New Neonicotinoid Regulations in California

Tacy CalliesCalifornia Corner, Pesticides, Regulation

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) has adopted new regulations to protect pollinators from the hazards associated with exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides containing the active ingredients clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.

The regulations affect the application of these pesticides on certain food and feed crops, including citrus. Product labels will not be updated with these requirements.

CDPR suggests that those selling, recommending, buying or using these products be aware of these regulations. Applicators and growers must follow the new regulations if applicable and more restrictive than the label.

Specific CDPR instructions for Neonicotinoid Pesticide Use in Citrus Fruit Crops state that the new regulations apply to soil and foliar applications. The regulations do not apply to neonicotinoid use in non-agricultural (such as structural or home use) or non-production agricultural (such as parks and cemeteries) settings or to seed-treatment applications.

According to CDPR, pollinators such as honeybees are critical to growers and the entire agricultural industry, as well as to the consumers of the commodities produced. Neonicotinoid pesticide products may present hazards to honeybees and other pollinators. Pollinators can be exposed to neonicotinoids through contact with residues or by ingesting contaminated pollen or nectar since neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides that move through the plant’s tissue.

The regulations are expected to reduce the amount of neonicotinoid pesticides used and acres treated.

One of the regulations for citrus prohibits the application of a neonicotinoid during bloom. For most areas in California, “bloom” means the period from the onset of flowering until petal fall is complete. It is important for citrus growers to know their crop and local climate.

A Citrus Industry article about safe neonicotinoid use pointed out that neonicotinoids are especially valuable to the citrus industries in Florida and California. It noted that neonicotinoids are believed to help stem HLB disease, which impacts both the quality and quantity of the nectar within the orange blossom.

Source: California Department of Pesticide Regulation