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Can an Act Save the Bees?

U.S. Congressmen John Conyers of Michigan and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon have introduced legislation to suspend the registration of neonicotinoid insecticides.

During the third week of July, U.S. Congressmen John Conyers of Michigan and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon introduced the, "Saving America's Pollinators Act of 2013.''

While presenting the legislation, Conyers said, "One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by honeybees. These crops include: apples, avocados, cranberries, cherries, broccoli, peaches, carrots, grapes, soybeans, sugar beets and onions. Unfortunately, unless swift action is taken, these crops, and numerous others, will soon disappear due to the dramatic decline of honeybee populations throughout the country."

This legislation stems from a massive honeybee die-off in Oregon, where more than 50,000 honeybees died after a landscaping business treated flowering trees with neonicotinoid insecticides.

Although honeybee populations have been rapidly declining over the last decade, due to colony collapse disorder, another decade of mass die-offs could severely threaten the agricultural economy and food supply system.

Scientists have suggested that common symptoms of this decline are attributed to the use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, including imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotafuran, and other members of the nitro group.

According to the NPMA, under the Saving America's Pollinators Act of 2013, the Administrator would rely on an evaluation of published and peer reviewed scientific evidence. The field study will evaluate residue build up after repeated annual applications, chronic low dose exposure and cumulative effects of multiple chemical exposures, which will determine whether neonicotinoid insecticides cause unreasonable adverse effects on pollinators.

When asked, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) declined to comment on the possible ban of neonicotinoid insecticides.

To read the bill, please click here.

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November 18, 2019, 11:38 am PDT

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