Monday, October 22, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 33

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on January 9th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 45

State blocks use of neonicotinoid pesticides during re-evaluation


The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced on Jan. 3 its decision to re-evaluate four neonicotinoid pesticides due to possible adverse impacts on pollinators. The decision temporarily bans new or expanded uses of the neonicotinoids for the duration of the DPR’s re-evaluation process, effective immediately.

Neonicotinoids—pesticides used to deter insect activity on a variety of crops, including wine grapes and broccoli—are less toxic to humans than some pesticides but can negatively affect bees, according to Charlotte Fadipe, assistant director of the DPR. Because of these alleged impacts, Fadipe said the DPR is in the midst of re-evaluating the pesticides, a lengthy process that will help the department better understand how neonicotinoids affect pollinators from a scientific standpoint.

While all growers and companies currently registered will be allowed to continue using neonicotinoids, Fadipe said the DPR will not be accepting applications for new or expanded uses of the products until after the re-evaluation process, which is expected to last until this summer.

But the DPR’s decision isn’t enough to save rapidly declining bee populations, according to Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director of the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation organization that works to protect endangered species. Burd said more than 40 percent of all bee species are highly threatened worldwide, and several species are officially designated as endangered species.

Agricultural intensification in general and unusual weather conditions are partially to blame for declining bee populations, Burd said, but neonicotinoids, which are neurotoxins that harm bees’ nervous systems, play a huge role.

“The pesticides intensify the impacts of all the other factors,” Burd said. “We would like to see these pesticides banned.”

Bees that come into contact with neonicotinoids, Burd said, either die instantly or are left with incompetent nervous systems. Many bees exposed to neonicotinoids lose the ability to fight off predators and navigate a route back to their hives. Some stop eating.

“It affects all aspects of their ability to live,” Burd said.

Pollinators, like bees, are vital to the growth of almost all plants, including fruits and vegetables, she explained.

“The loss of pollination would be an unrecognizable world,” Burd said.

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