EPA Banning Pesticides Fatally Harming To Bees

EPA Banning Pesticides

Pesticides Causing Fatal Harm To Bees

The EPA is pulling a dozen products containing chemicals harmful to honeybees. It’s the end of a long legal battle, but not the end of the threat to bees or the environment. The cancellations are effective as of May 20th for 12 neonicotinoid-based products produced by Syngenta, Valent, and Bayer.

Honey Bees

The best known honey bee is the Western Honey Bee, which has been domesticated for honey production and crop pollination; modern humans also value the wax for candle making, soap making, lip balms, and other crafts. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the roughly 20,000 known species of bees. But these Bees are being lost at rapid rates due to many different environmental extremes and pesticide usage for agriculture production. 

Pesticides

Pesticide usage in agriculture, commercial, and residential industries are a factor contributing to the declination of Bees, but is not merely the only issue. Often times studies take many years/decades to provide proper information. To this day, there are still traces of residual pesticides in the environment that were banned decades ago such as Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or (DDT) A synthetic organic compound used as an insecticide. Like other chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons, DDT tends to persist in the environment and become concentrated in animals at the head of the food chain. Its use is now banned in many countries. 

The most recent ban of pesticides this year includes many different Neonicotinoid based products. These compounds have been linked to impaired memory, movement, and death in bees, which are essential to the world’s crop production. These pesticides have been in production and commonly used since the 1980’s. Seven of the recently banned pesticides are used to protect crops like soybeans, cotton, and corn from diseases and pests. As there are still many more of these pesticides on the market and being used for applications on crops, it is crucial to find a balance while continual research provides the information needed to reduce health and environmental risks. 

Studies

Recent studies are beginning to show a decline in the usage of pesticides throughout the U.S due to many different health and environmental risks associated. In the years 1990 – 2019, studies have shown a decline of about 30% in the usage of active pesticide ingredients.

Another major factor in the turn down of pesticide usage would be the beneficial integrated pest management programs also known as (I.P.M) These programs are commonly used in the pest control industry and many private applicators such as farmers are familiar with using I.P.M tactics. 

What Is Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M) Does It Work?

IPM is not a single pest control method but, rather, a series of pest management evaluations, decisions and controls. In practicing IPM, growers who are aware of the potential for pest infestation follow a four-tiered approach. The four steps include:

  • Set Action Thresholds
    Before taking any pest control action, IPM first sets an action threshold, a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken. Sighting a single pest does not always mean control is needed. The level at which pests will either become an economic threat is critical to guide future pest control decisions.
     
  • Monitor and Identify Pests
    Not all insects, weeds, and other living organisms require control. Many organisms are innocuous, and some are even beneficial. IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so that appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. This monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed or that the wrong kind of pesticide will be used.

  • Prevention
    As a first line of pest control, IPM programs work to manage the crop, lawn, or indoor space to prevent pests from becoming a threat. In an agricultural crop, this may mean using cultural methods, such as rotating between different crops, selecting pest-resistant varieties, and planting pest-free rootstock. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient and present little to no risk to people or the environment.

  • Control
    Once monitoring, identification, and action thresholds indicate that pest control is required, and preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs then evaluate the proper control method both for effectiveness and risk. Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding. If further monitoring, identifications and action thresholds indicate that less risky controls are not working, then additional pest control methods would be employed, such as targeted spraying of pesticides. Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.

IPM is best described as a continuum. Many, if not most, agricultural growers identify their pests before spraying. A smaller subset of growers use less risky pesticides such as pheromones and traps. All of these growers are on the IPM continuum. The goal is to move growers further along the continuum to using all appropriate IPM techniques. In conclusion; IPM is cost effective, reduces the use of pesticides, and provides better solutions for control. 

Environmental Protection Agency and Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency or (EPA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government for environmental protection. President Richard Nixon proposed the establishment of EPA on July 9, 1970 and it began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order. In the United States, the EPA regulates pesticides at the national level. Congress gives the EPA this authority through several federal laws, including the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). 

By regulating pesticides, the EPA works to protect human health and the environment. The EPA (in conjunction with other federal and state agencies) evaluates new pesticides and proposed uses, determines if emergency situations warrant temporary approvals of certain pesticides and periodically reviews current research related to the safety of older pesticides. They also enforce pesticide regulations and provide support to state and regional EPA programs designed to protect, certify and train pesticide applicators.

Environmental Concern

Many decades of research and record keeping have been crucial to the ongoing studies regarding pesticide usage and the potential risks they may pose. There are many different agencies contributing to the ongoing research as well as maintaining proper records and regulations. These agencies are both active on a federal and state level. Some states have even developed more strict laws to regulate pesticide applications and may even ban a certain pesticides for usage in that state. 

Some of the agencies include:

  •  Food And Drug Administration (F.D.A)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A)
  • Structural Pest Control Board (S.P.C.B)
  •  Fish And Wildlife Services (F.W.S)

These agencies listed above all correlate with one another and are beneficial to spreading awareness and reducing the risks mentioned in this article. Although not a simple process, more and more positive results are presenting themselves through documentation.  

A good thing to remember in the case of running into an unwanted critter: Practice integrated pest management (IPM) Locate the source and determine why such an event is occurring. Use pesticides as a last resort ALWAYS! Approximately 99% of insects are not pests! Before spraying harmful products into the environment, be sure its not just for aesthetics or a persons phobia. Research, educate, and inform!

Sources Listed Below:

Regulations | Laws & Regulations | US EPA

Surveys – Chemical Use – USDA – National Agricultural Statistics Service

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