4 States Just Got a Little Bit Safer for Bees

Environmentalists have been warning about the problems associated with a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids (neonics) on pollinators and other wildlife, but now there’s some good news that comes with a decision from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to phase out these toxic chemicals on wildlife refuges in the Northwest and Hawaii.

Neonics can be used in sprays, but are often applied as a coating on agricultural seeds and when it is, it spreads throughout the plant as it grows making the whole thing poisonous to a variety of insects. Studies have shown that they can be lethal to honey bees, bumble bees and other species at high doses, but even a little bit can cause problems by making them more vulnerable to other stressors. They’ve also been linked to Colony Collapse Disorder and have recently been found to be harmful to aquatic invertebrates and birds.

That’s not just bad news for pollinators, it’s bad news for us and the wild animals who depend on them to help pollinate crops and other wild plants we all depend on for food.

Earlier this year environmental organizations petitioned the agency to ban both genetically engineered crops and neonics throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System over concerns about the dangers they pose to wildlife and protected species and because their use is inappropriate on land that’s supposed to be designated to protect wildlife and conserve habitats.

In a memorandum published by the Center for Food Safety earlier this month, the FWS acknowledged that neonics could have adverse effects on a “broad-spectrum of non-target species” and agreed that their use does not meet the intent of policies that are supposed to cause the least harm to wildlife and their habitats. The agency also noted that they’re not only potentially being used on agricultural crops that are grown on wildlife refuges, but that they may be getting introduced through plants used in restoration projects.

Kim Trust, the deputy regional director of the FWS, told the AP that the agency made the decision because it is concerned about the global decline in all pollinators.

As of now, refuge managers will be required to take other steps to avoid their use on close to 9,000 acres of land in Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and should have neonics completely phased out by January 2016.

“We commend the Service for taking its first step to ban neonicotinoids in the Pacific region, and now we call on the agency to permanently institute this policy on wildlife refuges nationwide,” said Paige Tomaselli, senior attorney with Center for Food Safety. “Federal wildlife refuges were established to protect natural diversity. Allowing chemical companies to profit by poisoning these important ecosystems violates their fundamental purpose and mission.”


Please sign and share the petition thanking the FWS for implementing this change and urging the agency to protect pollinators and other species by expanding this common sense ban throughout the entire National Wildlife Refuge System.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Christine Jones
Christine J2 years ago

Thanks for sharing this good news. After all, no bees, no plants, no plants, no us.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

trina firey
Trina D. firey4 years ago

Good to hear. I'm sorry that it had to take this long for someone to take action. I hope it's not too late.

Marilyn R.
Marilyn Rocker4 years ago

Ever so small but there is light at the end of the tunnel at last--and now we keep the positive energy going so all countries using these toxins follows suit!! This truly is good news!

Mark Donners
Mark Donner4 years ago

It should be banned everywhere, not just in wildlife refuges. Screw the corporate criminals who peddle them and the insane farmers who use these lethal toxins.

Angev GERIDONI4 years ago

I would like to thank all Care2 members who already signed my petition.
if no, please help give an happy end to that sad story :
1) Care 2
2) PeticaoPublica.com

But unfortunately this is still not the end of the sufferings for those animals. This Monday 28th july a stray horse was hit by a car and was euthanized due to an open fracture. link : Tribuna de Petropolis
As some people of the city and from the neighborhoods, took them to a sanctuary*, the hope is rising, it's up to you to make it grow by still sharing the petitions. I will tell you more about the sanctuary on the next update...

Thank you for caring

Vivianne Mosca-Clark

WOOT it is starting to happen.
I have been writing letters and signing petitions to stop this 'stuff'.

Charlie Rush
Charlene Rush4 years ago

Holy mackerel!
How long it takes for common sense to prevail.

Linda C.
Linda C4 years ago

Finally an official US agency is taking steps against this destructive stuff. Kudos to them!

Maureen Welch
Maureen welch4 years ago

this is great news, hopefully the rest of the country will follow suit. And hopefully it is not too little too late