EPA Actions to Protect Pollinators
Pesticide risk management must be based on sound science, consistent with the laws under which pesticides are regulated in the United States. EPA has been working aggressively to protect bees and other pollinators from pesticide exposure.
Proposed Interim Decision on Neonicotinoids
In January 2020, EPA released proposed interim decisions for acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. These chemicals, collectively known as neonicotinoids, are a group of insecticides used on a wide variety of crops, turf, ornamentals, pets (for flea treatment), and other residential and commercial indoor and outdoor uses. In the proposed interim decisions, EPA is proposing:
- management measures to help keep pesticides on the intended target and reduce the amount used on crops associated with potential ecological risks;
- requiring the use of additional personal protective equipment to address potential occupational risks;
- restrictions on when pesticides can be applied to blooming crops in order to limit exposure to bees;
- language on the label that advises homeowners not to use neonicotinoid products; and
- cancelling spray uses of imidacloprid on residential turf under the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) due to health concerns.
Additionally, the agency is working with industry on developing and implementing stewardship and best management practices.
Upon publication in the Federal Register, EPA will accept comments on the decisions in the following dockets for 60 days:
- Acetamiprid EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0329
- Clothianidin EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0865
- Dinotefuran EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0920
- Imidacloprid EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0844
- Thiamethoxam EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0581
Actions to Protect Pollinators from Pesticide Exposure
EPA has taken the following actions to protect pollinators from pesticide exposure:
Implemented a policy in 2017 that protects bees from agricultural pesticide spray and dust applications while the bees are under contract to provide pollination services. The policy also recommends that states and tribes develop pollinator protection plans and best management practices.
Prohibited the use of certain neonicotinoid pesticides when bees are present.
Expediting the re-evaluation of the neonicotinoid family of pesticides, as well as other pesticides, using the harmonized risk assessment process.
- Learn more about the registration review schedule for neonicotinoid pesticides.
- Learn more about the updated registration review schedule for pesticides.
Temporarily halted the approval of new outdoor neonicotinoid pesticide uses until new bee data are submitted and pollinator risk assessments are complete.
- Read EPA’s letter to registrants of neonicotinoid pesticides informing them that we will likely not be in a position to approve most applications for new uses of these chemicals.
Expediting the review of new Varroa mite control products.
Developing new bee exposure and effect testing priorities for the registration of new pesticides, new pesticide uses, and registration review of existing pesticides.
- Guidance on Exposure and Effects Testing for Assessing Risks to Bees.
- Process for Requiring Exposure and Effects Testing for Assessing Risks to Bees During Registration and Registration Review.
Issued data requirements and risk assessment approaches for pollinators as we review the registrations of all of the neonicotinoid pesticides.
Established guidance and best practices for regional, state and tribal inspectors conducting FIFRA inspections of apparent cases of pesticide-related bee deaths.
Developing a new risk management approach for considering the impacts of herbicides on monarch butterfly habitats and protecting milkweed from pesticide exposure. To view the proposal go to www.regulations.gov, Docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0389.
Providing farmers and beekeepers with EPA's residue toxicity time (RT25) data as a means of gauging the lengths of time that specific pesticide products may remain toxic to bees and other pollinators following application of these products to plants.
Working with pesticide manufacturers to develop new seed-planting technologies that will reduce dust that may be toxic to pollinators during the planting of pesticide-treated seed.
Incorporating pollinator protection at EPA Facilities, on epa.gov, and in other EPA programs.
- EPA has launched a Pollinator Protection Initiative and is conducting pollinator site assessments to promote pollinator communities and habitats at its facilities.
- EPA has updated its Green Infrastructure website to provide improved resources for pollinator protection.
- Encourage pollinator-friendly habitat considerations in land cleanup programs; for example,
- the community advisory group at the Chemical Commodities, Inc. Superfund site in Olathe, Kansas; and
- work with Monarch Watch, the Pollinator Partnership, and other site stakeholders to establish a pollinator garden after cleanup activities are completed.