USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe jointly released a new report on the factors contributing to U.S. honey bee health decline. The report summarizes the latest science and emerging research on honey bee health as discussed at The National Stakeholder Conference on Honey Bee Health in Oct. 2012.

The report shows that the observed decline in pollinator health is due to multiple factors, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition, and pesticide exposure. Solving this challenge will require continued collaborative work between the federal government, researchers, beekeepers, growers, industry and the public. The report is the product of unprecedented collaboration and shows that while there is much work yet to do, solutions to this serious challenge are being developed.

Meanwhile, the European Commission said it will proceed with a moratorium in the European Union (EU) on three widely used neonicotinoids - clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam - alleged to cause bee colony decline, despite the failure by EU voting rules to obtain the 255 votes necessary for a qualified majority vote. The moratorium will prohibit use of the pesticides after Dec. 1, 2013, for seed treatment, soil application (granules), and foliar treatment on bee-attractive plants and cereals. The restriction’s initial period will be two years during which the Commission said it will review the three neonicotinoids’ approval conditions.

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