The Oregon Department of Agriculture has announced a series of measures designed to protect bees and other pollinators from exposure to certain pesticide products. ODA is requiring specific label statements restricting use of products containing the active ingredients dinotefuran and imidacloprid while strengthening its outreach and education efforts to pesticide users regarding pollinator protection. The steps were outlined today at a hearing held by the House Interim Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“In response to this summer’s large bumblebee deaths connected to the use of these pesticide products, our agency has come up with a good and comprehensive plan that we believe will minimize the chances of these incidents from taking place in the future,” says ODA Director Katy Coba. “We take these incidents seriously and we are stepping up both our regulatory and educational efforts.”
As a condition of annual registration for 2014, ODA is requiring an Oregon-specific label statement on dinotefuran and imidacloprid products being sold or distributed in the state that prohibits the application of these products on linden, basswood, or Tilia species. Bee deaths reported this year involved products containing these active ingredients applied to European linden trees. It appears the tree species’ natural toxicity to bumblebees in combination with the pesticide contributed to the deaths. Taking the rare step of requiring an Oregon-specific label statement on pesticide products indicates the importance ODA places on protecting pollinators.
Secondly, ODA Director Coba has sent a letter to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting additional evaluation of these pesticide active ingredients and other neonicotinoids to determine if use limitations on a national basis should be considered.
ODA is also expanding its educational efforts on pollinator protection to licensed pesticide applicators and the general public. For applicators, additional emphasis on pollinator protection will be included in the required testing and re-certification process to become licensed. Outreach to the general public will include information on ODA’s website as well as brochures and other materials distributed through master gardener programs and retail outlets.
In June, ODA adopted a temporary rule that restricted use of 18 pesticide products containing dinotefuran while it continued its investigation of bumblebee deaths in Wilsonville and Hillsboro. That temporary rule will expire next month. Meanwhile, the pesticide use investigations into the pollinator deaths are expected to be completed by mid-December.
ODA’s Pesticide Program has established a website with more information on pollinator protection and the steps the agency is taking.