The EPA is denying a petition requesting emergency suspension of clothianidin (Poncho, Belay) based on imminent hazard. The petition, filed in March by a group of beekeepers, Beyond Pesticides, Pesticide Action Network of North America and others alleges that clothianidin poses an “imminent hazard,” requiring swift regulatory action to protect bees.

After considering the petition and the supporting information, the EPA is denying the request to suspend clothianidin use because the petition fails to show that an imminent hazard to bees exists. FIFRA allows for suspensions only if there exists a substantial likelihood of serious, imminent harm. After reviewing the petition and supporting information, the EPA does not believe there is a substantial likelihood of imminent serious harm from the use of clothianidin.

Read: Bee colony disorder to last

The agency will, however, be taking public comments for 60 days on this decision. Comments can be submitted to www.regulations.gov under docket EPA HQ-OPP-2012-0334.

With Colony Collapse Disorder in the news and under pressure from some beekeepers and anti-pesticide activists, EPA has focused on the impact to bees, particularly from the neonicitinoid insecticides. Of particular concern to the agency are extra-floral nectaries on cotton and its indeterminate habit.

EPA is continuing its comprehensive scientific evaluation on all the neonicotinoid pesticides, including clothianidin.

EPA's FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) will hold a four-day meeting on Sept. 11-14 to review a proposed framework the agency has developed in conjunction with state and international partners to evaluate the potential quantitative risks to bees and other pollinators from the use of pesticides. Notice of the meeting was published in the July 18 Federal Register.

The proposed framework includes a tiered process developed in conjunction with Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency and the California Dept. of Pesticide Regulation for evaluating risks to pollinators from pesticides. The meeting will focus on the proposed process, with EPA providing an overview, as well as the exposure and effects data needed to support that process.

EPA also is seeking nominations of candidates to serve as ad hoc members of the SAP for this meeting.