In mid-June, an estimated 50,000 bumblebees were killed in a shopping mall parking lot in Wilsonville, Oregon. The Oregon Department of Agriculture confirmed that the massive bee die-off was caused by a neonicotinoid pesticide, dinotefuran, on nearby trees. Then on Saturday, hundreds of bees were found dead after a similar pesticide use in the neighboring town of Hillsboro.
The step taken by the ODA to ban 18 products containing dinotefuran is a first step to protect pollinators. We urge the Oregon Department of Agriculture to declare an immediate ban on neonicotinoid insecticides: imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinetofuran and acetamiprid. The negative environmental and economic impacts of outdoor uses of the neonicotinoid insecticides may be lasting and devastating to Oregon’s agricultural businesses, from fruit trees to honey production.
On April 29, the European Union voted for a two-year suspension on major uses of the three most common neonicotinoids: imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam. Now we understand the need to protect all pollinators from all neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoid insecticides pose both acute and chronic hazards to honey bees.
Neonicotinoids, including dinotefuran, can be broadly applied as a spray, soil drench, or seed treatment. Once these systemic pesticides are taken up by a plant’s vascular system, they are expressed through pollen, nectar and guttation droplets from which pollinators such as bees then forage and drink.
Until the significant data gaps to assess bee safety can be addressed, ODA must act now to suspend neonicotinoids in Oregon. Oregonians demand that the future of Oregon’s agricultural sector be protected by a ban before bee populations decline any further.
(video footage of the bee die-off was provided by Scott Oakland, Portland Sustainable Living Examiner)