The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has instituted an emergency action regarding the use of two neonicotinoid pesticides. The mandate is in response to a rash of bumble bee die-offs that have been reported around the state over the past several weeks. The emergency action specifically prohibits the use of dinotefuran and imidacloprid on linden and other Tilia species of trees — regardless of label instructions.
During its preliminary investigations into recent incidents in Eugene, Sandy and elsewhere, ODA has determined that inventoried products are still in wide use. The old packaging of these insecticides containing dinotefuran and imidacloprid are missing the bee advisory warning labels that were mandated this year.
Effective at the start of 2014, ODA imposed label language specifically prohibiting the use of products containing dinotefuran and imidacloprid for use on trees in the Tilia genus, which include linden and basswood trees. Additionally, effective Feb. 28, 2014, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated a revised label statement with a bee advisory box.
The emergency action stated that:
Some applicators that read old labels that are on products containing dinotefuran or imidacloprid are still applying such products to Tilia species, despite the substantial educational and outreach efforts of the Department. In June 2014, the Department received several reports of bee kills because of pesticide use on linden trees. The Department is currently conducting pesticide investigations, and documenting the active ingredients that are involved. The Department currently has two documented incidents of imidacloprid use related to bumble bee deaths. The first incident occurred when imidacloprid was foliarly applied to linden trees in bloom in Eugene, Oregon. The second incident occurred when imidacloprid was injected into linden trees (pre-bloom) in March and May in Beaverton, Oregon.
This temporary rule will protect pollinating insects while the department completes its evaluation and investigation of the incidents, and determines future regulatory action. It will also allow the department time to collaborate with Oregon State University bee experts, the Joint Interim Task Force on Pollinator Health (HB 4139), and federal partners including the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The emergency action will apply to all users, including professional applicators and homeowners. Failure to comply with the new rule could result in license suspension or revocation, as well as imposition of a civil penalty.
“Although we took significant steps last year to restrict the use of these pesticide products, we’ve seen more cases involving bumblebees attracted to blooming linden trees and pesticide applications,” ODA Director Katy Coba said. “In order to protect our pollinators, we feel it’s important to adopt additional restrictions.”
The temporary rule will be enforced for 180 days, thereby allowing ODA to complete its investigation of recent bee death incidents as well as determine any future regulatory actions. ODA is contacting all pesticide license holders in Oregon regarding the new rule and will continue to provide outreach and education on pollinator protection. Additional information can be found on the ODA website at http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/PEST/Pages/Pollinator.aspx.