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Public comment on Spirotetramat: beek input needed!

3191 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Allen Dick
From one of our local club presidents via Tom Theobald. Follow the link to email the EPA and submit a comment.

Pesticide Problems We NEED your help!:

Tom Theobald, the beekeeping conscience of the pesticide industry has just contacted me with a request to get some support rallied for an effort to keep a particular new pesticide off of the market. To make a very long story somewhat succinct, a pesticide, spirotetramat, was approved by the EPA for distribution. The Xerces Society and the Natural Resource Defense Council sued the EPA on the grounds that they had failed to adequately test the chemical and that they had failed to provide a public comment period as prescribed by federal law. The following is an excerpt from the court decision. The entire decision is attached (see link, below).

"In the registration process, the EPA identified concerns about the insecticide’s effect on bees. The EPA’s review of
tests exposing honeybees to spirotetramat found, inter alia, “increased mortality in adults and pupae, massive perturbation of brood development, early brood development, and decreased larval abundance.” The EPA further found that insecticides that inhibit lipid biosynthesis have “potential for chronic effectson bee broods and development” and “may adversely affect bee broods and development;” and in 2007 the EPA found there is
“uncertainty regarding the potential chronic effects of spirotetramat on pollinators because no long-term data were
available.” By the time the EPA made its registration decision in June 2008, it had reviewed additional studies on
spirotetramat’s chronic effect on bees, but it still found the data lacking because the chronic effect studies tested
spirotetramat at levels lower than the label-recommended application rate."

The bottom line is that the court ruled in favor of the Xerces Society and the NRDC and the EPA is soliciting public comment on the product, and disposal of existing stocks, until Monday February 8th. Please, if you read this in time, file a public comment. Use this link to file a comment. You may have to copy and paste it into your browser window, I did. If you would like to familiarize yourself more with the chemical itself, please type its name into your search engine. You will find plenty.
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According to the Australian Government Department Of Environment, the results of the trials of Movento showed that there was little or no crop safety effects.

Since the product was first launched in 2008 in the United States, Canada and Austria, Bayer CropScience has succeeded in gaining access to other key markets such as China, Colombia, Mexico, Tunisia, Turkey and New Zealand. Further market launches are planned this year [2009] in Argentina, Chile and the Netherlands.

Spirotetramat was recently granted regulatory approval in the UK, where it is planned to launch Movento® for use on lettuce and brassicas in 2010. Movento® is scheduled to be marketed in more than 70 countries in total.
i sent a comment and tried to sound like i could understand what all that stuff meant. just the chemical compound name was more than i can handle. i asked that tests be done regarding impacts on beneficial insects namely short and long term impacts on honey bees and that information be taken into consideration before placing it back on the market. hopefully thats what the public comment was about...justin
i asked that tests be done regarding impacts on beneficial insects namely short and long term impacts on honey bees
Did you take the trouble to see what testing has already been done? Did you know that it has been tested and approved in dozens of countries?
In the EPA's own publication, they warn about potential harm to bees. What this means is that you should avoid placing bees near sprayed crops. Which is pretty obvious, when you think about it

> Although spirotetramat can be classified as practically non-toxic to honey bees based on acute oral and contact studies, results of brood feeding studies and tunnel tests suggest the potential for effects to broods following spirotetramat applications at rates lower than the maximum proposed label rates; significant brood effects including increased mortality in adults and pupae, massive perturbation of brood development, early brood termination, and decreased larval abundance were detected. Spirotetramat also had a wide range in magnitude of acute effects on other various non-target terrestrial arthropods.

United States Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances
(7505P) Pesticide Fact Sheet
Name of Chemical: Spirotetramat
Reason for Issuance: Conditional Registration
Date Issued: June 2008
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Peter are you saying it's safer than other alternatives, and this is just alarmism? I'm all for well-informed feedback, and the only information I had I relied on someone who's very well-informed and whose opinion I trust. Could you cite studies on its safe application for honeybees to help level the field? I'm not well-informed enough to know what "little or no crop safety effects" means, when it also seems to be toxic to honeybees and persist for weeks. Some more data would help me make a better-informed decision; having been in use for only one to two growing seasons doesn't necessarily mean the book's been written on this one yet to my mind.

I also have to submit that I'm not terribly reassured that China, Colombia, Mexico, Tunisia, Turkey and New Zealand feel it's safe (with the possible exception of New Zealand. I know they're acutely active in trying to address the spread of varroa and of non-european honeybees, but I'm not familiar with their stance on protecting honeybees from pesticides). The first five, however... have they ever met an agricultural practice they didn't like, safe or not? Surely we're not trying to bring our practices up to Columbia's standard?

Just trying to keep up.
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Movento®, Citrus and Honey Bees: Results of a successful cooperative study
Dick Rogers, Geoff Williams, Chung Lam, David Fischer, and David Hackenberg

I have a copy of this. If you want it, email is peterloringborst AT gmail DOT com
I suspect that spirotetramat is less harmful than some of the alternatives out on the market right now. The EPA has had a goal of replacing classes of chemicals with newer classes that have shown fewer toxicity problems in the environment.

Having stated that, if the Xerces Society is one of the parties filing the suit, I would guess that some more work needs to be done before completing the registration of the chemical.
Bayer pesticide banned over threat to honeybees

"A U.S. District Judge from Manhattan has banned the sale of spirotetramat, a
pesticide produced by Bayer CropScience. Citing allegations by environmental
groups and commercial beekeepers that the pesticide is toxic and is killing off
the nation's honeybee population, Judge Denise Cote has declared that sales of
spirotetramat must cease after January 15."
> I have a copy of this. If you want it, email is peterloringborst AT gmail DOT com

You can see the slide presentation at

It is a pdf - 1.5 MB

The product seems less acutely toxic than many.
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