VICTORY! Pesticide Giant Will Stop Selling Insecticide Linked to Bee Deaths

Honey_bee_departingBy Derrick Broze

Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has announced that they will eliminate the use of a class of insecticides which have been linked to negative effects on pollinator populations, including bees and butterflies.

After reviewing possible threats to honey bees, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has decided to end the use of neonicotinoid insecticides for its Ortho brand lawn and garden care products. The company said they are expanding their selection of non-neonicotinoid products and will completely end the use of neonicotinoid ingredients imidacloprid, clothianidin and dinotefuran by 2017.

“This decision comes after careful consideration regarding the range of possible threats to honey bees and other pollinators,” said Tim Martin, general manager of the Ortho brand. The Wall Street Journal reports that Scotts Miracle-Gro has partnered with the Pollinator Stewardship Council, a U.S. pollinator advocacy organization and supporter of more than 550 beekeepers throughout the country. The company is also seeking to pressure the government into allowing new labeling for pesticides without neonicotinoids.

The decision comes shortly after Maryland passed legislation banning the sale of neonicotinoids. The bill prohibits the retail sale and household use of neonicotinoid pesticides beginning in 2018, but would still allow commercial uses.

In January, the Environmental Protection Agency found that the neonicotinoids harm honey bees when used on cotton and citrus, but not on other crops like corn, berries and tobacco. The “neonics” are a class of pesticide that has previously been linked to declines in bee populations. Neonics were developed in 1991 and commercial use began in the mid-1990s. Around 2006, commercial beekeepers began reporting what is now known as colony collapse disorder — where entire colonies of bees die off with no obvious cause. The disorder has been reported in commercial colonies all over the world. Several studies have implicated neonics, which are used to kill insects harmful to crops.

Due to the controversy around these studies, the EPA decided to conduct four scientific risk assessments to examine the neonics and how they affect bees on a chronic long-term basis. The first report, released on Wednesday, was conducted by the EPA and California’s environmental agency and only studied the effects on the honey bee population. Nearly one-third of the human diet depends on insect-pollinated plants, with honey bees pollinating 80% of those crops.

The EPA analysis found a “clear line of harm or no harm” when examining the effects of the pesticide imidacloprid, the most popular neonicotinoid. When bees bring nectar back to the hive with levels of concentration of imidacloprid that are above 5 parts per billion there are fewer bees, less honey, and according to Jim Jones, EPA’s assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, “a less robust hive.” However, if the nectar concentration level was under 25 parts per billion there were no negative effects. Jones also said the first assessment found that treating seeds with the pesticides did not seem to harm the honey bees.

“I am not convinced that neonics are a major driver of colony loss,” Dennis vanEngelsdorp, University of Maryland entomologist, told the AP.  VanEngelsdorp did tell the AP he believes farmers are relying too heavily on the pesticides “against pests that are simply very scarce or not found in the landscape. There are studies (including EPA’s) that show no benefit to production when these products are used.”

Neonicotinoids have also been the subject of a recent whistleblower complaint filed by a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. United States Department of Agriculture researcher Dr. Jonathan Lundgren filed an internal complaint in September 2014 accusing the USDA of retaliating against him in response to his neonicotinoids research. The complaint was dismissed by the USDA and Lundgren was suspended in October 2014. The West Field Times reports that the USDA said Lundgren was suspended for three days after USDA investigators found emails among his research staff that included indecent jokes.

On October 28, 2015, Lundgren filed a complaint with the federal Merit Systems Protection Board after his supervisors allegedly began to “impede or deter his research and resultant publications.” Lundgren’s complaint alleges that his supervisors suspended him in retaliation for his research on neonicotinoid pesticides and also calls for an investigation of both the USDA and the EPA. Lundgren’s complaint is now moving forward and will hopefully provide some more insight into the possible dangers of the neonicotinoids.

Although Scotts-Miracle Gro should be commended for putting on hold the production of these controversial chemicals, we should also remember that the neonics are not the only class of pesticides which have been linked to harm to the environment and animals. To truly stop the degradation that is happening to the planet and all its inhabitants, we must create and promote localized solutions for food production that do not depend on the factory farming complex and their pesticides.

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for and the founder of the Follow him on Twitter.

Derrick is available for interviews.

This article may be freely reposted in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

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6 Comments on "VICTORY! Pesticide Giant Will Stop Selling Insecticide Linked to Bee Deaths"

  1. More articles from ivory tower keyboards who do not own apiaries. More stupid to fill the time, I guess.

    Listen, neonics do kill honeybees. Wanna know what will kill a hive faster? Pyrethrins like Sevin dust. Honeybees get sevin dust on them and take it back as pollen and that kills many of the nurse bees. Loss of nurse bees weakens a hive’s future. Neonics cause loss of forager bees which weakens the hive’s memory. Without hive memory, honeybees must re-learn where all pollen and nectar sources are at. That eats up about a week each time. Other chemicals (read: herbicides) jack up the entire hive pheromone system causing queen issues and general stupefying of the colony (like them flying full speed into the side of the hive boxes) See where this is going?

    So all of Scott’s efforts to SAVE DA BEEZ is just more corporate showboating and ‘environmental warrior’ hogwash. The only chemicals that have little effect on bees are fungicide class chemicals, such as Bordeaux mix, myclobutanil, Captan, etc. Anything that will kill a wasp or a spider will certainly kill a honeybee.

    It will become impossible to save the bees if we destroy our environment with all the current geo-engineering since that destroys bee habitat: THE GREAT OUTDOORS!

    • So what you are saying is little steps don’t matter? You say in your comment “neonics do kill honeybees.” Your exact words. So why do you have an issue with one company removing a harmful chemical from the equation? And even if it isn’t killing bees (although dozens of studies say otherwise), what about the human health problems it causes, ya know like cancer? Or is that just some ivory tower keyboarding?

      Do agree with the goe-engineering part though. And can’t forget EMF from cell towers and the such.

      • My issue is that what they are doing is disingenuous because the world has gotten so nasty and polluted from vermin, fungi, bacterial imbalances and insect populations have exploded that such things as “neonics’ are now needed. Yes, they kill bees and yes without them in some parts it is impossible to grow anything resembling a human food crop. (you know, stuff WE eat). These people already know this because they have been part of the industry to overpower the bug and take dominion of nature to grow food. Their part is pest management. The problem is we have started down this road and now there is no reversing it. AND they know that part, also.

        And YES, there are oodles of human health issues from all this crap needed to fight against bug and fungus. What can be done? I have no idea. What I do know is that without many chemicals, anything you plant will die in certain locales. Right now we have been fighting a losing battle to save our Ozark woodlands. Hypoxylon, phytophthora, black fungus knot, gummosis, bacterial canker…etcetera. Chemicals don’t even work against them!

        And yes, I keep bees. My colony has not collapsed, but I am an active beekeeper. I don’t rent out my bees either, nor do I stress them out by lugging them all over the place. That is how varroa mites got spread quickly. Commercial apiarists was the vector for THAT vermin.

        • Alright. Works for me. Just was being curious, not argumentative or anything.

          As for your bees, good luck and keep up the noble work.

        • sharon sampson | April 18, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Reply

          Gotta butt in here. Sure corporations are very very bad with use of pesticides. But it is also the millions of people called homeowners who can easily buy pesticides without any knowledge whatsoever about why and what they are using. And they are very very bad! I’ve been a licensed pesticide applicator for decades. The cool thing about getting a pesticide license in the states is that the cooperative extension services of various Universities teach one how not to use pesticides! Great continuing education, great seminars to get pesticide applicators up to snuff about simple BOTANY and Entomology!! Water, soils, geology, chemistry…they try to get everyone at least a little bit educated and they do an incredible job. Too bad that any idiot can buy and use willy nilly the pesticides we find on any shelf in any grocery store much less garden/nursery stores. So self absorbed, so the center of their world that they have no worries to include their own health. They only want control of their little chunk of yard they actually fear! If the chemical actually ‘solves’ their problem (just immediately who cares about weeks, months, years later) then they feel in control. Ha ha ha.

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