There’s talk these days about banning neonicotinoids, but did you know that two of the most widely used organic pesticides in the world – spinosad and pyrethrum – are actually highly toxic to bees for up to nine days after application? Many organics are significantly more toxic than some neonicotinoids and most “new generation” synthetic pesticides.

Education, training and responsible spraying are the key to protecting pollinators from pesticides, not banning a class of insecticides that has limited toxicity to pollinators and is extremely important for producing food crops, reforestation for lowering Co2 emissions and protecting our health.

We need to be cognizant that most pesticides, whether organic or synthetic, pose a threat to bees and other pollinators. Most danger can be significantly reduced by spraying at the right time of day, at the right stage of the crops, never spraying pollinator plants in flower or near flower and using insecticides that are not toxic to bees.

Promoting pesticides that are organic in nature should be part of sound strategy, but we should always analyze individual pesticides on their own merits based on scientific study, safety and their effect on pollinators and the environment, rather than whether or not they fit under a strict interpretation of the word “organic.”

Properly applying integrated pest management as a guideline for socially responsible spraying based upon a particular situation gives consumers the necessary tools to apply either organic or synthetic products as a last resort after all other options have been exhausted.

Phil Roberts

South Portland

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