WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Last month, the EPA reintroduced a pesticide known to be harmful towards bees called Sulfoxaflor.
Over 500 species of bees make their home in North Carolina, but their population has been dropping drastically in recent decades. Now the EPA is facing criticism for re-instituting a pesticide that studies have shown kill bees.
The pesticide Sulfoxaflor was removed from the market by a 2015 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that ordered further research to determine the danger of the chemical. The EPA says that as long as the pesticide is used as directed on the label, there is no significant risk for either humans or pollinators.
However, according to a June report by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, there have been several cases of pesticide misuse that has resulted in hive deaths and even fish kills. Local beekeeper Barry Harris believes the problem stems from the current practices of the entire industry.
“You’ve got to remember that modern agriculture is chemical based and you’re really talking about a bigger problem than one or two pesticides. You’re talking about a mindset, a philosophy of chemical based farming as opposed to mechanical based farming the way it was 40 or 50 years ago,” said Harris. "Most commercial beekeepers are in the pollination business and they’ve got to be near those farms and even the farmers renting the bees are indifferent or uncooperative in protecting the bees.”
The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the EPA for re-instituting the pesticide.