Beekeepers Battle EPA Over Pesticide
Environmentalists want neonicotinoids banned
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2013 10:17 AM CDT
A beekeeper inspects a bee hive grid for mites in this file photo. Beekeepers around the nation are filing a legal petition with the EPA on March 21, 2012 asking it to ban neonicotinoid insecticides.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

(Newser) – Beekeepers and environmentalists sued the EPA last week over its approval of some of America's most popular pesticides, the latest salvo in an ongoing battle over products they blame for falling bee populations. NPR took a look this morning at the struggle over neonicotinoids, which show up in a huge number of crops, including corn. While they don't kill bees outright, two new studies suggest they damage bees' memory and learning abilities, the BBC reports, harming their ability to find food.

"The EPA should immediately take these two neonicotinoid pesticides off the market," says a member of one group involved in the lawsuit. But the pesticide industry is fighting back, arguing that the science isn't conclusive. In Canada's prairie provinces, "virtually all the canola is grown from neonicotinoid-treated seed," says an ecotoxicologist from a major pesticide seller. "And the health of bees in that area of Canada is as good as anywhere else in Canada."