As it should bee…

Assembly Bill No. 1789

An act to add Section 12838 to the Food and Agricultural Code, relating to pesticides.

[ Approved by Governor  September 26, 2014. Filed with Secretary of State  September 26, 2014. ]


AB 1789, Williams. Pesticides: neonicotinoids: reevaluation: determination: control measures.
Existing law requires pesticides to be registered by the Department of Pesticide Regulation. Existing law requires that a pesticide be thoroughly evaluated prior to registration, and provides for the continued evaluation of registered pesticides.
This bill would require the department, by July 1, 2018, to issue a determination with respect to its reevaluation of neonicotinoids. The bill would require the department, on or before 2 years after making this determination, to adopt any control measures necessary to protect pollinator health.
The bill would require the department to submit a report to the appropriate committees of the Legislature if the department is unable to adopt those control measures and to update the report annually until the department adopts those control measures.


Vote: majority   Appropriation: no   Fiscal Committee: yes   Local Program: no  




(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(1) Honey bees are vital to the pollination of many of California’s crops, which are critical to our national food system and essential to the economy of the state.
(2) Annual colony losses from 2006 to 2011, inclusive, averaged about 33 percent each year, which is more than double what is considered sustainable according to the United States Department of Food and Agriculture.
(3) Scientists now largely agree that a combination of factors is to blame for declining pollinator health, including lack of varied forage and nutrition, pathogens and pests such as the Varroa mite, and chronic and acute exposure to a variety of pesticides.
(4) Based on data submitted to the Department of Pesticide Regulation showing a potential hazard to honey bees, the department initiated a reevaluation process for four neonicotinoid compounds in 2009: imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and dinotefuran.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to set a timeline for completion of the reevaluation of neonicotinoid compounds to ensure that the Department of Pesticide Regulation completes a thorough, scientifically sound, and timely analysis of the effects of neonicotinoids on pollinator health.

SEC. 2.

Section 12838 is added to the Food and Agricultural Code, to read:


(a) On or before July 1, 2018, the department shall issue a determination with respect to its reevaluation of neonicotinoids.

(b) (1) Within two years after making the determination specified in subdivision (a), the department shall adopt any control measures necessary to protect pollinator health.
(2) If the department is unable to adopt necessary control measures within two years as required in paragraph (1), the department shall submit a report to the appropriate committees of the Legislature setting forth the reasons the requirement of paragraph (1) has not been met.
(3) The department shall update the report submitted to the appropriate committees of the Legislature pursuant to paragraph (2) every year until the department adopts the necessary control measures specified in paragraph (1).

One for the Bees

Victory, most probably pyrrhic, for the bees last week in a San Francisco Court that ruled against the EPA’s approval of neonicotinoid pesticides, specifically sulfoxaflor, a Dow chemical product that confuses bees flight patterns, according to the New Scientist. Apparently succumbing to “public pressure” (Dow’s money and agricultural lobby?), the EPA approved the use of the chemical without enough viable support, tactfully stated as “flawed data.” This despite the known harm to not only bees but all pollinators, other insects and even birds.

The upshot: Fuck the bees. There’s money to be made.

But can we live without the bees?

They are critical pollinators: they pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops.

The battle for the bee is not won, however. Though one of these nenicotinoids have been banned in the U.S., they have not been banned in Europe or elsewhere. Bees do not stay in one place. And other harmful pesticides are still in use–just not sulfoxaflor.

And while pesticides are only one of the causes for the dwindling bee population, they are a big contributor, one that can be controlled by human intervention. So hooray for the court’s decision last week, but so much more needs to be done.

Who will speak for the bees?


Workhorses of a seething-bustling, 
and alien world that we barely see
its glory and gore
acidic stew of swallow
and cilia claws 
burrowed below
but for the infrequent frightful protrusion,
threatening a sting, 
a bite 
or a siphon
sipping the living juices of us,
savagery in the encounter.
And yet they sustain those who would crush them,
self-defense or not, 
fill the undergirding of our world with germinating life, 
exchange and commerce in wildflowers of the fields, 
manicured gardens of urban rooftops 
and edges of the sand dunes. 
They nourish us with sweet meats 
of the trees 
and gifts of the earth’s panoply of gallant beauties
pageantry of roses, peonies and daffodils,
and green godly goodness of cabbage cool,
beans of the vine
and broccoli floret 
the browns of nutty seas.
You, pinpoint friend, swap the day away, 
flitting from one sweet hollow to the next 
and dusting yourself with your wares, 
plying your trade 
and all we breathe better for it
and eat 
and expire
respire by your daily toil, 
though your armies are micro
though thinning, 
smallest of the small, 
and most benign. 
Some will warn
look away
not to watch,
not to near 
or interfere
or swat 
our swelling flesh worse for the encounter.
Carpenters of the Carribbean, 
homed amid the yuccas 
and woods 
while others gnaw at our backyard decks right here. 
Crow swims in sunflowers and black-eyed Susans, 
carpeting himself the golden sun, 
while sumptuous sand specialists 
hang in the hills of North Carolina 
or the Eastern Shore dunes, 
skimming the edges for life. 
drinks from his nose of a tongue, 
buzzing about the Badlands, 
sucking up sweets from the wells of bells, 
trumpet trollops of honey delight, 
a piña colada of rum and pineapple pollen bits.  
But big old bombus and Metallica and modest-us, 
modest in size, 
half a rice grain wide, 
who carries her goods inside, 
a vomitous gift 
her babies survive
or they die
too sick
by un-notice
Health of heart, 
health of earth, 
home to hordes
4000 kinds strong
all native North American
only 40 left home
to honeycomb here
home to homo-cides
if they are we are.