WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2014 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced almost half a million dollars in funding to three universities for projects to reduce pesticide use, particularly for efforts to lower risk to bees. 

The grants – to Louisiana State University, the University of Vermont and Penn State – for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices are aimed at reducing the use of potentially harmful pesticides and will expand public-private stewardship efforts, the EPA said.

“These collaborative projects can provide innovative solutions to reduce pesticide risks to pollinators and crops,” James Jones, the EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a news release. “Initiatives such as these will encourage others to adopt promising technologies and practices across the nation to reduce pesticide risks while maximizing crop production and protecting public health.”

LSU is trying to minimize impacts to bees from insecticides used in mosquito control, EPA said. Vermont’s project would reduce pesticide use and improve pest control while increasing crop yields on 75 acres of hops in the Northeast, and Penn State will look at reducing reliance on neonicotinoid pesticide seed treatments.

IPM practices involve monitoring and identifying pests and taking preventive action before pesticides are used. If pesticides are needed, methods such as targeted spraying are preferred, EPA said in its announcement.

EPA noted that pesticide exposure is one of multiple factors that contribute to the decline of pollinators, including loss of habitat, parasites and disease, genetics and poor nutrition.

The agency says it works with beekeepers, growers, pesticide manufacturers, USDA and states to apply technologies to reduce pesticide exposure to bees.


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