Minimizing pesticide exposure is a high priority for the OCW and can be accomplished through the use of an Integrated Pest Management Plan. All pesticides used for mosquito control have in their precautionary statements in the Environmental Hazard Section of the pesticide label. These label directions are reviewed by all employees on a regular basis.
In order to adequately protect honey bee colonies and other pollinators from possible pesticide exposure, there must be effective communication and cooperation from those involved. OCW realizes that at times it may be necessary to control adult mosquitoes in areas known to have bee colonies. Bees and many pollinators are most active between sunrise and sunset. Our treatment schedule in these areas will not begin until after sunset – well after the time most bees have returned to their hives. A major portion of the insecticide budget for the OCW is for larvicide (Bti) that is applied directly to the water and does not affect pollinators what so ever.
Spray units are carefully calibrated, to dispense the insecticide at 12 – 20 micron size droplets. At this small size the droplet is designed to impact mosquito sized insects, not the much larger insects like butterflies, bees, or beetles. Also, the spray the District uses is a contact insecticide, and selected because these chemicals, once released, break down rapidly, before bees/pollinators begin to forage the next morning. The treatment has a short range typically a 300 foot path, depending on wind direction and speed.
Pollinators, mainly insects such as bees, butterflies, wasps and flies, are essential for the survival of the majority of flowering plants. They are necessary for the production of more than 50 major crops. Thus, a wise balance of pesticides and pollinators is essential for thriving plants and the control of disease bearing mosquitos. Both pollinators and insect control are vitally important to human health, food production, and a healthy environment.
Best Management Practices for pollinator/mosquito control interaction:
– After receiving notification the District will post the property in which the apiary is present.
– Treat when bees are not flying, sunset/night.
– Let beekeepers know the insecticide we are using.
– Avoiding direct application of spray to flowering plants, when possible.
– Monitor and time treatment related to wind direction with respect to colonies.
– Report colony movement (location) to mosquito control.
– If possible locate hives 300+ feet from the roads that will be treated.
– Beekeepers are responsible to manage health of their colonies, healthy hives are less susceptible to disease and possible damage from pesticides