Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

Beekeepers petition EPA over pesticide

Frank Rumpenhorst/AFP/Getty Images

While the war being waged over strawberry fumigant methyl iodide that we’ve been following came to an abrupt end, a new pesticide debate is heating up.

Just this week, beekeepers and environmentalists came together and filed a petition with more than one million signatures asking the EPA to ban the use of pesticide clothianidin. Petitioners claim harm the bees, often lethally.

"The future of beekeeping faces numerous threats, including from clothianidin, and we need to take steps to protect pollinators and the livelihood of beekeepers," said co-petitioner Steve Ellis of Old Mill Honey Co in a press release.

As reported in Business Week, the beekeepers say that the pesticide cripples the immune system of the bees, ultimately leading to colony collapse disorder, where all adult honeybees die or simply disappear.

While colony collapse disorder is a real problem, there are researchers who don’t believe clothianidin is the primary cause. As reported in the Southwest Farm Press, Extension Apiculturist and noted honeybee expert Eric Mussen says that there are multiple reasons behind the situation, including “pathogens, parasites, pesticides and malnutrition.”

This comes in the wake of Silver Lake becoming the latest Los Angeles neighborhood to officially approve beekeeping, as we detailed earlier this month.

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