Proposal To Mitigate Exposure to Bees From Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products; Notice of Availability

EPA is proposing mandatory pesticide label restrictions to protect contracted managed bees, e.g., honey bee colonies that are under contract to provide pollination services, from foliar applications of pesticides that are acutely toxic to bees on a contact exposure basis, i.e., those pesticides with an acutely lethal dose to 50% of the bees tested of less than 11 micrograms per bee, based on acute contact toxicity testing.

Although the likely outcomes are counterproductive for both the beekeeper (loss of honey bee stock) and the grower (diminished pollination services), many beekeepers  and growers seem not to have found ways to avoid such outcomes. Consequently, EPA believes that strong regulatory measures should be in place for the contracted service

scenario to mitigate these potential problems. Therefore, EPA proposes to prohibit the foliar application of acutely toxic products during bloom for sites with bees on-site under contract, unless the application is made in accordance with a government-declared public health response. There would be no other exceptions to the bloom prohibition in the contracted-services scenario. Current neonicotinoid product labels include a 48-hr notification exception to the bloom prohibition. However, as part of this mitigation proposal, the 48-hr notification exception for crops under contracted pollination services during bloom for all neonicotinoid product labels would be removed.

For managed bees not under contract pollination services, EPA is not proposing to require any new language for pesticide labels. This does not alter EPA’s previous requirement for more specific restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides for which EPA required language to address risks to bees not under contract for pollination services.

EPA is seeking comment on both the approach of label restrictions on products used for bees under contract for pollinator services, and for the approach to rely on state and tribal pollinator protection plans to bees that are not under contract for pollination services. Comments must be received on or before June 29, 2015.

 

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA–HQ–OPP–2014–0818, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov .