Bees are a hot topic. As pollinators, bees help of the reproduction of various crops – they are vital to our ecosystem. Unfortunately, these important insects have been deeply affected by a variety of factors, from Colony Collapse Disorder to pesticide exposure and poor nutrition. The EPA is trying to preserve bee populations by conducting qualitative and quantitative studies to determine causes and effects of external forces, such as insecticides.
The EPA is working to protect dwindling bee populations by registering a new insecticide that is safer for bees. As an insecticide, flupyradifurone is unusual – laboratory studies found the compound is practically non-toxic to adult honeybees. Studies show no adverse effect on overall bee colony performance or overwintering ability when compared to untreated colonies.
The EPA’s decision to register the insecticide meets the rigorous Food Quality Protection Act standard of "reasonable certainty of no harm" to human health. Human health and ecological risk assessments were completed by the EPA confirm the safety of the product. The EPA coordinated its evaluation with environmental counterparts in both Canada and Australia. This registration decision was one of the first to incorporate newly-required bee studies, and involved evaluating the largest number of bee-related studies ever for the registration of a new chemical. The EPA reviewed 437 studies to analyze the potential exposure and effects of flupyradifurone.
Flupyradifurone is registered for a large number of crops, including citrus, cotton, potatoes and many others, to protect against piercing and sucking insects such as aphids, whiteflies, thrips, and pysllids – all of which have become increasingly resistant to other pesticides and consequently difficult to control. The registration of flupyradifurone will provide growers across the U.S. a new pest resistance management tool that presents an effective countermeasure to resistance development and is safer for bee populations.
What can you do to help? Ask your park’s IPM coordinator to add flupyradifurone to your operation’s list of approved insecticides. If and when you come across any bee kills, report the incident to the EPA. Find best management practices to protect bees and other pollinators. Some resources include: