EPA Proposes New Rule Banning Pesticide Use Near Feeding Bees

May 28th, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new federal rule on Thursday that would create temporary pesticide-free zones when honeybees are pollinating certain plants. The pesticide ban would only last while the flowers are in bloom and the bees are there. The ban would also only affect the land where the bees are present and not neighboring properties.

The rule would apply to virtually all 1,000 insecticides, according to the EPA’s assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, Jim Jones. The ban would involve practically all pesticides including neonicotinoids.

The new rule is part of Obama’s multi-pronged initiative to try to halt the declines in bee populations. A new federal survey had found that beekeepers had lost 40 percent of their colonies over the last year. Scientists blame many factors for the population decline of bees: pesticides, parasites, diseases, and poor nutrition caused by the dearth of wild plants that bees feed on. Last week, the federal government devised a plan to provide better food for bees on federal land. The EPA’s new rule will address the pesticide problem.

Folks at The Aspire New Brunswick (apartmenthomeliving.com) have found that the new EPA rule only applies to areas where professional beekeepers transport their hives, and 90 percent of the honeybees raised in the US live in hives that are periodically hauled around in trucks. The rule won’t apply to home beekeeping or residential pesticide use. The rule also only applies to pesticides that are sprayed on leaves, not the ground or on seeds.

The proposed rule will go through a period of public comment. If all goes well, the new rule along with new pesticide labels will be implemented next spring.

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