The Oregon Department of Agriculture plans to lift temporary restrictions on the use of the insecticide dinotefuran, effective Dec. 24. These rules will be replaced with new, Oregon-specific label restrictions. The decision was announced on Thursday (Nov. 21) at a meeting of the House Interim Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
At that meeting, OAN Past President Carson Lord, co-owner of Tree Frog Nursery, spoke to legislators on behalf of the horticulture industry. “Neonicotinoid class insecticides are very effective when used properly,” he said. “In most instances, they offer a safer alternative for the workers who apply them and the people who park their cars under the trees where they are applied.”
The rule had been quickly imposed over the summer, following two bee kill incidents that happened in Wilsonville and Hillsboro. In Wilsonville, a landscape maintenance company applied the a chemical containing dinotefuran on blooming linden trees. In place of this restriction, ODA will impose a label restriction for pesticides containing the active ingredients dinotefuran and imidacloprid, specifying that they are not for use on trees in the Tilia genus, which include linden and basswood trees.
Although an Oregon-only label restriction is a rare step, the Oregon Association of Nurseries views it as a reasonable compromise. “It prevents future bee deaths due to misapplication of the chemicals, but still allows growers and others to use the effective chemicals in a label-consistent and safe manner,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said.
ODA has set up a web page where updates on the pollinator issue will be posted. The bee kills in Wilsonville in Hillsboro remain under investigation, but officials expect to announce the results of their probe in early December.