Home | About | Products | Blog

A request to stop selling neonicotinoids


I’m passing along the following letter that was posted to the Warre UK group from Bill Wood in Eugene because the letter seems like a very good idea to me:

“One of my beekeeping groups in Eugene, Oregon, USA is writing, calling and visiting local merchants that sell insecticides to gardeners. We are asking them to reconsider selling honeybee-toxic pesticides. I have placed the letter that we have written (A request to stop selling neonicitnoids) in this Warré group’s file section. We are making it available to anyone to use as is or to modify it according to their local needs. -Bill”

Request for reconsideration of sale of honeybee-toxic pesticides

Dear Garden Center Manager,

Honeybees have continued to suffer very high colony losses for the past six years. Frequently the demise of the bees is sudden, leading to the term colony collapse disorder (CCD) to describe the colony failure. Search for a clear smoking gun has been elusive because of the multitude of parasites, viruses, and fungal diseases the bees must contend with, as well as hive chemicals, pesticides and environmental toxins. There have been many possible suspects but no universal culprit. With no single obvious cause, research efforts started to look for synergistic, multiple-cause explanations for CCD. The reports from these studies are now starting to come in and the results paint a picture of bees weakened by sub-lethal insecticide contamination that then succumb to common bee pathogens that normally would not be such a serious problem.

The problem insecticides are of the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids. These insecticides are highly toxic to bees, but direct toxicity is not the only problem. Acute sub-lethal effects that affect colony health without directly killing the bees by insecticide poisoning can also lead to colony collapse, especially in conjunction with other colony stressors.

Initial research done by the pesticide manufacturers only looked at short-term directly lethal effects. Beekeepers have suspected from the beginning that these studies were flawed, but it has taken several years of high colony losses, and hundreds of bee researchers with months of studies to begin to finally understand the problem. Our EPA has been dragging their feet on this issue while our bees continue to die and poisons continue to accumulate in our local gardens and fields. We must halt the contamination now, to protect not only the honeybees, but also many native pollinators and beneficial insects that are inadvertently targeted by these poisons being released into our community environment.

We are asking that your garden center stop selling garden insecticides and seeds treated with these chemicals that are now known to contribute to bee colony losses. These include the following chemicals:

Imidocloprid, Acetamiprid, Clothanidin, Thiacloprid, Thiamethoxam, and Fipronil

Particularly troubling are “all-in-one” products that combine fertilizers and systemic insecticides. This leads to thoughtless, indiscriminant over-use of insecticide when fertilizer alone would be sufficient. The following products contain some of these chemicals:

Bayer Rose and Flower Care, Bayer Rose and Flower Insect Killer, Ortho Rose and Flower, Bayer Complete Insect Killer, Ortho MAX Flower Fruit and Vegetable, Bayer All In One Rose and Flower Care.

We hope to convince all garden centers in the Eugene area to protect our bees and we encourage you to help us make this happen.

Listed below are a few of the studies that have been released in the last few months that implicate neonicotinoid insecticides in honeybee colony collapse.

Chensheng Lu, Kenneth M. Warchol, Richard A. Callahan. In situ replication of honey bee colony collapse disorder. Bulletin of Insectology. 2012.

M. Henry; O. Rollin; J. Aptel; S. Tchamitchian; M. Beguin; F. Requier; O. Rollin; A. Decourtye. A Common Pesticide Decreases Foraging Success and Survival in Honey Bees. Science. 2012.

P.R. Whitehorn; S. O’Connor; D. Goulson; F.L. Wackers. Neonicotinoid Pesticide Reduces Bumble Bee Colony Growth and Queen Production. Science. 2012.

Krupke CH, Hunt GJ, Eitzer BD, Andino G, and Given K (2012) Multiple Routes of Pesticide Exposure for Honey Bees Living Near Agricultural Fields. PLoS ONE 7(1): e29268. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029268

Pettis JS, vanEngelsdorp D, Johnson J, and Dively G (2012) Pesticide exposure in honey bees results in increased levels of the gut pathogen Nosema. Naturwissenschaften DOI10.1007/s00114-011-0881

Vidau C, Diogon M, Aufauvre J, Fontbonne R, Vigue`s B, et al. (2011) Exposure to Sublethal Doses of Fipronil and Thiacloprid Highly Increases Mortality of Honeybees Previously Infected by Nosema ceranae. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21550. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021550

Xerces Society review article http://www.xerces.org/wp-content/upload … ciety1.pdf

R.J. Gill, O. Ramos-Rodriguez, N.E. Raine. Combined pesticide exposure severely affects individual- and colony-level traits in bees. Nature 491, 105–108 (01 November 2012).

This effort is endorsed by the following organizations:

Oregon Sustainable Beekeepers

Beyond Toxics

These establishments have agreed to stop selling neonicotinoid insecticides in our community:


Please sign on to our effort to protect our community from these harmful pesticides. If your organization would like to endorse this initiative, please complete the endorsement below and your name will be included with our endorsers.

We, ____________________________________________ , concur that reducing sales of neonicotinoid insecticides in our community would reduce the pressure on our honeybees and native pollinators.

Signature: ______________________________ Date: __________________________

Title: ___________________________________


We are counting on you to step up to the plate! Please sign-on to helping us reduce the use of harmful pesticides in our community.

We, _____________________________________________ , agree not to sell pesticides containing the neonicotinoid insecticides this year.

Signature: ______________________________ Date: __________________________

Title: ___________________________________

Please return Oregon Sustainable Beekeepers or Beyond Toxics representative, or mail or e-mail to:

Gary Rondeau

1025 Elkay Drive

Eugene, OR 97404

E-mail: grondeau@efn.org