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CropLife America Recognizes Importance of Healthy Pollinators
Jun 18, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC – CropLife America (CLA) and the crop protection industry join in kicking off the 6th Annual National Pollinator Week, June 18 - 24, a celebration of the vital role of pollinators. CLA and its members, the manufacturers, formulators and distributors of crop protection products, recognize that bee health is vital to agricultural production. Bees, birds, butterflies and other pollinators pollinate more than 75 percent of the country’s flowering plants. Approximately one third of all foods and beverages are dependent of pollinators, representing nearly $20 billion on crop value annually in the U.S. The health of pollinators and honeybees, in particular, is of serious concern for the agricultural industry and demands ongoing scientific research in both the public and private sectors.
“Every day in agricultural fields and communities, growers, beekeepers, and companies are working together to find solutions that keep crops and bee colonies healthy,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “This starts with CLA member companies, who are complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) testing requirements, including laboratory and field tests for new crop protection products to determine any potential impact on pollinators. In addition, stakeholders can be found working together on the local level to address bee health issues. With support and collaboration among all parties, the agriculture industry will be able to better understand and address bee health concerns.”
In recent years, some commercial beekeepers have reported unusual losses of bee hives. A mysterious malady, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is characterized by bees abandoning an outwardly healthy hive, but it cannot be attributed to any one cause. Bees kept for commercial production face a number of challenges and stresses that might lead to colony losses and changes in population levels. In a survey conducted by Penn State University, beekeepers ranked the top causes of colony loss as starvation (32 percent), weather (29 percent), weak colonies in the fall (14 percent), mites (12 percent), and poor queens (10 percent). The cause or causes of CCD are unknown, and scientists have not been able to reproduce it under controlled conditions. Research indicates that pollinators may face significant stress from multiple factors, including diseases, parasites, extreme environmental and climatic factors, and the transport of managed colonies.
When used properly and according to label, there has been no demonstrated, extraordinary negative effect on bee health associated with use of crop protection products. In fact, some products are used to protect bees from parasitic mites that can infect hives. However, it is crucial to apply crop protection products according to label directions, and misapplications can result in harm to bees and other pollinators. Farmers, ranchers, and pesticide applicators are trained to apply crop protection products strictly according to the label directions. The labels are approved by EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), following careful evaluation of potential environmental and health risks.