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Bees pollinating sorghum. The EPA has not approved the lethal insecticide sulfoxaflor to be used on sorghum because it is known to attract bees. Sahaquiel9102 / Wikimedia

More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week OK the 'emergency' use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?

EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, "that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn't be allowed to spray."

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Jason Hosking / The Image Bank / Getty Images Plus

Police are looking for an arsonist who burned several beehives in Alvin, Texas, leading to the deaths of more than half a million bees, CNN reported Wednesday.

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Mark Helm / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Beekeepers in and around Cape Town, South Africa are facing significant losses of their pollinators in recent weeks.

The mass deaths have been linked to an insecticide called fipronil that was likely incorrectly used by the area's wine farmers, according to media reports.

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By Daniel Raichel

As massive numbers of bees and other pollinators keep dying across the globe, study after study continues to connect these deaths to neonicotinoid pesticides (A.K.A. "neonics"). With the science piling up, and other countries starting to take critical pollinator-saving action, here's a quick primer on all things neonics:

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A Texas health inspector sprays a neighborhood for mosquitoes. John Moore / Getty Images

Pesticides sprayed in the southern U.S. to stop the spread of the Zika virus could turn the nation's honeybees into collateral damage.

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Jason Riedy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A farmer in Iowa lost tens of thousands of honeybees and after vandals destroyed several hives on two separate occasions.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Grateful Acres Farm northeast of Des Moines said it found three of its strongest hives smashed by logs, bricks and cinder blocks. Each hive can hold up to 60,000 insects, the Des Moines Register reported.

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The Center for Biological Diversity Thursday urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to deny Bayer CropScience's request to allow the highly bee-toxic pesticide flupyradifurone to be sprayed on tobacco in states like Kentucky and North Carolina.

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Another study has cast doubt on the environmental safety of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, the most frequently used weedkiller in the world.

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Max Pixel / CC

Bees are vital pollinators, and the consequences of their dying population could have far-reaching impacts to our food chain.

That's why a woman in Cape Coral in southwest Florida expressed regret after calling pest control to exterminate thousands of honeybees that swarmed her garage and SUV on Saturday.

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Pexels

By Sam Schipani

"Save the bees" is a rallying cry we've been hearing for years now—one that conjures up images of fuzzy black and yellow honeybees, sipping nectar from colorful flowers or swarming with their bee brethren among tessellated combs while human defenders spread the word about dwindling bee populations. But honeybees are at no risk of dying off. While disease, parasites, and other threats are certainly real problems for beekeepers, the total number of managed honeybees worldwide has risen by 45 percent over the last half century.

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The two young Iowa vandals knocked over 50 hives and exposed the bees to deadly winter temperatures. Colby Stopa / Flickr

Two boys were charged with killing more than a half million bees at a honey business in Iowa last month.

"All of the beehives on the honey farm were destroyed and approximately 500,000 bees perished in the frigid temperatures," Sioux City police said in a release.

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By Dan Nosowitz

All species evolve over time to have distinct preferences for survival. But with rapidly changing synthetic chemicals, sometimes animals don't have a chance to develop a beneficial aversion to something harmful.

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By Jessica Corbett

Raising further concerns about the global food production system, a new study found that bees worldwide are being widely exposed to dangerous agricultural chemicals, with 75 percent of honey samples from six continents testing positive for pesticides known to harm pollinators.

"What this shows is the magnitude of the contamination," the study's lead author, Edward Mitchell, a biology professor at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, told the Denver Post. He said there were "relatively few places where we did not find any" contaminated samples.

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