EPA Finally Moves to Restrict Bee-Killing Pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally taken some action to restrict the use of pesticides that are believed to be causing serious declines in pollinators, but environmentalists are arguing the agency still needs to do more.

Scientists agree that while there are other factors such as disease and habitat loss contributing to the decline of pollinators, these chemicals are clearly harmful whether low doses are weakening them and making them more vulnerable to disease, pests or other stressors, or have levels high enough to kill them directly.

As part of an effort to address the problems these pesticides are causing, the EPA announced it will be restricting a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or neonics, which are known impact bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife and are believed to be contributing to their overall decline.

While the agency said it will “likely not be in a position” to approve new uses until it gets more data and conducts a full risk assessment for four chemicals including imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, it won’t be withdrawing existing permits for their use, which a alliance of food, farming and environmental advocacy groups are calling for.

“If EPA is unable to assess the safety of new uses, the agency similarly is not able to assess the safety of the close to 100 outdoor uses already approved. In view of its admissions, EPA has no option under FIFRA other than to suspend the existing uses, as well as follow through with its moratorium on the proposed new uses,” said Peter T. Jenkins, attorney for the Center for Food Safety.

The alliance further argues that other chemicals that have recently come on the market should also be included with neonics, but weren’t and their continued use will be just as damaging.

“It’s welcome news that EPA is finally beginning to address the threat that neonics pose to the nation’s bees and other pollinators, but given the threats to the nation’s food and farming system, more is needed,” said Kristin Schafer, policy director at Pesticide Action Network North America. “Numerous bee-harming neonics and their cousin products are already on the market, and seed coatings in particular have led to a dramatic surge in use over the last few years. EPA should go further to place a moratorium on existing products.”

According to a statement from the alliance of groups urging further action, they believe more recommendations will soon come from the White House, which set up a Pollinator Health Task Force last summer to create a National Pollinator Health Strategy intended to restore populations of pollinators. Considering how damaging these chemicals are to us, wildlife and our environment more action won’t come a moment too soon.


While the EPA has taken a tiny step to protect pollinators, there’s currently legislation pending in Congress that could do even more. The Saving America’s Pollinators Act would suspend the use of four of the most dangerous neonicotinoids at least until the EPA conducts a full review of their safety.

Please sign and share the petition urging your representative to support this important piece of legislation to protect pollinators and the health of our food system and environment.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago


I have always loved honey bees even though I'm allergic!

Barbara S.
Barbara S.3 years ago

Perhaps we should begin with the stores that sell the poisonous products. If we boycott or at least form active protests against the stores that sell the deadly contaminants, we can get a lot of them to stop selling toxins such as Round-up and other pesticides. Even a small group of people chanting with home-made signs, a couple of hours a day for 30 days, can make customers at least THINK about what they're buying before they enter these stores. Petitions can do only so much. Active condemnation of the stores offering it to customers can make just as much of an impression as long as we're polite and don't antagonize the customers walking past us to shop. Every little bit, done with concern and respectfulness, is a step in the right direction.

william Miller
william Miller3 years ago

small step at least Lowes is stopping the use of it in their bedding plants but a little late for this year

Doug G.
Doug G3 years ago

I am asked to sign a petition to my "representative" urging him to help pollinators. The only problem with this is he is a republican who openly works for business interests who bought his office, while packaging his efforts as "helping to create jobs". What good would writing this corporate puppet do?
EPA should have banned these chemicals from the start but didn't because many of their bureaucrats are members of the "revolving door" who will return to industry after they have helped their respective corporations.
The combination of bought of politicians and industry hacks within governmental agencies is why nothing of major importance gets addressed by this government. Other measures are needed and the people must employ them, while stop pretending that signing petitions will do the trick, for they are mostly feel good efforts at this point.

Ann B.
Ann B3 years ago

wake up--no bees--no nothing!!!!! we have already hurt the butterflies and frogs...and many other things that nature needs..............

Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago

Petition signed

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 3 years ago

I'll rejoice when it happens.

Mahmoud Khalil
Mahmoud Khalil3 years ago


Nancy Wrightington