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Fibronil banned in EU to protect bees

July 17, 2013

The destructive effects of nerve toxin fibronil on honeybees has caused it to be banned in the European Union along with the “neonics”.

US Environmental Protection Agency, are you paying attention?

Here is another one our local home and garden stores should attend to.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    July 18, 2013 4:47 pm

    I was just advised to have a professional, below soil, application of this pesticide for termites.
    I was unsure if it was one of the pesticides affecting bees, and came across your posting. Normally, I use no commercial chemicals in my home or on my person. We recently were devastated by flash flooding, and I succumbed in my panic/concern to professional cleanup & sprays. And this is just more followup. Sigh. But I’m calmer now. And have the opportunity to do some research; I’ve printed fact sheets & msds.
    But my question remains…in this type of application, to the subsoil foundation of my house, am I putting beneficials at risk (I understand it is not toxic to earthworms)?
    I do have an attached greenhouse with strawberries & thyme…the closest they could be to the application is 4 ft…I believe that is the closest any of my ornamentals would be as well.
    If you have any information regarding this, I would be most grateful! Thank you.

  2. July 19, 2013 4:10 pm

    Hi Julie,
    I am sorry that your home has been subjected to this disaster and hope you are getting out from under.
    It is very important that homeowners such as yourself make conscious choices in protecting their homes. You are to be congratulated for printing out the fact sheets and msds toxicity sheets..
    You don’t say whether fibronil would be applied as as a method of prevention in case termites are attracted to your wet wood– or whether the applicator has actually seen evidence of termites there. My understanding is that your first line of defense is drying out any soil that touches wood under your house and keeping it dry.
    I do know that fibronil, which has been used to control termites and cockroaches in the EU, has been specifically banned in all its applications– including termite control– to protect honeybees.
    It is good that your garden is physically separated from the foundation of your house, but here is what to watch for in your fact sheets– is the fibronil formula suggested persistent and/or systematic? Persistence (as you may already know) indicates the length of time toxins require to break down and their being systematic means that they are taken up into an entire plant. If they are persistent, and a plant root wanders into this area to take up this toxin, it will be transferred throughout the plant, including blossoms. Systematic “neonic” applied to root systems or injected into trunks of trees it moves into all parts of their plant and remaisn toxic to bees for months or even years after their application.
    I would ask the applicator how he or she intends to inhibit seepage of this chemical into the rest of your soil– soil water is a good medium for such transfer.
    Being a persistent and systematic is good for eradicating pests– but not for the environment, nor for your garden.
    I am not aware of fibronil’s effect on earthworms one way or the other.
    Here is a link to the face sheet written by the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides on termites and other subsoil pests:
    Also, Gary is away for the weekend, but he may also have a response for you.
    Thank you again for your concern. Good luck and let us know how things work out for you.

  3. July 19, 2013 4:14 pm

    Hi Julie,
    Here is a quote from the NCAP site on fiibronil:
    “Fipronil (in Termidor) is classified as a possible human carcinogen by EPA because it caused thyroid cancer in laboratory tests. Laboratory studies also showed that fipronil can disrupt a thyroid hormone and two female hormones, progesteron and estradiol. It’s very highly toxic to fish. In one incident, gold fish died after a dog treated with Frontline (flea product) jumped into a pond.”
    Whenever honeybees are jeopardized by toxins, so are humans!

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