The Oregon Department of Agriculture is restricting the use of 18 pesticide products containing the active ingredient dinotefuran while it continues the investigation of a large kill of bumblebees.
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Editor’s note: The National Pest Management Association issued the following Product Stewardship Alert in response to Oregon’s decision to restrict the use of 18 pesticide products containing the active ingredient dinotefuran while it continues the investigation of a large kill of bumblebees.
An estimated 25,000-50,000 bumblebees and other insects died recently in Oregon as a result of exposure to dinotefuran, a commonly used neonicotinoid. The pesticide was applied to 55 flowering linden trees by a property maintenance contractor in an effort to control aphids. While the situation is under investigation, the state of Oregon has enacted a temporary ban on the use of many dinotefuran-based insecticides for a period of 180 days, affecting 18 pesticide products. (See complete list here.) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) will reassess the temporary restriction after officials finish their investigation into the pesticide applications in question. These inquiries could take up to four months. The temporary ban only affects certain pesticide uses that could harm pollinators, including outdoor applications on lawns, landscape ornamentals, trees, and crops. Investigators are also working to determine if any pesticide laws were broken during the application linked to the bee deaths.
Whenever significant events of any type take place, they often offer teachable moments and learning opportunities to help improve and expand upon best practices. In this instance, the unfortunate situation in Oregon highlights the necessity to always review and follow labels in their entirety, including the environmental hazard and precautionary statements, prior to product application. Furthermore, with the commitment the professional pest management industry has to the protection of pollinators and the importance the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has placed on pollinator health, the deaths of the bees in Oregon should remind industry professionals that many pesticides are toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or residues on blooming crops, ornamentals, or weeds. Such products should not be applied when bees are visiting the treatment area or if the applied product may drift outside the treatment area. This information should be reinforced immediately to all service technicians.
Most bees, including bumblebees, are beneficial insects. As such, our industry is firmly committed to the protection of bee health and the vital role bees play in pollinating flowers and crops, thereby strengthening our food supply. The death of tens of thousands of bees earlier this month is undoubtedly an important loss. An investigation is currently underway and although we cannot speculate on the pesticide application process in question, the event stresses the necessity for label instructions to be strictly followed at all times. Pesticide labels are mandates, not recommendations, set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency after years of rigorous testing.
Additional Resources: http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/ecosystem/pollinator/index.html
The Oregon Department of Agriculture is restricting the use of 18 pesticide products containing the active ingredient dinotefuran while it continues the investigation of a large kill of bumblebees in Wilsonville and Hillsboro this month. By adopting a temporary rule, ODA is taking action, in an abundance of caution, to avoid the potential of similar large bee kills this summer due to specific pesticide applications.
The ODA restriction focuses on ornamental, turf, and agricultural pesticide products that are used by both professional applicators and homeowners. Products with the active ingredient dinotefuran registered in Oregon for other uses, such as flea and tick control on pets or home ant and roach control, are not affected by the restriction. ODA’s concern is focused on those uses that may impact pollinators.
By statute, ODA has legal authority to establish limitations and procedures deemed necessary and proper for the protection of bees and other pollinating insects. The temporary rule, which goes into effect immediately, will be enforced for 180 days, by which time ODA is expected to complete its pesticide use investigations of the Wilsonville and Hillsboro incidents. Those investigations will determine if the pesticide applications were in violation of state and federal pesticide regulations, and will assist ODA in addressing any potential future actions.
ODA’s Pesticide Program has established a website with more information on the dinotefuran restriction, including a list of specific products affected as well as instructions for those who may have purchased these products.
Source: Oregon Department of Agriculture