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Homeowners urged to "bee" careful using pesticides

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Homeowners using pesticide products this spring are encouraged to take steps to protect pollinators. They will have some help in doing so:

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As Oregonians start working in their yards and gardens, they may choose to use pesticides. Highly publicized bee deaths last year have changed the conversation and advice given by such agencies as the Oregon Department of Agriculture:

KACHADOORIAN:  “We certainly advise not to make an insecticide application to plants that are in bloom because bees are going to be visiting them.”  :10

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Rose Kachadoorian of ODA’s Pesticides Program is not discouraging homeowners from using pesticides, but she wants them to be aware of pollinators. The US Environmental Protection Agency is also responding with specific information on certain pesticide products:

KACHADOORIAN:  “They’ve made a lot of changes on labels. They’ve put a whole bee advisory section informing people how bees can become exposed to pesticides.”  :11

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A bee icon on the label informs the homeowner of those products that are a potential hazard to pollinators. The label language on those specific products also prohibits use when bees are foraging and plants are in bloom. All this goes along with the standard ODA message delivered to homeowners every spring– read the label, no matter what pesticide product you have. The label explains what pests the product takes care of, what it can be used on, and how it should be used. With proper handling and use, people, plants, bees, and pesticides can co-exist. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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KACHADOORIAN says people are asking more questions about using pesticides after last year’s highly publicized bee deaths in Oregon. That has resulted in one consistent, general answer:

“When is the best time to use them? I think in a lot of cases, it would be after bloom. So if you can hold off and just wait until after bloom, I think that will be the safest thing.”  :11

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KACHADOORIAN says last year’s bee deaths were tragic but taught some valuable lessons. She says everyone needs to be even more aware when using pesticides:

“You know, many of us weren’t aware of the impacts that a lot of these pesticides might potentially have on pollinators. But now, I think, we can figure out ways to use these products. Just timing of applications. Sometimes it might be selecting another active ingredient.”  :20

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