EPA Approves Pesticide Linked to Colony Collapse Disorder

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted emergency approval for the use of the neonicotinoid pesticide dinotefuran to control brown marmorated stink bugs in seven eastern states. Dinotefuran is a member of the neonicotinoid family of systemic pesticides that is known to be highly toxic to bees and associated with Colony Collapse Disorder. The states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia had previously asked EPA for emergency approval of the pesticide due to a ballooning stink bug population. The short term emergency measure became effective June 24 and will expire on October 15 of this year.

Neonicotinoids, including dinotefuran, are taken up by a plant’s vascular system and expressed through pollen, nectar and gutation droplets from which pollinators such as bees then forage and drink. Neonicotinoids kill sucking and chewing insects by disrupting their nervous systems. Beginning in the late 1990s, these systemic insecticides began to take over the seed treatment market. Clothianidin and imidacloprid are two of the most commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides. Both are known to be toxic to insect pollinators, and are lead suspects as causal factors in honey bee colony collapse disorder.

The brown marmorated stink bug is a non-native species thought to have been accidentally introduced to North America from Asia in the 1990s. The pests were first identified in Allentown, PA and have since spread rapidly throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Because they are not native to this continent, they have no natural predators or ecological checks on population here, allowing their numbers to skyrocket.

 The question I ask is this: Why would the EPA approve the use of a known toxin that is directly one of the major causes of Colony Collapse Disorder? Honeybees don’t just make honey, they pollinate more than 90 of the tastiest flowering crops we have. Honeybees pollinate apples, nuts, avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, squash and cucumbers. And lots of the really sweet and tart stuff, too, including citrus fruit, peaches, kiwi, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and other melons. In fact, about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

So I guess the EPA is justified in killing more of our precious honey bees which are vital to our food chain in order to control brown marmorated stink bugs. Yes indeed, another bonehead move by the EPA!


  1. Nicontenoids were once suspected as a factor but we now know they are not the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. The disorder seems to be from a combination of the Verroa Mite and a virus common in honey bees. The bees area able to fend off one or the other but not both at the same time.

  2. This is just another attempt by nature to correct the burgeoning human population. We will need to increase our food production worldwide by 50% in the next 25 years to feed the ever growing human population expected to hit 10 billion by mid century. If we use chemicals to grow and defend our crops, we push aside or eliminate the natural methods that have evolved over millions of years to do the jobs more effectively and with little harm to the majority of life on the planet. Much as we hate to admit it, we ARE part of the natural system. If we don’t reduce our population to 2.5- 3 billion soon, we and all other forms of life on this planet will pay the price, some will pay the ultimate price.

    WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460
    Office of Chemical Safety and
    Pollution Prevention
    PC Code: 044309
    Date: November 2nd, 2010
    DP Barcodes: 378994, 377955
    SUBJECT: Clothianidin Registration of Prosper T400 Seed Treatment on Mustard Seed
    (Oilseed and Condiment) and Poncho/Votivo Seed Treatment on Cotton.
    FROM: Joseph DeCant, Ecologist
    Michael Barrett, Chemist
    Environmental Risk Branch V
    Environmental Fate and Effects Division (7507P)
    THROUGH: Mah T. Shamim, Branch Chief
    Environmental Risk Branch V
    Environmental Fate and Effects Division (7507P)
    TO: Kable Davis, Risk Manager Reviewer
    Venus Eagle, Risk Manager
    Meredith Laws, Branch Chief
    Insecticide-Rodenticide Branch
    Registration Division (7505P)
    This memo summarizes the Environmental Fate and Effects Division’s (EFED) screening-level
    Environmental Risk Assessment for clothianidin. The registrant, Bayer CropScience, is
    submitting a request for registration of clothianidin to be used as a seed treatment on cotton and
    mustard (oilseed and condiment). The major risk concerns are with aquatic free-swimming and
    benthic invertebrates, terrestrial invertebrates, birds, and mammals.
    The proposed use on cotton poses an acute and chronic risk to freshwater and estuarine/marine
    free-swimming invertebrates, but the risk in some cases depends on the incorporation method
    and the region of the U.S. where the crops are grown. The proposed use on mustard only shows
    a risk concern on a chronic basis to estuarine/marine free-swimming invertebrates with a low
    efficiency incorporation method. The proposed uses result in acute risk to freshwater and
    estuarine/marine benthic invertebrates, but incorporation and region have minimal impact on the
    risk conclusions. Chronic risk was only present for estuarine/marine benthic invertebrates but
    was independent of incorporation efficiency and region.
    Clothianidin’s major risk concern is to nontarget insects (that is, honey bees). Clothianidin is a
    neonicotinoid insecticide that is both persistent and systemic. Acute toxicity studies to honey
    bees show that clothianidin is highly toxic on both a contact and an oral basis. Although EFED
    does not conduct RQ based risk assessments on non-target insects, information from standard
    tests and field studies, as well as incident reports involving other neonicotinoids insecticides
    (e.g., imidacloprid) suggest the potential for long term toxic risk to honey bees and other
    beneficial insects. An incident in Germany already illustrated the toxicity of clothianidin to
    honeybees when allowed to drift off-site from treated seed during planting.
    A previous field study (MRID 46907801/46907802) investigated the effects of clothianidin on
    whole hive parameters and was classified as acceptable. However, after another review of this
    field study in light of additional information, deficiencies were identified that render the study
    supplemental. It does not satisfy the guideline 850.3040, and another field study is needed to
    evaluate the effects of clothianidin on bees through contaminated pollen and nectar. Exposure
    through contaminated pollen and nectar and potential toxic effects therefore remain an
    uncertainty for pollinators.
    EFED expects adverse effects to bees if clothianidin is allowed to drift from seed planting
    equipment. Because of this and the uncertainty surrounding the exposure and potential toxicity
    through contaminated pollen and nectar, EFED is recommending bee precautionary labeling.
    The proposed application rates and uses also pose an acute and chronic risk to small birds and
    mammals when clothianidin treated seeds are applied with low efficiency or no incorporation
    Clothianidin does not appear to present risk to terrestrial plants (there were no significant effects
    in the studies submitted). In addition, it does not appear to present risk to aquatic vascular or
    nonvascular plants.
    Both high and low efficiency incorporation resulted in acute risk to freshwater invertebrates in
    North Carolina and Mississippi cotton, whereas cotton in California and mustard in North
    Dakota did not result in an exceedence of the LOC. These results suggests that certain regions of
    the country are more vulnerable to run-off and exposure of the proposed application rates of
    clothianidin, and therefore to the potential for the toxic effects of clothianidin to freshwater
    invertebrates. The acute lethal toxicity to benthic invertebrates also suggests this conclusion.
    These organisms are an integral part of the freshwater trophic system and serve as both
    decomposers/predators that are important for nutrient cycling and a food source for larger
    predators (e.g., fish). The ecological integrity in these vulnerable areas in the U.S. could
    therefore be impacted by the use on cotton at the proposed application rate. A reduction in the
    cotton application rate together with maximum incorporation of the seeds into the ground could
    therefore limit the exposure of clothianidin to aquatic invertebrates through run-off.
    Specific label language that clearly states a method of incorporation and incorporation depth

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