Pesticides in general are being used in far too cavalier a way nowadays – especially in our neighborhoods and around our homes. We’re simply poisoning our environment – poisoning ourselves, yet we’re not recognizing the signs that wildlife are giving us – even when they keel off at our feet.
Sure, there are situations where pesticides may be needed but it should be the exception, not the rule – and we shouldn’t have these crazy neighborhood contracts for recurring spraying – that sort of spraying is simply irresponsible.
I was at Home Depot last week picking up a planter in the garden dept and an employee wheeled up a whole shopping cart full of pesticides and herbicides and told the cashier – tell everyone these are free. She did, and you should have seen the swarm of people around that cart, taking their poison. As I made my way to register, she tried to push some on me. I declined – frankly, I was too shocked by it all, but in retrospect, I wish I had spoken up to all those people taking their “goodies”. I wish I had told them to wake up and smell the flowers, not that noxious smell of pesticides and herbicides, and to stop drinking the Kool-Aid of the chemical companies. It’s not healthy. I wish Home Depot stocked this brochure at their register or in their aisles, but then again, I guess it wouldn’t be too good for business.
Take a look at that brochure – are any of those products sitting on shelves in your garage? If so, it’s time to come clean and kick the habit.
We live in our environment, it’s not something separate from us. It’s the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we walk on, the food we eat. And, what your neighbor sprays effects you and your family too.
Xerces Society provided a great summary of the pesticide problem that includes some terrific links and action we all need to take. And note, the pesticide problem is not just one where we need to complain to our government leaders – we need to be talking to our neighbors and Home Owner Associations – that’s where the biggest problem lies. Tell everyone you know to stop with the pesticides. simple stop. Stop the indiscriminate spraying. We don’t live in the 1950s or 60s – we know better by now.
Two weeks ago, the largest native bee kill ever recorded occurred in Wilsonville, Oregon. More than 50,000 bumble bees died when 55 linden trees were sprayed with the pesticide dinotefuran (also known as Safari) in a Target parking lot. This loss represents potentially hundreds of wild bumble bee colonies.
Incidents like this one can easily go unnoticed, and may be happening frequently. The pesticide responsible belongs to a relatively new and controversial group of chemicals called neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are highly toxic to bees, very long-lasting, and because they make flower nectar and pollen poisonous, there are growing concerns about their safety for pollinators. This year, the European Union cited risks to pollinators and banned certain uses of neonicotinoids for the next two years.
In urban areas, pesticides are used primarily for cosmetic purposes – to have a weed-free lawn, a blemish-free rose, or an aphid-free linden tree. The risk of losing valuable pollinators, such as bees, far outweighs any benefit of this type of cosmetic use.
These products have a wide variety of names (list of names). However, they all have one thing in common: they contain toxic neonicotinoid insecticides.
To prevent more large-scale bee poisonings, pollinators need your help.
Today, ask your Home Owner Association Board, mayor, city council, or county commissioners to:
- Stop using neonicotinoid pesticides on property they manage (or at least, ask them what they use and why and research it!)
- Require warnings be posted alongside displays of these chemicals at hardware stores and nurseries.
- Ban the use of neonicotinoids for cosmetic purposes on ornamental and landscape plants within their jurisdiction (similar to the ban now in force in Ontario, Canada).