Bees Are Workers Too
Posted: June 8th, 2015Author: All4 Staff
Every once in a while an environmental notice comes across the Federal Register listing that makes me smile and re-focus. Instead of reading about another recordkeeping, testing, or reporting requirement that impacts our industrial clients, I read in May 29th’s Federal Register a notice of U.S. EPA’s proposal to provide some worker protection to that underappreciated category of agricultural worker, Apis mellifera, or the common honey bee. It has been documented for many years that there have been catastrophic collapses in bee colonies, I first read about it in an August 2007 New Yorker article. It was originally suspected that the culprit to the colony collapses was a mite that infects the bees; however, research over the past few years has focused on pesticide exposure. There are conflicting opinions over the process by which pesticides are thought to be a contributing factor to colony collapses. However the solution to the problem does not necessarily demand banning pesticides, instead a solution might be to prevent exposure to the bees. So with the recent Federal Register notice, U.S. EPA is proposing to protect the worker bees from pesticide exposure. U.S. EPA is accepting public comment on a program that would require a labeling program for pesticides that are acutely toxic to bees. Specifically, the labeling would include restrictions for how some pesticide products are applied during plant bloom where bee colonies are intentionally placed in an area for pollination services. We all appreciate the efforts of nature’s pollinators over the course of the summer as fruits and vegetable make their way to our grocery stores and roadway stands. It seems only right that we give our underappreciated workers a break.