EPA Memo Shows Pesticide Harms Bees

An EPA memo that wound up in the hands of veteran beekeeper Tom Theobald identifies a common pesticide as directly harmful to honey bees. Clothianidin was first registered in May 2003 but that registration was dependent on a study being conducted which would show it was safe for honey bees. However, the study was flawed, and the EPA memo that was leaked shows they were aware clothianidin was harmful to bees, yet they had allowed it be sold and used, and in doing so also probably allowed many bees to be harmed or die.

You can read the memo for yourself here. It says, “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.” (Source: Pesticide Action Network)

Colony Collapse Disorder has resulted in the loss of millions of bees since it was observed starting in about 1995. Possible explanations for the massive die-off of bees have ranged from bacteria and viral disease to fungal infections. Of course some also have speculated that pesticides have been the culprit, or the effect of pesticides have made bees sick enough they can’t fight off diseases they normally recover from. Some beekeepers suspected it was the pesticides called neonicotinoids, including clothianidin which attack the nervous system of insects.

Corn pollen is abundant in the United States because corn is the largest commercial crop. Bees use corn pollen for food, and eighty percent of corn seed sold by the top producer contained clothianidin. The EPA’s conditional registration of clothianidin allowed eight growing seasons of commercial crops to be treated with the pesticide, resulting in exposure to a tremendous number of honey bees. Beekeepers and environmentalists have called for the EPA to prohibit the use of the pesticide.

David Hackenberg, Co-Chair of the National Honey Bee Advisory Board said, “What folks need to understand is that the beekeeping industry, which is responsible for a third of the food we all eat, is at a critical threshold for economic reasons and reasons to do with bee population dynamics. Another winter of ‘more studies are needed’ so Bayer can keep their blockbuster products on the market and EPA can avoid a difficult decision, is unacceptable.” (Source: Huffington Post)

Mr. Hackenberg was referring to the fact that each year more and more bees are dying, and the beekeepers are losing their capacity to stay in business at the same time. The product name for clothiniandin is Poncho or Poncho 600 and it is made by Bayer. It has been banned in Germany, Italy, France and Slovenia. Sales of the pesticide generated $262 million in 2009 alone. (Source: thesunbreak.com)

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Honeybee Crisis Continues: How You Can Help Stop Colony Collapse Disorder


Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson5 years ago

No bees, no food.

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

susan k.
susan k5 years ago

So who's getting payed to be quiet, let's state it as it is The BIG Corporations are making money on all the pesticides and all killing us all , in one way or another.
Ban Neonicotinoid pesticides and all pesticides for that matter.
We need to use only natural methods only and get back to the basics .
Give back to nature before we feel the BIG STING!
Bee's are amazing and I am proud to be a natual beekeeper in Prince Edward Island .
I am shocked by all the pesticide use and afraid to see what would our world be without Bee's .
Let's go organic well put I could not have said it better Lizzi P.
Let's Make A Difference !

Alan B.
Alan B6 years ago

To Frilly,it,s ALL about "BIG" dividends, to hell with environment & future generations! That,s the outlook both major political parties adhere to,so lets "TAKE CONTROL AGAIN" & vote for which independent you think WILL DO THE BEST JOB,who will put AUSTRALIA,s interests first! Please read the book "How To Kill A Country" there you will see how this country was SOLD OUT in the "free trade agreement" with America! This is just ONE example of why the Major parties are NOT TO BE TRUSTED! I thank god there are still enough people here who are NOT blind,deaf, dumb,(politically) or just stupid enough not to see what is right in front of them!

Frilly Lizard
Past Member 6 years ago

At one point Aussie bees were thought to be the problem. The Aussie bee was proven to be "pure". Our development as a nation is at a crossroads, our land is relatively uncontaminated, simply because of its youth, population and previous "inaccessability". We are a world power, and we have the power to ensure that our people live in a land where our health and wellbeing reigns over money and power. Monsanto has run rife in the US. Their tentacles are snaking into Australia. Our organic farmers are already losing their livelihood to this monster of genetic manipulation. If our bees are pure, let's do everything to ensure they remain that way. The whole world may depend on our relative isolation. Korea is already using manual labour to pollinate some of their fruit trees. That's so close to home! The whole world needs to address this problem! It is imperative to the whole world! It is imperative to our survival, and our children's survival, and our children's children's survival. Mankind, and yes, usually man, is the only animal who threatens his own survival for mercenary gains. Every other species takes what they need for survival, even those who store their food. Only mankind stores more than he needs and uses it to lord over others. Let's get rid of genetic manipulation for a start. Let's go organic. If GM wheat yields less over a ten year period than (organic) pre GM wheat, and storing does not deteriorate the food value, why go GM? For humanity's sake, let's go organic!

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Nancy Sasko
Nancy Sasko7 years ago


irene davis
irene davis7 years ago

thanks for posting & signed

David N.
David N7 years ago

Why is it that other countries have figured this out but America and the EPA can't. I guess it is the $262 millon in sales.