EPA released its final policy which describes methods for addressing acute risks to bees from pesticides. Applications of acutely toxic pesticides would be prohibited under certain conditions when bees are most likely to be present. While the restrictions focus on managed bees, EPA believes that these measures will also protect native bees and other pollinators that are in and around treatment areas, and EPA stated the new label language will protect managed bees under contract to provide crop pollination services.
EPA stated the final Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products is more flexible and practical than the proposed policy. For example, a product that retains its toxicity to bees for a shorter time might be allowed to be applied under certain circumstances. Also, in some cases, pesticide application would be allowed when it is unlikely that pollinators will be foraging for crops that have extended bloom periods. EPA will begin implementing this policy in 2017 by sending letters to registrants describing steps that must be taken to incorporate the new labeling.
EPA continues to encourage efforts by states and tribes to reduce pesticide exposure to bees and other insect pollinators through locally-based measures, such as through Managed Pollinator Protection Plans (MP3s). EPA will continue to assist the American Association of Pest Control Officials in developing performance measures for MP3s and will continue to monitor the progress and effectiveness of pollinator protection plans in reducing bee exposure to pesticides. EPA has also engaged the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee in examining the best ways to measure the effectiveness of MP3s.
For more information on the proposal, its supporting documents, and comments received, please see: regulatory docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0818; EPA’s Actions to Protect Pollinators; and Pollinator Protection at EPA.