From Yale 360
A coalition of commercial beekeepers and environmental groups is urging U.S. regulators to suspend the use of a pesticide they say may be contributing to a sharp decline in honeybee populations.
In a petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the group called for a ban on clothianidin, which belongs to a class of chemicals that disrupts the central nervous system of insects. Some researchers say the chemicals â€” known as neonicotinoids â€” make the insects more vulnerable to pathogens by weakening their immune systems and could be a factor in so-called â€ścolony collapse disorder,â€ť a mysterious phenomenon that has taken a heavy toll on U.S. honeybee populations since 2006.
The EPA granted a conditional registration for clothianidin in 2003, contingent upon further field studies to confirm that the chemicals did not cause â€śunreasonable adverse effectsâ€ť on pollinators. While clothianidin is toxic to honeybees, EPA officials say there is no proven link between the chemical and colony collapse disorder.