EPA Restores Sulfoxaflor Insecticide Use For Farmers

Soybean photos from MI Soybean College 2014. ( Aimee Cope )

The EPA on Friday announced it is again allowing the widespread use of sulfoxaflor insecticide. Sold under the brand names Closer and Transform, sulfoxaflor controls aphids in soybeans and tarnished plant bugs (lygus) in cotton. It also can be used for insect control in corn, sorghum, alfalfa and various fruits and vegetables.

Originally approved for farmers’ use in 2013, the insecticide was positioned as an alternative to neonicotinoids. But the EPA then moved to ban sulfoxaflor use in 2015 following a lawsuit brought by beekeepers, environmental groups, and honey-industry advocates. 

Michele Colopy program director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council told AP that sulfoxaflor is wiping out beneficial bugs. The council represents beekeepers and was among those that sued to have it banned.

However, EPA assistant administrator Alexandra Dunn said in the AP story that new industry studies, that haven't been made public, show a low level of risk to bees and other wildlife.