Honey Bees And Herbicides

Protecting the pollinators that play a vital role in farming and food production

You don't have to be an environmentalist to have heard the concerns about a declining honey bee population and that there might be a connection between this and herbicide usage. Bees play a vital role in modern, sustainable farming. What are herbicide manufacturers like Bayer, and regulators like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), doing to protect honey bees?

Bayer's commitment to honey bees extends to the plants they pollinate. Both Bayer and the EPA have strict measures in place to protect sensitive crops (EPA Group 8).

XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, like other dicamba products, has label restrictions warning applicators not to apply the product when the wind is blowing toward sensitive crops/areas. They must also record application details, including dates and survey documentation — all measures to ensure the product is being used safely for animals and plants alike.

Five things you might not know about Bayer's efforts to protect pollinator populations:

  1. Before registering any pesticide, including herbicides, the EPA conducts comprehensive evaluations and creates product label requirements to ensure pesticides can be used safely in the environment. This means that products like XtendiMax® herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology, a restricted use pesticide, have passed an extensive, unbiased environmental safety assessment.
  2. Because of their importance to food production and farmers, Bayer has spent 30 years studying the factors that affect honey bee health through the Bayer Bee Care program. (Visit beecare.bayer.com to learn more.) In addition, the company's national pollinator forage initiative, the Bayer Feed a Bee Program, recently hit its goal of funding the creation of new, pollinator-attractant wildflower refuges in all 50 states.
  3. The EPA's pollinator risk assessment for dicamba shows that direct effects on honey bee larvae and adults ar unlikely for even the highest maximum application rate for the label instructions. This means that the EPA expects no adverse long-term effects on pollinator populations.
  4. The XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology product label includes application requirements to protect endangered species.*
  5. Applicators are required by the EPA to consult a sensitive crop registry, like FieldWatch®, and survey adjacent fields prior to application. Through FieldWatch, farmers and beekeepers can also access BeeCheck™, a voluntary communication tool that enables beekeepers and pesticide applicators to work together to protect apiaries through use of the BeeCheck™ mapping program. By using registries like these along with specified nozzles and adhering to other label requirements, you're playing an important role in protecting honey bees, pollinator forage and endangered species.

To read more about Bayer's efforts to protect honey bees and pollinator forage, visit beecare.bayer.com/what-we-do/bayer-for-biodiversity-initiative.

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