The Pesticide Policy Dialogue Committee (PPDC), an advisory panel to EPA comprised of registrants, commodity groups, NGOs, academics, and others, met to discuss a variety of topics regarding pesticide regulations. The Workgroup on Pollinator Protection, of which NCC’s Dr. Don Parker is a member, reported on their latest discussions.
The goal of this workgroup is to minimize pollinator damage while controlling crop pests. They reported on a number of discussion topics including: 1) best management practices including flexible timing of applications to flowering crops to result in the least amount of harm be employed; 2) increased training and education on pollinators to crop advisors and applicators; 3) providing bee toxicity information on the pesticide label; and, 4) improved enforcement of bee kills.
Bee protection is now threatening to affect crops not dependent on bees for pollination and has become increasingly important to the registration of pesticides used on cotton. Beekeepers have become aggressive in their demands that applications not be made during bloom which would severely affect cotton production. In March, commercial beekeepers and environmental organizations in California submitted a petition requesting EPA to revoke the registration of clothianidin, a neonicotinoid used in cotton for control of thrips, aphids, cutworms, plant bugs, stink bugs and white flies.
In January, NCC’s Environmental Task Force (ETF) met with government and industry officials to discuss the issue of pollinators and cotton pesticide registrations. The ETF recommended policy language, which was subsequently adopted, instructing NCC staff to work with EPA, USDA and industry to help resolve questions about bees and cotton production.