All new research involving bee health is to be welcomed, but care must be taken in drawing conclusions based on what Bayer claims are relatively artificially generated results, particularly when compared to the weight of evidence from previous studies. In this study bees were unrealistically exposed to imidacloprid and then allowed to continue to develop in semi-field conditions.
The study on bumblebee colonies in the UK provides useful information as part of the growing body of research regarding this important pollinator. Although the doses are higher than what would typically be found in the environment, the authors noted a decrease in queen production when compared to the untreated colonies. These results are not consistent with previous studies, which showed no adverse effects on bees at field-relevant concentrations.
EPA Receives Petition From PANNA, Beyond Pesticides
Last week, the EPA received a petition by Beyond Pesticides, Pesticide Action Network (PANNA), Center for Food Safety, the International Center for Technology Assessment, and a small group of bee keepers, concerning the insecticide clothianidin. The petition appears to present no new arguments or data supporting their challenge of EPA’s registration of clothianidin products, which was first approved in 2003.
- Consistent with their standard re-registration review process, EPA conducted and recently closed the public comment period for clothianidin, where people had the opportunity to comment on the registration of these products. EPA will consider these as part of the registration review process.
- There has been no demonstrated effect on bee colony health associated with the appropriate use of clothianidin in the environment. In fact, the EPA commented recently (February 18, 2011) on clothianidin, affirming that the Agency is ― not aware of any data that reasonably demonstrates that bee colonies are subject to elevated losses due to chronic exposure to this pesticide.
Insights Into Recent Research Studies
Recently, several studies – from Purdue University and Jeff Pettis, et al. – have underscored the complex interactions between crop protection products and honey bee health. The level of exposure to these products is critically important in determining the impact on foraging honey bees. Modern seed treatment applications minimize the potential for accidental exposure, so that the impact on bees is minimal.
A Critical Tool For Farmers
Clothianidin is a critical tool, used by farmers, to control a wide range of destructive insect pests on a variety of crops, thereby significantly increasing yields. Despite many years of commercial use on millions of acres around the world – including corn, soybean and canola crops – there have been few accidental exposures to foraging bees and no demonstrated effects on long-term colony health associated with these products. Bayer’s products undergo rigorous and extensive testing in support of registration by the regulatory authorities. In the case of clothianidin in the US, the EPA’s decision is based on over 30 studies related to pollinators.
Bayer’s Commitment To Bee Health
Bayer is committed to bee health and has been actively involved in finding solutions to improve honey bee health for more than 25 years. As a company dedicated to crop protection, Bayer is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainable agricultural practices, including the protection of beneficial insects such as honey bees.