The agency says the labels are part of its ongoing effort to protect bees and prevent colony decline.
The labels will have a bee advisory box and icon with information on routes of exposure and spray drift precautions. It affects pesticides containing the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.
The EPA says it will work with pesticide manufacturers to change labels so that they will meet the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act safety standard.
Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, says multiple factors including pesticides cause bee colony declines and the EPA labels will protect bees from pesticide exposure.
In April the European Union voted to impose a two-year ban on neonicotinoids, citing their connection to bee decline.
A month later the US Department of Agricultre and EPA released a report on honeybee health that blamed a complex set of stressors for honeybee declines including loss of habitat, parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.
In June a Whole Food Market store in Rhode Island pulled 52 percent of the produce department’s products off of shelves to show what the food supply would look like without bees. To illustrate how major declines in honeybee populations threaten the availability of many fresh ingredients, the University Heights Whole Foods store removed 237 of 453 products — including apples, onions, avocados, carrots, lemons and summer squash.
The Whole Foods honeybee initiative came on the heels of Monsanto’s honeybee health summit, June 13-15, at the company’s Chesterfield Village Research Center. Monsanto says the event, hosted by Project Apis m. (PAm) and Monsanto’s Honey Bee Advisory Council included about 100 academics, beekeepers, industry associations and government representatives.
Monsanto, which uses neonicotinoids to coat its seeds, and other agrichemical companies say their pesticides are not responsible for honeybee decline.