Imidacloprid: What You Must Know Now

While environmental activists including the SafeLawns Foundation claimed a temporary victory Wednesday, Sept. 16 in the emerging battle concerning the widespread use of imidacloprid in Worcester, Mass., beekeepers and many other observers across...

September 17, 2009 | Source: SafeLawns.blog | by

Pesticide Implicated in Widespread Bee Deaths

While environmental activists including the SafeLawns Foundation
claimed a temporary victory Wednesday, Sept. 16 in the emerging battle
concerning the widespread use of imidacloprid
in Worcester, Mass., beekeepers and many other observers across North
America are deeply concerned about the precedents being set in the
rural community.

As the threat of exotic invasive pests
spreads— just as more alarming information becomes available about the
pesticides currently in use — it is imperative correct decisions be
made in situations for which no easy answers exist.

THE ISSUE

On Friday, Sept. 11, SafeLawns, the Toxics Action Center of Boston and later the Pesticide Action Network North America sent out an urgent call
to block a proposal to spread more than 1 million gallons of
imidacloprid solution into 15 square miles of soil in Greater
Worcester, in the center of Massachusetts. Worcester has made national
headlines due to its overwhelming infestation of an exotic invasive
insect known as the Asian longhorn beetle.
Approximately 25,000 trees have been cut down already and imidacloprid,
synthetic nicotine, is the only known treatment for the pest.

Imidacloprid, marketed as Merit by the original manufacturer Bayer,
is well documented for its toxicity to bees, as well as birds, worms
and aquatic life. Many beekeepers, environmentalists and scientists —
though not all — feel that imidacloprid is the root cause of colony collapse disorder
(CCD) of bees. CCD is a mysterious ailment that began wiping out
millions of beehives in the United States in 2006, just a year after
imidacloprid replaced diazinon as the pesticide of choice for many
insect infestations. Diazinon was banned by the EPA in 2004 due to its toxicity to birds and humans.

France has long-since banned most applications of imidacloprid ever
since the synthetic nicotine compound was blamed for wiping out its
bee-keeping industry during the 1990s. The Bayer Corporation reportedly
paid French beekeepers $70 million to rebuild the beekeeping industry,
but as recently as Sept. 15 a representative of Bayer claimed to the
Boston Globe
that imidacloprid has “no connection whatsoever” to colony collapse
disorder. Widespread evidence and common sense suggest otherwise.