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NYS DEC announces actions to protect pollinators, limit use of harmful pesticides

On Monday, January 24, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) announced actions to limit unrestricted use of pesticides that can harm bees and other pollinators.

NYS SEC is reclassifying products containing the neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and acetamiprid as “restricted use.” Restricting the use of these pesticides enables researchers to collect new data to determine where, when, and how they are used, as well as their potential impacts, said the NYS DEC in a recent press release.

“Protecting pollinators is a top priority, and today’s action to restrict the use of these neonicotinoid pesticides is another important step in our ongoing efforts to safeguard these species that are crucial to New York’s environment, agricultural economy, and biodiversity,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Reclassifying these pesticides will ensure they are only used in targeted instances by qualified professional applicators, and only available for sale to certified applicators which will further protect public health and the environment.”

The reclassification will take effect on January 1, 2023, allowing time for registrants, distributors, and retailers, to prepare for the change.

Products labeled for “limited directed application” to tree trunks and the ground at the base of trees, shrubs, and plants are not included in the reclassification. These products provide cost-effective and unique pest control for residential applications, particularly for invasive species, and limit potential exposure to pollinators.

The reclassification is part of New York’s commitment to its Pollinator Protector Plan. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pollinators provide approximately $344 million worth of pollination services to New York and add $29 billion in value to crop production nationally each year. The state’s ability to produce crops such as apples, grapes, cherries, onions, pumpkins, and cauliflower relies heavily on the presence of pollinators.

For more information about the NYS DEC’s pesticide program, go to their website.