Jan 7, 2016EPA releases report on neonicotinoid risk to bees
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a preliminary pollinator risk assessment for the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, which shows a threat to some pollinators. EPA’s assessment, prepared in collaboration withCalifornia’s Department of Pesticide Regulation, shows that imidacloprid potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators.
The preliminary risk assessment identified a residue level for imidacloprid of 25 ppb, which sets a threshold above which effects on pollinator hives are likely to be seen, and at that level and below which effects are unlikely. These effects include decreases in pollinators as well as less honey produced.
For example, data show that citrus and cotton may have residues of the pesticide in pollen and nectar above the threshold level of 25 ppb. Other crops such as corn and leafy vegetables either do not produce nectar or have residues below the EPA identified level. Additional data is being generated on these and other crops to help EPA evaluate whether imidacloprid poses a risk to hives.
Other assessments and supporting information being released in 2016 include:
- imidacloprid assessment webinar —February
- A preliminary risk assessment of all ecological effects for imidacloprid — December
- Preliminary pollinator risk assessments for clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran neonicotinoids — December
In addition to working with California, EPA coordinated efforts with Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Canada’s Imidacloprid pollinator-only assessmentreaches the same preliminary conclusions as EPA’s report.
EPA may revise the pollinator assessment based on comments received during the 60-day public comment period and, if necessary, take action to reduce risks from the insecticide.
In 2015, EPA proposed to prohibit the use of pesticides that are toxic to bees, including the neonicotinoids, when crops are in bloom and bees are under contract for pollination services. The agency temporarily halted the approval of new outdoor neonicotinoid pesticide uses until new bee data is submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete.