Pollinator Topics - Quick Finder
|Pollinator Protection: Then & Now Strategic Plan & Current Activities||Advancing the Science Risk Management||Coordination & Outreach|
The March 5, 2013, Pollinator Summit brought together key stakeholders to collaborate on activities to protect honey bees.
Many different insects and animals are pollinators − for example, ants, birds, bats and, of course, bees. And many plants − fruits and vegetables, but also grains, grasses and even trees – depend on them for pollination. Although it's easy to forget the importance of pollinators, it's critical that we help protect them from environmental risks. We are concerned about decline in pollinator health.
We are working aggressively to protect bees and other pollinators from pesticide risks through regulatory, voluntary and research programs. Specifically we are:
Accelerating the schedule for registration review of the neonicotinoid pesticides because of uncertainties about these pesticides and their potential effects on bees.
Working collaboratively with beekeepers, growers, pesticide manufacturers, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and states to apply technologies to reduce pesticide dust drift, to advance best management practices, to improve enforcement guidance and to explore enhancing pesticide labeling.
Working collaboratively with our global regulatory partners to understand the evolving science for assessing risks to insect pollinators. We are working on a range of international efforts, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Pesticide Effects on Insect Pollinators working group, the International Commission on Plant-Pollinator Relationships, Colony Loss Network and with the European Food Safety Authority to develop appropriate tests for evaluating both exposure to and effects of pesticides on insect pollinators (particularly honey bees).
EPA’s efforts were sparked by a report documenting the threat to pollinators, the National Research Council’s report on the Status of Pollinators in North America and the advent of Colony Collapse Disorder (a serious threat to bees) in 2006. At this point, we reviewed our approach to see if we could reduce pesticide risks to pollinators.
The prevailing theory among the EPA and others in the global scientific and regulatory community is that the declining health of honey bees in general is related to complex interactions among multiple stressors that these organisms encounter, including inadequate food sources (nutrition), diseases (bacteria, fungi and viruses), habitat loss and bee management practices, as well as pesticides. Relative to the potential role of pesticides in pollinator health declines, the science is still progressing as we seek to learn what regulatory changes, if any, may be effective.
We will continue to lead efforts to ensure pollinators are protected from harm by pesticides, and that the agency’s decisions are supported by sound science consistent with federal pesticide law. The Pollinator Protection Team’s strategic plan reflects the importance of pollinators to human health and the environment and lays out our goals to advance the science, policy and outreach for pollinator protection.
These Web pages summarize what EPA is doing to protect pollinators:
- Pollinator Protection: Then & Now
- Strategic Plan & Current Activities
- Pesticide Issues in the Works – Colony Collapse Disorder
- Find out more about CCD from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Pollinators website