Bee die-offs in Brazil putting spotlight on fipronil


Fipronil is believed to be particularly lethal to bee colonies because its delayed toxic effects allow bees contaminated with it to bring it back to their hives. (Photo by Rio Grande do Sul Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development)

Four months after Santa Catarina became Brazil’s first state to ban aerial and ground spraying of fipronil insecticide on crops, a Rio Grande do Sul state prosecutor is weighing a plan for ongoing monitoring of honeybee die-offs in that state. Prosecutor Alexandre Sikinowski Saltz, who serves in an ombudsman’s role, is reviewing a plan submitted in November by manufacturers of fipronil, the active ingredient in 43 agricultural pesticides used in Brazil. The objective is to monitor commercial bee colonies and pinpoint the causes of future die-offs. Pesticide makers drafted the plan at Sikinowski Saltz’s request after tests he ordered identified fipronil as the only insecticide found in bees examined after a recent die-off in the state. Pesticide manufacturers have come under pressure in recent years amid evidence fipronil has contributed to deaths of western honeybees (Apis mellifera). The pressure intensified in August, when Santa Catarina state agricultural... [Log in to read more]

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