Nicotine pesticides phased out due to bee threat

2014-07-22 10:53

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Grants Pass - Federal wildlife refuges in the Northwest and Hawaii will phase out a class of pesticides that are chemically similar to nicotine because they pose a threat to bees and other pollinators key to crop growth.

The region covering Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Hawaii is the first in the agency to ban neonicotinoids. There is room for exemptions, but the goal is to phase out the pesticides by January 2016, US fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Miel Corbett said on Monday.

The agency's pest management policy calls for pest-killing methods that pose the least risk to wildlife, and there is scientific evidence that neonicotinoids kill bees and other pollinators, said Kim Trust, the agency's deputy regional director of refuges.

"We made the decision because we are concerned over the global decline in all pollinators, bees and butterflies", she said.

Pollinators such as domestic honeybees and wild bumblebees and butterflies are vital to the proliferation of domestic crops as well as wild plants, spreading pollen that fertilizes the seed-producing flowers while they gather nectar. Their numbers have been declining worldwide.

Neonicotinoids are commonly applied as a coating on seeds such as corn, wheat, barley and soybeans planted on refuges both as commercial crops and to benefit wildlife, according to Fish and Wildlife Service documents on the ban.

More than 33km2 of national wildlife refuges were planted with crops using neonicotinoids in 2013.

The documents noted that neonicotinoids are taken up throughout the entire plant, and insects are exposed through pollen, water droplets on the plants, and dust released when coated seeds are planted. The effects cause problems for individual bees, as well as bee colonies.

The pesticides accumulate in soil and water ecosystems and remain for a long time.

The Centre for Food Safety and Centre for Biological Diversity had petitioned Fish and Wildlife to ban neonicotinoids on wildlife refuges nationwide, but agency spokesperson Miel Corbett said the decision was made independently.

Lori Ann Burd of the Centre for Biological Diversity said the conservation group hoped the agency would match the European Union with a wider ban.

"In Europe we've seen pesticide bans really work, and pollinator populations are coming back", she said.

The Oregon department of agriculture has imposed new restrictions on spraying neonicotinoids on trees after recent bee kills.
Read more on:    us  |  insects  |  environment  |  health  |  conservation

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.