EPA Finding suggests Common Pesticide Threatens Honeybees

EPA Finding suggests Common Pesticide Threatens Honeybees

Finally, bees have something to cheer about. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday that it has found agriculture pesticides behind the dwindling bee populations in the US.

The federal agency said for the first time that the controversial pesticides, such as imidacloprid, used in agriculture are threatening pollinators. Imidacloprid is a nicotine-imitating chemical that is harmful for hives when used on pollinators-attracting crops, the EPA said. Now, federal environmental regulators may ban the chemical.

Sudden decline in the population of honey bees over last about 10 years prompted the EPA to take a tough decision. The ban will not only save hives, but also help country’s economy as these bees contribute more than $14 billion in value to the US agricultural economy.

The new decision by the EPA is the first among the four risk assessments on neonicotinoids (a class of pesticides). The other three assessments are planned to be completed by the end of 2016. After that, the federal agency could implement strict measures over the use of insecticides.

California has already banned chemical use on a number of crops like almonds during a period when honey bees are most likely to be attracted by crops. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation spokesperson, Charlotte Fadipe, said, “Clearly, as a result of this, there might be more restrictions coming”.

The state’s almond crop is majorly depends on commercial hives brought to pollinate more than 860,000 acres of trees. Apart from almond, California’s other crops such as grapefruits, alfalfa, oranges, avocados, onions, apples, cucumbers, cranberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, sunflowers and pumpkins dependent on bees.

A report of the state Department of Pesticide Regulation showed that the state farmers used more than 140 tons of chemical on over 1.5 million acres in 2013. The department doesn’t have last year’s data.