Are Neonics Dangerous To Bees?

Taylor TruckeyBayer CropScience, Bees, environment, Honeybees, Insecticide

bee careDana Sargent, Vice President, North American Regulatory Affairs for Bayer, wrote an open letter on the Bayer CropScience blog penning a response to U.S. and Canadian government regulation regarding imidacloprid.

Here’s a portion of Sargent’s letter:

As a mom and someone responsible for feeding my family, I know the importance of having ready access to safe and nutritious food. As an employee of Bayer working with our regulatory agencies, my job is to ensure that the technologies we develop can be used by farmers to safely produce the crops that feed our nation and the world. A preliminary risk assessment for imidacloprid from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, brings everything full circle, and shows that we can, in fact, grow safe, nutritious food in an environmentally sustainable way.

Imidacloprid is the first of several “neonic” insecticides that have helped revolutionize how farmers protect their crops from pests. Neonics have been widely adopted by growers because they are effective and because they can be used in many different ways which helps growers minimize harm to beneficial insects, for instance. In short, they are exactly the type of technology we need to help feed our families and protect our environment.

Sargent noted that the agencies’ assessment is generally good news for bees and for farmers, and she points out several examples.

EPA and PMRA note that this assessment is still preliminary and similar assessments are on-going for other neonics. We are also continuing to review the reports in more detail and we will continue to provide data to the agencies as needed and look forward to seeing the results of this rigorous, science-based approach. As an employee of an innovation company, it is absolutely critical that we support and maintain a science-based regulation over political whims, allowing us to continue investing in newer, better and safer technologies. And as a mom, I want to know that I’m doing the right thing for my family.

Ultimately good science should matter to everyone. We need to produce more food as the global population continues to grow and we’ll need to do it by using less resources and protecting the ones, like bees, that we have. The only way we can do that is if we continue to push the scientific boundaries for new technology while ensuring effective environmental stewardship.