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EPA, follow the science & protect bees

on Mon, 06/17/2013 - 00:00

Save the bees!
Great news for bees! In a historic vote, the European Union (EU) passed a continent-wide restriction on the use of bee-harming pesticides. Despite immense pressure from the pesticide industry, a majority of EU countries sided with bees. 

Here in the U.S., policymakers have yet to step up. And with beekeepers in this country reporting record-breaking bee losses this year — up to 40% or more — action to protect honey bees is more urgent than ever. 

Bees have been dying off in droves in the U.S.

EU flags another bee-harming pesticide

on Thu, 05/30/2013 - 00:00

Regulators across the pond are keeping up the momentum to protect pollinators, with a new report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) adding fipronil to the list of bee-harming pesticides the agency is concerned about.

Earlier this year, EFSA raised the alarm about three other insecticides that pose a threat to bees. And the EU responded with a two-year ban on the use of those chemicals. We have yet to see if fipronil will be added to the list of restricted pesticides, but EFSA's conclusion signals that protections for bees are more likely.

While European regulators are taking

Europe steps up. EPA, let's do this!

on Thu, 05/02/2013 - 00:00

In a historic vote on Monday, the European Union (EU) passed a continent-wide restriction on the use of bee-harming pesticides. Despite immense pressure from the pesticide industry, a majority of EU countries sided with bees.

Here in the U.S., policymakers have yet to step up. And with beekeepers in this country reporting record-breaking bee losses this year — up to 40% or more — action to protect honey bees is more urgent than ever.

The EU vote comes after significant findings by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) that neonicotinoid pesticides (or neonics) in particular pose an

Overwinter losses from "queen failure"

on Mon, 04/29/2013 - 00:00

This year may turn out to be the worst for honey bee die-offs ever. The news out of California is very disturbing, with fifty percent projections for overwinter losses possibly turning out to be low. The official numbers haven't yet been released.

In contrast to other years, I’ve seen a shift in symptoms of ailing bees and timing of die-offs. Also, no one seems to be talking about the specific symptoms seen during postmortem.

When we read coverage of huge bee losses, there seems to be a built-in assumption that the symptoms are consistent with those associated with colony collapse disorder

New science: "Pesticide soup" scrambles bee brain function

on Thu, 03/28/2013 - 21:02

Two new studies confirm that common pesticides are scrambling the circuits of bees’ brains. Researchers report that certain neonicotinoids and an organophosphate pesticide — particularly in combination — interfere with the insects' ability to learn, smell or remember, all critical capacities for foraging honey bees.

The new studies add to a growing body of evidence pointing to pesticides as a key driver to the dramatic losses in bee colonies reported by beekeepers.

The research, reported in the journals Nature Communications and the Journal of Experimental Biology, observed an immediate

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