Friday, March 11, 2016

57 Different Pesticides Found in Poisoned Honeybees: Neonics Among Them

A heart breaking study from Polish researcher published today finds that European honeybees carry traces of 57 different pesticides.

One of the regular culprits, the neonics, were among them.

For details on this story, click here.

In California, wine grape growers use plenty of these neonics. The most common one is imidacloprid. Using the California Dept. of Pesticide Regulation's data from 2012, the California Dept. of Public Health's pesticide use mapping tool shows where imidacloprid is used on vineyards in the state.

The first map I created, below, shows the total summed pounds used on wine grapes only. The second map, below it, shows the pounds used per acre.

In the first map, you can see how heavy imidacloprid use is in the area around Santa Rosa. While we usually expect to see high pesticide use in the Central Valley, you get a clearer picture from this data, about just how widespread imidacloprid's use is across Lodi and the south Central Valley but also in Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties.

The second map reveals more about the intensity of the use - showing pounds/acre. Again the area around Santa Rosa pops out as well as portions of Napa lining Highway 29. San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey counties, where big growers like Jackson Family, Fetzer, Gallo and others make their "coastal" wines, are also heavy users of imidacloprid.

One has to ask: are neonics really worth it? Based on a more in-depth look at Sonoma and Napa that I've done in the past, using this same data, more than ten percent of the vineyards were using imidacloprid. So it's just a few bad apples who seem to be addicted. Still, those bad apples add up.

I can't say in other regions what percentage of the vineyards imidacloprid is used on, but I might look into it more in future posts.

I've also added a third map that is an enlargement of the summed pounds map, showing the Sonoma-Napa region.

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