Tag: pesticides

Environment: Are pesticides making bumblebees dumber?

Bumblebee butt and thistle.
Bumblebees may struggle to navigate wild flowers after exposure to pesticides. @bberwyn photo.

Study shows even low levels of neonicotinoids affect foraging skills

Staff Report

There’s more evidence showing how exposure to pesticides affects bumblebees. In anew study, scientists found that low levels of pesticides can affect which flowers bumblebees choose and potentially hindering their ability to forage for nectar and pollen.

The findings were published in the journal Functional Ecology and will help inform the use of pesticides in agriculture. The research is important because bees and other insects pollinate many of the world’s important food crops and wild plants. But pollinators are declining due to a variety of causes, showing the need for more research and safeguards. Continue reading “Environment: Are pesticides making bumblebees dumber?”

Report says EPA, USDA must do more to protect wild bees

Bad for bees, bad for people? @bberwyn photo.
GAO report says EPA can do more to protect native bees from pesticides. @bberwyn photo.

Government Accountability Office highlights needs for more research on pesticide impacts

Staff Report

U.S. government investigators said the EPA and the Department of Agriculture need to take more steps to address threats to wild bee populations, starting with a better monitoring program to assess the impacts of agricultural pesticides.

According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, the USDA has failed to live up to a May 2015 mandate from the White House to monitor the health of native bee colonies. North America is home to more than 4,000 species of native bees. Continue reading “Report says EPA, USDA must do more to protect wild bees”

Is the USDA suppressing science on pesticide impacts?

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Is the U.S. Department of Agriculture silencing scientists who speak openly about how neonicotinoid pesticides are harming pollinators? @bberwyn photo.

Activist groups claims scientists are being silenced and harassed; new petition calls for resignations

By Bob Berwyn

A broad coalition of food safety, consumer, and environmental groups is pressing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to come clean on its research into the environmental impacts of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides.

According to a petition being delivered to the USDA on March 10, high-level officials in the USDA have been censoring their agency’s own scientific reports when the findings don’t align with the interests of the pesticide industry. The groups also say the USDA is silencing and harassing scientists who are warning of the dangers of neonicotinoids. Continue reading “Is the USDA suppressing science on pesticide impacts?”

Neonicotinoid pesticide impacts extend to wild bees

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Study tracks neonicotinoid pesticide exposure in wild bee populations. @bberwyn photo.

Are native bees at risk from systemic pesticides?

Staff Report

Native wild bees are being exposed to toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research in northeastern Colorado.

The research focused on native bees because there is limited information on their exposure to pesticides. In fact, little is known about how toxic these pesticides are to native bee species at the levels detected in the environment.

“We found that the presence and proximity of nearby agricultural fields was an important factor resulting in the exposure of native bees to pesticides,” said USGS scientist Michelle Hladik, the report’s lead author. “Pesticides were detected in the bees caught in grasslands with no known direct pesticide applications.” Continue reading “Neonicotinoid pesticide impacts extend to wild bees”

Are some pesticides safe for bees?

A widely used class of pesticides is probably responsible for a massive honeybee die-off.
 Study finds most neonicotinoids toxic to bees. @bberwyn photo.

New study offers more clues on neonicotinoids and bees

Staff Report

When it comes to bees, not all pesticides are equally toxic, federal scientists said after studying 42 common pesticides in a field trial.

With honeybee populations declining at an alarming rate, the new findings may give farmers and regulators some tools to guide pesticide applications. Continue reading “Are some pesticides safe for bees?”

Is the EPA doing enough to protect bees?

Bumblebee love!
Bees are dying in huge numbers, and conservation groups are concerned the EPA is not doing enough to protect them. @bberwyn photo.

Beekeepers accuse pesticide industry of trying to ‘hijack’ public policy

FRISCO — The public comment period for proposed EPA rules on bee-killing pesticides may be over, but the battle over pesticide policies will continue, as conservation groups suspect that the pesticide industry may have exerted undue influence over the rule-making process.

Those concerns are reinforced by some of the country’s beekeepers, who say the proposed rule doesn’t do enough to address federal responsibility to address the impact of pesticides on bee deaths. The Pollinator Stewardship Council recently submitted a letter to the EPA detailing its concerns about the proposed new rule. Continue reading “Is the EPA doing enough to protect bees?”

Winemakers eye native American grape species as a way to reduce pesticide use

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Wine without pesticides?

Chemical analysis informs potential hybridization efforts

Staff Report

FRISCO — As the widespread and disastrous consequences of heavy pesticide use become ever-more apparent, wine-makers and grape growers are trying to figure out ways to make their grapes more resistant to bugs and fungi without using toxic chemicals.

The answer may lie in crossing the domestic grape species used in most wine production — Vitis vinifera — with native wild American grapes, like Vitis californica, which make terrible wine but are pest-resistant. Continue reading “Winemakers eye native American grape species as a way to reduce pesticide use”