November 1, 2016

Update on Insecticide Sulfoxaflor

Last November, EPA issued a cancellation order for the insecticide sulfoxaflor, the active ingredient in Sequoia, Closer and Transform, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that EPA did not have sufficient data on risks to pollinators. Sulfoxaflor is in a new class of chemistry with a favorable risk profile that is effective against piercing/sucking insects.

Earlier this month, EPA finalized an unconditional registration for sulfoxaflor that includes additional restrictions not in place on the original 2013 registration. Now that the product is registered by the federal EPA, Western Growers has urged the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to prioritize registering sulfoxaflor in California.

The new federal registration reduces potential risks to bees so that the product could be made available without additional studies. To reduce or eliminate exposure to bees, sulfoxaflor is now registered only on crops that are not attractive to bees and in situations that minimize or eliminate exposure to bees. The new registration does not include indeterminate blooming crops including citrus, cucurbits and strawberry, and restricts application to post bloom for bee attractive crops including berries, fruiting vegetables stone and pome fruits, tree nuts and pistachios.

Additionally, EPA requires a 12 foot on field down-wind buffer zone to protect bees, and restricts tank mixing sulfoxaflor with certain products where synergistic effects have been claimed. The list of products where tank mixing is prohibited is available at

Western Growers commented on the proposed registration expressing concern with these restrictions.

Western Growers is hopeful that as additional data becomes available to EPA, it will restore uses and increase flexibility in use. We continue to urge EPA to rely on a science-based, risk-benefit approach to pesticide regulation.

Before the November 2015 cancellation, Western Growers secured a special local needs registration in California. While the product was cancelled, Western Growers requested an emergency exemption for leafy vegetables and celery from EPA (made unnecessary by the renewed registration). 

More information is available here, and a copy of the final registration is available here. Contact Ben Sacher at (202) 296-0191 x 7301 or Hank Giclas at (949) 885-2205 for questions.