public policy

Pollinator Health


Plant Your Own Pollinator Garden During NPMA National Community Day

The issue of pollinator health continues to be a hot topic in the media and the public. NPMA and PPMA have devoted vast resources to addressing this issue on a variety of fronts, particularly in the areas of public policy and public opinion. This year, as an extension of our commitment, we urge all NPMA members to take part in "Plant Your Own Pollinator Garden" NPMA National Community Day of Service on August 22, 2015 (National Honey Bee Day).

Consider taking part in this initiative by planting a pollinator garden in your community. To assist member companies in navigating the steps involved in this process, NPMA's consumer education arm, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) has created a toolkit containing pollinator-friendly plant and flower suggestions, media relations outreach materials, social media posts and a logo for use on t-shirts.

Each interested company will need to secure the necessary permits for the gardens in their respective cities. While the community garden application process varies from city to city, members should begin by contacting their city halls or visiting their city's website and inquire about additional information. There will be webinar in the coming weeks to answer any questions about the process.

By providing foraging sites and bringing awareness to the need for collaboration among various parties on the issue of pollinator health, our industry can play a leadership role in protecting pollinators while ensuring the safety of the American public.



NPMA understands the importance that all pollinators and specifically bees play in the nation's food supply chain. Therefore we have made pollinator health an industry priority. With the help of our member companies we have worked diligently to develop training, resources, consumer fact sheets and educational materials to promote bee health in a variety of settings. is a new exclusive site for NPMA members to access information that will assist you in understanding national, state and local pollinator issues. Additionally, this site is intended to provide you with resources and information to help educate your employees and your customers.

We hope that you find these resources helpful in your understanding of bee health and encourage you to share with your colleagues. Should you ever have questions in regards to pollinator protection, efforts that NPMA has taken to date or would like to share thoughts and suggestions don't hesitate to call us at 800.678.6722 or email us at


State Regulators Finalizing Recommendations on State Pollinator Protection Plans

In response to the President's pollinator protection directive this summer, EPA is working towards developing language that may be placed on every pesticide that is toxic to bees — not just neonics. We believe that the language that will be added to labels will include instructions to "use the product in accordance with EPA-approved state pollinator protection plans." While that is a little speculative and could change, it means that each state will need to develop a pollinator protection plan fairly quickly, or risk losing the use of many products.

As part of the initiative, EPA has asked state regulator organizations (the Association of American Pesticide Control Officials [AAPCO] and the State FIFIRA Issues Research and Development Group [SFIREG]) to assist with the development of recommendations to EPA and model state plans. NPMA participated in another AAPCO committee meeting last week and will participate in the semi-annual SFIREG meeting this month to ensure that the state pollinator plan requirements recommended by the state regulators take into account and exempt uses that do not have the potential to impact pollinators, like termite jobs or perimeter treatments.

Posted December 16, 2014


Pollinator Protection Packet

NPMA understands the importance that all pollinators and specifically bees play in the nation's food supply chain. Therefore we have made pollinator health an industry priority. With the help of our member companies we have worked diligently to develop training, resources, consumer fact sheets and educational materials to promote bee health in a variety of settings.

In addition, NPMA is working closely with numerous government agencies including U.S EPA state regulators, bee experts, and other stakeholders who are equally committed to ensuring bee health now and in the future.

This pollinator protection folder offers a summary of the resources available to you as a member of NPMA. Should you ever have questions in regards to pollinator protection, efforts that NPMA has taken to date or would like to share thought and suggestion don't hesitate to call us at 800.678.6722 or email us at We hope that you find these resources helpful in your understanding of bee health and encourage you to share copies with your colleagues.


Guidance for Using Pesticides with Pollinator Protection Language

The Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials (ASPCRO) developed guidance intended to aid state lead agencies in neonicotinoid label interpretations for structural pest control use patterns. In late July, EPA responded to ASPCRO's document and confirmed that the ASPCRO guidance document reflects the appropriate interpretation of pollinator protective labeling on neonicotinoid insecticides. Pest management professionals are urged to read and follow all label instructions. When questions arise, it is always best to reach out to regulators to confirm label interpretations. View both the ASPCRO guidance document and the EPA's response below.


NPMA Launches Pollinator Protection Training

As the activity described above well illustrates, the role neonicotinoids and other pesticides play in the decline in bee health is a hot button issue, often driven by emotion and well-funded activist groups. Nevertheless, it is important that PMPs and their technicians closely follow label directions and take steps to avoid inadvertently exposing honey bees to pesticides.

To that end, NPMA will soon unveil pollinator protection training as part of NPMA Online Learning Center. Training objectives include, enhanced awareness about pollinator health, neonicotinoid label changes and common sense techniques on how to avoid exposing beneficial pollinators to insecticides while performing exterior treatments. In addition, the training contains a section on how to identify beneficial pollinators while acknowledging the fact that PMPs are sometimes called on to control pollinators when they become a threat to public health.


NPMA Launches

In August, NPMA and the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) launched, a web site designed to serve as a comprehensive resource for consumers, media, educators and pest control professionals to better understand pollinator health, the issues that threaten pollinators and the importance of protecting them.


Changes to Neonicotinoid Labels

Q&A: Getting Ready for Changes to Neonicotinoid Labels with Outdoor Foliar Uses

Document Accompanying FY 2014 Budget Addresses Pesticides Impact on Honey Bees
A non-binding report accompanying legislation funding the federal government for the duration of Fiscal Year 2014 that passed Congress last week contains language directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to "improve its risk assessment approaches as a part of its pesticide registration process to protect honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees in all life stages." The language also notes that EPA "has already taken action in regard to improving pesticide labels and is expected to continue to regularly evaluate its policies to ensure the protection of pollinators and all species critical to food production."

Posted January 21, 2014


Product Stewardship Alert: Pollinator Protection

Thousands of dead and twitching bees were found near honey bee colonies in a suburb of Minneapolis on September 12. Researchers at Minnesota's Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota's Bee Lab and Bee Squad have just reported that residues of fipronil were found in the dead bees. The state is investigating the incident and working to determine how the bees were exposed to fipronil residues.

This incident follows on the heels of another occurrence this summer, in which 25,000-50,000 bumblebees and other insects were killed in Oregon after exposure to dinotefuran, a commonly used neonicotinoid. In that case, a property maintenance contractor applied the pesticide to 55 flowering linden trees in an effort to control aphids. As a result, the state of Oregon enacted a temporary ban on the use of many dinotefuran-based insecticides. (See complete list here) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) will reassess the temporary restriction after officials finish their investigation into the pesticide applications in question. The temporary ban only affects certain pesticide uses that could harm pollinators, including outdoor applications on lawns, landscape ornamentals, trees and crops.

The health of pollinators has received unprecedented attention in recent months, even garnering a cover story on the August 19th issue of Time magazine, and corresponding live Twitter chat on the subject, featuring guests from the EPA, USDA and author of The Beekeeper's Lament, Hannah Nordhaus.

Many of the products that are applied by professional applicators have the potential to be toxic to bees when exposed to direct treatment or residues on plants in bloom, including crops, ornamental plants or weeds. Such products should not be applied when bees are visiting or expected to visit the treatment area, or if the applied product may drift outside the treatment area. By limiting the direct and potential exposure of pollinators to pesticides, pest management professionals can reduce the likelihood of similar events in the future and beneficial organisms like bees can be protected. It is very important that the applicator know the potential toxicity to bees for the products they are planning to apply. Also, the applicator should always read, understand and follow labels in their entirety, including the environmental hazard and precautionary statements, prior to product application. This information should be reinforced immediately to all service technicians.

NPMA Statement on Pollinator Health
Pollinators play an essential role in the nation's food supply chain. We are dependent on bees, flies, moths and other insects to help pollinate crops. However, some of these insects - bees in particular -are also known to pose health and safety risks to the public. In fact, stinging insects send an estimated 500,000 people to the hospital every year. They are the leading cause of anaphylaxis-related deaths in the United States. In light of this, bees are — and some government entities have deemed them — a public safety hazard.

So how do we, the American public, protect our families and our children, from these insects that are both vital and potentially harmful? The answer is carefully. The federal government, farmers, the professional pest management industry, and home and business owners must cooperate together to ensure effective tools are available to keep the public safe from stinging insects, yet do so in a manner that will enable pollinators to thrive in appropriate settings.

The National Pest Management Association is working with the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), state regulators, and other stakeholders equally committed to ensuring an appropriate symbiotic relationship exists between the safety of the American public and the essential role bees play in agriculture.

Additional Resources

Environmental Protection Agency

Article: What is the Buzz About?

The National Pest Management Association and the Professional Pest Management Alliance will continue to monitor issues surrounding pollinator health and share relevant information as it becomes available.

Posted October 4, 2013


Bee Health Issue Continues to Escalate; NPMA Deeply Engaged

In a recent cover story, Time magazine labeled the decline of bee health "the second Silent Spring." Consequently, with each passing week governments throughout the world are taking action to limit or restrict pesticide use to better protect pollinators.

A good example is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's recent label revisions to some neonicotinoid pesticide products that prohibit applications where bees are present. The changes apply to all products that have outdoor foliar use directions (except granulars) containing the active ingredients imidacloprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin or thiamethoxam regardless of formulation, concentration, or intended user.

The new language that will appear in the Directions for Use section on non-agricultural product labels states "Do not apply [insert name of product] while bees are foraging. Do not apply [insert name of product] to plants that are flowering. Only apply after all flower petals have fallen off." The new language will be accompanied by a bee icon to underscore the significance of the language.

A Pollinator Advisory Box will also appear on product labels. Click here to read additional information. Registrants must submit the label changes to EPA by September 30 and the new labels will appear on products in early 2014. This label revision is likely the first in a series of label changes aimed at protecting bees.

NPMA staff is deeply engaged in the bee health issue and is taking a number of steps to raise awareness of the issue within the industry while also working with federal and state regulatory officials to educate them about the importance of retaining key PMP use patterns. Specific actions include:

  • Meeting with senior EPA officials this month to provide them with information on important PMP uses and suggestions for label language that is both protective of bees, while allowing critical PMP uses to continue,
  • Sending a stewardship email out to all NPMA members,
  • Scheduling a webinar/conference call with the NPMA government affairs and technical committees and PPMA scientific advisory group for early September to further discuss the issue, and
  • Working with the Association of State Pest Control Regulatory Officials to provide EPA employees with an educational workshop about PMP uses and pollinator health in October.

Posted August 27, 2013