxaflor for use on a wide variety of crops.4
The EPA even admits that sulfoxaflor spray on certain crops has the potential for colony-level risk. These crops include alfalfa, cacao, citrus, cucurbits, pineapple, soybeans and strawberries — all plants which the EPA now allows to be sprayed with the toxic pesticide.5
Colony-level collapses have a cascading effect on entire ecosystems. Today, there are 250,000 species of flowering plants and trees that rely on bees to ensure reproduction, including blueberries, cherries and almonds.6 Continuing hive collapse threatens the survival of plants and animals that rely on those plants as a food source — a pattern that disrupts the entire food chain.
It’s not too late to protect bees from sulfoxaflor.
But it’s not too late for the bees. Together, we will raise awareness and effect change.
France has already led the way by indefinitely suspending the sale of sulfoxaflor.7 Citing concern that sulfoxaflor is a factor in declining bee populations, a French court revoked permits for pesticides containing sulfoxaflor. Sulfoxaflor can be spread via wind and water, infecting weeds and wildflowers — and bees in America remain under threat from spray drift and residue in blooming crops.
Our team is advocating for policies and practices to protect bees. We’ve championed legislation across the country banning consumer use of neonicotinoids — another bee-killing pesticide — and seen success in states like Maryland, Connecticut and Vermont. Now, we’re turning our attention to sulfoxaflor.
- Brady Dennis, “EPA to Allow Use of Pesticide Considered ‘Very Highly Toxic’ to Bees,” The Washington Post, July 12, 2019.
- Harry Siviter, Mark J.F. Brown and Ellouise Leadbeater, “Sulfoxaflor Exposure Reduces Bumblee Reproductive Success,” Nature, August 15, 2018.
- Zoe Schlanger, “The EPA Found a Way to Allow the Use of a Pesticide Harmful to Bees, Again,” Quartz, February 20, 2019.
- Emily Holden, “Trump Administration to Approve Pesticide that May Harm Bees,” The Guardian, July 12, 2019.
- “Decision Memorandum Supporting the Registration Decision for New Uses of the Active Ingredient Sulfoxaflor on Alfalfa, Cacao, Citrus, Corn, Cotton, Cucurbits, Grains, Pineapple, Sorghum, Soybeans, Strawberries and Tree Plantations and Amendments to the Labels,” United States Environmental Protection Agency, July 12, 2019.
- Alison Benjamin, “Why Bees Are the Most Invaluable Species,” The Guardian, November 21, 2008.
- “French Court Suspends Two Dow Pesticides Over Potential Harm to Bees,” Reuters, November 24, 2017.