Beekeepers petition against pesticide

EPA reviewing use of pesticide thought to destroy colonies

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking a close look at the effect of a pesticide that environmental groups and commercial beekeepers charge harms honeybees.

More than 1.25 million people backed a federal petition, submitted on March 21, to discontinue use of the neonicotinoid insecticide clothianidin, a chemical that disrupts the central nervous system in insects, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Beekeepers and some scientists believe the pesticide weakens the immune system in honeybees and contributes to colony collapse disorder, which can cause all of a colony’s adult honeybees to die at once. France, Germany and Italy already have limited or banned the use of the controversial chemical.

Pollinators such as bees are critical to agriculture, particularly in California, the main producer of fruits and vegetables in the country.