US Environment Agency May Restrict Some Neonic Use

Dede Williams, Che Manager

The US is moving more closely into line with Europe in restricting the use of neonicotinoid-based insecticides suspected of posing risks to bee populations.

Faced with mounting criticism as well as a still pending lawsuit – filed in 2013 by a coalition of beekeepers, environmental and consumer groups in a federal district court – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said it is unlikely to approve new or expanded uses of certain pesticides before the risks are fully evaluated.

The agency is currently conducting an assessment of six types of neonicotinoids and their impact on honey bees, with evaluation of four types expected by 2018 and the remaining two a year later.

Up to now, the EPA has not recognized the need for immediate action on neonics. The agency said early this month it would review its de facto moratorium if new crop protection problems appeared that could only be addressed by one of the pesticides in question.