Lowe’s stops selling bee-killing pesticide following EPA moratorium on neonicotinoids
The home improvement chain Lowe’s has announced that it will stop selling the toxic pesticides that are suspected of causing colony collapse disorder (CCD) and the death of honeybees worldwide. This announcement, in early April 2015, follows the moratorium on permits for these pesticides sent out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Two-thirds of the bee population worldwide is in domesticated hives. The other bees are wild. Bees are vital to human agriculture worldwide. With one-third of all food crops pollinated by honeybees, this ban and Lowe’s support of the ban are a step in the right direction to ending the declining bee population.
Recent action towards banning pesticides
In 2014, Harvard’s School of Public Health presented a study stating the probable cause of the decline of honeybees was pesticides. Many cities, including Portland and Eugene, Oregon, Seattle and Spokane, Washington, and Skagway, Alaska, have banned the use of these pesticides on any city-owned land. Even the USDA has voiced concern about CCD and its effect on our food and beverage crops.
Worldwide governmental action for bees
President Obama established a national Pollinator Health Task Force in 2014 after the European Commission banned the use of three neonicotinoids on flowering plants in 2013: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. The European Food Safety Authority also found that these chemicals were toxic to bees, causing, “high acute risks.” The EPA moratorium is on permits for outdoor use of the pesticides. Research has now pointed to the use of neonicotinoids as harmful to bees, birds, other beneficial insects and wildlife. “EPA considers the completion of the new pollinator risk assessments for these chemicals to be an agency priority.” No further permits will be issued by the EPA until, “the data on pollinator health have been received and appropriate risk assessments completed,” the EPA stated in their letter. Permits currently granted can still be used however.
About colony collapse disorder
Colony collapse disorder was coined in 2006 when the winter die-off of bee colonies reached more than 30%. A normal year sees a 10% die-off of hives, but some beekeepers reported losses as high as 70%. CCD is a description of a phenomenon when the entire colony of a hive disappears. The adult bees abandon a hive when there is still a live queen present as well as eggs and honey. Normally, adult bees do not abandon the hive under these conditions.