Over the past year or so, much of the blame for the loss of managed bee colonies has been attributed to the use of neonicotinoids. Recently, 60 House Democrats sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking for tighter restrictions on neonicotinoid products. However, general scientific consensus is emerging that the Varroa mite, in association with a range of honeybee viruses, is a significant factor in these losses.

Rep. Austin Scott, chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture has introduced pollinator legislation (H.R. 5447) that would require the EPA to expedite the approval of pesticide products to control the Varroa mite and other pests that impact bee health, and to report to Congress on its efforts. It would also require the USDA to report to Congress on the factors that threaten the health of managed bees, including pests, disease, habitat, beekeeper practices and nutritional needs.

PLANET is asking for your help with bringing this legislation to the attention of legislators. Take a few minutes to write to your member of Congress and ask them to support H.R. 5447. Additional support for the legislation is needed to encourage congressional action, and we hope that the House Agriculture Committee will consider this legislation when it reconvenes in November.

If you have questions, contact Tom Delaney, PLANET director of government affairs, at TomDelaney@landcarenetwork.org.