EPA will allow use of pesticide harmful to bees

Image of beekeeper raising frame.

(The Hill) Sulfoxaflor’s use was temporarily barred after a lawsuit from beekeepers in 2015, but the EPA in 2016 changed its instructions for how to use the pesticide in a way designed to reduce the impact on bees. Cotton and sorghum were not included in the directive. The EPA’s Office of Inspector General wrote in a report last year that the agency did not have processes in place to determine how its emergency measures impact human and environmental health.

A combination of agrochemicals shortens the life of bees, study shows

Close up of bee on flower.

(São Paulo Research Foundation) A new study by Brazilian biologists suggests that the effect of pesticides on bees could be worse than previously thought. Even when used at a level considered nonlethal, an insecticide curtailed the lives of bees by up to 50 percent. The researchers also found that a fungicide deemed safe for bees altered the behavior of workers and made them lethargic, potentially jeopardizing the survival of the entire colony.

Pesticide exposure causes bumble bee flight to fall short

Image of bee attached to the arm of a flight mill by magnet.

(Imperial College London) Realistic exposures caused bumble bee to fly significantly shorter distances and for less time, reducing the area in which colonies can forage for food by up to 80 percent. Intriguingly, exposed bees seemed to enter a hyperactive-like state in which they initially flew faster than unexposed bees and therefore may have “worn themselves out”.