Frequent Questions

Why did EPA register sulfoxaflor? I heard it harms bees.

The EPA gave extensive consideration to pollinator protection when the agency approved the registration for sulfoxaflor. EPA's Response to Public Comments on the agency's decision to register this chemical explains why the Agency believes a pesticide that is acutely toxic to bees can be used without causing widespread harm to pollinators. The Response to Comments document is 51 pages long, but we encourage everyone to read the entire document to better understand the issues and the data that support EPA's decision.

In brief, the key is to limit exposure. The EPA does not allow sulfoxaflor application to plants that are attractive to bees for three days before bloom, during bloom, or until petal fall for the majority of crops. For the remaining bee-attractive crops, we also added advisory language to the labels to notify known beekeepers of scheduled application and to apply these products in early morning or late evening. Since bees are typically only present when plants are in bloom, and the toxicity of sulfoxaflor residue is primarily a concern when the residue is freshly applied (the residue generally dissipates within three days), we expect that the application restrictions we put in place will protect bee colonies from harmful exposure.

You can sign up for email notifications from the docket linked above so you will know the next time the EPA proposes regulatory decisions or opens public comment periods on sulfoxaflor. Open comment periods are the best way to comment to the EPA about regulatory decisions for chemicals, since all comments received are officially recorded and responded to in the docket.

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