Ortho Plans to Eliminate Neonicotinoid-Based Pesticides to Protect Bee Population

Ortho Plans to Eliminate Neonicotinoid-Based Pesticides to Protect Bee Population
Image: Pixabay
April 13, 2016

Ortho, one of the nation's largest manufacturers of insect control products for lawn and garden use, has announced that it will immediately begin to transition away from the use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides (neonics) for outdoor use.

According to Ortho, this decision comes after careful consideration regarding the range of possible threats that neonicotinoid-based pesticides pose to honey bees and other pollinators.

"While agencies in the United States are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it's time for Ortho to move on," said Tim Martin, general manager of the Ortho brand. "As the category leader, it is our responsibility to provide consumers with effective solutions that they know are safe for their family and the environment when used as directed. We encourage other companies and brands in the consumer pest control category to follow our lead."

To further help homeowners, Ortho and its parent company, ScottsMiracle-Gro, have also announced a new partnership with the Pollinator Stewardship Council to help educate homeowners on the safe and appropriate use of pesticides. The Pollinator Stewardship Council is one of the nation's leading pollinator advocacy organizations and a supporter of more than 550 beekeepers throughout the United States. ScottsMiracle-Gro has previously collaborated with the Council to promote pollinator habitat, and the company says that the expanded partnership will develop homeowner education related to the responsible use of pesticides where pollinators can be found.

In January, ScottsMiracle-Gro also announced the Pollinator Promise, a program that will result in the creation of 75 pollinator gardens in cities throughout the U.S. this year. The program is part of the company's GRO1000 Initiative, which the company says has resulted in the creation of 790 community gardens thus far.

"We applaud the Ortho brand and ScottsMiracle-Gro for the steps that they're taking to protect pollinators," said Michele Colopy, program director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council. "Bees and butterflies are essential to our ecosystem and are increasingly facing a struggle to survive. We know gardeners value the importance of pollinators and we look forward to developing programs that help accomplish our shared goal to protect them. We join Ortho in asking other consumer pest control brands to also transition away from the use of neonics."

In addition to these initiatives, ScottsMiracle-Gro says that it will work with the Pollinator Stewardship Council and other partners to encourage government agencies to allow the use of label language that makes the purchase of non-neonicotinoid pesticides more apparent for homeowners.

Pollinators are an essential part of natural and agricultural ecosystems. Many types of plants, including fruit and vegetable crops, depend on pollinators to grow and produce. A National Research Council report in 2007 documented the decline of pollinators throughout North America and discussed some of the possible causes. The prevailing theory among scientists, including those representing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the global scientific and regulatory community, is that the general declining health of honey bees and other pollinators is related to complex interactions among multiple stressors, including pesticide exposure.

Ortho says that it will completely eliminate the use of the neonicotinoid active ingredients Imidacloprid, Clothianidin and Dinotefuran by 2017.

We at the North Carolina Consumers Council applaud their efforts.