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Put your Honey Bee Haven on the map

People across the U.S. are taking a stand for honey bees, and pledging to provide a safe, pesticide-free haven with access to food, water and shelter. Do you have a Honey Bee Haven in your yard, or have bee-friendly plants in containers on your stoop?

Add your Honey Bee Haven to the map below, and show your support for the pollinators that play a key role in providing our food.

Wins for bees in the Golden State

on Tue, 07/05/2016 - 19:33

Earlier this month, dozens of pesticide and industrial agriculture lobbyists filled the halls of California’s Capitol as they worked to defeat the Pollinator Protection Act (SB 1282) on the Senate floor. If passed, this bill that would have created new protections for bees from harmful pesticides, along with ensuring that seeds and plants pre-treated with neonicotinoid pesticides be labeled as such. But unfortunately, pesticide industry interests prevailed — a deeply disappointing turn of event for those of us working to protect bees.

But thanks to the hard work of a state senator and many

Bayer: Keep the Hives Alive!

on Tue, 07/05/2016 - 19:31

Outside Bayer’s North Carolina headquarters this week, a beekeeper stood with 2.5 million dead bees — a symbol for the number of kills U.S. beekeepers face across the country annually — thanks in part to the bee-harming pesticides that Bayer and others manufacture.

This was one stop on the beekeeper-led Keep the Hives Alive Tour, which made its way across the country during National Pollinator Week. The tour's aim is to build momentum for state and national action to protect bees and support farmers and beekeepers at each stop, in each region.

The tour is also part of the effort to reclaim

Have you heard the latest bee buzz?

on Tue, 05/03/2016 - 16:21

Yesterday, the "Pollinator Protection Act" took a big step forward in the California legislature, moving closer to becoming state law. This is just one of many positive developments for bees in recent weeks. As public momentum to protect vital pollinators continues to build, cities, states and businesses are getting in gear — even as federal policymakers continue to come up short. 

States stepping up

In the face of strong opposition from the citrus industry lobby, the Pollinator Protection Act (SB 1282, Leno-Allen) passed out of the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee on

EPA: Finally connecting the dots?

on Mon, 02/01/2016 - 23:55

More than 20 years after neonicotinoid pesticides hit the market, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its first assessment of the impacts on honey bees. Looking at one neonic in isolation — Bayer's imidacloprid — the agency acknowledges some harm to bees. But it's still missing the big picture.

EPA's assessment concludes that "imidacloprid potentially poses risk to hives when the pesticide comes in contact with certain crops that attract pollinators." The agency points specifically to citrus and cotton, where pesticide residues above EPA's acceptable level were

A win for bees

on Thu, 12/03/2015 - 19:19

The California State Beekeepers Association was buzzing about pesticides at their annual convention in Sacramento last week. And with good reason.

Just days before, EPA took the rare step of banning a bee-toxic insecticide. For an agency that has been really slow to take meaningful bee-protective action, dragging out both scientific analysis and much needed policy shifts, this was a very welcome move.

The agency's decision to pull sulfoxaflor — manufactured by Dow — was largely a response to litigation brought on by beekeepers.

USDA suppressing bee science?

on Thu, 12/03/2015 - 19:12
Earlier this week, a top researcher for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed a complaint alleging that the agency retaliated against him for his research on bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides — and for blowing the whistle on USDA interference with his research.

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren has worked at USDA's Agricultural Research Service lab in Brookings, South Dakota for 11 years. His peer-reviewed research on neonicotinoids (neonics), and their impact on pollinators, has been widely published and has received accolades from his contemporaries.

USDA, however, appears to be less

Court sides with bees, says no to pesticide

on Thu, 12/03/2015 - 19:00

Last week, the federal courts took a stand for bees and beekeepers. In their written decision, the judges said EPA had approved a new neonicotinoid pesticide — sulfoxaflor — without adequate review. The court ordered the Dow product be pulled from the market.

The judges also took EPA to task for saying yes to the pesticide despite strong evidence showing that the pesticide was “highly toxic” to bees. This is a real and important, much-needed win for pollinators.

Greg Loarie, the lead attorney for the national beekeeper groups that brought the suit — Pollinator Stewardship Council, American

Guest Blog: Pollinators & the rigged neonic seed market

on Tue, 08/11/2015 - 19:38

Farmers are no different from any buyer – they want to know what they’re buying, how much it costs and its expected performance. But in the brave new world of agricultural seeds, where multiple traits and technology are stacked like Microsoft’s operating system, it’s becoming more and more difficult for farmers to separate out what is really needed and discover how much each piece is costing them. In the case of neonicotinoid (neonic) seed coatings used as a pesticide, both the effectiveness and costs are somewhat of a mystery, according to a new paper published by IATP today.

As farm income is expected to drop more than 30 percent from last year, farmers are carefully examining all input costs to see where they can save. With their financial cost and actual effectiveness unclear, neonic seed coatings may be one of those places to cut costs. But the real cost of neonics likely goes well beyond the input price. A growing body of science directly implicates neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides as a contributor to the significant decline of bees and other pollinators. Neonics are applied in multiple ways in agriculture and horticulture but are most prevalent as a seed coating material for commodity crops like corn and soybeans. Based on convincing and mounting evidence, beekeepers, scientists and other individuals concerned about pollinators are working together to spur regulatory action and shifts in the marketplace to reduce the use of neonics.

In May 2015, the White House issued an interagency National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators.  The strategy focuses on efforts to restore honey bee loss, increase monarch butterfly populations and restore pollinator habitats. But the White House plan virtually ignores the on-the-ground farm economics that directly contribute to rising neonic use in seed coatings – specifically the role of a few large companies that have a stranglehold on the seed market. This concentrated market power in the seed industry has allowed a few multi-billion dollar companies like Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto to significantly limit U.S. farmers’ choices around seed coating.

In most cases the seed is coated with neonics whether wanted or not and our paper found that this lack of choice has made it difficult for farmers and their advisors to assess the actual value of these pesticides in crop production, or to understand their true financial and environmental costs. Most farmers understand the value of pollinators to plant growth and the food system and would not intentionally harm them.  However, without credible information on the risks or the freedom to choose their seed coating, farmers are left with little choice but to accept what their seed company delivers.   

The good news is that there are independent seed companies and dealers able today to provide farmers with information and choice around seed coatings. Representing a small segment of a highly consolidated industry, independent seed producers and dealers are able and willing to respond to market changes and farmer preferences associated with not only neonics, but also other areas of market interest, such as non-genetically modified organisms (GMOs), certified organic, cover and specialty crops. But a farmer’s ability to choose what kind of seed coatings they want as part of their crop management system should be the rule, not the exception, in the seed market. 

One of the most basic and necessary aspects of a free market is available and accurate information about products and their efficacy, cost and benefits. It should go without saying, then, that in a competitive marketplace, farmers should receive accurate, up-to-date information from researchers and other farmers at field days about the costs and benefits of neonics and other seed coatings related to both crop production and the environment, including pollinators. Yet, this isn’t happening with neonics or other seed coating ingredients today. We need credible, farmer-led field trials that compare different seed coatings and traits, and that information should be shared with other farmers. And those findings should be compared with the effectiveness and costs of other pest control approaches, such as integrated pest management (IPM), that have proven benefits and economic returns. Only with complete information and choice – about neonics and other crop management tools – can farmers make smart choices that allow them to produce crops and take care of pollinators and the environment.

You can read the full paper: Unknown Benefits, Hidden Costs: Neonicotinoid seed coatings, crop yields and pollinators.

- See more at: http://www.iatp.org/blog/201508/pollinators-and-the-rigged-neonic-seed-m...

Farmers are no different from any buyer – they want to know what they’re buying, how much it costs and its expected performance. But in the brave new world of agricultural seeds, where multiple traits and technology are stacked like Microsoft’s operating system, it’s becoming more and more difficult for farmers to separate out what is really needed and discover how much each piece is costing them.

In the case of neonicotinoid (neonic) seed coatings used as a pesticide, both the effectiveness and costs are somewhat of a mystery, according to a new paper published by IATP today.

Win some, lose some for Minnesota bees

on Tue, 08/11/2015 - 19:38

It’s been quite a roller coaster. After a series of gubernatorial vetoes and late-night negotiations, the Minnesota legislative session came to a close on June 13. This time around, our legislators passed a bundle of worrisome agricultural and environmental policy that had Minnesotans across the state voicing their concerns loud and clear.

Here at PAN, we focused on fighting for state policies to better protect honey bees and other pollinators from pesticides. How did things shake out on our issues? Well, there was some good, some hopeful and some ugly.

5 things you can do to help bees this Pollinator Week

on Wed, 06/17/2015 - 23:51

June is full of meaningful occasions, like graduations and Father’s Day, but it also marks National Pollinator Week. It’s a time to bring awareness to the vital role bees, birds, butterflies and other pollinators play in creating a diverse, bountiful food system. In fact, honey bees pollinate one out of every three bites of food we eat — and they’re in serious trouble. This Pollinator Week, will you join in the fight to safeguard our valuable pollinators? Here are five simple ways you can get involved:

1- Know the issue

With so much conflicting information available online, it’s important to

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