US agency’s new labels forbid use of some neonicotinoids where bees are present

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed new pesticide labels that prohibit the use of some neonicotinoid products where bees are present in an effort to protect the health of pollinators. The US action comes after the European commission agreed restrictions on the use of three neonicotinoids which will come into force on 1 December.

The new EPA labels contain a bee advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spraying precautions. The neonicotinoid products affected are imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

The agency also plans to join forces with beekeepers, growers, pesticide users, agrichemical and seed companies, as well as federal and state agencies, to reduce pesticide drift and advance best management practices. But the Washington DC non-profit Beyond Pesticides is warning that the EPA’s label change is inadequate. The group noted that neonicotinoids are systemic, so they are taken up by plants and exuded in their pollen and nectar, endangering pollinators.