Most people react and even panic when they see a honeybee flying around. They swat the air and often run in fear of being stung. I’ve heard people curse at honeybees and say things like they wish they’d go away or disappear.
If that happened, 1/3 of America’s agricultural harvest would also disappear. Honeybees don’t just make the honey we all love, but they pollinate many crops that end up on our tables at mealtime. Many beekeepers move their hives from field to field to help pollinate farmers’ crops. The loss of honeybees would be devastating to farmers, produce companies and the American economy in general, not to mention the millions of people that would go hungry.
Knowing the importance of honeybees, you would expect the Environmental Protection Agency to take extra measures to protect honeybees, not allow the destruction of them. In 2013, the EPA gave unconditional approval for the use of the insecticide sulfoxaflor, which is extremely toxic to honeybees as are most of the class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids.
The US Department of Agriculture conducts annual surveys of honeybee colonies. Their figures indicated that from April 2014 to April 2015, honeybee colonies declined by 42.1%, making it the second largest single year decline ever. The areas hit the hardest were Minnesota and upper Midwestern states.
Supposedly, EPA approval requires the manufacture conduct tests on the impact to adult honeybees, brood and colony strength. In the case of sulfoxaflor, Dow AgroSciences failed to provide the EPA with any of these test results before the agency issued the unconditional use of the deadly insecticide.
Upon approval, sulfoxaflor was placed on the market and soon resulted in the devastation of honeybee colonies where it had been used. A number of beekeepers and the Center for Food Safety filed lawsuits against the EPA for approving the deadly insecticide without first obtaining the required test results.
They argued that the EPA should take into consideration the long-term impacts on honeybee colonies rather than just relying on the instantaneous lethal dose on single adult honeybee.
Last week a federal appeals court took swift action and revoked the EPA approval of sulfoxaflor. The court cited that the EPA made their decision to approve the insecticide on flawed and inadequate information concerning the impact of sulfoxaflor on honeybees.
Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota beekeeper who was part of the lawsuit responded to the court’s decision, saying:
“I’m smiling and crying all at the same time.”
Greg Loarie, lead attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice who joined in the beekeepers’ lawsuit, commented:
“It clearly holds that the EPA needs to have information about the impact an insecticide can have on a honeybee colony.”
Peter Jenkins, attorney for the Center for Food Safety, also commented about the court ruling, saying:
“This is a huge opinion. There was not enough data that the EPA could point to support its conclusions.”
The EPA has not said whether or not they will appeal the court’s decision which they disagreed with. Dow AgroSciences says they are in the process of conducting the rest of the required tests in hopes of being able to once again obtain approval to use the insecticide that could devastate honeybee colonies along with the agriculture and grocery industries in the US.
I’ve often questioned the intelligence and motives of the EPA. They repeatedly go after landowners for developing their own land. One family was attacked by the EPA for cleaning up trash left in a small dry wash on their desert property, claiming it was part of a waterway.
The EPA has been so busy trying to deprive landowners from legally improving their own property that they turned a blind eye to their own regulations by approving the use of an insecticide that could have a devastating impact on every American and our economy. One has to wonder just what their real agenda is.