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With their livelihoods in the balance, beekeepers have grown frustrated with the EPA’s lack of action on neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) which they believe are leading to colony collapse disorder.
Neonics have become the most commonly used insecticides in the world. That neonics can kill honeybees is not up for debate. If a bee flies through neonic dust, she’ll die instantly. What is contested are the effects of sublethal exposures to neonics over the course of a worker bee’s six-week lifespan as she gathers pollen and nectar that is laced with trace amounts — and what happens when she brings it back to the hive. According to a European Academies Science Advisory Council report, the effects are cumulative.
But the world right isn’t a friendly place for bees, even without pesticides. Since the 1980s, honeybees have been preyed on by a disease-spreading mite. Meanwhile, new bee pathogens are emerging at warp speed. All of which is why entomologists like Dennis vanEngelsdorp, who was part of the group that gave colony collapse disorder its name, caution against assigning just one cause to what is no doubt a complex problem.
It’s the EPA’s job to sort out the science, and if not to fully protect the environment, then at least to make sure that one particular industry (agrochemicals) doesn’t ruin nature to such an extent that it too drastically hurts the bottom line of others (commercial beekeepers).
When it comes to the plight of the bees, it’s tempting to have someone or something to blame. In time, neonics could prove to be a limited factor in bee die-offs, a single leak in a sinking ship, as entomologist May Berenbaum has put it.
Still beekeepers are suing the EPA, not for money, but for regulation. The suit not only alleges that the agency has not met its own criteria for granting approval of the neonic clothianidin, but also challenges its approval process overall.
Read full, original post: What Is Killing America’s Bees and What Does It Mean for Us?