Honey bee advocates have been saying for decades how harmful insecticides are to our pollinators. Advocates are always on the lookout for new products or deregulation of existing products that are suddenly approved for residential use. That is very much the situation here, where flonicamid was recently approved for residential use, a move that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says will put pollinators at risk.
ISK Biosciences (ISK) is the manufactures of the insecticide and applied to have it incorporated into an insect spray that is used on roses, flower shrubs, and small tree households. All of these would expose pollinators to the product.
While the insecticide is currently under review by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it has already conceded the fact the insecticide is more dangerous to pollinators than previously thought. The EPA, however, never collected the data from follow up studies. The EPA also did not include determining factors regarding the environmental impact of the insecticide, which his required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
The marketing firm for flonicamid has maintained this insecticide only presents a minimal risk to pollinators, but that is clearly not true from what the EPA has already stated. The EU, which currently has this insecticide on its approved list, has tougher regulations than the United States. However, the data in the insecticide is outdated and should be renewed. The database they are using is about a decade old, whereas the latest studies on this insecticide have proven it to be fatal to adult honey bees. In the study, the second-lowest dose killed 60 percent of the bees!
Becerra stated, “[a] full assessment of pollinator risk cannot be conducted until data are available to form the weight of evidence at the individual and colony level.” He has strongly urged the EPA to update its information to include recent studies before moving forward with a ruling. Hopefully, his plea will be heard and respected, because we simply cannot allow a dangerous product like this to be used residentially, exposing more honey bees to these poisons.
Honestly, it is just great news to see our politicians and officials taking such a great interest in our pollinators in recent years. Regardless of political affiliation, they all becoming far more aware just how important this little creature is to our agricultural world and the reality is that everyone benefits from our government protecting honey bees.