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  • USDA suppressing bee science? | Honey Bee Haven
    In 2004 Dr Lundgren was hired as a research scientist by USDA As an entomologist his research often looked at neonicotinoids and their impacts on beneficial insects including pollinators like honey bees as well as important predatory insects that help keep pests in check His findings have provided important information on the benefits of biodiversity in farm ecosystems and he s looked closely at whether or not neonicotionid seed coatings provide real benefits in yield or profit for farmers Lundgren s research is independent and peer reviewed and in some cases his conclusions haven t matched up with the interests of the pesticide industry In March 2014 Lundgren served as a reviewer for a Center for Food Safety report on the lack of yield benefits associated with neonicotinoid seed coatings In the same month he gave an interview about his research on emerging RNAi biotechnology and the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article featuring his research on neonicotinoids Soon after Lundgren s employer strongly discouraged future contact with the media even though his interviews had not broken any agency protocol In his complaint against USDA Lundgren also reported that he and other researchers in his lab began facing disproportionate hurdles from USDA higher ups in routine processes like travel approval and grant submissions Dr Lundgren filed a scientific integrity complaint in September 2014 describing these interferences with his research and the day to day operations of his laboratory and travel In August 2015 less than a year after his scientific integrity complaint against the Agency Lundgren was disciplined with a 14 day suspension The justification for the suspension Two distinct events neither out of the ordinary according to norms at USDA minor issues with travel paperwork and with an article submission to a journal This week s whistleblower complaint filed

    Original URL path: http://www.honeybeehaven.org/content/usda-suppressing-bee-science (2016-02-12)
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  • Court sides with bees, says no to pesticide | Honey Bee Haven
    foliar or spray treatment for a variety of crops including many that bees pollinate and that end up on our plates Beekeeper Jeff Anderson signaled the urgency of the situation EPA continues to exacerbate the pressures on beekeepers whose operations are on the edge of collapse Beekeepers including Anderson then filed suit And PAN and partner farming groups voiced strong support The precariousness of bee populations In last week s ruling the court found that the EPA relied on flawed and limited data to approve the registration of sulfoxaflor and cited the precariousness of bee populations Perhaps most importantly they ruled that the agency s approval was not supported by substantial evidence What happens now In a worst case scenario EPA officials could continue to ignore the evidence and use its old trick of conditionally registering the pesticide keeping it on the market for years before a thorough review But that is likely to be increasingly difficult given that bee harming pesticides are now squarely in the limelight Neonicotinoids with difficult to pronounce names clothianidin dinotefuran imidacloprid and thiamethoxam for example have been linked to bee declines for years EPA recently approved new pesticides that act on the same receptors in bee brains including flupyradifurone and cyantraniliprole When all is said and done the approval of sulfoxaflor reflects the classic problem we call the pesticide treadmill As more science underscores the harms of a pesticide manufacturers shift to newer less studied products It can take regulators years to catch up and respond with appropriate and robust protections Our precious bee populations don t have this kind of time Focus EPA Focus While some systemic insecticides like sulfoxaflor are sprayed an even greater number are applied as seed treatments As the agency rushed to approve Dow s latest bee harming pesticide

    Original URL path: http://www.honeybeehaven.org/content/court-sides-bees-says-no-pesticide (2016-02-12)
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  • Guest Blog: Pollinators & the rigged neonic seed market | Honey Bee Haven
    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 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

    Original URL path: http://www.honeybeehaven.org/content/guest-blog-pollinators-rigged-neonic-seed-market (2016-02-12)
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