Following the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the registration of sulfoxaflor, EPA has reevaluated the data supporting the use of sulfoxaflor and is approving a registration that meets all requirements of the court. Sulfoxaflor will now have fewer uses and additional requirements that will protect bees. EPA will consider the other uses at a later date as data become available to support those uses. EPA made this decision after careful consideration of public comments and supporting science.
EPA is registering sulfoxaflor for use only on crops that are not attractive to pollinators or for crop- production scenarios that minimize or eliminate potential exposure to bees. The registration is very protective of pollinators and includes fewer crops than were allowed under sulfoxaflor’s previous registration. For those crops that are included and that are bee attractive, sulfoxaflor will be allowed only post bloom, when bees are not expected to be present, and will not be allowed on any crops grown for seed, including turf. These restrictions practically eliminate exposure to bees in the field, which reduces the risk below EPA’s level of concern such that no additional data requirements to protect bees are triggered.
EPA is also prohibiting application if wind speeds exceed 10 mph and requiring a 12-foot on-field buffer on the down-wind edge to protect bees from spray drift if there is blooming vegetation bordering the treated field. EPA is prohibiting tank mixing of sulfoxaflor with pesticides that have shown evidence of synergistic activity with sulfoxaflor. The product label directs applicators to more information and a list of these pesticides.
Sulfoxaflor is a sulfoximine, a new insecticide class that is an alternative to organophosphates, which are considered to be much harsher on non-target organisms and the environment. Sulfoxaflor will control a number of difficult insect pests and is proven to work against challenging pests that carbamate, neonicotinoid, organophosphate, and pyrethroid insecticides fail to control.