Emilie Hudson, Donna Ralston: Pesticides have value
POSTED: 03/07/2015 06:55:50 PM MST | UPDATED: 5 DAYS AGO
The debate over pest control often centers around one word: health.
The health of our households and public property so families can avoid known predators that impact their well-being. Healthy ecosystems and habitats that allow beneficial organisms — including bees — to thrive and prosper.
Protecting the health of our communities is a delicate balance and cannot be addressed haphazardly. Rebecca Dickson and Sue Anderson’s March 1 opinion piece “Systemic pesticides and you,” weighs heavily on my mind as it outlines many misunderstandings that impact how people feel about protecting the health and safety of our families and ecosystems.
One misconception about pesticide use is the assumption that pesticides are definitely the cause of colony collapse disorder and massive bee deaths. Scientists, regulatory authorities and industry professionals agree that bee health is a complex issue with research pointing to multiple factors affecting pollinators, including pests and parasites, microbial diseases, nutrition problems, bee management practices, and climate change, as well as pesticide use. We cannot protect bees and pollinators by ignoring other factors impacting their health.
As an industry, we are invested today in efforts to create more habitat for pollinators, particularly along rights-of way, as we partner with groups who carefully use pesticide solutions to ensure sustainable long-term habitats for various pollinators.
No bee Armageddon: Neonics and Canada’s bees Posted on 03/11/2015
Every Canadian likely knows that honey bee numbers are plunging, we’re likely to starve without bees to pollinate crops, and there’s such an easy solution: Ban the usage of those insecticides called neonicotinoids (neonics).
The campaign for a ban has been very effective, starting with the Sierra Club’s expansion of its U.S. campaign into Ontario. An Ontario Bee Association initial news release calling for a neonic ban was posted first on the Sierra web site.
A Toronto subway ad showed a child mourning a dead bee. No mention that about 1500 bees per hive die naturally every summer day. CBC National featured a hobbyist beekeeper from inner Toronto with containers of dead bees, “killed by farm neonics.” There were no farmers for miles around her hives. Largely ignored was the Canadian Honey Council, representing most Canadian beekeepers, which opposed the ban.
There are thousands of conflicting research studies on neonics and bees. Some media-savvy, (mostly) European scientists devised a plan in 2010 to eliminate all usage. They picked 800 papers, interpreted the findings, wrote review articles and promoted their anti-neonic message. The “800 studies” are referenced endlessly by journalists who have not read one. A larger, impartial review of 1500 studies from 2012 by Tjeerd Blacquière, a researcher in the Netherland’s University of Wageningen, was ignored. Different review, different conclusions.
So what’s the truth? What does the science really say?
First, there is no bee Armageddon. Honey bee numbers are up almost everywhere: Ontario by about five per cent per year, up across Canada, up globally according to UN statistics.
By Bill Turque March 10
Things got a little testy Tuesday on WMAL (AM 630) when Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal was asked about the bill he is sponsoring that would ban cosmetic pesticides from residential lawns and athletic fields.
Morning co-hosts Brian Wilson and Larry O’Connor — who, like most at the station, trend libertarian/conservative — started the phone interview with O’Connor asking why Montgomery County should regulate pesticides already overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Maryland.
Leventhal — who makes no bones about his desire to make Montgomery County the safest, healthiest jurisdiction in the land — cited “abundant” research raising concerns about whether chemicals such as Glyphosate and 2-4D, which are active ingredients in many lawn-care products, could cause childhood cancers. He defended the measure as “a very gentle law,” with light penalties (a $50 fine for the first offense) and intended to educate homeowners and change their practices, rather than to punish.
“It’s a gentle law unless you deeply care about your lawn and watching it being decimated by grub worms,” Wilson said.
“Okay, you’ve obviously got a point of view on this question,” Leventhal countered.