The buzz about pesticides and bee safety: 'We take these incidents seriously'

The buzz about pesticides and bee safety: 'We take these incidents seriously' »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - Opponents of pesticide use say Oregon isn't doing enough to protect bees from agricultural pesticides.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture changed the way two pesiticides would be regulated.

“In response to this summer’s large bumblebee deaths connected to the use of these pesticide products, our agency has come up with a good and comprehensive plan that we believe will minimize the chances of these incidents from taking place in the future,” agency director Katy Coba said. “We take these incidents seriously and we are stepping up both our regulatory and educational efforts.”

"We are now requiring an Oregon-specific label statement on dinotefuran and imidaclorprid products being sold and distributed in Oregon," said Bruce Pokarney with the state ag department.

Starting in 2014, no one will be allowed to use either chemical on linden or basswood trees, or any tillia species.

The agency also put resources online for pesticide users to help educate them about bee safety.

Lisa Arkin with Beyond Toxics says that's not enough.

"We need healthy gardens, we need healthy bees and we need healthy pollinators," Arkin said. "If we don't have bees in Oregon, our economy that is associated with growing food would will suffer irreparable harm."

"The Oregon Department of Agriculture has only taken the smallest steps to change this," she said.

The Department of Agriculture stands by the new regulations.

"I think we took some very unique steps," Pokarney said. "To my knowledge, we're the only state who has required these specific labels on these products."

Beyond Toxics is collecting signatures on a petition this week to ask national retailers to pull several pesticides from their shelves. The petition is available on the group's website.